"I don't know what took over me, but I decided to go," says Purvi, 27. "And lo and behold, that's where I met Sunny."
Confident and outspoken team captain Sunny Mehta, 26, a public affairs consultant, was there for another win.
"No one was as serious or competitive as Sunny," says Purvi. "He was yelling a lot of instructions during the game."
"Coaching," interjects Sunny, who says he felt an immediate attraction to Purvi.
The team went on to victory without a hitch — Purvi even caught a big pass — and Sunny asked her out later that day. Purvi, however, demurred.
"It took me a little while to batter down my defenses," she says. "He's confident and ambitious, and when he wants something, he goes for it."
Purvi, a federal consultant, also felt hesitant about dating in a new city — she had just moved to the area for work after completing graduate school in London.
Despite the rejection, Sunny, at the urging of a mutual friend, asked Purvi out again in September. This time she agreed, and the pair met for dinner at the Tabard Inn. But it was on their second date, weeks later, that Purvi recognized that there was something there.
It was Dec. 23, and what transpired is what they now call their "long date," which lasted 12 hours: They brunched on Barracks Row, took in the "Wonder" exhibition at the Renwick Gallery and had afternoon drinks at POV at the W Hotel and later at Penn Social. They closed the night at Stan's Restaurant, which has become one of their go-to spots.
"Sunny showed me a lot of little hidden gems in the city," Purvi says. "After that day, everything really took off immediately."
Former high school debaters, both Purvi and Sunny say no conversation ends on a boring note.
"We have very different personalities and interests, but that makes us pretty fun at parties; we're a good one-two," Sunny says. "She brings the interesting facts and knowledge, and I bring the quick little jokes."
Purvi is more of a planner and arts lover, while Sunny is more laid back and into sports, but they connect through common values and goals.
"One thing that we always try to be is on each other's team and be teammates," Purvi says. "As a sports fan, I'm sure Sunny appreciates that."
"Being each other's number one cheerleader is vital," he adds.
Things progressed to the point that Sunny began cooking up proposal schemes in late 2016, including a plan to pop the question at the Grand Canyon, which was thwarted by an unexpected snowstorm. He came up with a slightly more modest proposal, this time at the Tabard Inn. She said yes.
To honor their family roots, they decided to get married in India, where they have extended family. Their parents and siblings helped with the planning, which included dozens of calls to India at midnight, and their parents teamed up to travel there to meet with wedding vendors and coordinate details.
"I'm pretty sure my mom now likes her mom more than she likes me," Sunny says with a laugh.
On Dec. 23, 2017, before jetting off to India for their wedding, Sunny and Purvi celebrated the anniversary of their "long date" by signing their marriage papers at the National Portrait Gallery. They sneaked in a bottle of champagne and wrote their vows under the glass canopy of the Kogod Courtyard.
Once in India, they began their 2½ days of wedding festivities Dec. 28 in the historical royal city of Jaipur, with their large, extended families and friends making up the 400 guests.
"The biggest thing for me was having all of our families coming together and creating one big family," Purvi says. "It was an absolute highlight to see everyone in one place."
"It was such a humbling experience," Sunny adds.
The traditional Indian wedding ceremonies came with a twist. For the haldi ceremony, a pre-wedding ritual in which friends and family apply a paste of golden turmeric powder on the bride and groom as a blessing, the couple added a "surprise element" — a Holi festival of color (traditionally celebrated in the spring).
The couple "surprise attacked" wedding guests dressed in white, throwing colored powder at them for a "colorful version of tag" as everyone sprinted down a field at the Hari Mahal Palace hotel.
"It became an all-out rainbow war," Sunny says. "Everyone got involved."
"We wanted to tie in our original cultural from India and also incorporate some new and fun things to make it our own," Purvi says.
Later that evening, they hosted a sangeet dance, a pre-
wedding tradition, followed by a mehndi ceremony, in which henna is applied to guests' hands, all amid carnival-style stations that Purvi had dreamed up, such as a balloon shooting game and caricature artists. And that was just the first day.
On day two, the guests gathered at the Taj Jai Mahal, an 18th-century terra cotta palace surrounded by lush gardens. The groom made his grand entrance, called a baraat, with sword in hand and atop an elephant outfitted with a red and orange gilded blanket. A marching band played loud Bollywood covers while his family and friends danced and cheered alongside.
"It was one of the coolest experiences of my life — apart from marrying Purvi," Sunny says.
Once the guests were seated, Purvi entered in a soft-pink sari for the traditional Hindu ceremony. Afterward, Purvi changed into an ornate "disco ball" dress for an American-style evening reception.
After the wedding, the pair headed to Mumbai to ring in the new year and then on to the Maldives for their honeymoon. They now live in New York.
"We're looking forward to having a lot of adventures together like our 'long date' in our own city," Purvi says, "or traveling the world."
"I can't say that anything feels that different now that we're married, except for the ring around my finger," Sunny says. "It feels so natural and everything's just the same. We're still goofing around all the time. It just seems right.
"Nothing beats that first moment when I open the door and I see her [after work]; it's the best," he adds. "I can't even explain it."