Love in the Time of Corona | A Virtual Ceremony in Dubai (part one)!

When the pandemic hit the UAE earlier this year, it sadly wasn’t long before weddings were put on hold, in accordance with the rules and regulations put in place to keep us all safe. Brides and grooms in the region were left heartbroken and under stress, forced to re-schedule their special day under great uncertainty. However, one loved-up couple refused to let the outbreak dampen their spirits…

Toni and Nayan were left devastated when their dream wedding day, planned to be held at Park Hyatt Dubai on 04.04.2020, couldn’t go ahead. After over a year of careful planning, vendors had been booked and 80 family and friends were set to fly out from the USA, UK, India, Australia and New Zealand to help celebrate with them.

However, as we all know, love (and modern technology) conquers all! Toni had dream of her wedding day since she was a little girl, and decided not to let her day go un-recognised, and so when her celebrant (Kerrie Low of The Birds & The Bees) suggested a “virtual ceremony”, she and her fiancé jumped at the chance! So let’s hear about their love story…

When did you first meet Nayan?

I first met Nayan at Karma Kafe in 2014. He had just arrived in the UAE and we were introduced by a mutual friend. We had dinner, laughs and general chats, and soon after he added me on Facebook and we continued to stay in touch.

Tell us about the proposal!

I had a feeling that Nayan was going to propose to me on my 30th Birthday. He said I can choose where I would like to go on holiday, we have travelled to many places together, but Thailand has always been a favourite of mine…so off we went!

My 30th came and there were many surprises, but a ring wasn’t one of them! The day of our flight to Thailand, being the detective I think I am, I searched high and low (inside shoes, suit pockets, toiletry bags etc.) to see if I could find a trace of the ring (I know – many would say why  spoil the surprise, but I can’t help myself) but I found nothing!

When we arrived in Bangkok we checked into our hotel. Exhausted, I hopped into bed and ordered room service. There was a storm in Thailand at the time and the lights of the hotel room flickered off and on. When the lights went out for a second time Nayan came straight over to me and got down on one knee and opened a box where a light shone on my beautiful ring. I got such a fright, but of course said “Yes!” and cried for half an hour! Later he told me that the weather wasn’t causing the power cuts, it was him with the key card all along!

The day we were due to return to Dubai, he told me we needed to be awake at 4am to be at the airport at 7am. I naturally got frustrated and wondered why he chose such an early flight, as I thought we were leaving later that day. When we got to the airport, he told me he had one final surprise for me and handed me his phone with our e-tickets to Male! I had always dreamed of going to the Maldives for my “engagement-moon” and had an amazing 4 days there in our over water villa…heavenly.

Whose Idea was it to hold a “virtual ceremony”?

We knew we wanted to recognise and celebrate our wedding day (04.04.2020), and then Kerrie, our amazing celebrant, suggested we do this, and we thought “why not?”

I’m sure you were thrilled to have Kerrie (The Birds & The Bees Celebrant) on board, why did you choose her as your celebrant in the first place?

Originally, we had booked Binny Baker who we met in June last year. Binny then relocated to UK and passed us on to Kerrie who honoured the same arrangements. She came over to our place and I instantly connected with her.

I truly felt so comfortable, like I was spending time with a long-lost friend. Kerrie did so, so much more than just plan the ceremony for us, she got to know us as a couple and as individuals. She invested so much time into us and helped me with things from flowers to recommendations of favour ideas. I could not even tell you the amount of times she physically came to the venue with us and supported us through everything. Whilst I have a tonne of amazing friends and a great support network, I don’t have any family here in Dubai, so I really feel Kerrie was my go-to for so many things.

So, how did you celebrate?

We had our online ceremony at the same time that I wold have walked down the aisle. Kerrie hand delivered our script, our certificate and a package for us to open after the ceremony, all left at the reception of our building, obeying the rules of social distancing! We had a zoom call a week before to rehearse what we would do, so everything would go without a “hitch”! We had some sparkly and ordered a Zuma food delivery, my favourite.

The icing on our virtual cake was that we also marked the day by adopting our pet Pug, Cooper. We consider his birthday 04.04.2020, since this is his adoption date, so another great reason to remember our anniversary.

Do you still plan to go ahead with your original plans?

We do, but we have had to make some alterations. There are also some guests who are unable to make the new date we set which is a real shame.

Would you like to give any wedding suppliers a shout out?

We would like to thank Simi (Similitude Photography), Claire (Goldfish Photography and Video) Joelle (My Lovely Wedding) for being extremely flexible and understanding with the date change. 

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. Everyone at weddingsonline would like to wish you all the very best for a long and happy marriage, and we can’t wait to see images from your next big celebration!

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The girls at weddingsonline

The girls from the UAE's newest wedding community with real weddings and lots of gorgeous inspiration!

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