The love story of Vignatha and Stephen is the epitome of the wonders of modern technology. The two could not be more different on paper, but thanks to OkCupid they were able to dig deeper beyond the surface and fall madly in love with one another. Their story is an illustration of what it means to take a chance on love, persist through the challenges, and appreciate one another's differences.
The story is narrated by Stephen.
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Hello and welcome to the choose love podcast, a show that Chronicles the extraordinary love of ordinary people. Our hope is that these stories will help inspire us all to hashtag choose love. The podcast is presented by Elena deer , your digital bridesmaid. We're here to take your squad moments to the next level and helped help at your bridal style so that you can focus on love. My name is Steve Hayden and I will be your host. Hello and welcome. I'm so excited to be doing this and I think today the best way to get things going is to tell you about my own story between me and my wife. We've been together now for about five and a half years. Um, and as you can probably tell from my accent, I'm not from the U S I'm from London in the UK and that's where we met when now living together in Los Angeles. And we've been here for about seven months now, so still very fresh to the West coast for me. It's a completely new country for her. She was raised in New York state so she is very much an East coast girl but now trying to settle down on the West coast and we love it. Wow. I mean for me our relationship, it's been about difference. It's been about change. You know we both met online through okcupid.com and we would never have met had it not been for that . Our paths would never have crossed. I mean we are different ethnicities with different religions. We are, you know , we're different nationalities so on paper we're both very different, different people. But one thing about is that we both had very similar upbringings. Her family migrated over from India when she was four years old and so it was drilled into her. That immigrant mentality of you have to work hard, you've got all this opportunity in front of you now and you need to CZ , you need to make the most of it. And for me in the U K it was a bit more classical, it was a bit more British pride. You are the flag bearer for the family. You need to study hard, you need to make a name for yourself, you need to take this family forward. And so we both grew up instilled with that mentality of being quite ambitious, driven. And so I guess that in spite of our differences, it wasn't really a surprise that we clicked. I managed to get on so well and so it was late November, 2013 [inaudible] my wife was in the UK studying, she was just finishing a degree at London business school and I too had just finished studying. I'm a year older than her, so I was, I'd finished my degree and I was already in work. I was living at home with my family and I was sick of it. I was getting tired. I wanted to go. I was living in my room, but the trouble was I in the UK it was just so expensive to try and get out and live on your own itches . It just really wasn't that possible if IVIG NAFA she had just finished her studies and was now looking to move into her first job in the UK. And so our paths crossed at a very opportune moment. It was a time when we were both looking for something more. We were both, even though we were both very different people, we both got to the same sort of stage in our lives. And what drew me to Vic NAF , his profile, and one of the things that I loved about online dating was that you were able to instantly vet people, you know, gone with the days where you would go into a bar or a club and you'd have to try and sift through different people to find out if they were suitable, if they were compatible. Now here was a way that you could vet people incredibly quickly and figure out who was right for you. If ichnofacies profile stood out to me because it was a little bit geeky and it was very strange. She had mentioned on there about her love of PowerPoint presentations and that immediately stood out to me from all of you have a profile that I've been looking at and I guess one of the reasons that stood out was because of that sort of drive and ambition that fuels us both. You know what was going through my mind at the time was, wow, she must be, she must be serious about a future, her career where she's going because she's talking about PowerPoint presentation and the other thing that was great about that was she gave a great jumping off point, so I messaged her for the first time and I said, do you normally talk to people in PowerPoint format? I quite like the idea of that. I think I might give it a go. Next slide. My name is Steve, my to look for Stata based in Southwest London. I'm fairly enjoying rising up through the ranks after completing my master's degree almost exactly two years ago. Next slide. You seem to have a nice profile and it'd be great to chat. Next slide. Please feel free to visit my profile, ask any questions. That concludes my presentation and she replied, love it.Speaker 2:
PowerPoint style is the best. I tend to be very career driven as well. Glad to be done with school and back in the working world. Your profile intrigued me. What is the one magic trick you know how to do? I used to have a card magic book when I was younger. It came with a deck of trick cards and I used to be able to do a number of slight of Tran tricks. Unfortunately I've become less magical as I've gotten olderSpeaker 1:
on my profile. I had actually written on there that I knew a single magic trick I a way of trying to give women a jumping off point, a reason for them to start a conversation or have something to pick up on so that we could get conversation going. And so when she asked me what my magic trick was, I applied and said, I don't feel I can tell you it's SPO the magic. It's a coined slight of hand trick and when it works it's great and when it doesn't, well, it's just funny when when you'd have been a great Harry Potter cat , the big funnel fight is happening and you're in the background straining to make it pencil day . Everyone can see you're losing your edge, but bless you. You're trying your best, trying different ones, putting emphasis into your pronounciation . Next scene. You're on the checkout at Walmart serving Harry. You was having a very awkward conversation about what he's up to.Speaker 2:
She said, I laughed so much when I read your story, but no, I refuse to be as quick . I'll dig out my old sort of card tricks and get my matches back.Speaker 3:
Yeah ,Speaker 1:
and conversations or grew naturally from there. We got quite a way into talking. She explained how she was working for a company that was dealing with outdoor media, so billboards was what she said to me and I said to her , sorry, I realize I don't know your name. I might have to call you bill. Based on what I know about your job bill, how did you get your job? You said you're from New York. What made you decide to come study in England? Bill, she saidSpeaker 2:
you could have chosen a girl's name at least very well. Then in return I shall call you Stephanie instead of seeingSpeaker 1:
fine bill and Stephanie. It is. So it was about two weeks of sending messages backwards and forwards until I plucked up the courage to ask her out for dinner. And so I got to the end of the message and I took so long crafting these messages. I was just relentless about proofreading and going over it again again and making sure that if I put humor into it, it was Ryan who gonna go perfectly. Probably reason why I loved the whole online dating experience because it gave me time to really think really craft a good and decent message. And so I said, so how do you fancy going out for a drink slash dinner at some point, a dinner or a drink? Sounds great. Here's my number. Give me a shout out and we can coordinate something. So I found a number of different restaurants and sent her free links that she could pick her favor . She picked on and at the start of December, about three weeks after we'd started talking, we went out for our first, our first meal and it went well. You know, we met up and it was, you know, as it always is , it's very nerve wracking . You're meeting someone for the first time. We went out for talions and we had pastor and wine and it came to the end and by this point I feel like I had a really good gauge on who she was. We'd been speaking for free weeks and I could tell that she was, you know, strong and independent. She was a feminist who was out in the world on her own. She'd come halfway across the world to the UK to study and just start work. So I said, do you want to split the check? And that was controversial at the time. She was cool about it, but afterwards I found out that I nearly didn't get onto a second day. She was expecting me to be chivalrous and offered a paid full check . But I was trying to share respect. I was trying to show that I saw her as being equal and that I didn't feel like it was my duty as the man to pay the bills and pay for food and that I valued equality. And that was interesting because as he later transpired, her experience of American men turned out being very different. Her experience of European men , she found that European men were a lot more modern in their approach and their thinking. The American men tended to be a lot more well chivalrous, but you might not expect of your preconceptions of the UK and typical English. So after we went for the mail , we went to a pub and we had a few drinks and it went really well. We decided to meet again after that. So we went out for dinner a few more times and then it becameSpeaker 3:
okay .Speaker 1:
A little bit awkward because she was on a study visa in the UK and as she transitioned from studying into her job, she lost that visa and she had to go back to the U S to sort out her visa and her sponsorship back into the UK for our first job. So as we were developing our relationship, we were torn apart and she was sent back to the U S for a few months. And during that time we kept talking regularly. We would have calls to see how we were getting on. And towards the end of that free mums, I was presented with the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to work and to spend two weeks seeing the LA side of the business, the company that I was working for. And so when I went out there, I was lucky enough to be staying in a Palm that was owned by the CEO of my company overlooking the Pacific ocean. Absolutely gorgeous. And so I said to [inaudible] , why didn't you come out here? Why don't we meet up in LA for the second week of my visit? And I was really shocked and surprised when she said, yes, okay, let's do it. So she got on a plane and flew over to LA. This was the first time she'd ever been to the West coast. It was a bit strange for me because it was moving quicker than I would have perhaps anticipated. But I kind of just went with it . I just kind of went with what felt good, what felt right, and it felt right to just meet out , why not? Let's do it. And that became a bit of a theme for our relationship . So come to the end of our time Nilay we decided to become official and it wasn't long after that that we decided to move in with each other back in the UK. And one of the great things about moving in together so quickly was that we were able to learn, it was like a fast track course and to learning about the first, what do they like, what do they not like, what can they stand currently stand ? How do you delegate responsibility? How do you split tasks? So we went on this roller coaster ride of discovery and learning about each other in such a short period of time. So we lived in a number of different places around London. We moved as my office moved and eventually we got into a position where we were able to purchase our first home and that was a huge deal for me. That was a massive step. And I think that for me in turn or you was what made me realize that at the time was right, the time was right to proposeSpeaker 4:
and that along with the not so subtle hints that I'd been receiving from my future wife, including tactically using her sister to make suggestions about getting married, sending me pictures of rings and Pinterest boards about wedding rings along with the not so subtle hints from her sister of when are you going to get married? And I , I have to apologize for that American. It is quite accurate. So now that I've offended you all with that very poor American accent , we'll go to a quick break. And afterwards I'll explain a little bit more about how I proposed and the wedding.Speaker 2:
This podcast is brought to you by Elena Dera , your digital bridesmaid . We're here to take your squad moments to the next level and help curate your bridal style. We've teamed up with some of the best creators from around the world to offer highly curated collections of bridal trinkets and adornments . Visit Elena deere.com and let us help make you and your closest friends be like the absolute babe you are on your special day.Speaker 1:
Welcome back. So for the proposal, I wanted to do something special. I want to do some as a little bit different, but at the same time money was tight . We really didn't have a penny to our name at that point. Um, I was a big fan of a comedian in the UK called Lee Evans and Lee Evans does a sketch of the popular queen song Bohemian Rhapsody. Until that song, he actually act, he performs to that song. So, for instance, the start of the song it's talking about, and I'm not going to sing, but one of the lines is fund about enlightening , very, very frightening. And two that you see him on the stage carrying from the lightning . And so I fought , I would take the idea in , use it myself. So I shot a collection of videos of myself, mining to Lionel Richie, my destiny. Um, so one of the things that I did was I went into the office and I collected together my staff members and I said to them , um, I need you to get on top of the van and throw a bucket of water on me. And they were besides themselves, they fought. It was Christmas birthday all rolled into one. They couldn't believe they were going to get a chance to drench their boss. And the reason why I asked them to do that was because one of the opening lines is a laughter through the rain. And so we shot this scene of me laughing. And then out of the scene, the guys dropped a bucket of water. And when it came to editing their video, I edited the , the storm cloud. So that just gives you a bit of an idea of how that worked. So we went through that song , um , sort of acting it out and I got quite creative. So I, I took a a desk chair out onto the community lawn and it was a swiveling and so I sort of held the camera arms length and spun myself round on this chair. So you couldn't see the chair or you could see you as the background spinning behind me and me stationary. So it sort of looked like this 1970s music video . And then what I also added in there was I managed to collect together some of enough his family members and some my family members and I made them mine to certain parts of the song. So in this proposal video, every now and then one of her family members would just appear here and we'd be singing the song. So she had a mom in there and a sister and a cousin. And then my parents were in there singing Israel. So it was this really nice feel, good , um, experience. So when it came to the day of the proposal , um, we were in New York, we were having office, parents' house and I managed to get rid of ignore for , I managed to a couple of books she was doing. I , she went out with some friends. And so during that time myself, her mother and her sister, we also pitched in to help set the scene. So we went down to a local dollar store and we bought some tea lights. Um, in-office sister actually went and bought some Rose patterns . So we scattered these Rose petals along , um, the the driveway and the lawn sort of leading towards the back of the house where there was this reasonably large deck. Um, and so it was a tree line tree lot there . And so it was a tree lined loan. Um, very nice and green. It wasn't, he was very private. Um, and I was able to hide sort of around the corner and just beneath the deck cause it was, he was raised off the ground. So what we did was that we brought the TV out, we put the TV on the deck against the wall of the house, and then we surrounded it with T eyes. And then I laid out a picnic mat on the ground. Again, we've tea lights and Rose petals around here and the remote control of the TV and it was signed saying press play. So at this point we're now waiting for to come home. And her sister says to me,Speaker 4:
are you nervous? And I said, no. She said, why? I said, because it just feels right. I'm ready.Speaker 1:
And so a few minutes later, [inaudible] office car pulls up in the driveway. So at this time I had the ring hidden around the corner just beneath the deck. Obviously I was wearing a suit. Um , she came home, she saw the Rose petals and you could hear her say, Oh my God. And then she walked on the path, follow the Rose petals. I would say at this point she knew what was happening, but it was still a bit of a surprise, but how it was going to happen. So she pressed play. And then Lionel Richie, my destiny started to play and she started to laugh and she saw these different clips of me getting drenched by, you know , this water and me miming and doodle this strange acting. Um, and then it got through that first part of the song and then the montage came on in the montage with my recorded message. Um, and this is that montage. This is that message that was playing . Being with you is like winning the lottery every day. Seriously, I'm happier than a T pig with her B or an ice cream and sure, you spend a disproportionate amount of time asleep. All right? Time's a little clumsy, often asleep and a little strange. None of that matters to me because I think you'll be perfect. Like Nando's chicken wings even when you're asleep. And although at times you scare me, confuse me. I've, at time you tried to water the paving stones for fun or just don't understand my accent. You should know that whenever you find yourself lost or being chased by a pack of wild ducks, I'll come find you and puts you in a castle to keep you safe. But like sleeping beauty, she likes to sleep as well. Okay that you can't kick a bowl . We're effectively controlling. I am guilt because I understand who you are when you're surprised, angry and distracted because end of the day you look after me when I'm tied to the end of a long day, when I need the strength to carry on and when I eat too much. So for all of these reasons I wanted to say that I love you . I want to have a thousand more of these memories from now until Prada . And so as this narration came to an end, tried to be really quiet and sneak up behind her by climbing over the rail on the deck and it didn't work. She heard me fumbling over the fence. I didn't fall but I stopped mode. But it didn't matter. It had gone so well and I was there, her on one knee and offered the ring up to her and she said yes. So we decided that we would host the wedding in Connecticut just outside of a town called new London. So it was a summer wedding, were married at a place called Branford house, which was an old English style, a house that's now owned by the university of Connecticut. You step out of this mansion house on top of the lawn and you just got this panoramic view of the ocean. It's gorgeous. You've got to my house. Um , and just , uh , see the sound of the waves. Um, so it was an amazing venue, absolutely amazing venue and so hidden, expected it to be seen . So the whole idea was that we'd have this English style man house as a sort of homage to my English roots, but obviously host the wedding in America. So for me it was a big deal because most of my friends and family, I mean I had never actually been to America. My parents in fact didn't even have a passport. They never left the UK. And obviously at this time I know that I'm going to go and live in America some point. So I want to make sure that my parents enjoy it. I want to make sure that they're comfortable with going to the airport, getting on the plane, coming to America because I want them to come and visit me in the U S so the wedding turned into a sort of a two week affair. The first week that NAFA was prepping and preparing for the wedding. I was being the entertainment, I was being the host. So I was, I took my parents and uh, a few of my friends, we flew over to New York city. We got an Airbnb. I'm in union city just outside the city app is amazing for you of , of Manhattan. It was absolutely sensational. And overall it went really well. You know, we saw the major sites, we went on bus tours, all of the stuff that you do when you're in New York city. And then towards the end of the week we made our way up to Connecticut. Um, I went and rented an old Chevy bus, this woman. Um, and it was terrible. It was absolutely horrendous. It was falling apart in the seat , but that was it. That was the wedding vehicle. So I see at time and my friends or family had ever been to the U S Atlanta driven in America. So I drove everyone from New York city up to Connecticut and we spent a few days on the beach and looking around, done absolutely exhausted at this point. You know, I, I don't want to be a tour guide, but I want my friends around me to enjoy it and the wedding just creeps up on me before I know. Wow. Okay, we're here now. It's the wedding day. What do I do? Uh , probably. Okay . So you know, we all met at a hotel and there's the standards or trials and tribulations as stuff goes missing and someone hasn't turned up and these two are arguing and these are two are falling out. But we get to the big day and I wake up with this sense of excitement that I've not really ever had before. And I feel like a part of it was because it just sort of crept up on me and I realized what a wow, what a big day it is. What a milestone this is. This is day one of forever. And people were saying to me, you know how you feeling? You nervous? I mean , no, why would I be nervous? I'm excited. This is it . This is it. We're doing it. So you know, I , I got dressed and we fought a really nice Hugo boss, Sue . And I just loved it. Just looking at myself and I felt like the man, I felt like the Don , look at this, you know, I'm in charge. So we collected up my parents, we got in the car, we gave a few of enough , his friends are left in this Chevy bus. You know, my parents would obviously suited and booted ready to go as well. So we took some pictures of the ocean in the background and it was just, it was really special. And that moment is getting closer and closer. You know, I'm now being asked by the official to find [inaudible] we need to get going. And I'm like, well I can't go find, I can't go see her now. Need to find someone else to do that. It turns out that [inaudible] was not happy because the priest has started doing his blessings on my parents and as it turned out, he wasn't following the script. This wasn't the plan. He wasn't supposed to start the time that he started. So he just looked like he got bored and just kick it off. So she got the call to come out. She wasn't happy and things didn't quite go to plan. So because of that, the music wasn't quite ready for when she started to, and it was just a bit of a nest . But you know, by first act bleeding into marriage was to calm my wife down and try and bring a sense of normalcy before we go and get married. So, you know, I'm trying to say to them , look, don't worry about it. Don't worry about the cops . Right. This is about us. This is about our first day is man and wife. Forget the detail. Forget that stuff. Let's just, let's do this. Let's get married. You know, you know, we get stuck in and we get into the service and I realize that I don't really know what I'm doing. You know, I've never been in a Hindu wedding before. I mean I've seen one, but I've never been in one. So I'm sort of learning as I'm going along. Now I'm told to hold this. Okay, now I'm doing it. I'm thinking, I hope I'm not messing this up. I hope I'm doing it right. And then before I know it, it's my time to show himSpeaker 5:
Vic NAFA . My assertive nature comes from a desire to live my life with no regrets. And without looking back because life is too short. I live my life to be the best possible version of myself. I choose you simply because you are love, determination and strength makes me feel like I can achieve anything to become that best possible person. Your aspirations, fuel. My desire to improve your strength makes me stronger. And your happiness elates me. And so this becomes the easiest promise that I'll ever have to make. I vow to you Vic now for ready to be your night . I would defend you and stand by you with unquestioned loyalty. When you're weak, I will empower you. When you're sad, I will embrace you. And when you're angry, I will keep you calm or keep out of the way.Speaker 2:
Steve, from the moment we met, I felt that I had found my other half that I never knew was missing. Your love and patience bring so much calm and happiness into my life and your unwavering support gives me the strength to take on the world. Today as I take you to be my husband, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and make you these vows. I promise to love you unconditionally and provide you lifelong friendship and companionship. I promise to share in your dreams and support your goals. I promise to trust you, respect you and care for you. I promise to embrace you as my family and my partner in life. I love youSpeaker 1:
whole experience. You know, we , we spent an entire day, you know , do we miss doing the pictures and meeting and greeting? Speaking to people and then, you know, we get to the reception where the reception in the same day we played the first dance song. And for me that was really special because I, I sort of merged two songs together and cut together , um, an acoustic version and then the normal version. And when I had it in there , um, will young, an English singer singing your love is King originally by Sadie . And that for me music means so much. And so it was so special, so unique for me to be able to communicate that message. Who, who song and people at that time I was talking to people about their own weddings and how it went. And they would say to me, I can't remember any of them . I don't remember any of my wedding. We just spend the day talking to people doing this and doing that. But for me, I can remember, I can remember it clearly and I think I always will remember it clearly because for me it meant much more than just that day. Just that celebration to show my commitment. I was already committed. I knew that this was the woman that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. There was no doubt too , so it was about celebrating that . Sorry . I think Vic NAFA , sister Shivani actually worded it really well during her maid of honor speech during the wedding.Speaker 6:
I believe that the best kind of marriage is the kind that makes you a better person without changing yourself completely and the kind that brings out their brightest side of yourself. And I truly see that happening to Vic Nithya . Before she met Steve, she was kind of a psychopath, but now that she has Steve, she's still a psychopath, but a more happy, reasonable, bright one. They compliment each other like salt and pepper and yellow and purple and always will.Speaker 1:
She described us as being yellow and purple and I thought that that was quite strange. You know, yellow and purple don't really compliment each other. I'd always thought of it as being, people would be two shades of the same color, you know , dark blue light. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. You know, the contrast is complementary . Knowing the strengths that my wife has versus my own strengths. Create a partnership that just works really well together. You know, to be able to support the other one at a time of need to be able to keep them going, to keep them energized and motivated. It's rewarding. So I think on that note, we'll end my first ever episode. Thank you so much for listening and I hope to have you again for the next story. Until then, I hope you have a lovely week and remember to hashtag choose love. If you enjoy the podcast and please, please, please, please share it with your friends and family.