Highlights from the Ambani-Merchant pre-wedding fest

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant are set to get married in July, but the party's already started.

Highlights from the Ambani-Merchant pre-wedding fest
Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Isha Piramal, Anand Piramal, Nita Ambani, Anant Ambani, Rihanna, Radhika Merchant, Shloka Mehta Ambani and Akash Ambani stand on the stage during pre-wedding celebrations of Anant and Radhika in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, March 1, 2024. Reliance Industries/Handout via REUTER

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant are set to get married in July, but the party's already started. And when it comes to weddings, Indians do it big. There's no shortage of reality shows showing off lavish Indian weddings, like Netflix's "The Big Day" or Amazon Prime's "Made in Heaven."

In case you don't know who this famous couple is – Ambani is a director at Reliance's new energy business and the Reliance Foundation, as well as one of the heirs to Mukesh Ambani's Indian business empire worth hundreds of billions. That makes him the son of Asia's richest man. Merchant is pretty high-profile herself, as the daughter of Viren Merchant and Shaila Merchant, who are the founders and owners of Encore Healthcare. So, in a culture of lavish weddings, it's no surprise that these two already made major headlines with their pre-wedding festivities. Yeah – we haven't even gotten to the actual wedding yet.

The couple kicked off the pre-wedding celebrations from March 1 to March 3, and it was like a who's-who of business moguls, tech giants and celebs. Aside from performances by Rihanna (in fact, her first full-length concert in eight years) and magician David Blaine, the over 1,000 guests invited included Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ivanka Trump, the king and queen of Bhutan and Bollywood celebs like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, among many other big names.

Ambani and Merchant initially bonded over their shared love for animals, so of course, a tour of Ambani's animal rescue, rehabilitation and conservation project was in order, with guests encouraged to wear animal print for day two's theme, "Walk on the Wild Side." There were plenty of luxurious perks for guests over the three-day gala like chartered flights, makeup and clothing teams and dozens of chefs preparing an unbelievable amount of specialty dishes. Before that, the whole thing kicked off with a traditional community feast, where they hosted tens of thousands of people from the neighboring villages of Gujarat's Jamnagar, the home of the Ambanis' massive estate.

A new Hindu temple complex is being built just for their upcoming wedding in July, which we're thinking is gonna be pretty fancy, too. It will be opened up to the public later.

If you think this is all over the top, it shouldn't come as a surprise. The family already made headlines in 2018 with the wedding of their daughter, Isha, which reportedly cost almost US$100 million and featured a performance from none other than Queen Bey herself – Beyoncé.