Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani to throw a grand wedding for his son Anant Ambani

In March, Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, hosted a three-day wedding party for his son. 1,200 guests were in attendance, including former world leaders, tech moguls and Bollywood megastars. Famous singer Rihanna also performed.

It was just the beginning of their months of lavish pre-wedding festivities that made headlines and sent social media into a frenzy.

In May, the family took guests on a three-day cruise from Italy to France in preparation for the wedding, which included a DJ set by David Guetta, Katy Perry singing her hit “Firework” and a closing performance by Pitbull, according to media reports.

Anant Ambani, son of businessman Mukesh Ambani, arrives with his fiancée Radhika Merchant on the red carpet during the sangeet ceremony at the Jio World Centre, Mumbai, India, July 5, 2024. REUTERS

Finally, the wedding is set for next week, when Anant Ambani, 29, marries his girlfriend Radhika Merchant in what many are calling the wedding of the year.

Here’s what we know:

Who are the Ambanis?

The groom’s father is Mukesh Ambani, 66, currently the 9th richest man in the world with a net worth of $116 billion, according to Forbes. He is also the richest person in Asia.

His Reliance Industries is a huge conglomerate with annual revenues of over $100 billion, and its interests range from petrochemicals, oil and gas to telecoms and retail.

The Ambani family owns, among other things, a 27-storey apartment building called Antila, worth $1 billion in Mumbai.

Mukesh Ambani (L) and his son Akash Ambani pose during the wedding ceremony of Ambani’s youngest son, Anant Ambani, to Radhika Merchant, at their Antilia residence in Mumbai, India, on July 8, 2024. AP

It has three helipads, a garage for 160 cars, a private cinema, a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

Ambani’s critics say his company has become successful largely because of his political connections during the Congress governments of the 1970s and 1980s and then under Prime Minister Narendra Modi after 2014.

They say that “crony capitalism” in India has helped certain companies, like Ambani’s, to flourish.

The family patriarch passes the torch to his two sons and daughter.

People walk past the Antilia House, the home of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, as it is lit up in preparation for the wedding of his son Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Mumbai, India, on July 10, 2024. AP

The eldest son, Akash Ambani, is now chairman of Reliance Jio, their telecom company; his daughter, Isha, oversees retail operations, while the groom Anant, the youngest, has been inducted into the new energy company.

Who are the bride and groom?

According to Reliance Industries’ website, Anant has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and oversees the conglomerate’s renewable and green energy expansion.

He also runs a 3,000-acre animal sanctuary, Vantara, in the family’s hometown of Jamnagar in Gujarat state, where guests celebrate for days during the extravagant party ahead of the wedding in March.

The main wedding ceremony is scheduled for July 12, followed by a grand reception on July 14. Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

The bride, Radhika Merchant, 29, is the daughter of pharmaceutical magnate Viren Merchant and is marketing director for his company, Encore Healthcare, Vogue reports.

She told the magazine that the two were introduced through mutual friends in 2017.

“That first meeting created a special dynamic between us, and it wasn’t long before we started dating,” she said.

Radhika Merchant, 29, is the daughter of pharmaceutical magnate Viren Merchant and is the marketing director of his company, Encore Healthcare. REUTERS

When is the wedding and what is expected?

According to local media, the grand wedding ceremony is scheduled for July 12, followed by a large reception on July 14.

The festivities are expected to be split between Ambani’s Jio World Convention Center in Mumbai and their family at home.

The dates were reportedly chosen based on the couple’s birth charts, as is customary in Hinduism, and were considered auspicious.

Justin Bieber was reportedly paid $10 million to perform for billionaire heir Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant. Justin Bieber Instagram

Also according to tradition, the wedding is preceded by several days of traditional wedding events and rituals.

On Friday, Indian social media was abuzz with videos of the bridal couple’s sangeet, a ceremony in which the couple’s families dance for the guests.

Bollywood stars including Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan also performed, as did Justin Bieber, who flew to Mumbai for the event, local media reported.

The family also organised a mass wedding last week for more than 50 underprivileged couples as part of the festivities leading up to the wedding.

The 30-year-old pop star performed more than a dozen of his hits, including “Baby,” “Love Yourself” and “Peaches,” at a private concert for Ambani. Justin Bieber Instagram

Extravagant parties are the Ambanis’ specialty and next week’s events are expected to attract even more celebrities, billionaires and world leaders.

In March, the wedding guest list included Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, former leaders of Canada and Qatar, and Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.

In addition to Rihanna, Akon and Diljit Dosanjh, a Punjabi singer who gained international fame during his performance at Coachella, also took to the stage.

When his daughter got married in 2018, Ambani made headlines for the grand festivities that were organised. Pop star Beyoncé performed at the festivities leading up to the wedding.

At the time, former US secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were among those who interacted with Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars in the western Indian city of Udaipur.

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