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To Have and to Holden is our series where we interview real couples about their romance, weddings, and whatever else comes up along the way. Enjoy!
Raj and Ashlee were planning two ceremonies, but due to COVID-19, they pivoted to a microwedding at Ashlee's parents' house. For wedding rings, Ashlee wore The Curved Half Eternity in yellow gold and Raj The Domed in yellow gold. Read on for their sweet story (and a Central Park engagement!).
How did you meet and start dating?
We met at a Steelers game watch party in January 2017 when we lived in Pittsburgh for graduate school. We had a great conversation that day and decided to meet up the following week for a happy hour. From there, we started dating and quickly realized how much we cared for each other.
How did you get engaged?
Ashlee was visiting Raj in NYC from Pittsburgh in Fall 2018 and they planned to have a relaxed weekend decorating their new apartment. Raj then asked Ashlee to go for a walk in Central Park. As Ashlee and Raj wandered through Central Park, Raj told Ashlee he wanted to show her one of his favorite spots in the park, "Gapstow Bridge." In typical Ashlee fashion, she walked quickly through the park and ahead of Raj. All of a sudden, Ashlee noticed Raj wasn't behind her anymore and was speaking to a tourist. Raj then took Ashlee by the hand and led her to a beautiful spot overlooking the bridge. This is where Raj knelt to one knee and proposed. They were surrounded by tourists; a gentleman from England took a video of the proposal and a couple from India took professional pictures on their camera. It was an incredible moment between Raj, Ashlee, and strangers from all over the world and truly exemplified the diversity New York City attracts.
Were there any ways that your original wedding plans changed due to COVID-19?
We both come from unique backgrounds, and we wanted to honor those traditions with two ceremonies. We originally had a Hindu wedding planned in April 2020 and an American wedding a month later. Along with the rest of the world, we obviously had to put all our plans on hold. We postponed a few times and ended up having to forgo having a big event in 2020. However, despite not being able to have the weddings we had imagined, we still wanted to get legally married. We decided to do a small ceremony in Ashlee’s parents' living room and set up a live webcam and live-streamed the event on Zoom to over 300 guests from all around the world.
What’s a moment from your wedding day that you’ll remember forever?
We wrote our own vows and had the chance to say them to each other. It was so special because we were not in some large wedding venue—but rather, in the living room of the house Ashlee was raised in. It felt so intimate and was a moment we will never forget.
What advice do you have for a couple planning a wedding right now?
Try to focus on the most important and meaningful moments. The pandemic really will force you to get rid of all the frills of weddings. It is ultimately about the couple and celebrating their unity.
What was important to you in choosing a ring? What made you choose Holden?
We wanted a unique style and something that was made in a sustainable and responsible way. We found buying a ring with Holden an amazing experience! There was no high pressure to buy, and our sales associate was so helpful to answer our questions to help find the ideal rings for us. Holden had an excellent selection, and we appreciated how they custom made each ring. We also love the mission and vision of Holden as a company and could not be happier with our rings!
What does love mean to you?
Love is about being there for the good and bad that life will inevitably provide. This past year has especially put everything in perspective, and I think it made us realize how fortunate we are to have each other to get through hard times. We both cannot imagine living the rest of our lives without each other, and that is a really beautiful thing!
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