Pushing their wedding back a year had ample benefits for this couple.
July 31, 2021 | When Sameen Dadfar and Jonathan Groleau gathered with friends and family to celebrate their union on July 31 last year, they were actually just hours away from their first wedding anniversary. Like so many couples, the pair had to adjust their plans when the COVID-19 pandemic hit just a few months after Jonathan proposed. But this couple aren’t strangers to delayed gratification.
They first met during a leadership training in summer 2017, where there was a strict rule against dating fellow classmates during the program. “If it’s meant to be, it can wait,” their instructor told them. And in fact, it was; they postponed their first date until the end of September that year, and Jonathan popped the question on the second anniversary of that date in their Upper Arlington home.
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When it became clear that the pandemic would prevent them from carrying out their original plan to marry on Aug. 1, 2020, they pivoted to host an intimate backyard ceremony that was broadcast via Zoom to about 50 family and friends. The only witness, beyond the officiant, photographer and videographer? Their pup, Mika.
“I’m Persian, and so every wedding I’ve been to has been huge. For me to say, ‘We are doing this big thing,’ and have no people around, at first I was really surprised at how special it was just to focus on John and not who’s in the crowd,” Sameen says. “It just felt intimate and perfect.”
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Sameen and Jonathan both love Disney and traveling, so they incorporated both elements into their postponed celebration the following year at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center. A hybrid ceremony included a Sofreh Aghd—a traditional Persian ceremony display—and the couple delivered a speech in Farsi to honor Sameen’s heritage.
“The Zoom wedding was all about me and John getting married, ticking it off. This one was the show, for our friends and family, to highlight the traditions,” Sameen explains. “In some ways, it was perfect, because I got to kind of focus on two things—both the friends and family supporting us and that intimate moment [the year before] with Jon.”
The postponed wedding celebration had other benefits, too: It gave Sameen’s gown time to be delivered, which it hadn’t by early August 2020, and it gave the couple time to plan a small surprise for their guests.
“We decided it would be fun to learn a choreographed first dance,” Sameen says. “We spend a lot of quarantine practicing with our instructor, Kimberley Mitchell from Fred Astaire [Dance] Studios. It was so special to see all our practice pay off when we got to perform it, especially in a flowing ballgown.”
Ceremony, reception and caterer: Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center
Cake: Sweet Things Bake Shop
Planner: The Finer Things Event Planning
Florist: SunflowerKate Florals
Music and photo: iShine Music Production
Photographer: Artisanal JPEG Factory
Videographer: Kodjoarts Videography
Stationery: Minted.com and DIY
Child care: Social Sitters
Accommodations and Sunday brunch: Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center
Rehearsal dinner: J. Liu Restaurant & Bar
Bride’s attire: Martina Liana gown and a veil from Kleinfeld Bridal (New York City), Jimmy Choo shoes, accessories from Amazon and Etsy
Gown cleaning/preservation: David’s Bridal
Bride’s hair and makeup: Le Rêve Makeup & Hair
Groom’s attire: Calvin Klein tuxedo and J. Hilburn accessories, styled by Diane Hoenig of Cabi
Rings: Sandy Moss Jewelry
Bridesmaids’ attire: Amazon
Groomsmen’s attire: Own suits