With 30,000 guests, it was a Wedding like no other!

It would have been a perfect setting for a high-cost multi-starrer Indian film. With exquisite decorations covering three different themes, all set in a 20-acre plot, with every minute detail worked to perfection and with almost 500 men and women employed as ushers, helpers, waiters and security personnel, it was an event that will be marked in history as one of the most colourful event ever organised anywhere in the world.

And with 30,000 guests, who included people in echelons of political and financial power, film celebrities, dignitaries, captains of industry, members of the family and ordinary workers, the ‘Double Wedding’ of Rohit (22) and Ranjit (21) Sirigiri respectively to Divya Pushtey (21) and Shruti Bidar (20) in Hyderabad (India) on February 25 will remain, for sometime at least, without a parallel.

Indian Newslink was the only New Zealand media to attend the five-day event.

The entire Project, planned, designed and implemented over a three-year period, showcased the creative genius of the grooms’ mother Anupama (Anu) Sirigiri, encouraged and supported by her husband Ravinder Sirigiri.

The main wedding venue, designed and constructed by Wizcraft in ‘Jodha Akbar’ style, was reminiscent of the Mogul era, complete with court settings, décor, diwans, specially imported chandeliers, and appropriately attired ‘soldiers’ and ‘darwans.’

Thousands cheered as the grooms rode in a specially constructed Chariot and their brides following in a palanquin.

A Community Celebration

It seemed as if the entire State of Andhra Pradesh, with its ‘Who is Who’ was present to partake in the joy and splendour of the occasion. It was a delight to watch the talent of (Anand) Sivamani, the foremost percussionist of India, as he performed for almost 90 minutes on more than 50 instruments.

The Underwater Theme that set the mood for the Reception, was yet another example of Ms Sirigiri’s creative ingenuity.

“We had for many years thought of a grand wedding for our sons at which everyone known to us would have fun and entertainment, experiencing our hospitality and goodwill. The Project got to a good start when Anu suggested the names of Divya and Shruti on the morning of May 25, 2008,” Mr Sirigiri said.

Obtaining the consent of Divya’s mother (Her father passed away five years ago) and Shruti’s parents, they organised a ‘Commitment Ceremony’ at the Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderabad attended by more than 200 guests including top film stars (Indian Newslink, August 15, 2008).

The best of Haute Couture

That was just the beginning. Preparations for the Wedding took Ms Srigiri to Australia, Dubai, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore, apart from several cities in India.

India’s ‘Most Wanted’ Manish Malhotra designed the dresses for the brides and the grooms and the latter’s parents for the Wedding. Ms Sirigiri herself looked like a bride in a sparkling gold sari and ornaments, designed by Malhotra. For the Reception, the brides switched to the dresses created by Iraq-born and Dubai based haute couture Zeena Zaki Al Obaidi, while the boys were adorned in custom-made Gucci outfits.

There was nothing left to chance, nothing that was half-hearted or substandard. While Hyderabad witnessed a seven-day festivity, many other events were held for almost three years.

Ravinder and Anu proved that opulence alone fetches nothing. It is the willingness to invite and involve a large circle of family and friends in creating a festive atmosphere that begets the best of everything.

In many ways, Rohit-Divya and Ranjit-Shruti wedding would be an eye opener to those who flaunt their wealth to show one-upmanship, rather than use it to spread goodwill and understanding.

Following their honeymoon in Maldives this fortnight, the newly married would arrive in Auckland with their families and friends next month for a grand reception.

We would have occasion to showcase yet another sublime event yet again.

Wedding Highlights

The Venue: Adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad

Area: 20 acres including 75,000 Sq ft for the Wedding, 95,000 Sq Ft for Reception and 25,000 Sq ft for Kitchen

The Themes: Jodha Akbar (Wedding), Underwater and Arabian Nights

Design & Creation: Wizcraft and Kosmos India (both from Mumbai)

Wedding Invitation: Entertainment Design Company, Delhi- an elaborate package with pearls

Dress Designer: Manish Malhotra, Delhi

Other outfits: Armani, Gucci, Versace, Hugo Boss

Jewellery: Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri

Watches: Rolex Gold and Platinum (custom-made)

Make-Up: Mickey Contractor, Mumbai

Mehndi Artist: Jamila and her team, Mumbai

Entertainers: Anand Sivamani, Naresh Iyer, Karthik, Mallikarjun & Orchestra; Belly Dancers from Dubai and Dancers from Russia

Masters of Ceremonies: Shiva Reddy & Udaya Banu

Photography & Video: Bankim Jain and his 25 member team from Delhi

Dinner: More than 200 items, including 50 types of sweets made by 500 cooks

Guests: More than 30,000; 150 from Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, UK and US

Media: More than 100 representing print, radio and television

The Sequence:

February 4: Party for 125 persons in Pattaya, Bangkok

February 20: Pre-Wedding Party at Novotel; 2340 guests; about 1250 women, each given a saree and bangles of their choice from special stalls at the venue; mehndi artists from Delhi; fashion show models from Mumbai; sarees from CMR Shopping Mall; gold rings with diamonds for 75 persons; gold chains and gold bracelets to all home staff (about 30)

February 21: Bengali Theme Night

February 22: Nizami Theme Night

February 23: Rajasthani Theme Night

February 24: Punjabi Theme Night

February 25: Wedding and Reception at GMR Arena

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