Couple kept apart by coronavirus marry in Scotland

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Sandeep and Piriyah KrishnanImage source, Tie the Knot Films
Image caption,
Sandeep and Piriyah Krishnan were finally married in Stirling

A couple who were kept apart on different continents by coronavirus have finally married in Scotland.

Piriyah and Sandeep Krishnan spent lockdown an ocean apart as he was stuck in Missouri in the US and she remained in London.

The pair's dream wedding in Malaysia was cancelled and they had no way to reunite in the same country.

But a registrar at Stirling Council saved the day and they were then able to start married life in the States.

The groom even wore a kilt and the couple climbed Ben Nevis to celebrate their nuptials.

Priyah and Sandeep's relationship started with a heavy sprinkling of luck.

On his way back from a medical mission trip in India, UK-born cardiologist Sandeep, who lives in the US, had a stopover in London.

He told BBC Scotland's Mornings with Jackie Brambles: "I was in Heathrow and I had 20 or 30 minutes to kill so I pulled out my app wondering what do Indian women look like in Europe. I was curious. So I saw Piriyah's face and I thought 'oh, she is gorgeous'.

"I had to talk to her, so I swiped right and never thought anything else about it. I never knew I had matched with her until several weeks later."

Image source, YouTube/DilMil
Image caption,
Sandeep and Piriyah now live in Kentucky

Meanwhile, in London, non-practising barrister Piriyah had swiped right for a handsome doctor she had seen on the same Dil Mil dating app.

When entering her preferences on the app, she had been very specific that she did not want a long-distance relationship. She had worked hard to pass the bar qualifications and had no intentions of meeting anyone outside the UK.

But Sandeep, who was technically only in the UK for less than half an hour, slipped through the algorithm and their sliding doors moment brought them together.

The couple started chatting through the app and then spoke on the phone. They were at the stage of deciding to meet before Piriyah realised Sandeep was not in London, but in Oklahoma.

International dates

By then the connection was already made, and the pair worked out how they would get together in real life. They decided to meet halfway, so they settled on Florida and their first date was a week-long cruise from Miami to Cuba.

Piriyah said: "It was absolutely crazy when we look back, but I think to do such a bold thing you have to have something inside you that says 'you have to give it a go, it is real'.

The pair started dating, although their dates had an international theme.

Piriyah said: "Things went very quickly. We were dating for about a year and travelled to about seven countries together. We just thought we would make the best of a long distance relationship and every time we met we tried to meet in different countries. We got to know each other and really bonded and built on the relationship."

Image source, YouTube/DilMil
Image caption,
The couple got engaged in California

Sandeep popped the big question after a skydive in California.

The couple were due to marry in May at a temple in Malaysia where they had spent one of their "dates".

But the coronavirus pandemic put paid to the wedding plans.

'Go round it'

Piriyah said: "I was travelling back from the US to London and the day I landed in the UK was the day President Trump imposed the travel ban. For five months we were stranded apart and like many couples, our wedding had to be postponed.

"We didn't know when we were going to see each other again. One day I broke down to my father, telling him I felt like there was a big mountain in front of me and I didn't know how I was going to do it.

"He told me not to go over it, to find a way around it. That was a penny-drop moment for me and I realised that one of the exceptions to the travel ban was if you were the spouse of a US citizen you could travel to the US."

The were due to marry anyway, so they set about making it happen however they could.

Piriyah tried every council in England and was told couples had to give physical notice one month prior to getting married.

She then tried Scotland and it was a sympathetic registrar at Stirling Council who came to the rescue.

Image source, Tie the Knot Films
Image caption,
The wedding took place outside the Tolbooth in Stirling

Piriyah said: "I will never forget this woman I spoke to - a wonderful woman who showed more than sympathy, she showed empathy and that was the turning point.

"They said we could give online notice and show our physical documents on the day. So we gave notice that day and were married 30 days later."

Sandeep arrived in Scotland in mid-July to quarantine for two weeks.

Their ceremony took place in August at the registration offices at the Tolbooth in Stirling and due to regulations, took place outside. The couple had four guests and an audience of loved ones watching online.

The newly-married couple climbed Ben Nevis the next day to mark the moment and Scotland will forever be special to them, as will the registrar at Stirling Council.

Piriyah said: "That lady will always hold a special place in our hearts. She made the impossible happen and that's all we can do for each other."

A Stirling Council spokesman said: "In these challenging times, Stirling Council Registrars were delighted to step in and allow Piriyha and Sandeep to get married at the city's historic Tolbooth venue.

"It's always heartening to get positive feedback about the service and the efforts of the team, and we would like to wish Piriyha and Sandeep all the best as they start life together as a married couple."