Unlikely Encounter That Blossoms into Love

TextSUMMER LEE

“She completes me in the simplest ways…… She does not demand nor does she diminish me in our daily life.” “His love for me is simple – not purchased by material things, but purely words and actions which come straight from his heart. His unconditional love for me brings endless joy and great stability, knowing that he’ll be right by me through life’s ups and downs.”

On an airplane at an altitude of 39,000 feet is the last place where one will expect to find true love. But Kenneth Dendroff, 40, and Lulu Tan, 25, did in August 2004.  Lulu was flying home to Singapore from New York, after a month-long holiday with her family there.

Said Kenneth, a chief steward, “I was part of the crew on the flight and was working in the area where she was sitting. I actually did not notice her until I was about to go for my crew rest. It was then when Lulu came to the gallery looking for something to eat. Somehow we hit it off and chatted for an hour!” The couple exchanged their e-mail addresses on the spot.

After dating for three years, Kenneth popped the question at a cafe in Siglap where they had their first date. Lulu, a flight stewardess, recalled, “Being the emotional me, I couldn’t stop crying and laughing at the same time…… even my fake eyelashes fell out.”

Lulu was the creative brains behind their wedding celebration held in July 2008. Despite their busy schedules, the duo made their invitations – all 500 of them – by hand, printing the cards and cutting them to size, rounding the corners, embossing the cards and envelops with a special embosser they made, stamping a floral motif on each card, before tying gold-trimmed maroon ribbons on them.

As Christians, Kenneth and Lulu believe that olive oil signifies healing and anointing. So they purchased big bottles of extra virgin olive oil and 450 30ml glass bottles to make the wedding favours. The tiny bottles – adorned with coloured labels and ribbons – were filled with  olive oil, then double-capped.

Floral design company, Boenga, was hired to create the look for their wedding theme, “Garden of Eden”, at the Tower Ballroom of Shangri-la Hotel. Apart from requesting more pink flowers and fewer roses, Lulu practically gave Boenga the free hand to give the ballroom a stunning makeover.

To complement the theme of “Garden of Eden”, the couple placed on each guest plate little ladybug-shaped chocolates brought in from Switzerland. Lulu also bought some Monet’s garden-scented green tealight candles from Los Angeles for each table to heighten the ambience.

The guests were served a four-course Western dinner, that included herb-crusted sea bass and pan fried stuffed chicken breast, plus a sweet finale – dessert buffet with chocolate fountain. For entertainment, a live jazz trio played throughout the night, and four of the bride’s friends belted out a medley of ballads for the couple.

The elaborate wedding cost the couple more than $100,000, of which $69,500 went to the wedding dinner. With no bridal package, they paid $6,800 for the gowns and suits.

They also forked out over $4,000 on pre-wedding photography in Bali and Singapore, and provided hotel accommodation for some overseas guests. An impressive 8m-long stretch limousine was hired for $350 per hour to chauffeur them around in the day.

“Till today, my girlfriends still tease us on having the ‘wedding of the year’,” laughed Lulu. But this description is befitting of a match made in heaven.