MMF’s 2021 Bride of the Year Runner Up – Her Long Distance Wedding Love Story

Long-distance dating is challenging but, imagine if you lived on entirely opposite sides of the ocean. That was the case of Sapna and Anil and it all started as a once-in-a-lifetime meeting set up originally by their mothers. She lived in Hongkong, he was in New York visiting family. That’s how it all started, who would have thought that they would both find their true love living worlds apart?  But, yes that’s exactly what happened.  After saying YES to Anil’s proposal, Sapna moved to the States asap.  They wasted no time planning their intimate “I dos.” Here is their love story!


It all started as a setup. I lived in Hong Kong, and he was in from New York visiting family. It wasn’t-completely love at first sight, as most fairytales go. Instead, we both left, thinking we would probably never see each other again. He later shared that he knew right away that he was smitten with me, but wasn’t certain if I felt the same way.

After our date, I received short, cute messages from time to time. I remember a particular one when he sent me a photo he had taken after it had snowed in New York. I had shared with him how I find snow beautiful but hadn’t really been around it much. That led to a lengthy conversation, and before long, we were chatting daily.

The next thing we knew, we were in a whirlwind long-distance relationship, traveling back and forth across the globe to be with each other.

A year later, he proposed, and I said YES! Then began the excitement of planning our Big Fat Indian Wedding.


Planning a wedding with the bride and groom living in different parts of the world is challenging. Bring in the pandemic, and you have a whole conundrum.  

We spent a year apart due to border closures. We repeatedly changed wedding destinations and dates while trying to plan around current restrictions. A year passed, and we were nowhere closer to making our wedding location decision. 

We realized that this was not going anywhere, and we needed to take a step back. The point was to spend the rest of our lives together, not stress over planning a big party. So, I got on a flight, face shield and all, and made my way to New York to marry the man of my dreams. 

But first, I needed to get a green card, plan a civil wedding and then do an Indian wedding.  The day after the civil wedding, Hong Kong announced its first covid cases.  I went back to Hong Kong to work and then things just kept getting rescheduled due to covid. Including travel restrictions and border closings.

We finally decided not to have a big wedding, but we were doing it and soon! So, I ordered an outfit online, and talked to the seller on the phone, who instructed me on how to do measurements.  Anil’s family decorated everything for the wedding in New York.  It was going to happen in the middle of the night in Hong Kong, so I sent coffee goodie bags to friends and family in Hong Kong to stay awake.  I did henna in Hong Kong, and celebrated with just friends and family before leaving.  My sister helped distribute gifts to family and friends.


We settled for a small intimate affair at his home. His family and close friends attended and mine watched via zoom.  

I had already had a few amazing farewell/pre-wedding celebrations in Hong Kong with close family and friends. Though I knew nothing would compare to the day itself. While the pandemic had taken away any control I had over my wedding day, I still had control over my wedding day look.

While I searched for the perfect make-up artist, I knew I needed someone who understood my situation. Alayne at Make Me Fab was wonderful. We never had a trial but spoke at length on the phone. She was very honest about her experience with Indian weddings, and I sent her pictures of how I wanted my outfit draped. I did not have the usual customary Indian tradition of lots of family and friends surrounding me while I got ready, but Alayne knew exactly what I needed and put me at ease. She made my day special, and I will always be thankful for that! 

It was a snowy winter day in February that day. I was so overwhelmed with details that I  didn’t really think about the wedding day itself. But,  the night before the wedding it really hit her.


Really, just follow your heart. If you know what you want.  With, so many big details going on, the smaller details went by the wayside. So I would try to focus on smaller details too. I would have had my family speak at the wedding on zoom. So as to have them there vocally.

Now an Upstate New York resident, Sapna is working towards her counseling license. “I am getting used to driving on the other side of the road.  I love the beauty of the Upstate of NY, and the 4 seasons. I’m still used to city life. I made my first snowman.  But driving in the snow is still not so much fun.”