It is a well known fact that Indian weddings are elaborate affairs which generally go on for 3-4 days, packed with religious ceremonies and merriment. However some of the high profile Indian weddings have personified the term big fat Indian wedding.
How can an event that brings together two people in matrimony become such an expensive affair! Let’s understand this while going through our top ten most expensive Indian weddings - of all time!
Topping the chart of the most expensive Indian weddings is the twin weddings of the Sahara chief, Subrata Roy’s sons. Sushanto wedded Richa, while Seemanto took Chandini’s hand in marriage, on Feb 10 and Feb 14 respectively.
The Sahara Shaher in Lucknow was the destination of the grand dual weddings. The Sangeet was held at Hotel Clarks in Awadh. The final wedding venue was the Sahara Auditorium, while most of the other pre-wedding functions were held at the majestic Sahara residence.
As a gesture of charity and saving grace from the profligacy, food was distributed among the poor. Subrata Roy also aided 101 weddings of under privileged girls on one side as he played the perfect host to the who’s who of India on the other, with guests including late Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Anil Ambani.
Not far behind in throwing one of the most expensive Indian weddings was Pramod Mittal, the younger brother of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. He outdid his brother’s wedding spend of 2004. Pramod Mittal’s 26 year old daughter, Shristi Mittal tied the knot with Gulraj Behl, an investment banker, at Barcelona, Spain.
The Michelin star chef, Sergi Arola was responsible for the culinary delights at the wedding with a support team of around 200 chefs and butlers, flown in from India and Thailand. The extravagant wedding also boasted of a 60 kg weighing six tiered wedding cake.
The guests were also entertained through a musical light and fountain display to the tunes of Hollywood music ‘Chariots of Fire’ in the city’s Montjuic district. Hovering helicopters captured photographs of the National Museum of Catalan Art, the picturesque wedding destination, located atop a hill.
The Mittal saga of most expensive Indian weddings had begun with Lakshmi Mittal, CEO and chairman of ArcelorMittal, leaving no stone unturned in terms of opulence, for his only daughter, Vanisha Mittal’s wedding to Amit Bhatia, London based banker. The ostentatious wedding that took over Paris was a six day affair, starting with the Sangeet.
Renowned choreographer Farah Khan taught dance moves for the event, which also witnessed a singing performance by Kylie Minogue. The engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles featured a French opera and a can can dance performance followed by dinner at Jardin de Tuileries. The power designers Tarun Tahiliani, Suneet Verma and Abu Jani- Sandeep Khosla were behind the dazzling wedding attires.
Bollywood actors Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Rani Mukherjee and Saif Ali Khan entertained the guests by performing a spoof on the Mittals. The Mehendi ceremony at Le Bristol, had roped in top Mehendi artists from India, who were at work as Bollywood songs played in the background. The actual wedding took place at Vaux le Vicomte estate and the evening saw a star performance by Aishwarya Rai. Indian chef, Munna Maharaj was flown in from Kolkata to prepare a lavish vegetarian spread for the wedding guests.
Congress Leader, Kanwar Singh Tanwar’s son, Lalit Tanwar got married to former independent MLA, Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria’s daughter, Yogita Jaunapuria on March 1, 2011. A Bell 429 chopper as a gift to the groom and a tilak shagun of Rs. 21 crores for the groom’s family says all about the splendour displayed, making this wedding a part of the most expensive Indian weddings till date.
While the main wedding took place in Jaunapur village of Haryana, the reception party for the entire Gujjar community witnessed performances by singer Gurdas Maan and Bollywood actress, Neha Dhupia. The 1000 VIP guest list included the Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan, who has graced quite a few most expensive Indian weddings.
The NRI business magnate, Sanjay Hinduja, got into a nuptial bond with well known fashion designer Anusuya Mahtani this year, adding a feather to the most expensive Indian weddings. The wedding celebrations were kick-started by a party at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai on Feb 6.
This larger than life wedding affair of the chairman of Gulf Oil International then moved to the lakeside city of Udaipur, in Rajasthan. The cocktail party was at Manek Chowk, Mehendi was by the poolside of Shiv Niwas Palace and Sangeet at the Zenana Mahal. The Sangeet ceremony saw performance by Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Nicole Scherzinger.
The highlight event of the actual wedding day was a performance by Jennifer Lopez, who performed for the first time in India. The wedding took place at the scenic Jagmandir Island Palace which is located on an island on Lake Pichola and the guests were taken to the venue in specially decorated boats.
Celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra, Preity Zinta, Sophie Choudhary, Malaika Arora Khan and Manish Malhotra were spotted having a gala time at the wedding.
The most expensive Indian weddings traverse across the globe, giving the world a glimpse into the Indian wedding luxury. UK based billionaire, Pramod Agarwal, gave his daughter Vineeta an over-the- top Venetian wedding. The sea side city of Venice entertained over 800 guests for the wedding.
The three day wedding celebration started on May 12, 2011, in the luxurious San Clemente Palace Hotel and Resort, set in the private 17 acre San Clemente Island. A special vegetarian Italian spread was put together for the occasion by celebrated Italian Michelin star chef, Federico Salza, apart from Indian cuisine.
Pop star Shakira’s performance was a major highlight of this opulent wedding.
Vikram Chatwal, the flamboyant American hotelier’s wedding to Priya Sachdev, model-actor and former investment banker, matched his flamboyance, turning out to be one of the most expensive Indian weddings that was spread over a week in three cities of India.
The celebrations began in Mumbai with the party moving to Udaipur, finally wrapping up with the wedding ceremony on 19 February 2006, in New Delhi. International A-list guests including Bill Clinton, Lakshmi Mittal, Prince Nicolas of Greece and Naomi Campbell were flown in through private chartered jets to grace the glitzy wedding affair.
This was again one of the most expensive Indian weddings with the real estate developer Basant Bansal organising a wedding extravaganza at Turkey, for his daughter, Payal. The wedding took place at the Mardan Palace Hotel, Antalaya and the Sangeet at Delhi saw performances from Bollywood actresses Celina Jaitley and Easha Khoppikar.
30 cooks and 130 assistants for arranging the wedding were flown to Turkey to retain the Indian flavour of the wedding.
The year 2011 was witness to some of the most expensive Indian weddings, one of which was G V Krishna Reddy of GVK group marrying away his daughter Mallika in grandeur with Indu group scion, Siddharth Indukuri. With lot of high profile presence, the red and velvet gold mandap of the wedding, was a spectacle of high end designer wear at its best.
Gaurav Assomull, CEO of Marigold Group, tied the knot with socialite, Kajal Fabiani in a dazzling ceremony in Monaco. The Mediterranean witnessed one of the most expensive Indian weddings through this affair that was celebrated over four days at various luxury hotels.
Two Indian elephants made the Baraat more majestic with their presence, and the bride and the groom looked regal in J J Valaya’s creations. Hip hop star Akon’s concert garnered more limelight for the wedding. A laser show and four course dinner wrapped up the extravagant wedding.
The business tycoons and politicians of India definitely take the cake for organising the most expensive Indian weddings. Some of these most expensive Indian weddings have cost more than the GDP’s of some smaller countries. Some may call it a vulgar display of wealth. Others may say that if you have it, you show it, that’s how it works for these most expensive Indian weddings.
Whether right or wrong, these most expensive Indian weddings through their expenditure provide employment and encouragement to lot of artisans involved, like the wedding attire designers, mehendi artists, wedding venue decorators, actors, singers, performers and the innumerable chefs behind the feast. Also by serving as wedding venues, the majestic landmarks contribute to the national economy as well.
Controversies aside, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is undebatable for the most expensive Indian weddings, “Money often costs too much”.
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