Vani and Lowell met on a New York city date. Their small winter wedding was right in line with how they envisioned their special day to be. “Even prior to the pandemic we discussed what our ideal wedding would look like and we both wanted something intimate,” says Vani. “So when we got engaged it wasn’t anything we had to re-think or adjust, it simply fell into place.”
Even though the couple met in New York, their parents were not in the same place. “Our parents had to travel to be with us, and that was what we were most concerned about. Since they would be more at risk due to age and underlying health issues. Fortunately, we followed all the safety precautions and guidelines and they were able to arrive safely to celebrate our big day!”
What was it like planning a small wedding?
Fairly hassle free. The ceremony was in the dining area of my home! I wanted something romantic and intimate, focusing on the details to really bring the space together. The ambiance was created with winter whites, creams, splashes of champagne gold and greenery. I put together the décor myself and family helped with the set-up. My sister-in-law helped me with the flower arrangements and even put together my bouquet! It was a family affair. Even the days leading up to the wedding were all filled with beautiful memories – all of us coming together to make this wedding happen.
What advice do you have for brides planning a small wedding?
Even if your wedding is small (we only had 8 people total!), you can still create something beautiful and special. Focus on the details that are important to you. For me it was ambiance so I really leaned into décor and made that my focus. Also, I think big wedding or small every bride is riddled with some sort of stress or anxiety (I know I did). Try relaxing, enjoying every moment leading up to your special day. It goes by so fast. And at the end of the day it is really about the marriage and the life you are starting with your new spouse.
“My family is from Sri Lanka and practice Hinduism and Lowell is West Indian from St. Vincent and practices Christianity. We have been very respectful of each other’s differences and learn more about one another’s background.”
Tell us about your wedding traditions
We decided to have a simple Christian ceremony because of some the restrictions surrounding a Hindu ceremony in the home like doing a puja and aarti with fire. It wasn’t easy to find a Hindu priest willing to do a modified ceremony or travelling in the midst of a pandemic.
My husbands’ father officiated the wedding making the ceremony even more special and meaningful. We honored most of the Christian traditions throughout the ceremony. My dad walked me down the aisle (my staircase), we had an opening prayer, scripture readings, sermonette, vow and ring exchange. The ceremony ended with the lighting of the unity candle.
I wanted to still honor my Sri Lankan culture by changing into a traditional saree. My Mother picked out a beautiful red silk saree in Toronto and even tailored it virtually! I borrowed the bangles from my cousin.
“The pandemic put a monkey wrench in life in general. Everyone’s focus shifted to health and safety and protecting those in our lives that were most at risk. For Lowell and I that was our main focus. We wanted to plan a wedding responsibly in the midst of a pandemic while honoring things that were important to us. My main advice would be, continue with your plans, adjust accordingly, don’t let it stress you out and lean into why you’re getting married in the first place.”
Are you planning a small wedding? We partnered with Zulily to share more about how to plan a wedding during Covid 19.