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When is the Ambani wedding? A timeline of the couple’s 7 months of celebrations | CNN

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When is the Ambani wedding? A timeline of the couple’s 7 months of celebrations | CNN



CNN
 — 

For better or for worse, days-long wedding events have become common in cultures around the world. Between Friday night cocktail receptions and sore-headed Sunday brunches, what might once have been a half-day affair can now easily envelop three or four days.

But a wedding that spans seven months is an outlier — even in the extravagant world of big Indian weddings.

On Friday, Anant Ambani — the youngest son of Mukesh Ambani, the head of India’s largest private sector corporation, with an estimated net worth of over $122 billion, according to Forbes — and pharmaceutical heiress Radhika Merchant will finally be married. The couple have been celebrating their betrothal since January, averaging an event every six weeks.

From a star-studded engagement party to performances by the likes of Rihanna and Justin Bieber, no expense has been spared. If you’ve lost track of where the Ambanis are at with their nuptial celebrations, and what lavish bashes have already taken place, read on for a full timeline of what’s expected to be the wedding of the year.

On December 29, Anant Ambani kept things low-key as he proposed to Radhika Merchant at a temple in the northern Rajasthan state surrounded by family and close friends.

NIHARIKA KULKARNI/X07351/REUTERS

Actor Ranveer Singh and his wife actor Deepika Padukone attend the engagement ceremony in January.

Merchant took part in a traditional “mehndi” ceremony on January 18, when her hands and feet were decorated with henna. The following day the pair threw their “Gol Dhana” engagement party, drawing in some of the biggest names in Bollywood. Actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh were among the famous faces in attendance.

Reliance Industries/Handout/Reuters

Actors Salman Khan, Ram Charan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan perform during the pre-wedding celebrations.

Don’t be fooled by the name, this get-together preceded the Ambani’s actual wedding by over four months. Staged in the city of Jamnagar, in the western state of Gujarat, the event (which had a guest list of 1,200 people) featured choreographed Bollywood-style dancing, fireworks and a feast of 500 dishes cooked by around 100 chefs. The evening even saw Rihanna perform for only the second time in six years.

The event was a who’s who of the rich and powerful. Tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates were there, each dressed in traditional embellished Kashmiri coats — while Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived with their daughter. Ahead of the party, the Ambani family also hosted a communal dinner for more than 50,000 villagers outside Jamnagar.

The Ambanis set off on a four-day European cruise aboard a luxury chartered ship, beginning in the Sicilian city of Palermo and ending in Rome. Despite a strict no-phones policy, leaked social media videos showed on-deck concerts from the Backstreet Boys, Pitbull and David Guetta.

There were a few stops on the way, too: A masquerade ball at the Chateau de la Croix des Gardes mansion in Cannes featured a performance by Katy Perry, while an evening event in Portofino on the Italian Riviera saw the main square cordoned off to the public, before Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for guests.

July 2-5: Mass wedding and musical night

Divyakant Solanki/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Brides and grooms perform rituals during a mass wedding ceremony for underprivileged couples hosted by Anant Ambani’s parents, Nita and Mukesh.

On July 2, the couple staged a mass wedding, also known as “Samuh Vivah,” in the town of Palghar, around 70 miles from Mumbai. More than 50 underprivileged couples were invited to receive gifts, ranging from gold ornaments to a year’s worth of groceries.

A few days later, at the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Center (a Mumbai arts venue founded by Anant’s mother, Nita), the Ambanis hosted a traditional night of music and dance, known as the “sangeet,” which featured a live performance from Justin Bieber.

On Monday, the couple took part in a “haldi” ceremony, a pre-wedding ritual that traditionally sees friends and family bless the marrying couple by applying a turmeric paste to their heads, faces or bodies. The pair appear to have kept the event private, though photographs later shared online showed the couple wearing suitably complementary gold and yellow outfits — a bejeweled Merchant in a custom ensemble by celebrated Indian designer Anamika Khanna and the groom in a kurta and jacket by Sandeep Khosla.

Friday: Main ceremony

The wedding proper is set to commence on Friday at the 16,000 capacity Jio World Convention Center, complete with a red carpet to showcase A-list attendees clad in — per the dress code — classical Indian attire. The internet is awash with rumors of the performer lineup, from Adele and Drake to Lana Del Rey, but one thing is certain: There will be no expense spared.

Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

The Ambani family residence Antilia, which will host some of the weekend’s festivities, has been extravagantly decorated ahead of the ceremony.

The day after the nuptials will see one of the last stages of the Hindu wedding schedule: the “Shubh Ashirwad,” or divine blessings ceremony. Here, the couple seeks “Ashirwad,” or blessings, from the elders in their community and are usually showered with rose petals or rice when walking down the aisle again.

The mammoth festivities conclude on Sunday with one final celebration of the couple: the “Mangal Utsav,” or reception. Guests have been to dress in “Indian chic.” Saturday and Sunday’s events are expected to take place at the Ambani family’s 27-story residence, Antilia.

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