We were introduced through the Indian grapevine (no, it was not Seema Aunty from Indian Matchmaking), through first and second cousins of ours. The respective parents passed our biodatas and contact information to us back in January 2020.
Q: How did you meet?
Gurleen: We were introduced through the Indian grapevine (no, it was not Seema Aunty from Indian Matchmaking), through first and second cousins of ours. The respective parents passed our biodatas and contact information to us back in January 2020. Ankit messaged me for the first time in March 2020. Our first text soon turned into occasional phone calls and finally, video chats and things got all rosy. Our texts, phone calls and video chats prior to our first meeting had made us pretty comfortable to talk to each other. So it was a breeze when we met in person in Dubai in July 2020. Of course, the jitters and butterflies were in full force. But it was just another strong brick of confirmation that this was the right thing to do. For us it wasn’t just meeting/coffee date and then you go back home, my trip was for 10 days, but I ended up extending it for another week.
Q: What do you love most about one another?
Gurleen: His smile. I swear to God it stops me in my tracks.
Ankit: Her loving and caring nature towards everyone be it someone she’s known for a while or someone she’s newly met.
Q: Could you share your proposal/Roka story?
Ankit: Our Roka ceremony happened via Zoom, where Gurleen & I were in Dubai, her family in Vancouver at the Gurudwara, my family in Kuwait and all of our immediate cousins joining in from India, Florida and Houston. After our Roka ceremony, Gurleen hinted that she still wanted the traditional proposal down on one knee prior to the wedding. Initially, I was planning to visit Vancouver in October but due to the travel restrictions and the second wave of the pandemic, it was difficult to plan. So, I decided to surprise her when she would come to Dubai. Our wedding was planned for December 2020. So I thought to surprise her a few days before the wedding. We were all staying in a hotel with a view of the Burj Khalifa fountain. I’m not very creative, so I found a company on Instagram that would help me set up the hotel suite for the proposal, including rose petals, candles and a proposal sign. I asked my parents to pretend to plan a dinner with all of us, however as she opened the door for our suite, she was definitely surprised.
Q: How has COVID affected your wedding plans? Did you postpone it?
Gurleen: Our initial wedding date was planned for December 28, 2020, with pre-wedding festivities beginning on December 26th. But from December 22 - 24, Ankit, myself, my parents and my brother all tested positive for Covid. The period that was supposed to be reserved for celebrations turned into chaos as we were postponing all events, calling family and telling them to not take their flights and ensuring safety for all immediate and extended family members that tested negative. It was a blessing in disguise that the elders tested negative, and all the family members (including us) that tested positive, had no symptoms what-so-ever.
Q: Describe your wedding day. What was your favourite moment?
Full disclosure: It wasn’t a typical Indian wedding, we didn’t have the week of celebrations, due to us having Covid. Our original wedding celebration was about 60-70 people, but ended up having only 14 attendees including ourselves. Gurleen: The ceremony itself was short and emotional. Post the temple wedding, we had decided to do the court wedding on the same day. Within minutes we were in a lawyer’s office in full Indian wedding attire talking to an officiant via Zoom and undergoing our second wedding ceremony in one day. Overall the day was emotional and exciting, full of rollercoasters, from trying to reach the temple on time within the given timeslot, to performing all the mini traditions that are typically involved in a Punjabi wedding. Ankit: In the midst of the Covid stress and re-planning the wedding for the last few days, my favorite moment occurred right before the ceremony when Gurleen entered the room where the ceremony was to take place, she looked breathtaking and it took my entire stress away. It was a great day and I was relieved that the events of the day took place without any hiccups.
Q: Could you tell us about your reception?
We haven’t officially hosted a reception yet, we are still waiting for the Covid restrictions to get lighter before throwing a big party for our family and friends. We did however go down to the bar in our hotel right after the doly/giving ceremony with Ankit’s side of the family. Also, we organized a small brunch with the family and friends a few days after the wedding as our close friends in Dubai couldn’t attend the wedding
Q: Can you describe your outfits?
Gurleen: I always had the wedding day colour in my head, it was the same colour my mom wore for her wedding day. I ordered my cocktail party drapped saree and my post wedding suits from Leenu Singh Designs. I ended up wearing the draped saree for my mehndi day; from the colour to the design it looked breathtaking. My entire wedding outfit was from WellGroomed Designs; it was customized, from the patterns to the color scheme. From the fabric to the embroidery to the colour of our wedding outfits, it was just beyond perfect! Ankit: After months of planning between my mom and Gurleen, I only ended up wearing the wedding day outfit that Gurleen had gotten made in Canada.
Q: Where did you honeymoon?
Gurleen: A few days after the wedding, we ended up shifting to Muscat, Oman, for one of Ankit’s projects. We have not had a typical honeymoon yet, which is still our plan once travel restrictions are lighter, and we are planning on heading to South Africa. However, since the wedding, we have done mini staycations in Oman and Dubai, which we call our mini honeymoons.
Q: What are your goals as a couple?
To inspire and motivate each other to become the best possible version of each in all walks of life.
Q: What are the strengths of your marriage?
Being in a semi-arranged relationship has helped us grow together and learn new things about each other every day. Trust and support for one another, having an open communication and our love for food and trying new restaurants.
Q: If you could provide any advice to other married couples, what would it be?
Pay attention to the little things! Small gestures carry a lot of weight, and for couples who have mutual respect, those small gestures are second nature. A simple love note, a slightly longer hug or kiss goodbye can make your partner feel validated and appreciated. “One short and sweet text or email per day can make your lover’s heart pitter-patter — without causing his or her head to spin from electronic overload,” says family psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish. “Be sure to include an intimate and heartfelt detail in your notes as a key way to boost your bond.”
Q: If you could provide any advice to other couples getting married during Covid, what would it be?
Keep it small and simple. Have patience and keep an open frame of mind, just in case things do not go as planned.
Photography by Pooja Studio