There’s an ethereal glow that emanates from Los Angeles-based Indian model and content creator Alanna Panday’s Instagram feed. That’s likely because most of her content is shot by her fiancé, photographer and filmmaker Ivor McCray. A cursory glance at the content the couple create together is enough to prove that when they come together, their strengths seamlessly compliment each other, like two forces of nature forged together.
The pair crossed paths at a Halloween party in 2019, and have been inseparable ever since. Unafraid to offer their audience a candid lens into what their life together is like, they can often be found escaping hand in hand to capture exhilarating adventures together. And now, they’re about to embark on their next big adventure together, perhaps their greatest one yet: their wedding day.
On a chilly day in LA, we caught up with Panday on what makes her relationship so heartwarming, the couple’s favorite adventures together, their dream wedding plans and their everlasting love for nature and natural diamonds.
What did Ivor and you instantly connect over?
Alanna Panday: Our shared love for exploring the world and wanting to know more is the reason I think we connected so much. Our relationship strengthened at a very early stage because we started traveling together. Spending so much time traveling with someone really helps you understand them, the good and the bad too.
What made you fall in love with him?
AP: I was initially drawn to what a happy and positive person he was, which is so refreshing in a world that can be pretty negative. He’s always full of love, surprises, probably the most thoughtful and caring humans I’ve come across till date. I also love that he’s old school when it comes to relationships.
Ivor seems to be full of grand gestures! What are your most special memories together?
AP: Everything Ivor has ever given me or done for me has been an experience, and I love that about him! For our one-year anniversary, he built an entire outdoor dining setup with a flower path, wine and a romantic dinner on a mountain cliff in the middle of nowhere because there were no restaurants in the area. From my birthday trip to Hawaii, where he took me on a helicopter ride to see where Jurassic Park was shot, to the proposal in the Maldives, he makes everything so special.
Tell us about the proposal.
AP: Ivor proposed to me on our two-year anniversary. There was a storm that day and it was raining all morning, so we decided to stay in. After breakfast, I took a nap, and when I woke up, Ivor wasn’t in the room. After he came back and the rain finally calmed down, he suggested we shoot some content on the beach. We passed this romantic setup, and he pretended like it was someone else’s wedding decor. It was only when he got on his knees with the diamond engagement ring in his hand and asked me to marry him that I realised what was happening. Until then, I thought that he hadn’t planned anything for our anniversary!
Ivor made the proposal special by keeping it simple. He’s done so many extra and extravagant things for me in our relationship. But this was more of a moment. There weren’t any helicopters or dinners on a cliff. It was just a glowing heart in the sand, but it said so much. I think he just wanted it to be me and him, present in a moment and not overshadowed or distracted by anything.
What made your engagement ring the ultimate symbol of love? AP: About 6 years ago, I saw a solitaire on Instagram and saved it thinking that this is what I want when I get engaged. The ring I saw had an oval-shaped natural diamond, a delicate, skinny gold band, and a hidden crown setting below. The ring Ivor got for me was exactly the same. Either he knew me too well or someone went through my saved Instagram images looking for inspiration!
Are there any other pieces of jewellery that are close to your heart?
AP: My grandmother passed away this year, and left me beautiful pieces of her diamond jewellery, some of which were previously her mothers and grandmothers. When I see them or wear them I feel like a part of her is with me. I know I’ll go on to pass these to my children. Natural diamond jewellery has been a huge part of my family and our heritage. Every year on my birthday since I was 1, my dad has been gifting me a pair of diamond earrings. As a kid, I used to cry because I wanted toys, but now that I’ve built my collection over the years I can truly appreciate it.
Natural diamonds live forever, and that’s what makes them so special to me and our family! I love that you can pass them on to generations, leaving a little of you behind.
How have you changed as a person since Ivor came into your life?
AP: I’ve always had really bad anxiety throughout my life, and I’ve just become calmer after being with him. He’s a ‘glass half full rather than empty’ kind of person and that really rubs off on you. I think that’s why we both love being in nature as well: it just makes you forget for a second that you live in a fast, noisy, overcrowded world.
What does your dream wedding look like?
AP: Definitely a destination wedding! We want to have 2 weddings to embrace both our cultures. My dream Indian wedding would probably be in Jaipur or somewhere with a lot of history and culture. And my dream white wedding would probably be something by the beach, because we both love nature, and the beach is our happy place
Photographer: Mili Ghosh
Cinematographer: Charles Guinto and Alex
BTS Videographer: Nihal
Production: By The Gram