By Kathy McGrath

It wasn’t the wedding they planned, but in the end it was the perfect start to their life together.

When Aneesha Sood and Delan D’Souza got engaged in August 2019, they envisioned a large ceremony at a banquet hall with a minimum of 500 guests. “I have a big family so all the weddings I attend are huge – like 600 people,” said Delan. “When we set our date for August 2020, family and friends immediately booked vacation time to attend. We had guests coming from all over the world – Dubai, India, New Zealand.”

Six months later, the couple’s plan was in jeopardy. “As soon as COVID hit, everything changed,” Delan said. “Aneesha and I changed our minds a hundred times about what to do. We were talking to our families and everyone was suggesting different options. We were overwhelmed.”

“We considered rescheduling the wedding for 2021, but even that became unpredictable,” Aneesha said. “I didn’t want to be kicking myself for putting things off for a year and then ending up in the same boat.”

Eventually, the couple decided to keep their original date of August 22, 2020, and have a very small wedding with 10 people in attendance. Then they got a break. “Somehow we got lucky and squeezed it in when Toronto went into Stage 3,” said Aneesha. “It was perfect timing.”

They were able to get married in a church with 60 people – which was the mandated 30 percent capacity. Guests were limited to close family members and friends in their large wedding party – nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen.

The guests were then invited to a dinner in Delan’s family’s backyard with strict social distancing measures in place. Mother Nature co-operated by providing a sunny day, which was important because there was no indoor backup plan.

“In the end, we were able to have a dinner, do our speeches and dances,” Aneesha said. “We had so much fun and spent quality time with everyone. It was so good. It was perfect.”   

Delan, 29, and Aneesha, 28, both grew up in the neighbourhood and started dating as students at Mowat Collegiate. They were together for three years, then separated shortly after Aneesha went out of town for university. After having no contact for four years, Aneesha started following Delan on Instagram. One evening their friends took matters into their own hands by bringing the two together for a surprise meeting at a restaurant.

“At first it was so awkward – we didn’t make eye contact or say one word to each other,” Aneesha recalled. “Then we had a drink and started talking to each other and it was like no one else was there. From then on we were inseparable.”

Aneesha, a nurse at Sick Kids Hospital, and Delan, who works for TD, are currently living in Aneesha’s childhood home with her sister and brother. They still plan to have a large party for those who could not come to the wedding, but for now they are just grateful they were able to have an unforgettable wedding day.