Colin travelled half a world away to find love and a partner who loves his culture as much as he did. The two found a sense of familiarity, the joys in their similarities and the courage to power through their differences. They knew that the bond they forged was meant to last forever.
The two tied the knot in a ceremony replete with Indian cultural references. Along with their dearest friends and family, what thrilled Colin was the children, “Everyone really enjoyed themselves and so many of our guests had come with their kids. It was a joy to have so many young ones around. To watch them witness our celebrations without any prefixed filters of right or wrong, having them come and congratulate us, it gave us a renewed sense of hope for the LGBTQ+ community. All of it felt so very normal.”
He tells us all about their wedding.
How They Met
“Andrew and I moved to Chicago around the same time in 2016 and were both looking for something long term and stable. He pinged me on a dating site and that’s how our story begins.
I was new to American culture and very desi in many ways. Andrew, on the other hand, had already lived for three years in Nepal and was well versed in our ways of life. It was our common love for Indian culture that made us click instantly. It didn’t take long before we knew things were going in the right direction.”
First Date Story
“It had been two months of chatting and video calling and we decided to meet in person and get to know each other better. We went to a ramen restaurant on a cold February evening in Chicago. After dinner, Andrew offered to take me home and make me some hot ginger tea that he had got from Nepal.
When I walked through the door, I felt I’d stepped into an Indian household! The aromas of tadka, a bottle of ghee – even the circular tin which holds all the masalas – he had it all! I’m a big foodie and love desi khanna with a passion. His kitchen left me very impressed.”
From Meeting To Marriage
“Over time we began to understand each other very well. We were so similar in many ways – our food habits, our core beliefs. And yes, there were areas where we were polar opposites. What worked was being open to finding a balance. Our bond began getting stronger.
He’d come down to the suburbs to spend time with me and it was evident he was really interested in getting to know me. We were together most weekends and never realized when we fell in love. Eventually we moved in together and things just fell into place.”
Introductions with Family and Friends
“I met his parents for Thanksgiving and cooked a meal for them. We visited them again at Christmas and they welcomed me with open arms and lots of love. Soon after, Andrew accompanied me to Mumbai where he got first-hand experience of Indian hospitality. He stayed with us at my parent’s home. They were delighted to have him over. My family, neighbors and cousins invited us to their houses and showered us with unbound love. We also planned a small trip with my friends and made loads of memories together!”
The Big Day and its Small Details
Our two-day wedding was one of the most memorable events of our lives. To witness our friends and families come together to celebrate with us filled our hearts with joy.
We combined several cultures as part of our celebrations. We’re both inclined towards Indian traditions so we decided to have a haldi (the Goans call it a Roce). This was followed by the sangeet and a South Indian ceremony. Since I am Catholic, we did one reading from the Bible and another from the Supreme Court judgement legalizing marriage in the United States. We also wanted to have a Goan Catholic style reception with the famous ‘masala’ dance and the cutting of the cake.
For me, the beauty lies in the details and most of our decorations were DIY. We didn’t have a wedding planner or decorator. All our friends helped with the setup.
At our sangeet, all our friends and colleagues performed a specially choreographed dance for us. Then Andrew surprised me with his Bollywood dance! One of the most heart-warming moments was when my mother said that now she has two sons and that she loves Andrew. At the reception, my father raised a very special toast. Our friends then played the piano and sang us a song they’d written for us.”
“I was still in the closet when I attended my first Mumbai Pride March in 2012. I wore a helmet so no one would recognise me on my bike. I was in Chicago when I eventually came out and got involved with the community there.
Andrew, on the other hand, works for the marginalized queer community and with people who are living with HIV. They are part of the Trikone LGBTQ South Asian community in Chicago.”
Advice for all the LGBTQ+ couples
“All days are not the same and everything that glitters is not gold. There are ups and downs and distractions are very easy. But despite it all, smile, love one another and never sleep without resolving your differences. Remember to give each other space and that you are not always right. Be strong, love your family and give them time.”
Photos Courtesy: Ricardo Quintana Photography