When it comes to grand weddings, Indian celebrations are some of the biggest. And taking things to a whole new level of extravagance are the billionaires, who will not think twice about flying in Beyonce for a performance.
As festivities begin in Mumbai this week for the wedding of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's son Anant and Radhika Merchant, the pre-wedding bashes are already as lavish as you'd expect from the family. Mukesh is the chairman of international conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited, and Anant, 27, is his youngest son.
But it remains to be seen if Anant will top his sister Isha's 2018 wedding. Spread across three cities, one including a private performance by Beyonce, the week-long nuptials had India obsessed and grenerated headlines around the world.
Here are some of the most expensive Indian weddings.
1. Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal: 7 billion rupees ($86 million)
Mukesh Ambani, whose net worth is estimated to be $42 billion, left no stone unturned to give his only the daughter a wedding to remember. With celebrations spread across Udaipur, Lake Como in Italy and then at the Ambani home in Mumbai, the star-studded celebrations in 2018 were reported to have cost 7 billion rupees.
Wedding invitations came in a Dolce & Gabbana box, adorned with pink and gold lace and detachable chains that could be worn as jewellery.
Beyonce was rumoured to have been paid $15 million for a 45-minute appearance, which featured a number of costume changes. Meanwhile, the wedding bash in Udaipur, known for its palaces, had the who's who of Bollywood in attendance, from Priyanka Chopra Jonas to Salman Khan.
A separate reception in Mumbai had even more stars in attendance, from Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone to Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and even Hillary Clinton.
Isha, who gave birth to twins in December, was spotted at the mehendi, a pre-wedding ceremony, for her brother Anant on Tuesday.
2. Sushanto Roy and Seemanto Roy’s double wedding: 5.54 billion rupees
Before his dramatic fall from grace, former Indian billionaire Subrata Roy was known for throwing lavish parties and socialising with Bollywood stars and cricketers. The founder and chairman of then multi-billion dollar conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar went all out for the wedding of his only children, sons Sushanto and Seemanto, who tied the knot in a double ceremony in 2004.
Sushanto married Richa Ahuja on February 10, while Seemanto got hitched to Chandini Toor on February 14.
The fairy tale wedding at the Sahara Stadium in Lucknow featured lavish decorations. Spread across a week, more than 11,000 guests were in attendance, including a host of Bollywood celebrities and sports stars. Also noteworthy was a simultaneous ceremonies that Roy hosted at the venue for 110 women who could not afford their own weddings.
3. Brahmani Reddy and Rajiv Reddy: 5 billion rupees
Criticised for throwing a lavish wedding for his only daughter in the midst of a cash flow crisis in India, mining baron and former politician Gali Janardhana Reddy's 5 billion rupees party made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2016.
The five-day celebration held at the Bangalore Palace, for Reddy's daughter Brahmani and her husband Rajeev Reddy, the son of Hyderabad business tycoon Vikram Dev Reddy, culminated with a wedding ceremony attended by 50,000 guests, including Bollywood stars and politicians.
Reddy spared no expense for the nuptials, which featured recreations of ancient Indian temples designed by Bollywood art directors, luxury bull-drawn carts to transport guests and huge helium balloons bearing larger-than-life images of the family, according to local media reports.
Three thousand security guards were recruited for the celebration, and the bride’s wedding sari alone cost 170 million rupees $2 million. The gold-plated wedding invitations also cost a small fortune, and featured an LCD screen, which featured a video of the couple and the politician lip-synching to an Indian song.
4. Shristi Mittal and Gulraj Behl: 5 billion rupees
Taking a cue from his brother, steel tycoon Laksmi Mittal, Pramod Mittal also left no stone unturned for the wedding of his daughter Shristi Mittal to investment banker Gulraj Behl in 2013.
Held in Barcelona, the three-day celebration had 500 guests and included a menu catered by Spanish celebrity chef Sergi Arola, as well a 60kg, six-tier wedding cake. About 200 butlers and cooks were flown into Spain from India and Thailand for the occasion.
The main wedding ceremony was held at the National Museum of Catalan Art atop a hill. Helicopters were hired so photographers and videographers could capture the festivities from all angles.
Pramod Mittal was declared bankrupt in June 2020.
5. Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia: 2.4 billion rupees
Theirs was the wedding that started it all — a true statement of wealth, and one that set the template for big, fat Indian weddings.
Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal threw what was then the biggest wedding bash ever known for his only child, daughter Vanisha's wedding to London banker Amit Bhatia in 2004.
Held across various locations in Paris, the six-day celebration featured a performance by Kylie Minogue, as well as Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Renowned Bollywood poet and writer Javed Akhtar even scripted a play that was performed by the Mittal family at a pre-wedding ceremony.
Following an engagement party at the Palace of Versailles, the wedding was held at the 17th century Vaux le Vicomte palace. More than 35 craftsmen were flown in from Mumbai to erect a mandap, or the stage where the wedding ritual is performed, on a pond in the sprawling gardens of the estate, India Today reported. Elephants made of fibre glass, minarets and a huge reception hall done up in pink were also put up, with florists flown in from Holland.
The evening ended with special fireworks launched from the Eiffel Tower.
Scroll through the galley below for more pictures from the Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant wedding