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    May 25, 2013 in Cebu City, Philippines

    Kelie Ko never imagined that a beautiful stranger on an international flight would one day accompany him on the journey of his lifetime. Ivy Eleanor Uy may have noticed her handsome seatmate when she boarded a flight from Cebu, Philippines to Singapore in February 2010, but she wasn’t interested in conversation. “I don’t normally talk with strangers, with people I don’t know,” Ivy explained. But when she opened her laptop, something caught Kelie’s eye.

    “On her wallpaper was the logo of the company which happens to be our principal…that we distribute in another arm of our family business,” Kelie said.

    Their business connection sparked an easy conversation that lasted until landing. After the flight they exchanged phone numbers and parted ways, each hoping but neither knowing if they would ever see one another again.

    They met for dinner in Singapore and kept in touch via email when he returned to Sydney and Ivy to Cebu, but neither was thinking of romance, at least not consciously. 


    “I woke up from a dream, it wasn’t exactly a romantic dream, it was just a dream [but] somehow Ivy was in there,” Kelie, who works in real estate, said.

    Kelie didn’t waste time contacting Ivy when he returned to Cebu in July. Oblivious, she suggested he join her and friends on a girls’ night out. “That’s like walking straight into a firing squad,” Kelie laughed, “I came up with a lame excuse.”

    Soon they were fixtures in one another’s lives, often talking until restaurants closed their doors. Kelie took his time asking Ivy to be his girlfriend, but otherwise it was smooth sailing until the spring of 2012 when Ivy received distressing news: her company was transferring to Manila.

    “I was confused about whether I would make the move,” Ivy said.

    Kelie had been planning an epic proposal, but seeing his beloved worry about their future spurred him to action. After a romantic meal at Plantation Bay, they followed heart-shaped stepping-stones to a seaside bench. When the moment was right, Kelie gathered his courage and dropped the blue sapphire engagement ring in the sand.
    After taking a long walk down the beach, the two came across a message tucked inside a heart glass bottle in the sand

    After a bit of frantic digging, Kelie recovered the ring and his dignity and asked for Ivy’s hand. Through laughter and tears and Kelie asking the question a second time, she said “yes.” “I was surprised; I wasn’t expecting it to be that soon,” Ivy said. The next day, Ivy informed her company that she would not transfer.

    On May 25, 2013 eight hundred guests attended an unforgettable afternoon ceremony at the Sacred Heart Parish. For weeks Kelie, who sings high baritone with the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra, had been practicing a song for when Ivy came down the aisle. But when he caught sight of his bride in her exquisite wedding gown by Oj Hofer, his voice cracked.

    “When she started walking down the aisle I don’t know why but I started to choke. It was probably one of my worst performances,” he said.

    Kelie later delivered heartwarming, pitch-perfect performances of Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” and a Mandarin Chinese song, “The Green Island Serenade,” to the delight of the reception crowd and his darling bride. The couple then enjoyed a magical three-week honeymoon in Western Europe.


    Location: The New Oakridge Pavilion, Cebu City, Philippines; Cake: Cake Art By Des, Cebu City, Philippines

    Caterer: Creative Cuisine Catering, Cebu City, Philippines; Floral Design: Simple Wishes Flowers n’ More, Cebu City, Philippines; Lighting: Ishowcebu, Cebu City, Philippines; Stationery: PaperWorks; Wedding Dress: OJ Hofer; Entertainment: Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra; Photography: Lawrence Chan Photography, New York, NY