Mili Shah did not see the hug coming.
“It was a lanky, awkward, goodbye hug that really surprised me,” said Ms. Shah, 30, the executive director of corporate strategy at Sumitovant Biopharma, a biotech company in New York.
The hug came from Jaidev Reddy, 31, an investment banker in the cross markets group at Goldman Sachs. He met Ms. Shah in May 2016 at a Manhattan bar, as part of a get-together for prospective students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“I was trying to play it cool with that hug,” said Mr. Reddy, who graduated from Cornell. “I guess I wasn’t very successful.”
Undeterred, he friended Ms. Shah on Facebook the next morning. Though she returned the friendship, they would not see each other until the fall of 2016, when both moved to Philadelphia to attend the Wharton School.
As it turned out, Ms. Shah and Mr. Reddy saw very little of each other those first two months, though both continued to run in the same social circles. On Thanksgiving, many Wharton students traveled on a school trip to Cartagena, Colombia.
Ms. Shah, the daughter of Dr. Lopa Shah of Augusta, Ga., and Dr. Bimal Shah, and Jaidev Reddy, the son of Rasika Reddy and Girish Reddy of New York, both went on that Colombia trip. And it was there where they re-established communication, and shared a first kiss in what Ms. Shah described as “a huge, colonial mansion.”
By January 2017, they were an exclusive item.
“From the moment he gave me that first hug, Jaidev has just been so kind and caring,” said Ms. Shah, who received an undergraduate degree from Emory. “He was so easy to talk to. At that point, I really wanted to spend all of my time with him.”
Mr. Reddy was feeling much the same.
“She was very down to earth, and grounded, and of course, extremely beautiful,” he said. “There was a chemistry there, but also, I think we had similar family dynamics and could relate on a lot of those more intimate, deeper levels.”
They were engaged Oct. 12, 2019 at the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, N.Y. They strolled the grounds for more than an hour as Ms. Shah gazed at her new ring and Mr. Reddy awaited the next phase of his grand-proposal plan: a sunset helicopter ride back to Manhattan.
“It was a beautiful ride down the Hudson,” Ms. Shah said, “and there was one last surprise waiting for me.”
Upon landing, Ms. Shah’s and Mr. Reddy’s immediate families were there to greet and congratulate them. Both families than went to celebrate at a restaurant in downtown Manhattan.
“The wedding planning began that night,” Ms. Shah said.
They had originally planned to marry in November in Mayakoba, Mexico, along with 400 guests, but the coronavirus changed those plans.
Ms. Shah and Mr. Reddy were married Nov. 20 at Washington Market Park in Tribeca. Rikin Shah, the bride’s brother who became a Universal Life minister for the event, officiated before the couple and seven guests.
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