Could this be SA’s most expensive wedding ever?
All-night partying, international celebrity chefs and the exclusive use of the country’s top resort.
It’s not an awards ceremony, its the wedding of a Gupta daughter.
For four days, starting on April 30, the family, which owns Sahara Computers, The New Age newspaper, and Oakbay Investments, are taking over Sun City’s luxurious Palace of the Lost City, the Superbowl, and the Valley of Waves.
The bride, Vega (23), is the daughter of the Gupta brothers’ sister, Achla. She will marry 24-year-old Aakash Jahajgarhia in the seven-ceremony event, which will start at Sun City and continue in India.
Wedding spokesperson Haranath Ghosh said: “The wedding is planned to be a grand one, since it’s the first marriage of the next generation of the Gupta family. Vega’s father, Anil Kumar Gupta, a leading businessman in India, is determined to give his only daughter the best wedding a proud father can afford.”
The family, who count President Jacob Zuma and members of his Cabinet as personal friends, say the wedding was “planned to be one of the biggest ceremonies South Africa has witnessed”.
A source inside the planning of the nuptials said the guests were arriving next Monday and checking out on Friday, after a reception held at the Superbowl on Thursday evening.
The Guptas have booked out the entire five-star Palace of the Lost City, where each of the 338 rooms costs R5?500 a night. There are four presidential suites, which cost between R35?000 and R55?000 a night.
This means accommodation alone could cost in the region of R10?million.
One of the boardrooms in the Palace – the Royal Chamber – will be used as a bar and will be open around the clock.
More partying will be done at the resort’s nightclub, Silhouette.
The source said the Guptas were bringing in their own interior designers to give the Palace even more “bling”.
And, as the Palace will not be able to accommodate all the guests, the family has reserved rooms in other Sun City hotels as well.
They have also booked out the entire Vacation Club, the resort’s time-share section, for about 200 staff flying in from India. And the flowers are also being imported, said the source.
They have also booked out the Valley of the Waves, which reportedly rakes in R480?000 a day, for the four-day bash.
Ghosh did not reveal the guest list, saying the family had sent out 350 invitations and “responses were coming in from around the world”.
But the Saturday Star reported yesterday that they included Bollywood singers and actors Anil Kapoor and Shankar Mahadevan.
Ghosh said the wedding was no different to other Indian weddings “involving people of similar status”.
“Weddings of this kind are normally conducted as destination weddings, using countries such as Singapore, Mauritius or Malaysia,” he said.
When asked about the cost, he said: “We can confirm that this is a multimillion-rand event, in which each and every member of even distant families will be participating.”
Ghosh said Vega and Aakash’s marriage had been arranged by their families in accordance with Hindu tradition, and their compatibility was assessed by using their horoscopes.
Their horoscopes were also used to determine their wedding date.
“The couple first met at the Taj Hotel in Delhi with their families. We are very happy they have found joy in the union and are both very excited about the wedding and their future together,” he said.
Ghosh said Vega’s father will be hosting a number of “community initiatives” around the event to “ensure some underprivileged people get to join in and be part of the celebrations”.
These include an art competition for 15?000 children from 75 local schools, with the first prize of R10?000 going to the one who comes up with the best card to congratulate the young couple.
Sports kits of goal posts, soccer and netballs, and other equipment, totalling R750?000, will be donated to schools.
“To spread more happiness around the marriage, a few hundred local people will be provided with lunch,” added Ghosh.