In a Crisis (or Two), They Both Knew Where to Turn for Help

Jennifer Lee and Dr. Sachin Jain bonded over commonalities in their upbringings. They also discovered, after separate car accidents, that they could count on each other.

While driving home from a work dinner in downtown Los Angeles in August 2021, Jennifer Lee’s Toyota Prius was suddenly struck in the side by another car that had run a red light. Ms. Lee had suffered whiplash, her car was badly damaged and she was in a state of shock.

As the police and tow truck arrived, she called Dr. Sachin Jain, whom she had been dating for about three months.

“He was the first person who came to my mind,” Ms. Lee said. And without hesitating, Dr. Jain left the dinner he was attending to drive 40 minutes so he could pick up Ms. Lee, bring her home, and take care of her.

“I was in my crisis mode, and he was the rational person saying don’t worry, we’ll get this figured out,” Ms. Lee said.

That weekend, Dr. Jain devoted himself to helping Ms. Lee buy a new car. “I wanted to make sure she got a fair deal,” he said. “That was a real bonding experience. We spent 48 hours together.”

Several weeks later, at the end of September, Dr. Jain was crossing the street in Los Angeles on a walk signal when a distracted driver in a Toyota Prius ran into him. Dr. Jain flew onto the car, and rolled off its windshield. He suffered a concussion, and fractured one of his ribs and his tibial plateau, the flat portion of the bone that runs from the knee to the ankle.

At the time, Ms. Lee was driving on the freeway to pick up an embroidered jacket, a gift for Dr. Jain’s upcoming birthday. “He called me and he wasn’t making any sense,” she said. “My heart sunk. Someone had to take the phone from him and say, ‘He’s been hit by a car.’ It was so scary.”

She turned around and drove straight to the scene of the accident, then followed the ambulance as it took Dr. Jain to the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“My closest family members were 3,000 miles away,” Dr. Jain said. His immediate family members live on the East Coast. “But in many ways I felt like I had the comfort of family by my side when she was with me in that emergency room,” he added. After being released the same day, Dr. Jain was in physical therapy for five months.

The bride and groom participated in a traditional Korean paebaek tea ceremony, during which family members offered words of wisdom and blessings.Rajesh Satankar for Knotting Bells

Dr. Jain and Ms. Lee first met at Alibi Room, a bar and restaurant in Los Angeles, in May 2021 after matching on Hinge. They connected over their shared love of Costco and the TV series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” They also discovered commonalities in their upbringings.

“We’re from different cultures,” Dr. Jain said. “But we both had these immigrant stories.”

“It was like, ‘What did you do on the weekends when you were young’,” Ms. Lee said. “I drove to art class six hours away in San Diego.”

“I went to Korean SAT classes every weekend,” Dr. Jain answered.

Ms. Lee, 33, was born in Seoul. When she was about 3, her family moved to Irvine, Calif., because of her father’s job with Kia Motors. In 2013, she received a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and marketing from Central Saint Martins in London before relocating to Seoul in 2014 to work at Coupang, a Korean e-commerce company. In 2015, she moved back to Los Angeles, and in 2021, began her current job as a color and material designer at Skechers.

Dr. Jain, 42, grew up in different parts of Bergen county in New Jersey; his parents immigrated from Rajasthan, India, in the 1970s. He has a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

The couple also held a sangeet, an Indian wedding tradition, where they and their guests put on dance performancesRajesh Satankar for Knotting Bells

In the middle of his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, from 2009 to 2011, Dr. Jain took a leave to work in President Obama’s administration in several roles related to health care reform. He completed the residency in 2012.

In 2014, he joined CareMore Health, a health plan and care delivery system for Medicare and Medicaid patients, as a chief medical officer. He became the chief executive of the company in 2016. Since July 2020, he has been the chief executive of SCAN Health Plan, a nonprofit organization focused on care of older adults.

After their first date, Ms. Lee and Dr. Jain continued seeing each other, but neither was ready to commit. “We wanted our next relationship to be a serious one so we decided we’d take our time to get to know each other,” Ms. Lee said.

That summer, on a flight back from Houston, where they had gone for the weekend to visit one of Dr. Jain’s friends, the two of them chatted the entire time. “We were talking like best friends talk,” Dr. Jain said. “That was the first point it registered that it could be something more.”

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Dr. Jain and Ms. Lee had their first date at a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant in Los Angeles in May 2021 after matching on Hinge.Rajesh Satankar for Knotting Bells

The day after Dr. Jain’s accident, the couple went on a planned trip to Cancún, Mexico, where Ms. Lee surprised Dr. Jain with a Cameo video of the actor Mr. T wishing him a happy birthday and a strong recovery. “I was a huge fan of Mr. T as a kid,” Dr. Jain said. “I loved ‘Rocky III’ and ‘The A-Team.’ The present was super sweet and thoughtful and kind of hilarious.”

In February 2022, at his friend’s wedding, Dr. Jain decided he was ready to fully immerse himself in the relationship, so he told Ms. Lee that he loved her. But she didn’t say it back. He feared the relationship was over. “I thought maybe this is it,” he said.

Ms. Lee had never told a partner “I love you” before. “I built it up in my head,” she said. “If I say I love you, that means you’re the person I want to marry.” She had spoken to friends and to her older sister, Carol Kim, and they were convinced she did love Dr. Jain. But she was afraid to vocalize her feelings too hastily. “I wanted to be intentional about it,” she said. Finally, some weeks later, she realized she was overthinking and reciprocated.

A little less than a year later, on Feb. 13, 2023, Ms. Lee and Dr. Jain were staying at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort in Waimea, Hawaii, when Dr. Jain suggested they do a free photo shoot on the beach for their 2023 holiday card.

The wedding celebrations combined influences from both of their cultures.Rajesh Satankar for Knotting Bells

Ms. Lee thought it was odd to take photos 10 months in advance, but she agreed that it would be a fun activity.

As they posed for photos, Dr. Jain dropped to one knee. “My first instinct was like, ‘Did you drop something? You’re going to ruin your suit,’” Ms. Lee said. “Suddenly he got the box out. Time stopped. I blacked out.” The diamond ring Dr. Jain presented was one he had chosen with the help of his brother Roopam Jain, a jeweler.

“It was amazing,” Ms. Lee said. “And everyone says I’m really picky.”

Afterward, they had dinner at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and spent the evening calling their friends and family to tell them the news. “As soon as we announced we’re getting married, everybody immediately started asking about the date of the wedding,” Dr. Jain said. “They had been waiting 20-some-odd years for this news,” he added, in reference to his family.

So Dr. Jain and Ms. Lee did not hesitate. During the next five months, with the help of eager family members and friends, they planned six days of wedding celebrations that combined influences from both of their cultures.

On July 28, they had a wedding ceremony in front of 400 people at the Rockleigh, an events space in Northern New Jersey.

The day before, on a Thursday, during a traditional Korean paebaek tea ceremony at the venue, the family’s elders offered words of wisdom and blessings.

The bride wore an embroidered red and gold skirt, top and dupatta, or shawl-like scarf, for the ceremony and reception.Rajesh Satankar for Knotting Bells

On Thursday evening, they held a sangeet, an Indian wedding tradition, during which friends and family can put on performances. “We had a choreographer work with all these different groups of people,” Ms. Lee said. Her family members performed to “Gangnam Style,” a popular 2012 Korean song by the musician Psy, and her friends danced to “It’s Gonna Be Me” by ’N Sync.

Dr. Jain surprised Ms. Lee with a piano performance of “Home” by Michael Bublé, accompanied by his friend and his nephew on vocals. “The time everybody spent practicing was the beauty of it,” Ms. Lee said. “The celebrations started before the actual ceremony.”

On Friday, after the ceremony, there was a cocktail hour and an entirely vegetarian dinner prepared by chef Vipul Gupta from Moghul Catering that fused Korean and Indian food. A live band, Blue Avenue Groove, performed at the reception. The next day, Narpat Jain, one of Dr. Jain’s brothers, and his wife, Archana Jain, hosted a lunch — with a pizza truck and a dosa station — during which the newlyweds played traditional Indian wedding games, like searching for a ring in a bowl filled with milk and flowers.

About two weeks later, on Aug. 12, Dr. Jain and Ms. Lee were legally married by their friend and neighbor, Kristen Byrdsong, a superior court judge, in her backyard in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles. “She came out in her judge’s robe and wrote a speech,” Dr. Jain said. “She and her husband popped Dom Pérignon for us.”

“It’s all been a complete blur,” Dr. Jain said. “What we always wanted was our families to really come together as one. It was something we were anxious about, coming from two different cultures. But in the end, there was so much obvious connection and love.”


Where The Rockleigh, Rockleigh, N.J.

When July 28, 2023

Icy Treats Ms. Lee’s family loves cold sweet treats, so the bride and groom provided Italian gelato, Indian kulfi and shaved ice, and American ice cream. “We made sure they had ice cream at every meal,” Dr. Jain said.

Last-Minute Zoom About two weeks before the wedding, Dr. Jain’s brother Roopam and his wife, Sapna Jain, sounded the alarm that Dr. Jain’s parents, Dr. Subhash Jain and Sarla Jain, had never met Ms. Lee’s parents, Dong Kyung Lee and Myung Hee Lee. A video call was quickly organized and the parents connected despite the language barrier — one set speaks Hindi at home in Alpine, N.J., and the other set lives in Seoul and speaks primarily Korean.

Endless Looks During the course of their many days of celebration, the bride and groom each wore about 10 different outfits. One of them — the most crucial one — almost didn’t make it to the wedding. Ms. Lee’s lehenga (a set containing an embroidered red and gold skirt, a blouse and two shawl-like scarves) for the ceremony and reception, designed by the brand Sabyasachi, had to travel back and forth from India to New York City twice because the first time, a top she had not ordered was sent and the measurements were all wrong. But, Dr. Jain said, “in the end it was perfect.”

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