Hannah Shea Sellinger often got on the mic during pep rallies at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas, with a nod to the girls’ varsity basketball team.
“She made varsity freshman year,” said Basil Azim, part of the enthusiastic crowd, though he barely knew her.
They are both now 24, and he came to this country in 1998 from New Delhi when he was three months old.
They finally met officially in the summer of 2016, before senior year, at an orientation of local high school volunteers for PAL, or Peer Assistance and Leadership, a mentoring program for elementary school children.
“Hannah and I ended up next to each other in a game of musical chairs,” said Mr. Azim, who messaged her that evening on Twitter, asking for their PALS coordinator’s phone number, which (wink, wink) he already had.
Photos soon flew back and forth on Snapchat, usually of her after basketball practice and him after football or soccer practice.
“I wanted to be pretty chill,” he said, and soon playfully asked her out using a string of a questions leading up to: “Do you like Chinese or Italian food?” She opted for Chinese food.
In early August, they had their first date at Pei Wei Asian Kitchen in Southlake, Texas, and then stopped for frozen yogurt nearby. She still teases him for not picking up the tab.
“I thought he was friend-zoning me,” she said.
But her father knew best. When Mr. Azim picked her up for a movie a few days before school started, the couple said her father recently told them that he had turned to her mother and said “he’s the one,” and even bet a steak dinner on it with a neighbor.
On Sept. 17, three weeks into senior year, Mr. Azim showed up at her house for their date in a boxing outfit. As the theme song from “Rocky” played on his cellphone, he held up a sign.
It said: “Will you knock out homecoming with me?” He then changed into proper clothes.
That evening, after dinner at a hibachi restaurant, he also asked her to be his girlfriend, and they later hugged good night. She called him a few minutes later to say he left his red boxing belt at her house. After he returned, they had their first kiss in her front yard. (They still do something special on the 17th of every month).
At school they rooted for each other at sporting events and celebrated their prom and graduation together.
They sometimes set up a hammock big enough for two in the wooded area of Trophy Club Park, and discussed pursuing a long-distance relationship during college — she at Furman University in South Carolina; he at the University of Texas at Dallas.
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The day she left for summer basketball training at Furman, they each exchanged 30 handwritten letters, and read one a day.
“It was a new exciting, creative way to communicate,” she said. They continued good, old-fashioned letter writing throughout college — along with daily FaceTimes and virtual weekend dates streaming a Netflix show together on the now-defunct Rabbit app.
In 2018, he transferred to N.Y.U., and the next year, Ms. Sellinger, tired of basketball, transferred to Texas Christian University. Both graduated cum laude — he with a degree in finance and information systems and she with a degree in finance and real estate.
Mr. Azim is now a project manager at Land Link Realty, his family’s Dallas-based real estate development company.
Ms. Sellinger is based in Southlake as a fashion reseller, and goes by Styles With Shea on Instagram.
On July 17, 2022, while on his family trip to Vitznau, Switzerland, Mr. Azim, whisked her away for lunch, and got down on one knee by Lake Lucerne. Her parents then surprised her. During a more than four-hour train ride to Geneva the next day, the families began planning their American and Indian wedding events.
On March 7, Imam Golam Safi Khan officiated at a Nikah before 50 guests in the groom’s parents’ backyard in Westlake, Texas, with Indian pre-celebrations including dholkis and an ubtan.
Three days later, the couple exchanged pages of handwritten vows privately, followed by vows before 150 guests at a traditional American ceremony at the Adolphus hotel in Dallas. At their reception, a two-piano band sprinkled in a traditional Hindi song and a hora.
Two Indian celebrations followed at the Live by Loews Arlington hotel in Arlington, Texas — a mendhi on Saturday, and a Sunday reception with about 300 guests, and a fireworks send-off.
Ms. Sellinger, who is taking the groom’s name, said her father will be collecting on his steak dinner in the next few weeks.
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