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Fairy-Tale Love

Bimal J. Patel and Truett Manning were wed in an Irish castle.

Truett Manning (l) and Bimal J. Patel (Photos by Moat Hill Photography)

Houstonians Bimal J. Patel and Truett Manning love a fairy-tale setting. Luckily for the two of them, they’ve also found a fairytale kind of love.

Bimal, 37, is an optometrist at Focus Refined Eye Care and the director of medical affairs at Eye Care Leaders. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and an optometry degree from the University of Houston College of Optometry.

Truett, 33, a University of Houston–Clear Lake graduate, is a territory manager at Crowne Aesthetics. They currently live in Midtown while they have their “dream home” built in West University Place.

In November of 2018, they met on Bumble and had their first date at True Food Kitchen on December 4. What followed was true romance. “Skating at Discovery Green on one of our dates, sharing desserts (we both love sweets). Our first trip to New York City together was a magical one,” Bimal recalls with a smile. “We knew then that this was something special. Truett also met some of my extended family on this trip.”

So, on the third anniversary of their fateful first date, Bimal proposed to Truett. They had discussed getting married, and even considered having the ceremony in Ireland.

Bimal had a “Love Book”—an original illustrated storybook—made as an anniversary gift for Truett. “I had a photographer come to the house and told Truett she was there to take headshots of me for my business,” Bimal explains. “She was in on my surprise, and during the photo shoot asked if we wanted any photos taken together. Then she asked if we wanted to do a gift exchange.”

That’s when Bimal gave Truett the book. “At the end of the book was my proposal, and I got down on one knee,” Bimal says. “It was a beautiful day, and our rooftop deck overlooks the city [so we spent time up there] and it was all captured by the photographer.”

The two were wed on July 4, 2022, at the Kilkea Castle in County Kildare, Ireland, by officiant Romey McAuley. They describe themselves as big fans of The Crown and Downton Abbey. “We love the majestic landscapes and castles,” Bimal says. “Truett has ancestors from Ireland, so we thought it would be fun to do a destination wedding there.”

Bimal and Truett also felt confident their family and friends would welcome the chance to travel after the lingering pandemic. With the help of a local planner, they were able to make their fairy-tale dreams come true.

“Planning a wedding overseas was a challenge, because it was hard to picture things, and only seeing some of our vendors a day or two before was stressful,” Bimal admits. “You have to put a lot of trust in your planner, and she was very helpful and made us feel at ease.”

Nine months before the wedding, the couple visited Ireland on a planning trip. “It was important for us to get legally married in Ireland on the day of our ceremony. Because there is a good bit of paperwork and documentation necessary, a planning trip is a good idea to ensure that you’ll have your wedding certificate to be signed on the big day,” Bimal explains.

“We really loved having the Kilkea Castle as the backdrop, and having an outdoor wedding. The weather was perfect, given that Ireland is very rainy and unpredictable,” Bimal adds. “We loved having an Indian/Irish fusion wedding. It was the perfect blend. We came in on horses, in keeping with the Baraat entrance of the groom that’s common in Indian weddings. Indian folk dancers led the parade in front of the castle. It was like a Bollywood film set in the Irish countryside!”

The couple also included the ancient Celtic tradition of handfasting, and included both of their parents in the ceremony. “In handfasting, we are essentially ‘tying the knot.’ The celebrant reads our promises, or vows, and after each one, our parents tie ribbons around our hands to connect them,” Truett says.

Both Bimal and Truett are very close to their families, and were delighted to have them be a part of the ceremony. They also exchanged varmalas (flower garlands) as their acceptance of each other, which is a Hindu tradition.

Bimal surprised Truett with a special performance during the reception. “Bimal sang ‘Latch’ by Sam Smith while my dad played the guitar,” Truett recalls. “It was so amazing and unexpected. Bimal loves to surprise me and make me feel special.”

But what Truett admires most about Bimal is his fierce determination. “When he puts his mind to something, he will not stop until his vision is a reality.”

Bimal adds that “Truett is so authentic and has a beautiful heart and soul, and that is what makes him so special.”

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Jenny Block

Jenny Block is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from New York Times to Huffington Post to Playboy and is the author of four books, including “Be That Unicorn: Find your Magic. Live your Truth. Share your Shine." She has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs from Nightline to BBC Radio to Great Day Houston and has performed and spoken at bookstores, events, conferences, and resorts in the US and Mexico, as well as on Holland America Cruise ships.
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