A Mar­riage Fit for a Ma­haraja

Hong Kong Tatler Weddings - - CONTENTS -

A prince’s palace and royal Ra­jasthani feasts— the In­dian wed­ding of Nancy Fung and Di­nesh Ni­halc­hand was an af­fair to re­mem­ber

A prince’s palace, royal Ra­jasthani feasts and the groom mak­ing his en­trance atop an ele­phant—the In­dian wed­ding of Nancy Fung and Di­nesh Ni­halc­hand was an af­fair to re­mem­ber, writes Rachel Duf­fell

In­ti­mate is not a word that one nor­mally as­so­ciates with an In­dian wed­ding yet Nancy Fung and Di­nesh Ni­halc­hand’s vi­brant three­day wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion in Jaipur, In­dia was just that.

“We knew from the start that we wanted to do an in­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion wed­ding,” says Nancy, the founder of Sig­na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a Hong Kong-based bou­tique PR agency. “Af­ter go­ing through a list of the usual sus­pects, we did not feel we had a per­sonal con­nec­tion with any of the des­ti­na­tions. Al­though Dino, the co-founder of District 15, a real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, in­vest­ment and man­age­ment com­pany, was born and raised in Hong Kong, we de­cided to do a tra­di­tional In­dian wed­ding as it felt im­por­tant to hon­our his roots and her­itage. He had brought me to In­dia for the first time just a few months prior to our en­gage­ment and we thought it would be per­fect.”

With the des­ti­na­tion de­cided, Nancy and Di­nesh set about plan­ning. The cou­ple de­cided on an in­ti­mate three-day af­fair in Ra­jasthan for their near­est and dear­est, choos­ing Ram­bagh Palace, the for­mer res­i­dence of the Ma­haraja of Jaipur, now a stun­ning five-star ho­tel by Taj that fea­tures strik­ing ar­chi­tec­ture and a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory.

“While Ra­jasthan has no short­age of beau­ti­ful palaces, we loved the Ram­bagh Palace with its vast, ma­jes­tic lawns where pea­cocks roam,” says Nancy. “The palace is big enough to ac­com­mo­date all the dif­fer­ent func­tions that we had, each at a dif­fer­ent

“Be­ing able to wear Sabyasachi with a palace back­drop was one of the rea­sons that made me want to get mar­ried in In­dia”

venue within the prop­erty. We wanted our guests to be able to stay to­gether and to ex­pe­ri­ence the palace. Plus, since most of our guests were trav­el­ling to In­dia for the first time, the palace’s lo­ca­tion in the mid­dle of Jaipur meant they could also do some sight­see­ing be­tween func­tions.”

The cel­e­bra­tion kicked off on Novem­ber 30 with a wel­come din­ner, a royal Ra­jasthani thali meal in which var­i­ous dishes are served on a plat­ter, served in the ho­tel’s op­u­lent Sur­vana Ma­hal restau­rant.

The next day, the palace lawns were be­decked with beau­ti­ful canopied tents, cush­ions and car­pets for the mehendi lunch party, where in­tri­cate henna de­signs are ap­plied to the bride’s hands and feet. While this event is tra­di­tion­ally at­tended by the ladies only, Nancy and Di­nesh wanted all of their guests to be in­volved. Con­se­quently, the lunch was themed around hunt­ing, a nod to the prop­erty’s his­tory as a for­mer royal hunt­ing lodge. In­dian street food was on the menu, per­fect for those guests who wouldn’t have time to ex­pe­ri­ence it out­side the ho­tel.

While the ladies had their hands and feet dec­o­rated, guests were treated to all man­ner of fab­u­lous en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing a DJ, a tra­di­tional In­dian folk band and dancers, a tarot card reader, a ban­gle maker and an In­dian shoe maker, as well as games such as archery and cro­quet.

The evening’s sangeet cel­e­bra­tion, as is cus­tom­ary, was filled with song and dance. “We were lucky to have our friend Rox­ane Lo sing my favourite song, My Funny Valen­tine, and my brother-in-law Louis Shan sang sev­eral love songs for us,” says Nancy. “The high­light of the evening was when our friends did the tra­di­tional In­dian dances that they had spent nu­mer­ous hours prac­tic­ing. Our friends had come from all over the world and all have busy sched­ules, but they took time out to ei­ther go to dance prac­tice or to watch videos. Even my sis­ter Eu­gene amazed me by do­ing a dance, af­ter she had told me that

there was no way in the world she would dance in front of other peo­ple. She had hired a dance in­struc­tor to prac­tice pri­vately to sur­prise me.”

These events were all part of the buildup to the wed­ding day, which took place on De­cem­ber 2. Nancy wore an ex­quis­ite mint green dress em­bel­lished with in­tri­cate gold em­broi­dery crafted by In­dian fash­ion de­signer Sabyasachi Mukher­jee. “Be­ing able to wear Sabyasachi with a palace back­drop was one of the rea­sons that made me want to get mar­ried in In­dia,” says Nancy, who wore an­other of

the la­bel’s cel­e­brated de­signs for the sangeet. Nancy made four sep­a­rate trips to his Delhi bou­tique for fit­tings prior to the wed­ding to en­sure the per­fect style and fit.

Di­nesh was also dressed in Sabyasachi Mukher­jee, from his sleek cream sher­wani (long coat) and gold tur­ban to his match­ing shoes. In prepa­ra­tion for the pro­ces­sion, he was joined by the male guests for a tur­ban or safa-ty­ing cer­e­mony.

One of the grand­est parts of any wed­ding cer­e­mony is when the wed­ding party makes their en­trance. At Di­nesh and Nancy’s wed­ding, how­ever, first came the camels, daz­zling in their brightly-coloured dec­o­ra­tions, fol­lowed by horses, and fi­nally the groom rid­ing an ele­phant. The wed­ding guests sur­rounded the an­i­mals and joined the pro­ces­sion, along with uni­formed guards and a band, mov­ing to­wards a bal­cony where Nancy awaited their ar­rival.

“My per­sonal high­light was when I first saw my hus­band on the ele­phant at the start of the wed­ding pro­ces­sion,” she says. “I re­ally was over­whelmed with emo­tions when I saw him look­ing so hand­some and re­gal ac­com­pa­nied by all our loved ones.”

Nancy was then car­ried on a palki by four men to the wed­ding man­dap, or cer­e­mony plat­form, where the truly mem­o­rable sun­set wed­ding cer­e­mony took place. Guests then took time to freshen up be­fore the evening re­cep­tion at which Nancy and Di­nesh en­tered to the tune of Bill With­ers’ A Lovely Day, ac­com­pa­nied by daz­zling fire­works.

Af­ter heart­felt speeches in­spir­ing both tears and laugh­ter, a fleet of vin­tage cars col­lected guests and de­liv­ered them to the af­ter-party venue, a re­cre­ation of HALO, the Hong Kong bar, now closed, which was once a favourite hang­out of the cou­ple and many of their friends. In­clud­ing mu­sic from HALO’s for­mer DJ, the bar’s leg­endary truf­fle fries and sig­na­ture Flir­tini cock­tails, the ex­clu­sive one-night-only re­turn of the de­funct bar pro­vided an un­for­get­table way to round out the cel­e­bra­tions.

“It was a whirl­wind of events,” says Nancy of the wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions, “but it was some­thing that I have never ex­pe­ri­enced and I was so happy that we got to en­joy it with our friends and fam­ily.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.