Over the last century, there have been many weddings, both in India and abroad, where the bride and groom have gotten more attention for their OTT weddings rather than for their mere pairing. Some marriages have caused an international scandal, while others have been used as fodder for future bridezillas, who want to reproduce, emulate and recreate just about every facet of the celebrations. You & I takes a look at five of the most brow-raising weddings, to add a little bit of fun and humour into an industry which can otherwise be all about caterers, decorators and florists.
Duchess of Alba and Alfonso Diez Carbantes– On 5 October 2011, Spain’s Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, the 18th Duchess of Alba, married her third husband, the civil servant Alfonso DíezCarabantes. The wedding was most notable for the massive age-gap between the wife and her groom, almost a quarter of a century! The Duchess, one of Europe’s most highly titled royals, has been a regular on the international jet set for decades and is particularly known for her fondness of plastic surgery. Her children politely declined to be part of the celebrations.
The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson – Some 83 years ago, the Duke of Windsor, Edward VIII gave up the British Throne to marry the divorced Wallis Simpson, and chose a life of exile instead of heading the then-largest empire in the world. His choice of wife, who was rumoured to have once been a Nazi spy and sympathizer, was unacceptable to the British Institution, which sent Edward away to France, rarely letting him re-enter the United Kingdom. The ceremony itself was a very low-key one, held at the Chateau de Cande in France.
Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky – He is the most anonymous of Taylor’s husbands. Fortensky was a construction worker, and the two met in rehab. The couple married at Taylor’s close friend Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and sold the wedding pictures to a magazine for $1 million. Taylor used this money to kickstart her AIDS foundation. Though the couple divorced in 1996, they stayed in touch until Taylor’s death in 2011. He was her 7th and last husband.
Amit Bhatia and Vanisha Mittal – The spending on this 2004 wedding was also off the scale. The six-day, US$60 million celebrations was held at the historic 17th-century Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte near Paris, with the 1,000 guests flown in from all over the world by private jet (an engagement ceremony before the wedding was held at the Palace of Versailles). Singer Kylie Minogue was paid US$330,000 to perform for just half an hour, and another highlight was a fireworks display that lit up the Eiffel Tower. Vanisha Mittal is the daughter of one of the UK’s richest man, the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.
Brahmani and Rajeev Reddy - Another extravagant wedding that made headlines was that of Brahmani Reddy, the only daughter of Indian mining tycoon Gali Janardhana Reddy, in 2016. The five-day extravaganza cost an estimated US$74 million and was held in a royal palace attended by Brazilian dancers. Guests received personalized wedding invitations via LCD screens and ate with utensils crafted of pure gold and silver. Many in India criticized the wedding, which came at a time when Indians were struggling to find money to buy food following the government’s decision to pull high-value notes out of circulation in an attempt to tackle tax evasion.