The winter wedding season kicked off in Mumbai last week with a glittering, four-day, big fat wedding involving families of a business tycoon and a realty major - the hot topic of discussion among the city's glamorous people.
The biggest wedding ever in recent years saw Kunal, son of a top city realtor and 'mall maharaj' Champalal Vardhan, tying the knot with Ritika, daughter of leading business tycoon Neeraj Rawal, a family source said.
The four-day wedding bash, rumoured to have cost around Rs50 crore (Rs500 million) attracted the top names from the celeb crowds ranging from industrialists, builders, film stars, politicians and other high-fliers from the city's who's who.
The most talked about marriage started with celebrations November 21, with the mehndi ceremony. However, a close family friend declined to comment on whether there was any added fervour to the festivities, owing to the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Kasab that morning.
Nevertheless, the celebrations spilled over to the next day (Thursday, Nov 22) with a fun-filled Bingo Night and an array of games and mischief, with eye-popping prizes for the winners: Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, paid foreign and domestic holidays, besides other expensive gifts.
Friday was the big wedding-eve 'sangeet' ceremony with live music, dance, fun and frolic in the presence of family members, friends and distinguished guests from different fields lending their weight to the event, held at Grand Hyatt, Santacruz.
Some of the prominent names spotted were: Ram Jethmalani, his son Mahesh, Sonam Kapoor, Ujjwal Nikam, Arshad Warsi, Rajeev Kapoor, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Ujwal Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Narendra Baldota, Pradeep Rathod, Arvind Poddar, Raj Purohit, Anand Jain, Dilip Piramal, Jaydev Mody, Ankita Sheorey, Amit Bhosale, Pradeep Jain, Gautam Pokarns and many others.
These three days of 'starters' culminated in the Big Wedding Day Saturday night with a mega reception at the RWITC Grounds, famous as Mahalaxmi Race Course.
Around 3pm Saturday, south Mumbai boomed with fire-crackers as groom Kunal came astride a mare, and then hopped onto his waiting Rolls Royce, in the traditional 'baraat' (wedding procession) with a smartly-turned out brass band.
The 'baraatis' (processionists) included the likes of Maharashtra Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and other dignitaries who also took part in the grand traditional Indian style marriage rituals later at the venue.
By early evening, with the winter chill setting the tone for a grand reception, the entire race course grounds resembled a mini-fairyland. Strings of flowers holding tea light candles, crystals dangling from trees and casting pleasing rainbow rays, plus seating arrangements and a soothing yet sophisticated ambience.
Then, to the accompaniment of live and DJ music, it was time for a huge vegetarian spread with an excellent, discreet service, just an elbow away.
The guests had everything they could imagine on the menu: Indian, continental, Punjabi, Rajasthani, South Indian, Italian, Chinese, et al. "In short, from dhokla-patra to noodles-pasta, anything to suit the taste buds of the distinguished gathering," a family friend said.
A few of those instantly recongisable faces included Gurudas Kamat, Vijay Mallya, Sachin Aher, Praful Patel, Anil Kapoor and his daughter Sonam, Deepchand Gardi, Hafeez Contractor, Kirit Somaiya, Sardar Tarasingh, Shaina NC and many more.
The four-day mega-wedding bash attracted over 6,000 guests.