World’s super-rich head to Gujarat for wedding party thrown by India’s richest person | India

For one of India’s richest families, a wedding is not just a wedding – it’s a spectacle designed to dazzle even the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people.

It was back in 2018 that India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, threw his daughter, Isha, the most expensive wedding the country had ever seen, where Beyoncé performed and guests attended receptions in Italy’s Lake Como, as well as Mumbai and Rajasthan, at a reported cost of almost $100m (£80m).

But never one to be outdone, even by himself, Ambani is set to throw an even more extravagant affair beginning next month, this time for the wedding of his youngest son, 28-year-old Anant Ambani.

Newspapers across India have been transfixed by details of the wedding celebrations, which will see Anant Ambani marry Radhika Merchant, 29, the daughter of a well-known business family who run Encore Healthcare, a large India pharmaceutical firm. Merchant, who is a trained Indian classical dancer now sits on the board of Encore.

According to Forbes Rich list, Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Industries conglomerate that deals in everything from energy to textiles and telecommunications, is Asia richest man, worth $112bn. Antilla, the Ambani’s 27-storey high home in Mumbai, drew global attention when it was built, reportedly costing more than $1bn. It was listed by Forbes as the most expensive property in the world.

While full details of the wedding, expected to be held in July, have not yet been made public, the three day long pre-wedding party in March looks to be an opulent and star-studded event.

Mukesh Ambani’s owned Antilla home – the world’s most expensive private residence. Photograph: John Michaels/Alamy

The kick off to the wedding festivities will be on 1 March at a three-day party held in a 3,000-acre garden, set in the grounds of an oil refinery in Jamnagar, in the Ambani’s home state of Gujarat.

The garden is said to have more than 10m trees and the largest mango orchard in Asia and is also home to the Ambani’s animal rescue and rehabilitation centre, which has 2,000 rescued animals from both India and around the globe, including leopards, tigers, lions, jaguars and elephants.

It’s been reported that Rihanna has been booked as the star performer, along with the illusionist David Blaine while the guest list includes everyone from Indian billionaires to Bollywood celebrities, with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Ivanka Trump all set to attend.

About 2,500 dishes are expected to be served to the guests over the three days to ensure they never eat the same dish twice.

While few in India can afford lavish weddings akin to the Ambanis, figures show that weddings in India are continuing to get bigger and grander. India now spends over $75bn on weddings every year, making it the fourth-largest industry in the country.

This article was amended on 28 February 2024. An earlier version said the reported cost of the 2018 wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s daughter, Isha, was $100bn, rather than $100m.