Hap­pily ever af­ter

Delhi knows best how to cel­e­brate its wed­dings and make them larger-than-life. From sprawl­ing farm­houses to ta­lented de­sign­ers, the city of­fers a vast can­vas for cou­ples to paint their D-day tales on. SIM­PLY DELHI brings you ex­perts’ mantras to plan one o

India Today - - INSIDE - BY REWATI RAU AND KAVYAN­JALI KAUSHIK

SIM­PLY DELHI brings you mantras to plan one of the most im­por­tant days of your life

The big fat Delhi wed­ding has moved out of the box. Sub­tle op­u­lence seems to be the buz­zword this wed­ding sea­son, with cou­ples lov­ing un­der­stated el­e­gance. The wed­ding mar­ket too has ea­gerly em­braced the change. Solo mu­sic acts have re­placed celebrity dances and so­phis­ti­cated, theme-based dé­cor seems to be the unan­i­mous choice even as desti­na­tion wed­dings are get­ting more ex­otic. Even the bride is no more typ­i­cally eth­nic; she loves to ex­per­i­ment with colours other than reds and pinks, and wears light, con­tem­po­rary jew­ellery.

CROSS­ING THE TS

There is noth­ing pre­dictable about In­dian wed­dings any more. De­pend­ing on in­di­vid­ual bud­gets, cou­ples are will­ing to go an ex­tra mile to make their wed­ding stand out from the rest. Be it the venue, the dec­o­ra­tion, the mu­sic or the cater­ing, it’s all cus­tomised and ex­e­cuted per­fectly by the plan­ners. Wed­ding plan­ner Me­her Sarid says, “In terms of styling, per­haps the big­gest trend shift is that peo­ple are go­ing more for sim­ply, classy and un­der­stated when it comes to func­tions such as mehendi, cock­tails and sangeet. It is just the main wed­ding func­tion that re­mains com­pletely In­dian and or­nate.”

The trend of themes started al­most a decade back and peo­ple are now ex­per­i­ment­ing with unique themes. “Re­cently I or­gan­ised a pre-wed­ding func-

NDIAN BRIDE IN ALL HER FIN­ERY

DECKED UP WED­DING VENUES

tion which was styled like Hard Rock Café, since the groom was a drum­mer. We had a 32-ft long pi­ano bar, tall podi­ums, and drums sets and gui­tars, which peo­ple could play,” says Sarid.

Con­tact Me­her Sarid Tel 9811050555; mehersarid.com

SPOT ON Farm­houses, five-star ho­tels or desti­na­tion wed­dings—the hunt for the per­fect venue be­gins as soon as the wed­ding date is fixed. The more the bud­get al­lows, the more ex­trav­a­gant the venue is. And sky is the limit if your pocket al­lows. With more ac­ces­si­bil­ity, cou­ples are now opt­ing for more ex­otic lo­ca­tions for their desti­na­tion wed­dings. “The rich have now started choos­ing places such as Cannes, Barcelona and even Ger­many for their wed­dings. I re­cently or­gan­ised a wed­ding in a cas­tle in Ger­many,” says Sarid. “How­ever, the nou­veau rich con­tinue to choose places like Thai­land and Malaysia,” adds Sarid.

The Im­pe­rial Ho­tel is one of the most sought-af­ter wed­ding venues in Delhi with the city’s crème-de-lacrème choos­ing the space for its royal am­bi­ence. “The 1911 Lawns or The Royal Ball­room are the most com­mon choices for wed­ding venues at our ho­tel. The wed­ding dec­o­ra­tions are based on the colour themes and flower ar­range­ments ad­her to the guests’ re­quire­ments,” says Vishal Sharma, F&B Sales Man­ager of the ho­tel.

Con­tact The Im­pe­rial, New Delhi At Jan­path Lane, Con­naught Place Tel 23341234 theim­pe­ri­alin­dia.com

LET THE MU­SIC PLAY Sufi, Bol­ly­wood, soul, funk, retro and even EDM (elec­tronic dance mu­sic)— the cap­i­tal has brought its eclec­tic taste in mu­sic right down to the dance floors at wed­dings. Blar­ing loud- speak­ers that keep the neigh­bours up all night have been re­placed by classy solo per­for­mances by ta­lented singers and DJs who have an eye for 3D vi­su­als and ears for funky beats. Fa­mous mu­si­cians like Su­nita Rao, Manasi Scott and Sonu Nigam are in­vited by the rich and sundry to wow their guests. “Peo­ple want a ‘wow’ fac­tor in there wed­dings. I pre­fer do­ing fresh set­ups and al­ways stress on adding some new tunes in my playlist. I also use a lot of new tech­nol­ogy like sharpy lights, mas­sive LED screens etc. I make sure that I do lot of em­cee­ing while play­ing to in­ter­act with the

guests,” says Gun­jan Sharma, who started out as a DJ at the age of 16.

Gau­rav Mal­vai, one of the most sought-af­ter DJs in the city, cred­its this wave of mu­sic ex­per­i­ments in the wed­ding cir­cuit to the grow­ing num­ber of mu­sic fes­ti­vals in the coun­try. “Mu­sic is very di­verse th­ese days. Thank­fully, the new trend is to have a lot of house and elec­tro mu­sic in the wed­ding set. A lot of new sounds are be­ing ex­plored,” says Mal­vai, who has played at many high-pro­file func­tions, in­clud­ing Ab­hishek Bachchan and Aish­warya Rai Bachchan’s pre-wed­ding events. “I have done sangeet func­tions where the clients had Lionel Ritchie to per­form. In Venice, Shakira and Gotan Project were in­vited to play at an In­dia wed­ding. Wed­dings have taken a turn in terms of mu­sic. It is not about play­ing Bol­ly­wood or Pun­jabi pop any­more,” he adds.

Con­tact Gun­jan Sharma, Ad­dress

SHOOT­ING WITH LOVE

The mehndi will fade off. The clothes will be packed away in suit­cases. The hon­ey­moon will get over and the cel­e­bra­tions will wrap up. How­ever, mem­o­ries stored on the reel stay for­ever. Wed­ding photography has emerged as a vi­tal com­po­nent of the D-day plan­ning that cou­ples th­ese days re­search on for days, even months. They are aware of the venues they want to be shot at, they are cer­tain of what kind of photographs will por­tray their re­la­tion­ship aptly and they are def­i­nitely sure of which per­son be­hind the lens would be ideal to cap­ture their big day. “Where hir­ing a neigh­bour­hood pho­tog­ra­pher

to cover the wed­ding rit­u­als was at the bot­tom of the to-do list for the par­ents, brides th­ese days are sure about their pho­tog­ra­phers even be­fore fi­nal­is­ing their part­ners!” claims 26-year-old Delhi-based wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher Vi­jay Tonk (Think Tonk). Tonk, an IIMC grad­u­ate, left his job at an ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany to turn his pas­sion into a highly lu­cra­tive pro­fes­sion. He charges up to Rs 65,000 to pho­to­graph a one-day wed­ding, a huge raise from a mere Rs 10,000 when he started three years ago.

It is a mam­moth task for the pho­tog­ra­phers to sat­isfy the mod­ern day cou­ples, but Delhi-based lens men and women are al­ways up to the job. “I have de­tailed brief­ing ses­sions with the cou­ples and their fam­i­lies to un­der­stand their thought process and the re­quire­ments and then I set my­self the chal­lenge to de­liver,” Tonk adds.

While Tonk prefers an out­door set­ting, with sun­light pour­ing in and cou­ples doused in beau­ti­ful light and pretty flow­ers, which gives him enough room to ex­per­i­ment with bokeh, Ronicka Kand­hari, who has been in the wed­ding photography busi­ness for over a decade, loves desti­na­tion wed­dings that give her a chance to ex­plore new tra­di­tions and also sat­isfy the travel bug in­side her. “My most chal­leng­ing wed­ding was in Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia for the Royal Fam­ily. It was un­prece­dented to hire a pho­tog­ra­pher from In­dia but I was priv­i­leged to be a part of the King’s fam­ily wed­ding. Many women in the wed­ding were still con­ser­va­tive about be­ing pho­tographed and would of­ten cover their faces. I had to be very care­ful and re­spect­ful to

THE JAYA­MALA CER­E­MONY

their cul­ture and sen­ti­ments,” re­calls the 34-year-old.

Cre­ativ­ity is the buzz word in the wed­ding cir­cuit. Glossy wed­ding al­bums, coy brides and grooms, and over ex­posed and flashy fam­ily portraits are a big no-no. “Clients are bored with the usual ‘smil­ing’ pic­tures. We are work­ing more on a sto­ry­telling for­mat for them,” says Ankush Maria of Image­shas­tra, a com­pany that of­fers cus­tomised ser­vices like can­did still photography, cof­fee ta­ble books, pre and post wed­ding shoots, desti­na­tion wed­dings, et al. Maria re­veals cou­ples are hold­ing no bars when it comes to shelling out money. “More and more clients are now ready to travel to their fa­vorite places to get clicked and we are happy to do that for them. We

are also see­ing an in­creas­ing trend in pre-wed­ding shoots,” the 27-yearold adds.

Con­tact Image­shas­tra,

face­book.com/im­age­shas­traco Tel 9871001434 Email image­shas­tra@gmail.com Con­tact Ronicka Kand­hari,

ron­ick­akand­hari.com Tel 9811219695 Email ron­ick­akand­hari@gmail.com Con­tact Vi­jay Tonk (Think Tonk),

face­book.com/think­tonk Tel 9818126646 Email think­tonk.in@gmail.com Con­tact RR Photography Tel 9718471869

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD

“There is no love sin­cerer than the love of food.” Maybe about-to-be-mar­ried bride and groom, with eyes only for each other, would dis­agree with Ge­orge Bernard Shaw here but how much can you re­ally ar­gue with a dead No­bel lau­re­ate? Wed­ding cater­ers are ex­per­i­ment­ing with their menu to suit the de­mands of well-trav­elled cou­ples, who want to im­press their guests with ex­quis­ite va­ri­ety of world cui­sine and move away from the usual dal makhni and shahi pa­neer.

Food is an im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent of a suc­cess­ful wed­ding and per­haps no­body does jus­tice to that fact bet­ter than United Cater­ing Ser­vices (UCS), owned by the United Restau­rant Group that gave us the leg­endary United Cof­fee House. UCS be­lieves that food is a form of ex­pres­sion that of­fers un­lim­ited com­fort, a motto rooted in its di­verse cater­ing spread.

From street foods of Sin­ga­pore, and Mar­rakesh to sushi plat­ters, from smash po­tato bars to the un­ex­plored In­dian cuisines of Mal­wani, Raigarhia and Mo­pla, UCS of­fers mod­ern and nou­velle con­cepts to suit ev­ery cou­ple’s taste and style. “Ex­quis­ite food dis­play and in­ter­ac­tive food sta­tions are gain­ing a lot of buzz as they help guests to choose dishes as per their own pref­er­ences,” says Praveen Chauhan, the man be­hind all the de­li­cious­ness at UCS, which charges Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,800 on an av­er­age per plate. “Street food from Tep­pa­nyaki, Man­go­lian noo­dle bars and live flambé sta­tions are also some of the new trends,” he adds.

But cel­e­brated chef Ritu Dalmia, who owns DIVA Cater­ing, says wed­ding cater­ing is no longer about the quan­tity. “Peo­ple no longer want 30 types of cuisines and a mile long

PAIR YOUR WINE AND FOOD WITH THE THEME

of buf­fet. The shift has been to a higher qual­ity, fresh in­gre­di­ents-based menu with a lot of re­gional food thrown in. While in­ter­na­tional cui­sine is al­ways in de­mand, peo­ple are in­creas­ingly ex­per­i­ment­ing with the var­i­ous re­gional cuisines of the coun­try such as coastal food, live ap­pams, Mal­abar

parathas and quin­tes­sen­tial Marwari del­i­ca­cies,” she says. A spe­cialty of DIVA Cater­ing is ex­otic pass-arounds like br­uschetta with avocado mousse and the phyllo pas­try cones.

But who de­clared our wed­dings would only serve plat­ters of world cuisines or In­dia del­i­ca­cies? The sweet fac­tor in our wed­dings is fast catch­ing up with cou­ples or­der­ing mag­nif­i­cent wed­ding cakes, just like white church wed­dings. The Sweet Bou­tique started by Nitin and Ruchika Khu­rana, spe­cialises in cou­ture con­fec­tionery, of­fer­ing freshly baked cakes that are a treat for the taste­buds and eyes. Their bri­dal cakes are exquisitely de­signed with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents like Cal­i­for­nian al­monds, Med­jool dates and Bel­gian choco­lates.

Con­tact United Cater­ing Ser­vices, E-15, In­ner Cir­cle, Con­naught Place Tel 9873812813; theucs.in

Con­tact DIVA Cater­ing, M-113, Greater Kailash-II Tel 9811464051

ALL THAT GLIT­TERS

Think In­dian brides, think jew­ellery. Par­ents of brides of­ten be­gin shop­ping for their daugh­ters’ jew­ellery years be­fore she is even reaches a mar­riage­able age! Of course, that one set to be worn on the wed­ding day is care­fully matched with the out­fit. And that is what makes jew­ellery de­sign­ers ex­per­i­ment with new and dif­fer­ent de­signs ev­ery wed­ding sea­son. Be­spoke is the flavour this sea­son, with brides want­ing to hand­pick and de­cide ev­ery piece of ac­ces­sory with their out­fit.

A new-kid-on-the-block, Ze­vadhi Jewels spe­cialises in be­spoke wed­ding jew­ellery of the Mogul and Vic­to­rian tra­di­tion. “From our pearls to our di­a­monds, from emer­alds and to our ru­bies, each de­sign is care­fully moulded by our skilled kari­gars to suit the needs of the new-age bride,” says Ko­mal Ashtekar, cre­ative head for Ze­vadhi Jewels.

“Kun­dan jew­ellery sig­ni­fies the re­gal lineage of north­ern In­dia as well as the western belt. Delhi's prox­im­ity to the land of an­cient Ma­hara­jas, Ra­jasthan, en­sures that kun­dan never goes out of vogue,” says Mira Gu­lati of Mi­rari, a high-end jew­ellery brand.

Tan­ishq, another lux­ury jew­ellery brand re­cently un­veiled its wed­ding jew­ellery col­lec­tion in­spired by the ge­o­met­ri­cal and fig­u­ral mo­tifs of

henna or mehendi which is con­sid­ered to be an aus­pi­cious el­e­ment of In­dian wed­ding. Re­vathi Kant, Gen­eral Man­ager, De­sign In­no­va­tion and New Prod­uct In­tro­duc­tion says, “Our aim is to de­sign wed­ding jew­ellery that is new age, yet tells a story of In­dia’s tra­di­tions. In­spired from elab­o­rate heena de­signs and fes­toon dec­o­ra­tions of In­dian wed­dings, this op­u­lent wed­ding col­lec­tion is crafted in 22 karat gold.”

Con­tact Ze­vadhi Jewels Tel 9899736983; ze­vad­hi­jew­els.com

VI­JAY TONK

RONICKA KAND­HARI

RONICKA KAND­HARI

(ABOVE) CHOODA CER­E­MONY (BE­LOW) BARATIS DANC­ING AWAY TO GLORY

RONICKA KAND­HARI

A WED­DING CAKE BY THE SWEET BOU­TIQUE

A BRIDE GIVES FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES TO HER MAKEUP

RONICKA KAND­HARI

EAR­RINGS FROM TAN­ISHQ’S LAT­EST WED­DING COL­LEC­TION

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