"When we hugged and our hearts touched, I knew she was the one."
How did you meet?
We met online! As our personal lives got so busy, we knew we had to meet a way that was “different” than our parents had. We met on Bumble, an online dating app. After months of conversation, we met one Friday at the Cactus Club Cafe in Coal Harbour. When we said goodbye, we had a hug that felt like “home.” In that moment, we knew, we had met “our person.” John always says, “When we hugged and our hearts touched, I knew she was the one.” That moment will never be forgotten, which is exactly why we held our wedding ceremony in that exact spot.
What do you love most about one another?
Sonia: One word – exceptional! Okay I lied, I have to use more than one word – kind, generous, smart. Better than me at Jeopardy, hard-working (which was a rare quality to find among partners). This might sound strange, but he is the male version of my best friend from childhood. But the number one thing I love about him….his heart. There are very few people on this earth who share the same sort of compassion that he does. From volunteering to worthy causes, to always making sure his loved ones know they’re cared about. He truly is remarkable and I’m so proud to call him my life partner.
John: Where do I start? Sonia is stunningly beautiful and her heart is beyond beautiful. That is in fact, it’s how I “knew” she was the one for me. On our first date, when we hugged goodbye, our hearts touched and it hit me, I was like “Oh! It’s you! I’ve been looking for you!” Sonia loves unconditionally and loves being around family and friends. She is the “glue.” She tirelessly is at every event, plans amazing get-togethers and is always eager to host. We love sharing with people the things we love – and no one does it better than Sonia. I’m honoured to be by her side.
Could you share your proposal story?
Sonia: We always knew we wanted to start our “forever story” with a proposal that was true to us. Nothing fancy and nothing that felt overly prepared and scripted. We wanted something that was significant to how we would feel for the rest of our lives.
One day, we were sitting on the couch talking (it’s what we do best). We both had hard days at work. Then, just when we both felt exhausted, burning the midnight oil, John turned to me and got on one knee. He told me he loved me, and “even on the hardest days, I will always be by your side. I want this forever.” It sounds cheesy, but for us, it’s the moments together that have shaped our relationship.
Describe your wedding day. What was your favourite moment?
Full disclosure: It wasn’t your typical Indian wedding! Forget 800 people, there were only six guests at our wedding. Our guest list included our respective brothers and their wives and our two special friends.
John: I remember how time stood still when she came down the stairs. We didn’t have a typical wedding but I did want to wait for her to arrive. We had all been getting ready at our fantastic room at Fairmont Pacific Rim; my brother Joe, friend Jonathan and I made our way downstairs earlier to enjoy a drink and greet our wedding official, Jeff, at the lobby bar. I had asked Sonia if she would descend the elegant stairway when they were ready to come downstairs. She was stunning; time stood still and the memory plays back in slow motion. I felt like the jazz trio was playing just for us and the din of conversation in the room quietened to a hush as everyone watched her carefully take each step down the marble staircase. I met her halfway – I don’t know if I was just too excited or wanted to make sure she didn’t trip on her beautiful dress. I just remember looking up, smiling and seeing everyone smiling back at us. We were getting married!
Sonia: After our ceremony, I remember saying “I DO” with tears of joy in my eyes and looking over at my brother, sister-in-law and best friend with so much pure happiness. Then, John and I hugged, in that same area where we had our first date. It had come full circle and I felt forever grateful for this love I had found.
Could you tell us about your reception?
We had a few. That’s what happens when you elope. After our ceremony we had a small dinner with our six wedding guests at Joe Fortes. A few weeks later, we held a proper brunch with a handful of our closest friends and family. Then our parents wanted to host a celebration of our love at an Indian hall with just over a 100 of our closest friends and family.
Can you describe your outfits?
Sonia: For the ceremony I knew I wanted something elegant but timeless. I went for a white dress with a train I refused to bustle and a colour (white) that I’m not used to wearing. It was perfect. My friend Nada and I picked out the dress in 20 minutes and I knew, it was the perfect dress for me and my love.
For our Indian party: I was pretty lucky. As a lover for lenghas, I had a few at home already. We decided to go for a very simple look – a plain white lengha with a black top, plus lots of jewellery. I’m so thankful for the team at Pink Orchid Studio for helping me get my hair and make up done for my Indian reception. I felt like a million bucks, but most importantly, I felt like myself.
John: For the ceremony, I wanted a summer look that was stylish and comfortable (for the heat). After a little online research, I found the look I was after. I entrusted the help of Haberdasher & Co. to help me put it all together. Bobbie was amazing – she found and tailored a light blue Copley blazer and found the perfect pocket square to match my first pair of John Fluevog, light brown dress shoes. For our Indian party: Classic black suit and tie.
Where did you honeymoon?
We did a Later-moon. We were so busy celebrating with people we love so much that we went on honeymoon in Paris and Italy this June.
What are your goals as a couple?
To live each day with gratitude to the fullest and to continue to inspire and support each other. Hopefully, to help inspire others to keep their hearts open, that they can find the love they seek. Start a family, live modestly, and grow old together surrounded by friends and family.
What are the strengths of your marriage?
Laughter and lots of honesty! We definitely have unfiltered conversations and it’s what keeps us honest through the day to day stuff.
If you could provide any advice to other married couples, what would it be?
Never stop dating each other. We make a point to still have our “us” time and date nights even when we have some weeks that seem extra busy.
Photography: Jonathan Cruz, Camillia Courts, Christine Pienaar Photography, Other, Courtesy of Sonia Sidhu