When Raji Sandhu and Nayan Behal were matched on the Bumble dating app, neither had any idea that it would be the beginning of the rest of their lives together. Taking their work and travel schedules into consideration, Nayan planned their first date at The Little Prince in SoHo, where they eventually became regulars. (Today, the NYC bistro has their picture on the wall.)
From the moment Nayan saw Raji, he knew she was the one – so much so, that he sent a text to his mom and sister after their date, saying he had met his future wife.
“WORDS COULDN’T DESCRIBE HOW WE KNEW OUR LOVE WAS MEANT TO BE.” - RAJI SANDHU
The proposal took place over a year later, when Nayan came up with an engagement that would be sure to surprise his then-girlfriend. First, he had Raji’s manager plan a fake dinner meeting at a SoHo restaurant, leading to a five-stop scavenger hunt with handwritten clues he had planted. Each clue was delivered with the check in each location, which was a place of significance to the couple – first date, first kiss, first “I love you,” and favorite pizza. The final stop was their apartment, with “Say Yes” written on a chalkboard wall as the final clue.
In the span of just over six months, a lavish Indian wedding in New York City was brought to life. The couple chose the Pierre Hotel as their wedding venue, due to its unparalleled elegance and timelessness. The bride also took a special trip to India, along with her grandmother and Nayan’s mother and sister, to shop for her bridal ensembles and traditional Indian wedding jewelry.
The wedding festivities kicked off with a traditional mehndi. An elegant and intimate Sikh ceremony was also held the day before the wedding, followed by a celebratory dinner at Marta for family members and the bridal party. The next day, the bride and groom gathered with their guests for a magical Hindu ceremony. “Even though we spent the morning getting ready and reading handwritten notes from one another, our first look in the rotunda is when it felt real for both of us,” the bride shares. “Words couldn’t describe how we knew our love was meant to be during that moment.”
The first look was followed by the groom’s baraat, which had the entire wedding parading down Fifth Avenue from 63rd street, with Nayan riding a stunning white horse. After the baraat, the ceremony took place in a beautiful and traditional mandap covered in champagne drapery, candles, and lots of bright and colorful flowers. To honor Nayan’s father who had passed away when he was four, and his stepfather, who had unexpectedly passed away in 2015, the couple had their pictures placed by a ganesh at the entrance, so their loved ones could look down on them with blessings during the ceremony.
Raji and Nayan spent their cocktail hour and reception enjoying themselves to the fullest. “Our first dance was to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect,’ and we remember looking at one another and the whole room thinking how loved we felt in that moment,” says Raji. “Many of the speeches from our parents, siblings, and some of the bridal party brought a lot of emotions and tears of happiness. The band played western music and our DJ played some awesome Bollywood hits; everyone was on the dancefloor the whole night. Our wedding was literally a dream come true, and we couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect!”
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds traveled to Bali and the Maldives for two more weeks of celebrations and some much-needed relaxation.