The marriage of Ruby Sattar and Frank Romeu on July 24, at City Hall in Quincy, Mass., with just three friends attending, was a far cry from the 150-guest bash the two had planned for February 2021 in their hometown of Miami.
But for the two of them, it was just right.
“We’re both very unconventional people, so it was a relief to not have the pressure of the big event, not have to worry about everyone else’s expectations,” he said.
Mr. Romeu was performing in a rap concert in Miami in 2013 when he and Ms. Sattar were first introduced through a mutual friend. They had both grown up in Florida, both in immigrant families (hers from Pakistan, his from Cuba), and it turned out they had lots of friends in common.
“Miami, it feels like a small town,” said Ms. Sattar, who will take her husband’s name.
But it wasn’t until 2017, after they had separately moved to the Boston area, when what had been mainly a Facebook friendship took a romantic turn.
“I sent him a text message and was like, ‘Hey, you know, I know we’re friends, but — little leap of faith — I think maybe there’s more to our friendship and we should definitely explore that,’” she said.
Ms. Sattar, now 29, was until the end of the school year a kindergarten teacher at the KIPP Academy in Boston. She graduated from Florida International University and is now studying for a certificate in software engineering.
Her message was welcomed by Mr. Romeu, 30, a product designer for HubSpot, a software company in Cambridge, Mass., and a graduate of Florida State University. “It was great,” he said.
Ms. Sattar had struck him when they first met, and then taken up permanent residence in the back of his mind.
“I thought she was absolutely gorgeous. She had such a warm and friendly and welcoming personality,” he said.
They went to a reggae concert in Cambridge on their first date, and shared a first kiss there. A week or so later, they got up early on a Saturday morning and went kayaking on the Charles River.
“Honestly, I feel like I’ve always had love for Frank,” Ms. Sattar said. “But when I finally had the guts to say it, it was probably shortly after that kayaking date. I just suddenly felt gutsy enough.”
Over the course of the next two years, the couple’s relationship flourished, and they were engaged in October 2019. But they still had family expectations to overcome.
“Just having my family be on board with being engaged was a whole mission and a half,” said Ms. Sattar, explaining that her own parents had an arranged marriage, and that’s what they had anticipated for her. “It was a long process.”
With a commitment from the couple that they would have a Muslim ceremony, too, everything was all set for the big wedding in Miami . And then coronavirus arrived.
Mr. Romeu had attained a sense of professional accomplishment and stability, and worried that Ms. Sattar, who was planning her career shift, would be vulnerable without the health insurance that her previous career had provided.
“We had no idea what the future was looking like,” he said.
So the two settled on their plan for a City Hall wedding in the New England town that they now call home, with a Muslim ceremony, with family, to be held at the earliest possible safe opportunity.
In the end, both said that the choice to marry now was the best one for them, and that was enough for their families in Florida, too.
“They’re happy for us that we’re doing this,” Mr. Romeu said, “and that we’re choosing love during this crazy time.”