A Viennese dream comes true

A NEWLYWED Hongkong couple with a Viennese connection will have their dream come true after being promised a honeymoon in Vienna.

Lauda Air and Hongkong's J. W. Marriott hotel played cupid for Steve and Vienna Dressler when they heard the bizarre story behind their love affair.

In a touching twist, Steve has kept this secret from his new wife until today.

The first she will know of it is this morning, when she reads this article with Steve.

The key to their tale lies in Vienna's name. When Steve first spotted her working as a sales assistant in a shop in The Landmark seven years ago and asked her for a date, he was astonished to learn her name, because he comes from Vienna, Virginia, in theUS.

Vienna, whose Chinese name means Singing Bird, was named because of her opera singing mother.

She used the Western name of Winnie until she was 16, when an Austrian working in her office enchanted by her singing voice suggested she should be re-named Vienna, after the European city of music.

Steve believes it was fate, and that if it had not been for that he and Vienna might not be married today.

''It was the novelty factor initially that kept us together,'' he said.

In fact, it was the only thing they had in common.

He was American and could not speak Cantonese, she was Chinese and could not speak English. Their common language - apart from the language of love - was Mandarin, which Vienna could speak perfectly and Steve was studying.

The language and cross-cultural difficulties were not the only obstacles the couple had to overcome.

After dating Vienna for a few months, Steve, who had been working for Security Pacific Bank in Hongkong, went back to the University of California Irvine to get his master's degree in business administration.

He was away for two years, and saw Vienna about six times during that period. When he returned to the bank in Hongkong, his relationship with Vienna was able to develop - until it was her turn to study in the States that is.

Despite the distance, Steve flew to be with Vienna once a month during this time, and she received her associate's degree in marketing management a month before their wedding.

Steve said the couple used to joke about marrying in his hometown and honeymooning in Austria, but the cost of their Christmas wedding in the States and their forthcoming Chinese wedding in Hongkong in May had put an end to any dreams of a European honeymoon.

That is of course until the staff at Lauda Air and the J. W. Marriott Hotel, touched by their story, stepped in and offered free flights and accommodation for a dream Viennese honeymoon to the couple.