For all its faults and fears, social media gets one thing right: it brings us together. Yes, the internet is vast and scary but it can also be the site of true love and happiness. We’ve seen couples from different parts of the globe meet and fall in love all from behind a tiny phonescreen. It’s a truly modern world we live in, and Sandhya and Dylan’s love story exemplifies that.
Sandhya and Dylan’s worlds were brought together through online dating app Bumble. At the time, Sandhya was living in Australia but had come to South Africa to visit family. They met at the Fire and Ice bar in Melrose Arch for milkshakes and haven’t gone a day without speaking since. Living in different countries, Sandhya and Dylan agreed to remain friends but that didn’t last long.
“It was a spark like none I had previously experienced… it was a romance with a strong emotional and intellectual connection. We always felt like we were learning things from one another and it almost didn’t matter that we were physically apart.”
In August 2018, Sandhya and Dylan decided to close the gap when Sandhya moved to South Africa. It was a difficult decision: in Australia she was an ambitious career woman in a high-paced corporate field, one that was still in its infancy stages in South Africa. Meaningful advice from her mother, however, remedied her torn mind.
“If you miss out on your dream job, you’ll regret it for a couple of years… but if you miss out on your true love, you’ll regret it forever. Find your courage and go see.”
The move was worth it. The couple soon became engaged at Nambiti Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal whilst on a romantic private game drive at sunset.
“The ranger said Dylan had booked a romantic package that included private sunset drinks and photos in a romantic location. We hopped out and another ranger picked us up and drove us to a viewpoint overlooking the entire Nambiti reserve and valley. It was stunning… we could see elephants wandering below us and the Drakensburg mountain range in the distance… Our ranger started to take photos of us, and while I was busy posing, I turned around to find Dylan on one knee with a ring box in his hand!”
The engagement ring was in the shape of a Protea flower, so that Sandhya will always have a piece of Africa with her wherever they go next.
In December 2019, Sandhya and Dylan said ‘I do’ in a stunning ceremony fusing South African, Indian and Irish Catholic traditions, held at the Inanda Polo Club in Sandton.
With an an ‘enchanted garden’ feel, their decor was more focused on understated elegance over the traditional colourful Indian decor. Even the traditional Pandal, a canopy under which the ceremony is held, was draped in white chiffon fabric with rustic white flowers and greenery instead of the usual gold decor.
For their nuptials, Sandhya wore a beautiful bridal sari in burnt orange made from raw silk and embellished with gold thread, gifted to her from her aunt who had recently travelled to India. The sari even had to be draped by a professional dresser to ensure it was pleated correctly. She accessorised with ‘jimki’ earrings, a heavy choker and necklace, as well as a belt – all of which were gold with touches of cerise. Her hair was styled in a traditional South Indian plait decorated with jewels and lots of white flowers. She had a waist-length plait attached to her hair, and it was so heavy she has to take painkillers to offset the pain! Dylan impressed in a traditional cream military-style suit jacket and burgundy pants.
The wedding, however, did not go as smoothly as expected. First, the driver was late to pick Sandhya and her sister up due to a flat tire then when he did arrive, the car wouldn’t start! As the car was being fixed, Sandhya’s father called to say he had left the thali, a small golden necklace that the groom ties around the bride’s neck to conclude the wedding, at home. The tying of the thali is the most important and sacred part of a South Indian wedding, and without it there could be no wedding. Luckily the car was still stuck and Sandhya was able to get it.
In another crisis, Sandhya’s written vows, a tradition to honour Dylan’s Irish Catholic heritage, was literally gone with the wind.
“The priest announced “the bride and groom have written vows which they will read”, and I looked to my sister to pass them to me. She looked back at me wide-eyed and motioned to the very empty chair she was sitting on, before mouthing “the vows have flown away”. They unfortunately had to cut this part of the ceremony out, but everyone was able to laugh about it later.
Sandhya’s top advice for couples planning their wedding is to not sweat the small stuff, and that there is no need to break the bank. “At the end of it all, people come to your wedding to celebrate the love you have for each other, not to ogle the décor or to comment on the colour choice of your flowers. ”
Her final words of wisdom are “less stress, more champagne! If you are stressed, your guests will be stressed, and if you are worrying about things on your wedding day, your guests will also get that negative vibe. Have fun, drink some wine, dance a lot, and don’t get wound up about small things going wrong…Laugh it off and enjoy it! You’ll wake up the next day and it will seem like a dream.”
All images were amazingly captured by Margaux Cronje. You can view her website HERE.
Feature image: Margaux Cronje