Ms. Chettiar told Mr. Wolf early on that she was dating with intention, that if he wasn’t interested in partnering for life and having children, he should let her know. Such a declaration from him never came. Instead, as the pandemic barreled into Manhattan in March 2020 and they began quarantining at each other’s apartments, their talks about when and how to marry took on momentum. After a June 6 walk around the West Village, they stopped at a Billy’s Bakery in Chelsea near her apartment to buy a chocolate cupcake for later. While she wasn’t looking, he pushed an engagement ring into the frosting. When she at first expressed no interest in even a bite, he insisted. “I was like, ‘Why is he on me about this cupcake?’” Ms. Chettiar said. Before she had the wrapper off, she knew. “He was on the couch next to me and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I was very emotional. I had tears.”
Her yes to his proposal preceded a flurry of mid-pandemic wedding planning. “Given that I’m 42, we wanted to start trying to conceive right after the wedding,” she said. But before that could happen, Ms. Chettiar would need surgery for a uterine fibroid and months of recovery time afterward. January, they decided, was the earliest they could marry.
Mr. Wolf’s family considers St. Louis home. His Army unit is also based there. When a search of Missouri wedding venues turned up an elopement chapel, the Marry Me Cottage in O’Fallon, they were sold.
Because of the pandemic, the plan was always a guest list that included immediate family and only few friends. On Jan. 16, Ms. Chettiar and Mr. Wolf were married before 24 masked guests in the chapel’s heated outdoor courtyard, accented with flowers and fabrics in shades of Valentine pink, by the Rev. Debby Bartley, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in St. Charles.
At the end of the Christian ceremony, when Ms. Bartley announced they were husband and wife, the courtyard joined her in praying that “those who God has joined together, let no one put asunder.” Then came an Indian tradition, the tying of the wedding necklace. As Mr. Wolf reached under Ms. Chettiar’s veil to secure it, Ms. Bartley explained that the necklace was meant to advance good luck and health, and to identify Ms. Chettiar as a married woman.