Monday, 24 July 2017 07:05

Forts of Rajasthan or Castles of Italy

I was seven years old when we first went to Italy. I remember Venice with its gondolas bobbing on green waters - my mother refusing to get on a gondola stating that the waters of Venice were the same colour as the Ganges. 

I remember the delight of seeing glimpses of medieval castles driving into a Tuscan sunset. I remember falling in love with a country, its language and its castles. 

  

Twenty years later, I fell in love with a man who shared my passion for Italian food and movies. Two years later when he proposed over prosecco, I accepted. 

 

Italy would have been our choice to get married. We spent evening after evening pouring through castles online as we held hands and imagined our wedding.

We had looked at majestic castles in Apulia for large weddings, spectacular castles on the Italian Riviera for royal weddings and fairytale castles in Tuscany just outside Florence for romantic weddings.

Finally, we narrowed it down to Tuscany to a pretty castle surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. It was a short drive from Florence.

  

 

It seemed perfect. Maybe too perfect. 

Five months before the wedding, my mother was advised not to travel long distances because of her health. The news hit us hard. I remember holding her hand. We had wanted to postpone the wedding, but my mother said no.

It was a while before I was able to focus again. The idea of Rajasthan came to us one afternoon. My mother had gently suggested it while pouring tea as she did every afternoon. The distance would be short enough for my mother to travel. We could invite more family and there would be no visas or translators to worry about. I loved her for thinking of it. Our wedding was a fairytale. We arrived in Jaipur at dusk. There was a cool breeze and a big moon in the sky. We had chosen a palace, now a resort, and an hour’s drive from Jaipur. I remember feeling excited as a child as I saw craggy forts, dotting hills, bright lights twinkling and later, the occasional camel.

  

The resort was beautiful. We were treated like royalty the moment we walked up the marble steps. There was a traditional dance in the courtyard, which we watched as we waited for our rooms. He even allowed us a peek into our bridal suite. We had a small private courtyard outside, looking up I could see the stars. Inside, there was a king-sized bed, which would be lined with flowers, a huge bathtub in front of the bed and everything we could possibly want. 

  

Dinner that night was served in a dancing hall with mirrors everywhere and beautiful chandeliers that took my breath away. The food was exquisite. Our wedding was the next evening. We started off with a camel ride to the venue. Girls threw petals at us as we walked to the venue. Then the fireworks went off spelling our names for all to see. Tears were in my eyes at the beauty of the event and being surrounded with so much love. 

The ceremony was surreal. Afterwards, we were entertained by women dancing and jugglers as we sat for an outdoor dinner overlooking the mountains. My perfect night ended with a lot of laughter and dancing. Later, when we walked into to our room hand in hand, there was a bottle of Prosecco waiting.

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 26 February 2017 07:51

Destination Wedding On Your Mind?

This blog post started off with a bet with my aunts that I thought I was going to lose. My mum’s three sisters are hopelessly addicted to soaps especially saas-bahu serials. When they are watching it, heaven help you if you so much as sneeze. I’m not kidding. 

So, when I got a message from my other half saying that he was okay with my plans for our destination wedding. I screamed in delight! And all hell broke loose. It took my aunts 15 minutes to understand that everything was okay. It took another 15 minutes for my mother and me to explain what a destination wedding was.  

“Surely your TV actors have destination weddings?” I exclaimed. It was followed by a vigorous shaking of heads. “These people are not like you,” said my eldest aunt waving her finger at me. “No no no - these are good boys and good girls. They have traditional weddings in their own towns.”  I was determined to prove them wrong. And it was tough as most TV actors did prefer traditional weddings. But I did stumble across these ones!

Rajat Tokas and Shrishti Nayyar 

These two had my dream destination wedding: Jagmandir Palace in Udaipur. For those of you not in the know, Rajat plays Akbar in the TV show Jodha Akbar. My youngest aunt finds him very good looking. The wedding was a four-day affair in which the palace was booked for the family. Very romantic!

 

Archana Vijaya and Dheeraj Puri

What happens when a Bong beauty wants to get married to her boyfriend of two years? They go to Thailand (this is the destination that my other half and I are thinking of). It was a spectacular beach wedding at Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa - about an hour away from Pattaya on Thailand’s east coast.

 

Nigaar Khan and Khayyam Sheikh 

My aunts were quite heartbroken when they thought that Nigaar Khan would disappear from our screens. Supermodel and TV’s favourite vamp, Nigaar got married to her Abu Dhabi based boyfriend in 2015. The two tied the knot at a destination wedding in Dubai. The wedding photos are spectacular and were released on Instagram (something that I am planning to do too).

 

Sanaya Irani and Mohit Sehgal

These guys got married in Goa - my all time favorite holiday place. What I loved about their destination wedding is that they got married on a private beach in January 2015. I loved the fact that they posed for photos with a beautiful sunset behind them.

 

 

Divyanka Tripathi and Vivek Dhiya

Why have your wedding and reception in one city? Do it TV style and have it in two. That’s what Divyanka and Vivek did. The two had met on the sets of Ye Hai Mohabbatein (I know my TV because of my aunts)! The wedding was at Bhopal while the reception was in Vivek’s hometown, Chandigarh. The photos looked really elaborate and they are a stunning couple.

 

 

Okay - I’m armed with my information now. Time to go and talk to my aunts before their serials start!

Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 05:15

Neil Nitin Mukesh’s Destination Wedding Diaries

If you wish for a grand destination wedding that has all the ingredients of a blockbuster film such as grand sets, impressive entry, peppy music, plan something striking like the recent Bollywood celebrity wedding. The Prem Ratan Dhan Payo actor Neil Nitin Mukesh had a big fat destination wedding to a Mumbai based girl Rukmini Sahay at Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur. With close to 500 guests in attendance, it was a festive extravaganza from Feb 6-9, 2017.

Entire Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur comprising of 245 rooms and suites were booked and transformed into a private bungalow, ready for a Big Fat Indian Wedding.

 

Welcoming the Guests 

Neil, the groom, coming from the third generation of a film background had three crazy days of song, dance, fun and celebrations. The wedding festivity began with the welcoming of the guests in Indian style with classical flute, dhol and rose petal showers.

All functions were beautifully planned at different venues of the hotel. Neil is a lover of the azure blue water and royal heritage and hence the venue seemed a perfect fit for his creative sensibilities.

 

Engagement Ceremony 

The pre-wedding celebrations kick started with a fairy-tale themed engagement ceremony. The colour and the set up such as Chandeliers, lace, pearls and cherry blossom trees went in co-ordination with the theme.

 

Day of Fun and Frolic - Mehendi 

Mehendi is a symbol of colour and vibrancy adding to the festivity. Similarly, a colourful ethnic decor, crepe drapes in pink, orange and yellow contrasts brought the venue ‘Udai Chowk’ alive against the majestic backdrop of Sajjangarh Fort and the Aravalli ranges around. 

 

Evening to Rock and Roll - Sangeet 

The evening progressed with an electro-disco themed Sangeet. At Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur, they boast extra ordinary event facilities possessing largest pillarless banquet hall in the state. The cocktail soiree took place in the Verdant Gardens.

The D-Day: Wedding 

Neil Nitin Mukesh and Rukmini Sahay tied the knot in a traditional Hindu style at the ‘Rooftop dome’ of the hotel overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, Aravallis, and the Sajjan Garh Fort. The Rajwada set up had 14ft tall marshals and exotic flowers to add to the décor. Following the truly royal style, Neil came in a red vintage car and Rukmini in a doli.

 

All 3 days the Hi-Teas were held by the lake at Aangan Lounge. Their personal stories found its space in the entire décor and vibe.

Feasting

Culinary experiences were designed by the Radisson Blu Palace Chefs to serve an exquisite menu with a mix of local specialties and international flavours. For the Cocktail Dinner Celebrity Michelin star Italian and Spanish chefs were specially flown down to create some molecular gastronomy.  Appetizers paired with miniature drinks, strolling live chef stations, truffle food bars and sommelier to name a few, are just some of the features. The menus for the Mehendi lunch kept the legend of Mewar in mind. For the Sangeet Evening the menu kept in mind regional cuisines. A sit down dinner for 550 guests was planned for the wedding day which was authentic Mughalai Marwari cuisine served on brass thalis with personalized napkins and cutlery.

Due justice to the gorgeous architecture of Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur and of course the natural beauty of Udaipur placed around the lakes and in the Aravali Mountains.

*Picture courtesy The Wedding Story and Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa

Published in Blogs