Sonal Talwar and Sunny Malhotra, two doctors – one from New York and one from Toronto, Ontario – were both introduced a few months prior to the pandemic. As they talked and got to know each other, they quickly realized that “this was it.”
“We faced obstacles like travel restrictions and had trouble meeting in person as often as we would have liked,” the couple shares. “However, we were determined to make it work and put in the effort to make the relationship a success.”
From the moment they met, Sunny knew that Sonal was the one for him. Although he wanted to propose to her, the COVID-19 pandemic kept getting in the way. He had event planned four different proposals, each one more elaborate than the last; but each one had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.
“I always wanted to be a Sabyasachi bride."
After several attempts at a proposal, Sunny came up with a plan that he knew would be perfect: He would surprise Sonal by meeting her in Toronto, and then taking her to the Maldives for an epic destination engagement. For months, he planned each and every detail to make sure everything unfolded perfectly. The couple spent their days lounging on the white sandy beaches, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and exploring the tropical landscape.
On the last night of their trip, Sunny took Sonal to a secluded spot on the beach and got down on one knee. With the sound of the waves crashing in the background, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. They celebrated together in Dubai and they returned home as engaged couple with a story that they will tell their grandchildren. The trip was not just a romantic getaway, but also a symbol of resilience in the face of a difficult time.
Despite the challenges of planning a wedding during a pandemic, Sonal and Sunny decided to move forward with planning their wedding. The process took nearly 18 months, and it was far from easy. The bride-to-be dreamt of traveling to India to shop for her wedding wardrobe, but travel restrictions wouldn’t allow it. Fortunately, all her favorite designers were able to accommodate her needs virtually via facetime. Sonal lived on Indian time for months and stayed up several nights to get her shopping done virtually, carefully planning out her jewelry and outfits for her wedding week. Indian wedding celebrations typically last for several days, with a variety of ceremonies and events leading up to the main wedding day.
When the big day arrived, the bride wore a beautiful blush and gold lengha from Sabyasachi to match her husband, who wore a traditional Rimple and Harpreet soft beige sherwani.
“I always wanted to be a Sabyasachi bride,” she recalls.
Their luxurious Indian wedding was held at the family estate, and the groom arrived in style on a helicopter, dancing his way in. Sonal’s favorite florist, Rachel Clingan, also created a breathtaking pastel floral mandap, adding an extra layer of beauty and luxury to the ambiance.
The wedding was followed by a lavish wedding reception, which was held at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel. With its grand ballrooms and elegant architecture, it provided the perfect backdrop for an extravagant Indian wedding. The hotel's grand ballroom, adorned with intricate chandeliers, was transformed into a lavish cocktail hour, with a live violinist surrounded by candles, creating an Italy-inspired ambiance. The details of their stage had an abundance of neutral florals, wrapped around arches, creating a magical effect.
“It felt like a fairytale, literally felt like a dream, when we walked into our reception for the first time,” Sonal recalls.
“Seeing two years of planning, all fall into place, surrounded by our most loved ones, it was incredible,” Sunny adds.
The bride wanted to have different looks and statements for her reception, which she expressed with an exquisite lineup of bridal fashion picks. She had three outfit changes, starting with a red saree-gown from India’s luxury designer, Gaurav Gupta. A bronze sequined gown by Indian Manish Malhotra followed. And for comfort, she changed into a champagne metallic lengha by Seema Gujral.
The wedding was a grand and opulent affair filled with cultural traditions, beautiful rituals, and lots of love and laughter. It was a true celebration of love, and the beginning of a lifetime of happiness for the newlyweds. Their love story also served as a reminder that even during the darkest of times, love can still thrive and bring light to people's lives.
After their luxurious Indian wedding in Toronto, the newlyweds decided to embark on an equally luxurious honeymoon in the south of France. They first flew to Cannes and enjoyed the famous promenade lined with palm trees and lounged on the private beaches. They also took a boat tour to visit the nearby islands, including Île Sainte-Marguerite where they enjoyed wine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
After a few days in Cannes, they headed to St. Tropez and checked into a beautiful villa at the Airelles Resort with breathtaking views of the sea. Their honeymoon was an unforgettable experience filled with relaxation, romance, and adventure. They returned home with memories that they will treasure forever, and a new appreciation for the beauty and culture of the south of France.
Location: Fairmont Royal York, Toronto, ON; Planner: Fabulous Occasions, Toronto, ON; Floral & Event Design: Dream Party Décor, Toronto, ON; Ceremony Floral Design: Rachel Clingan; Ceremony Dress: Sabyasachi; Reception Dresses: Gaurav Gupta, Manish Malhotra, Seema Gujral; Groom’s Attire: Rimple and Harpreet, Bespoke; Groom’s Watch: F.P. Journe; Cake: Lima Cakes, Toronto, ON; Photography: L’Atelier Lumiere International Photography;