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#LockdownWedding: An Intimate Hawaii Affair

"They are absolutely right when they say, 'When your meant-to-be person walks into your life you’ll have no idea where he came from.' This one just walked into mine...it was a magical experience."

Diya J Verma
Sonam Pal and Rohan Jetley had their nuptials in Hawaii, an intimate 10 people ceremomy comprising primarily of family members, while relatives and close friends joined over Zoom. This #CoronaCouple serves as a living example of what 'love in the time of corona' truly looks like.
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    How did you two meet? Tell us about your love story.
     
    "We were introduced by our common friend about two years ago, and believe it or not, I have absolutely no recollection of that introduction! A few weeks after, we met again at a wedding. I was dancing when he came up to me and started acting like my best friend. Just as I was about to tell him off I realised that he’s quite cute, so why not give it a shot? We ended up talking for nearly 3 hours that night! We really seemed to hit it off and decided to take this forward by going on multiple dates thereafter. It wasn't until almost a year of dating that we travelled the world together and got engaged in September. He proposed to me in Bangkok on a boat, in front of a Buddhist temple, since I practice Buddhism. It was truly what dreams are made of. They are absolutely right when they say, 'When your meant-to-be person walks into your life you’ll have no idea where he came from.' This one just walked into mine...it was a magical experience."

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    Describe your wedding in 5 words.
     
    "It’s really hard to put everything into solely 5 words; but my wedding was surreal, intimate, and extremely meaningful since we got married on the ocean front. With a breathtaking view encompassing us, it was incredible. There's just so much I want to say and it's extremely tough to put it down in a few words!"

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    When did you decide to switch from a regular, post-lockdown wedding to an intimate ceremony in Hawaii?
     
    "Initially, we had already had a city hall wedding in New York. However, we both wanted to come back to Delhi to celebrate our marriage in the quintessential 'big fat Indian wedding' way. We travelled to Hawaii post our wedding because my spouse has family there, and given the worsening pandemic situation in both New York and Delhi, we were forced to stay in Hawaii for longer. We'd been here for four months and with his family here as well we figured there wasn't a better time than now. With so much uncertainty and no official wedding date set, we decided to have our nuptials in Hawaii itself. Everything happened last minute and despite barely having any time on my hands to plan, I'm not complaining. Everything went off exactly the way I envisioned it!"

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    How did you plan the wedding in such short notice?
     
    "Fortunately my husband's aunt is a wedding planner, here in Hawaii. She really helped us figure things out, including the wedding venue, videographer, and the photographer as well. In short, the vendor angle was sorted. Around 10 people were present at the wedding, comprising of my immediate family and several relatives, friends, and loved ones over Zoom! It was amazing, unique, and I lived every moment because when you’re surrounded by fewer people whom you love you actually get the time to absorb the experience in every which way. Everything sinks in and it feels absolutely amazing."

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    Overall, how was your quarantine wedding experience?
     
    "It was definitely a surprise; unexpected, unique, and unlike anything I had ever imagined my wedding to be. Being a typical Delhi girl I thought I was going to get married in the city with everybody I knew. A few thousand people and a couple of functions, but God had his own plans in place and it was perfect! There is truly nothing I would change. Imagine this, you have the sound of the waves behind you and the sun setting to your right, in front of you there’s the mandap fire and to the left the man that you love. So, within a 180 degree view there is everything you ever wanted. It was a wedding in paradise with the few people I love the most, present both physically and virtually. My mother and my aunts joined us over Zoom, all decked up. They got emotional and teary-eyed, it was really special."

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    Given a choice would you like to change anything about your wedding celebrations?
     
    "There is absolutely nothing I’d like to change about my wedding because it was a perfect fairytale wedding. However, if I had more time I would probably invite more people to attend over Zoom. I couldn’t do that because everything was so last minute. There were many ideas I got later, such as getting your bridesmaids to dress up in colour-coordinated outfits, asking people to prepare speeches, creating a proper itinerary etc. There is so much you can do on a virtual platform and if I had more time I would've definitely brainstormed a little more. Irrespective of all of that, I have no regrets."

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    Did you follow all the traditions and customs?
     
    "We had a traditional wedding with all the ceremonies and pujas. The night before, we had a mehendi and dholki ceremony at my place, along with my family singing punjabi folk songs over Zoom. It was a lot of fun, everyone was celebrating, singing, and dancing. The next day I got ready and did my own makeup for my chooda ceremony. I am still wearing my chooda and will be wearing it for the next few days. My husband's aunt and uncle walked me down the aisle, after which we had the jai mala ceremony. In the presence of a traditional pundit who performed the rituals, we took our pheras. I personally believe that unless and until you don't undergo these customs, you don’t fully feel like an Indian bride, and I was blessed that my family could make this possible for me."

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    Do you have any advice for couples who are planning to get married this year?
     
    "All I would say is, enjoy your wedding because this is your big day. I know a lot of people who are planning to have a lockdown wedding might feel that they didn’t get that big fat wedding they envisioned, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you have your loved ones and family around you, you’re still going to feel special. Although, do definitely get a wedding planner on board, who can overlook sanitation and everything else. Besides that you can have your bridesmaids wear colour-coordinated outfits, you can also send across favours to guests houses who are going to be on the call, etc. The sky is truly the limit. For the bride-to-be, don’t just throw your hands up in the air because 'it’s just for one day'. After all, it's your day, so do things as you desire."

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