Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, Richa Moorjani, star of Netflix's "Never Have I Ever," tells her story.
My husband and I met 4 years ago through a dating app specifically designed for South Asian singles in America. I never imagined I would meet anyone on that app, because I assumed I would never be able to form a true connection with someone that way, and also the idea of a brown person-dating app just seemed a little comical to me. I was driving back to LA after a weekend trip to the Bay Area (where I grew up) with one of my friends. To entertain herself in the passenger seat, she took my phone and created a profile for me on the app, much to my protest. After a few minutes, she was swiping away, and we were laughing about the fact that almost every other guy’s name was Rishi (which is my brother’s name). I told her that anyone with my brother’s name is an automatic hard pass—more on this later. Then she came across the profile of a guy named Bharat who moved to LA from Vancouver, was a finance professional but didn’t wear a suit in his profile picture to prove it, didn’t have any shirtless mirror selfies and genuinely seemed like a decent human being.
Bharat and I started texting each other soon after, and I began to see that he was a very special and genuine person before we even met. Both of us don’t drink much, are heavily into meditation, come from families who have been in the west for a long time but are still connected to our culture and heritage, and we both have a strangely deep love for 80’s music.
We met in person for the first time one evening at the Griffith Observatory. I found out then that he actually goes by his middle name, Rishi, and Bharat is just his legal first name he just happened to use for the app we met on. I thanked the Universe in that moment that he hadn’t put Rishi as his name, or we would have never met. I also found out our birthdays are May 26th and May 27th respectively. These (and a few other) coincidences made me realize that our meeting was no coincidence at all.
When our families met, they felt the same way we did—like we have all been together in lifetimes before.
When our families met, they felt the same way we did—like we have all been together in lifetimes before. In our culture, we believe marriage isn’t just between the couple, but between their families as well. We also believe that many of the souls in our lives have been in our previous lives, so this was a truly beautiful thing that we all felt.
We got engaged about 1.5 years after we met. With the help of my agents, Bharat (I still refuse to call him Rishi) set up a fake audition that I went into thinking my life was about to change. And it did change, but for a different reason. When I arrived, I was greeted by a “casting director” who asked me a series of questions about love and marriage on camera for a role in a “romantic comedy.” At the end of the questions, he said he would be right back with an actor he wanted me to do an improv scene with—I felt so important. Then he walked in with my boyfriend, and I was utterly confused. It wasn’t until he got down on one knee with tears in his eyes, telling me he loved me and wanted to marry me that I realized he was proposing. So I walked out of that room without getting a movie role, but with a fiancé instead.
Exactly 1 year from the date we got engaged, I began shooting on my current series Never Have I Ever. We shot for two months, all while I was simultaneously planning our destination wedding, which took place the week after we wrapped. While my character in the show was grappling with an arranged marriage she didn’t want (something I deeply connected to, being a young South Asian woman who felt a lot of pressure to get married before I met my husband), I, on the other hand, was choosing the color of napkins and menus for my real-life “love wedding” (as they call it) in between takes sometimes.
Two days after shooting wrapped, Bharat and I flew to Cancun for our wedding at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort with 130 of our closest friends and family from all over the world. The 3 days of events included a welcome party on the beach, Haldi (an Indian tradition where all the guests apply turmeric paste to the couple to make their skin glow before the ceremony), Sangeet night (essentially a big Bollywood music and dance party), a beach ceremony and an outdoor reception. The love and utter euphoria we all felt during those 3 days is something I can’t even put into words.
It’s quite poignant to think that just 6 months after all of us dancing together under the stars, we would all be in quarantine.
It’s quite poignant to think that just 6 months after all of us dancing together under the stars, we would all be in quarantine. Thinking about those memories gives me so much joy and strength during this strange time. My heart goes out to those brides and grooms whose plans have been upended during this pandemic. I know how much effort, energy and love goes into planning a wedding. One thing I can say is that no matter where you get married, who is in attendance, or what flavor of cake you have, the only thing that matters is the love between you and your partner. One of the most memorable moments for us was right after our reception, when all of our guests went straight to the hotel club for an afterparty, my husband and I went to the beach together, alone, and didn’t say a word. We just stood under the moonlight looking into each other’s eyes and let everything soak in. We were each other’s, and that was all that mattered. But then the mosquitoes started to matter, and then of course, we made our appearance at the afterparty and continued dancing with our loved ones until the sun came up.