This First Person article is the experience of Taryn Perelmiter and Darpan Patel, newlyweds living in Montreal’s West Island. For more information about CBC’s First Person stories, please see the FAQ.
Let’s be clear: planning a wedding during a pandemic is not easy. Then again, we never were a couple to take the easiest path. Coming from two different cultures, Jewish and Indian, we had our fair share of differences but we found in ourselves commonalities to bond over. Having faith in who we are, and what we do, has always been the most important thing. We let our love lead the way.
We’ve known each other for over 10 years, attending high school and college together, where our friendship blossomed into a beautiful relationship. Growing up in the West Island of Montreal, we were fortunate to be exposed to various cultures. Both of us are Montrealers at heart, while holding on to our religious and cultural roots. We were both raised to love others and respect everyone no matter their faith, religion or race. Our curiosity and love for other cultures brought us to where we are now. Married!
Life never really stopped for us when the pandemic started, and we both were at a point in our lives where we were ready to start a new chapter. In order to turn that page, we felt it was time to get married. Planning our wedding during the pandemic required flexibility, quick decision-making and a pinch of faith that everything would fall into place.
Having grown up together, and spent all of our adult lives in constant communication, we knew our wedding would be a melting pot of both cultures. We took the time to learn about the other’s ceremony and religious rituals, and we wanted to include everything.
We were surprised by how similar our rituals and marriage customs actually were. The number seven is significant in both cultures, and both marriages take place under a canopy with four pillars — signifying the family’s home. In Judaism, this canopy is referred to as a chuppah, and in Hinduism it is referred to as a mandap.
That part of the wedding planning was refreshing and brought us closer together. But with daily COVID-19 cases fluctuating, and government regulations constantly changing, we were put to the test. We relied heavily on the support of our families and friends.
More so, we relied on each other and reminded each other why we were doing it all.
We decided to do both a Jewish ceremony and a Hindu ceremony on our wedding day. We were blessed to have 50 guests safely at our wedding — and over 200 guests attended virtually! We felt so much love and support on that day and continue to feel it.
Being able to include traditions from both religions felt unifying for both families. Among the many rituals throughout the ceremonies, Darpan stepped on the glass at the end of the Jewish ceremony, and we circled the sacred fire four times during the Hindu ceremony. We incorporated symbols from both religions in the bridal henna and in our Jewish marriage contract.
In the weeks leading up to the wedding, we would check two things daily: the COVID-19 cases in the province and the Montreal Canadiens’ playoff schedule. Being crazy Habs fans, we felt the buzz in the city as our team got closer to the Stanley Cup final. As we approached the wedding and realized there was a Habs game on our wedding night, our families and friends knew that we had to find a way to catch the game.
The wedding party brought their hockey jerseys to the wedding and as the wedding day came to an end, we got together to watch the Habs take on the Vegas Golden Knights on our phones.
Our special day combined elements of Hinduism, Judaism and hockey. It was a truly magical day, reflective of our beliefs, values and passions. It was a day where we got to celebrate love and briefly forget the struggles of the pandemic. It was a day that exemplified our faith in each other and in the Habs.
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