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Wedding Essentials

Palatial wedding

A wedding designer flew in from India to plan an event with a royal theme
The Straits Times - January 30, 2012
By: Huang Huifen
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Palatial wedding The 650kg custom-made pavilion was flown in from India. -- ST PHOTOS: NURIA LING

Last Saturday night, the Grand Ballroom at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore was transformed into a stately Indian palace out of the Mughal era.

The 1,045 sq m space, its foyer and outdoor area were decked out in soaring golden arches, and more than 3,000m of fabric in a rich palette of emerald green, red, cream and gold.

Strips of velvet, silk and organza fabrics with elaborate embroidery and Swarovski crystals hung from walls, while tables were draped with a mixture of sequinned ivory georgette cloth and gold and silver lame fabric designed by renowned Indian fashion designer Rohit Bal.

Taking centrestage in the ballroom was a gold-painted fibre-glass pavilion called a mandap, with ornate carvings of mythological figures on its thick pillars, designed to emulate the temple carvings found in south India. The 650kg structure was flown in from India.

The occasion for this grand show of lavishness: the nuptials of freelance journalist Ruchika Tulshyan, 24, and Mr Paras Malhotra, 27, a senior consultant in an audit firm in the United States.

Ms Tulshyan is the daughter of Mr Rakesh Tulshyan, 53, owner of the Tulshyan Group, which has a few companies in the shipping and real estate businesses. One of his companies, Wirana Shipping, which sells scrap metal from old vessels, holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest ship broken up for scrap. It bought the 74,400-tonne French supertanker Sea Giant for US$17.6 million in 2003.

He also owns several hotels and properties under big name chains such as Westin, Pullman and Hyatt in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

More than 500 guests attended the wedding, including former president S R Nathan and DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta.

Mr Tulshyan hired well- known Indian wedding designer Vandana Mohan (right) to plan the wedding, which cost a six-figure sum.

Her past clients include celebrities Katy Perry and Russell Brand, who married in 2010 at the luxurious Aman- i-Khas resort in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, American hotelier Vikram Chatwal, and Indian actress Rinke Khanna, daughter of Bollywood celebrities Dimple Kapadia and Rajesh Khanna.

Speaking to Life! before the wedding, Ms Mohan, 49, says that she was tasked with creating a royal-themed wedding that was 'very traditional, Indian, festive and fit for a princess'.

But last Saturday's wedding, which rounded off three days of festivities, is not the most lavish that she has put together. She recently planned a 2,000- guest wedding for the daughter of the prominent Jindal family in New Delhi. The family manages the OP Jindal group, a US$15-billion (S$19-billion) Indian conglomerate in the steel and energy business.

That wedding consisted of five events, one of which was the sangeet ceremony, the equivalent of a hen party filled with song and dance. For that, Ms Mohan had to bring in a massive number of flowers, all in the same buttery yellow shade, from eight countries. The mandap for the wedding was made of pure silver.

For the closely guarded wedding of the now separated Perry and Brand, Ms Mohan planned an intimate party for 80 guests, who were entertained with traditional Indian dances and folk music.

Ms Mohan, who helped to dress Perry in a sari for the wedding, says that working with celebrity clients is not as stressful as keeping the paparazzi away.

For Perry's wedding, the hotel watchmen went round shaking the trees near the resort to get rid of any photographers who might be hiding in them. A photographer actually fell out of one tree.

Given the scale of the weddings she has put together, her services do not come cheap. She charges from $30,000 for a wedding and is known to be one of the more expensive wedding planners in the Indian market.

In spite of the lavish parties she plans for clients, she would like her children to have more intimate and subdued weddings when they eventually settle down. She is married to a 54-year-old real estate businessman and they have a daughter, 17, and a son, 25.

She says: 'Sometimes, Indian weddings can get out of hand. I would rather my children have an intimate wedding in a temple and a rocking party after that.'



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