Invites encrusted with precious stones, nearly 200 chartered flights and a performance from Beyoncé. Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal’s wedding hasn’t actually taken place yet, but the celebration is already one of the biggest India has ever seen.
The couple aren’t household names here in the UK but in India, their families are incredibly well-known. The 27-year-old bride is the daughter of India’s richest man and groom Piramal, 33, is also part of a hugely rich family, with his father valued at an eye-watering $5.4 billion.
As you’d expect, their wedding is proving to be suitably extravagant.
Allow us to explain...
Indian weddings are traditionally big affairs anyway, but over the weekend the scale of the Ambani-Piramal celebrations became clear.
From Friday, A-list guests including family friend Hillary Clinton, Ambani’s BFF Priyanka Chopra (whose own wedding now appears almost low-key) and Indian cricket royalty Sachin Tendulkar started landing in Udaipur for a two-day long party in honour of the couple.
It’s unclear exactly how many guests were in attendance at the Rajasthan celebration, but the sudden influx of guests caused a huge headache at Udaipur’s main airport, which has just one runway and space for six planes.
Between Friday and Sunday, over 150 chartered flights either landed or took off there and due to its size, planes had to leave straight after dropping off guests, parking at other nearby airfields while the mega rich partied in Udaipur’s palaces.
The congestion was so bad that regular passengers were hit with serious delays as the private planes took over.
So, yeah. This wedding is a seriously big deal.
So if they didn’t get married, what actually happened at the weekend?
The schedule included a sangeet, a traditional Indian ceremony that celebrates the soon-to-be newlyweds with plenty of dancing and singing.
Chopra and Nick Jonas’s sangeet saw their families take part in a gigantic dance-off competition, with Team Bride and Team Groom performing on stage in a Jodhpur palace.
Ambani and Anand took a similar approach with performances from their families and friends (yes, including Chopra):
They then went one better though, with a finale from actual, real-life Beyoncé.
Nobody knows how much money Queen Bey was paid for this honour – or exactly how much the whole wedding has cost – but it’s safe to say, she will have been paid handsomely.
And this was just the start of wedding celebrations that will last at least a week.
On Wednesday, the couple will formally marry in Mumbai at the bride’s family residence, Antilla, a 27-storey home worth nearly $1 billion, with 600 staff:
The ceremony will be a “more intimate” affair with arounds 700 guests (!) attending, according to India Today, who also report that the invitations included precious stones and cost $4,236 each.
And finally, there will be two wedding receptions, one for the families’ guests and another for the thousands of people employed by their businesses.