They Were Supposed to Get Married in Mexico. They Filled Their Backyard with Color and Had a Ceremony on Zoom Instead

updated Oct 2, 2020
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Vinnie Suchdeve and Sheetal Vig held an intimate puja with their families and priest in Sheetal’s parents’ backyard on May 15.

Sheetal Vig and Vinnie Suchdeve’s wedding has been a long time in the making. Fifteen years, to be exact. 

The pair grew up in each other’s orbit, thanks to their parents’ long-standing friendship. “Our families have been friends forever, but our parents never put pressure on our relationship,” says Sheetal, a supply planner for Jo Malone. “We were so young, no one knew what was going to happen.” Lucky for everyone, the Long Island pair’s relationship took a romantic turn during college, and they’ve been together ever since. 

When it came time to ask Sheetal to marry him last July, Vinnie, who works in real estate, knew he wanted to pop the question somewhere important to both of their families. “We grew up going to Fire Island and love the beach,” he explains. “I have a friend who used to work on the [Fire Island] ferry, so he helped me arrange to stop the boat midway through our trip over.” 

As the ship dropped anchor off the Long Island coast, Sheetal’s first reaction was one of confusion. “I honestly thought something was wrong with the boat,” she says. “Somehow Vinnie arranged to stop the boat and propose. Then, once we got to Fire Island, we had a photo shoot, lunch with our parents, and met a ton of our friends and family at a bar. It was a total surprise.” 

After such a show-stopping proposal, it only made sense that the two would plan a big bash to celebrate their union. Following a trip to Tulum that September, the beach-loving pair decided on a destination wedding, setting the wheels in motion to host hundreds of their friends and family in Playa del Carmen in May 2020. Save-the-dates were sent out, bachelor and bachelorette parties were planned, Sheetal took off on a fashion buying trip to India to secure her wedding week attire—and then COVID-19 happened. 

“It was crazy—we were 60 days away from our wedding, and we had everything done and ready to go,” Sheetal says. “We were living in this bubble of excitement and happiness, and then all of a sudden the world changed.” 

At first, their wedding planner suggested simply delaying their Mexican nuptials until later in the year, but for Sheetal and Vinnie, that wasn’t really an option. “Everyone was so scared, we knew that it wouldn’t be the same, and we didn’t want to put anyone at risk,” Sheetal says. 

Feeling defeated, the duo refocused their attention toward staying healthy and buying a house on Long Island so they could finally live together. Still, they couldn’t get the thought of at least a small celebration out of their mind. “We had been so caught up with figuring out this detailed destination wedding that we hadn’t even done anything religious to signify our engagement,” Vinnie says. 

After thinking it over, the two decided to honor their original wedding date by getting legally married and hosting an intimate puja, a Hindu prayer ritual, in Sheetal’s parents’ backyard in Babylon, Long Island, and holding a religious wedding at a later date. While they were planning, New York state was still under strict lockdown. “Everyone showed us so much love throughout this whole experience,” Sheetal says. “Our friends helped set up the Zoom, sent over tons of champagne, and even filled our email inbox with surprise videos and letters.” 

The at-home celebration was packed with color, from the pinks and purples of Vinnie and Sheetal’s attire (she paired a dress remade from her mom’s wedding look with traditional henna by Henna For All) to the bold drapery and florals set up by Stylish Events New York. During the day’s worship ritual, Vinnie and Sheetal spoke prayers and made offerings alongside their families using a variety of fruits and pastries—all while more than 300 loved ones looked on via Zoom.

Post-ceremony, the duo took off to a local park with their photographer, A.S. Nagpal Photography, to snap some pictures, and were surprised when dozens of friends and family showed up to wave from afar. 

It wasn’t what they had pictured when they originally started dreaming up a destination bash for this date (“I did my own hair and makeup,” Sheetal laughs. “Never in a million years did I think I would do that.”), but the pair “had a beautiful day; we were truly on cloud nine,” Sheetal says. 

“The whole experience definitely made our relationship stronger,” Vinnie adds. “It really helped us realize what was important. We had to break everything down and try to put it back together in a different, creative way. At the end of the day, we just wanted to be married.”

The Apartment Therapy Weddings vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Crate & Barrel.