WATCH | Wedding bells ring on Skype for Johannesburg couple

Nattalean Pillay and Lennin Naidoo got married on April 12 without breaking any of the lockdown restrictions. They had a Skype wedding.
Nattalean Pillay and Lennin Naidoo got married on April 12 without breaking any of the lockdown restrictions. They had a Skype wedding.
Image: supplied

When a Johannesburg couple began planning their wedding nine months ago, they never imagined that internet connectivity would be the most important detail on the day they said “I do”.

Lennin Naidoo and Nattalean Pillay got married over Skype on Sunday with the marriage officiate sitting in his office in his Durban home, their parents watching via their cellphones from the spot with the best internet reception and the bride and groom in their living room.

The newlyweds explained to TimesLIVE that they decided not to let the national lockdown rob them of saying their wedding vows on a date that they had planned to have their wedding at the Sunford Conference Centre in Durban.

The couple, who started dating in 2011, began living together on March 25 when Naidoo, a civil engineering technician, was transferred to his company's Johannesburg office.

“We spent nine months planning our dream wedding set to take place on April 12. Every component from the guest list to the décor, music to dress, all the way down to the table favours were confirmed. All deposits and payments were done and our honeymoon was confirmed,” Naidoo explained.

Pillay said her heart sank when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown.

“But I quickly realised that this was no longer about us, this was much bigger than us, a pandemic the entire world is dealing with and something we have absolutely no control over,” she said.

Their pastor Ricky Pillay then suggested a Skype wedding.

The bride's wedding dress was in Durban so she wore the only Indian traditional outfit she had in Johannesburg.

“Lennin, having had his moving time to Johannesburg cut down by three days had to rush and leave Durban before the lockdown and therefore didn’t carry any suits, so he used one of his formal coats and Chino pants, with a white shirt and black tie. Both our fathers wore suits. Lennin’s mother wore a sari and Nattalean’s mother wore a formal dress,” Pillay said.

Before the wedding, she took a leap of faith and cut Naidoo's hair for the first time ever.

The couple then had to set the scene for their wedding while their four guests had to find spots with the most stable internet connection.

“It was quite interesting moving around the apartment looking for the best light. Nattalean’s parents sat on a bench in the garden due to best lighting and network coverage and my parents sat in front of their front door for the best lighting,” Naidoo said.

The couple prepared a pot of biryani and soji, an Indian dessert, to have at their reception where they played the role as the blushing bride and groom with their parents eating the same meal in their own homes. Kenny G's greatest hits, a popular music choice at weddings, played softly in the background.

Ricky Pillay said he suggested the Skype wedding because he knew the couple were disappointed that they could not have their dream wedding on Sunday.

“I did explain that the Marriage Act does not recognise Skype weddings and that they would have their marriage registered at a later stage. Their Skype wedding was unique and truly beautiful,” he said.

Johannesburg-based wedding planner Precious Thamaga told TimesLIVE that couples, who were forced to postpone their weddings during the lockdown, were taking it in their stride.

“There has been disappointment. But we have been telling them to weigh their options and not leave their decision on what to do to the last minute. I have been the voice of reason and with the relationships that I have with my clients, it's been easier to explain that their decision would impact on how much money they would lose in the end.”