Radhika and Anant Ambani to Tie the Knot in Biggest Wedding of the Decade; Mark Zuckerberg & Bill Gates among Invitees

Big fat Indian weddings are a lot more than band baaja baaraat. When there is a wedding in India’s richest business family, the sky is the limit for extravagance, glamour, grandeur, and fashion. The bell is ringing loudly for the much-awaited wedding of Anant Ambani, the youngest son of Mukesh Ambani, the wealthiest Indian billionaire with a net worth of US$ 112bn. The multi-day nuptial event, contemporary in style and traditional in rituals, is expected to be the most expensive affair in the history of Indian weddings, with estimates exceeding INR 1000 crores.

Anant Ambani will tie the knot with Radhika Merchant, daughter of a billionaire businessman named Viren Merchant who is also the CEO of Encore Healthcare Private Limited, in July 2024. However, the pre-wedding festivities will commence as early as March 1 in Gujarat’s Jamnagar. Everything from the pre-wedding celebration to the venue, the elite guest list, high-profile celebrity performance and wedding gifts provides an index to the cost of the Radhika-Anant-Ambani wedding, though not an overseas destination wedding.

They got engaged in a private family gathering at Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara where the world’s tallest Shiva statue named the Statue of Belief is located near Udaipur, Rajasthan. The engagement ceremony was solemnized through Gujarati rituals, such as Chunari Vidhi and Gol Dhana, wherein jaggery and coriander seeds are distributed at the groom’s residence.

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Elite guest list for the Ambani family’s pre-wedding celebration

Much like the Isha Ambani wedding that hit media headlines worldwide in 2018, the wedding of the third Ambani scion is a star-studded gala right from pre-nuptial celebrations. Over 1200 guests, including the who’s who from the world of business, politics, entertainment and sports, will grace the occasion with their presence. Reportedly, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Bank of America’s Chairman Brian Thomas Moynihan, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Morgan Stanley CEO Ted Pick, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and other American behemoths are among the invitees to the Anant Ambani wedding.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and other Indian-origin CEOs are on the guest list, as per media reports. Other high-profile international invitees are Lupa Systems CEO James Murdoch; Brookfield Asset Management CEO Bruce Flatt; Carlos Slim, a Mexican business tycoon; Hillhouse Capital’s founder Zhang Lei; Saudi Aramco’s Chairperson Yasir Al Rumayyan; Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida; Bridgewater Associates’ founder Ray Dalio, and Yuri Milner, a leading Israeli entrepreneur and scientist.

The overseas guests will be arriving at Delhi and Mumbai airports; they will be taken to the venue in Gujarat on chartered flights. A multi-page event dossier and a guide on the pre-wedding theme outfits have already been sent to the invitees. The guests are expected to appear in “elegant cocktail attires” on the first day themed as “An Evening in Everland.” The second day has two themes – “A Walk on the Wildside” and “Dazzling Desi Romance”. The former theme event will be held outdoors, while the latter theme event will be an indoor celebration which requires the guests to wear traditional South Indian dresses.

Day 3 of the pre-wedding celebration for Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant will see the guests in flamboyant Indian ethnic wears so that they could blend into the ambience and add to the elegance.

The Ambani’s Gifts to would-be bride Radhika Merchant

Since before Anant’s engagement with Radhika, the Ambani’s have been lavishing the would-be bride with pretty expensive gifts. Mukesh Ambani gifted Radhika a super luxury car – Bentley Continental GTC Speed worth Rs 4.5 crore- on their engagement in January 2023. The other gifts from her soon-to-be in-laws include an auspicious silver Lakshmi-Ganesh gift hamper comprising two silver Tulsi pots, a silver incense stick stand and a Lakshmi-Ganesh idol set. Hence, the netizens are wondering about the wedding present to the youngest Ambani bride, in light of the exorbitant gift – the most precious diamond necklace to the eldest daughter-in-law, Shloka Mehta.

Lagan Lakhvanu ceremony in Gujarati Hindu community

On February 17, the Ambani family held the Lagan Lakhvanu ceremony that set the stage for the Radhika-Anant-Ambani pre-wedding celebration in Jamnagar, a 6-hour drive from Ahmedabad. Lagan Lakhvanu is a Gujarati tradition wherein the first official wedding invite called ‘kankotri’ is offered to the family deity, seeking blessings for the new couple.

The pictures of the billionaire Ambani family from the ceremony set a fire on the Internet. For the auspicious occasion, the bride-to-be Radhika Merchant wore a heavily embroidered floral lehenga by celebrity fashion designer Anamika Khanna and accentuated her look with classy diamond jewelry. Her style statement sent fashion enthusiasts into a tizzy just like her look for the engagement ceremony in Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla’s golden-hued lehenga. The Ambani ladies – Nita Ambani, Isha Ambani, and Shloka Mehta Ambani – also opted for embellished three-piece ensembles from Anamika Khanna’s repertoire for the Lagan Lakhvanu ritual.

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Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding celebration: Venue, feast, programs  

Reliance Greens, a 750-acre modern township with green landscape and home to Asia’s largest mango orchard, is the venue of Radhika and Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding festivities in Jamnagar. The Ambani family’s forest-themed invitation park holds the special significance for them. They chose the place close to their hearts for this event, whereas the romantic cities of Udaipur and Switzerland played host to the pre-wedding festivities for their other two children: Isha Ambani and Akash Ambani.

Bollywood’s favorite couturier Manish Malhotra, who designed the new uniforms for Air India’s cabin crew, is the creative director of the Ambani pre-wedding celebration. He is renowned for his ethnic creations with a contemporary touch for Indian celebrity weddings.

The media is abuzz that renowned pop singer Rihanna will perform to enthrall the new couple and the guests at the billion-dollar Ambani wedding. Unsurprisingly, Mukesh Ambani, one of the 10 richest business tycoons in the world, had roped in American sensation Beyonce to perform in his only daughter’s wedding in 2018. Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and many other A-list celebrities will make the pre-wedding event more dazzling from March 1-3. Rabin Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Diljit Dosanjh will set the stage on fire with their electrifying performance.

Radhika and Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding celebration is also a culinary extravaganza. Guests from all over the world, will be served an epicurean feast spanning three days. An elaborate menu has been curated with over 25,000 dishes from more than a dozen cuisines including Indian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, French, and Parsi. Reportedly, a team of 25 chefs and culinary experts has been roped in to whip up the royal feast.

On each of the three days, the guests will be left spoilt for choice over more than 75 breakfast items, 225 dishes for lunch, and 275 delectables for dinner. A midnight meal with over 85 snacks and savories will be served until the wee hours. Surprisingly, each of the 12 meals over three days will have a different menu; the items of a meal won’t be repeated in the next meal.

Return gifts to Anant Ambani wedding guests

Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani, who are known for hosting guests with open arms and promoting indigenous heritage, have meticulously planned return gifts for guests to the Anant-Radhika wedding. Not only those gifts represent the rich handicraft legacy of India, but also generate a living for marginalized communities. Guests will receive special handcrafted candles and traditional bandhani scarves as souvenirs. The candles will be crafted by a team of visually impaired artisans in Mahabaleshwar, and the bandhani scarves will be woven by women in the Kutch region of Gujarat.

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