Wedding season is upon us, and we couldn’t have a better couple to get us ready for celebrating love than Raj and Claire. You probably didn’t know you needed to hear about a love story that starts with a Bollywood meet-cute, but after getting to know a bit about this brilliant couple, we guarantee your day will be all the better for it.
1. Raj and Claire, please tell us your story! Who saw who first, and how did it develop?
Claire: We met in a Bollywood film class at university – I know, of all the places! We both took the class because we needed an elective, and thought it sounded like an easy course (we were wrong). I think we noticed each other at the same time, and Raj asked me to help him with a project. Afterwards, he asked me out to dinner/ drinks as a “thank you.” From there, we started hanging out more and more… and the rest is history!
Raj: I know how we met sounds like the start of a cheesy Bollywood rom-com, but I was a year away from graduation and needed a filler course. My friend convinced me to sign up for this class, and I got waitlisted. I showed up to the first lecture, and Claire walked in about 5 minutes late. I was taken aback by how beautiful she was. Immediately after class, I convinced the prof to bump me from the waitlist into the class.
2. Yes we can see how Claire would give you extra motivation! Now, you two spent your 20s together – a period filled with big questions and big choices in identity, career, and priorities. What was it like to have your relationship grow up at the same time you were?
Claire: We have grown a lot together! We started dating in our early twenties, and spent two years doing long distance, so that was a period where we really learned about trust and communication. Also, just the basic stuff that we learned together – like taxes, buying a home, getting two dogs, dealing with your partner when they are sick or stressed. Those are moments where you really learn a lot about each other, and so far so good.
Raj: I can’t say it was always easy. I met Claire when I was a 21 year old college kid living in something akin to a condemned frat house. Needless to say, I had a lot of growing up to do, and not only did Claire (by the grace of god) stick by me the entire time, she always challenged me to push myself to reach my full potential.
3. Claire, what is something you really admire about Raj? Raj, what is something you really admire about Claire?
Claire: Raj is really amazing in my eyes! To me, he is the picture and definition of self-made. He put himself through law school and his Masters of Law at UBC, and now has a promising career at a firm downtown. I really admire his hard work and determination and how he continues to push himself to achieve more. I’m so proud of him!
Raj: Many, many things. However, the one thing that sticks out is the the fact that Claire is extremely principled. She’s never afraid to stand up for what she believes in, no matter how unpopular her position may be. She’s also extremely caring, and I think the way that she looks after Peach and Sash, our two dogs, really illuminates that.
4. This is our first engagement ring feature where our clients brought in an existing ring and had it customized. Raj, can you share about the process for you and how you made it personal to the two of you? Claire, can you talk a bit about why you wanted to use a family ring and what you see/feel when you look at the ring?
Claire: The stone we used is a sapphire that my dad used to proposed to my mom. When I was growing up, I was mesmerized by the stone and thought nothing was more beautiful. That ring has a large part in several special occasions in my life, so when we started discussing designing a ring, it only made sense that the stone should continue to play a part in one of the most important moments in my life.
Raj: I always knew how much Claire loved that ring. She would tell me stories about how she couldn’t keep her eyes off of it when she saw her mom wear it as a child. I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to do with the stone was possible. However, I met with Terry and he gave me some great ideas how about we could take the stone and modernize the setting. We went through a few prototypes, and ultimately landed on nesting the stone between two sets of pear shaped diamonds. As soon as I saw the finished product, I had no doubt in my mind that Claire would love it.
5. Raj, we are so happy you could feel certain Claire would love the ring before she saw it. Any tips for couples who are in the ring shopping process? Anything you wish you had known, or that you found helpful?
Claire: Go in with an open mind! Also, pick a jeweller with a wealth of experience and a history of quality. We were so happy with MJ Jewellers! Terry showed me so many designs that I had never even considered, and every time I look at my ring I’m reminded of that wonderful experience!
Raj: Fellas: go see Terry and MJ Jewellers. Terry spent so much time just educating me about the process. That was invaluable.
6. It was a pleasure to work with you and we’re so glad you had a good experience! Speaking of taking things from your parents and making it your own, have you found that coming from different cultures adds to your shared experience? Anything you’ve noticed that your partner has adopted from your upbringing or family that makes you smile?
Claire: I feel like I have adopted more from Raj’s family than he has from mine, mostly because his family has more cultural traditions than mine does, and they speak another language. I have picked up some Punjabi words and saying that seem to make him laugh – hopefully with me and not at me!
Raj: Yes. I eat haggis now monthly (just kidding). I love the fact that we come from such different backgrounds. Claire’s upbringing and mine could not have been more different, and that really shaped our world views. I feel that Claire and I both bring different perspectives, which only enriches our understanding of things.
7. Beyond what your relationship means to you both privately, what do you hope it might express to your friends, family and larger community about love?
Claire and Raj : We are both from very different backgrounds and cultures, and hope that we serve as an example of how love knows no boundaries.
Thank you so much Raj and Claire! We loved helping you create your special ring, and wish you a beautiful wedding and marriage.
Claire’s ring: Round sapphire (family owned) with 2 marquise diamonds on each side, 19K white gold band. Custom heirloom re-design.
If you enjoyed this feature, please check out James and Annie, Fred and Shiori, and Eddie and Eunice’s stories as well.