ICM Partners' Head of Literary Dep. Hosts FaceTime Wedding Amid Coronavirus Shutdown

Hrishi Desai and Justine Roach - Publicity - H 2020
Heather Kincaid

Hrishi Desai and his wife, Justine Roach, traded their planned 200-person Ojai wedding for a five-person ceremony at home in Beverly Hills, with family streaming in via video chat.

At a time when most weddings — as well as most other festive, large-group gatherings — are being put on hold and postponed until later in the year, a partner at ICM Partners and head of literary department Hrishi Desai and his new bride, licensed clinical social worker and therapist Justine Roach, did not let coronavirus concerns shut down their big day. 

Instead of their planned 200-guest celebration at the Ojai Valley Inn on March 21, the couple opted to have a five-person ceremony at Roach's parents' home in Beverly Hills, with just the bride and groom, the bride's parents and sister in attendance. They also FaceTimed in Desai's parents from Kentucky and Roach's sister and brother-in-law from Connecticut to make for a virtual wedding experience.

"The safety and well-being of our guests and family take precedent over everything and we had some amazing wedding planners and vendors who worked with us to make the legal wedding ceremony happen," Desai says of their decision to continue on with the wedding during the state's pushing for social distancing and cautions against large groups. "We were so adamant and excited about getting married on March 21 and we still wanted that to happen," as it was meaningful for them to have the wedding on the first day of spring. 

The two said their social circles were "super supportive" of them continuing on with the nuptials, and "for them to participate virtually was great for my parents," the groom told The Hollywood Reporter. "Especially the day after, everyone was really happy that we're able to still get married on the day that we chose. And we also have a marriage license, so we had to get married sooner rather than later." 

Desai and Roach were still able to maintain some elements of their original wedding; getting marigolds and flowers set up at the home, along with some catered food and a cake thanks to their wedding planners. The Jewish ceremony also incorporated some Hindu rituals that Desai's parents helped Rabbi Laura Geller navigate.

After deciding on March 12 to hold off on their original full-scale wedding, the two have planned a reception on Dec. 5 at the Ojai Valley Inn to celebrate — in person — with their loved ones, and are saving their wedding dress and tux for that occasion, after instead wearing outfits they had on hand for their at-home nuptials. 

To other couples considering "stay-at-home," technology-based weddings, Desai says, "I think the key is to be on the same page with your partner and your family. We were extremely fortunate and blessed to have a very accommodating team and also we lucked out that Justine's family is based here, so that makes it a lot easier for us to host something at a home."

And despite it not being what they couple originally had in mind, Desai adds, "It was a beautiful and special ceremony and, certainly given the time, something that we'll never forget."