(Venice, Italy) Vinita Agarwal, daughter of billionaire Pramod Agarwal, married Muqit Teja on the island of San Clemente on Saturday night, May 14, 2011 in what one man called, "The Wedding of the Century."
The century is still young, so time will tell, but the Wedding of Vinita and Muqit will certainly rank up there at the top. It was a spectacular evening, blending Indian and Venetian cultures into something vibrant, colorful and unique. Ancient tradition and contemporary pizzazz created an exotic bridge from the past to the future, the East to the West, with dignity, glamour and joy. It was a great honor to attend such a singular event, which was the culmination of a three-day extravaganza -- it had also featured performances by Shakira herself and the Gotan Project.
|Shakira (from Faded Youth blog)|
|Cat Bauer on boat|
San Clemente Palace, the majestic hotel and luxury resort where the wedding was held, is on its own private island in the Venetian lagoon. I remember the setting from years ago when the hotel first opened, but I hadn't been there for a long time. It had utterly transformed. It was wonderful to see it again on such a glorious occasion -- perhaps it will become renown as the Wonderful Wedding Island:). Torches lit the long red carpet walkway from the boat dock to the entrance of the garden, which was now a whimsical wonderland with golden elephants, peacocks and lions, flaming torches, and flowers, flowers, flowers, orchids and roses tumbling everywhere. An enormous cascade of yellow orchids formed a blessed chandelier over the heads of the wedding party, as you can see in the top photo.
The ceremony was a long celebration of life, filled with symbolism and rituals; a sacred fire burned in the center of the temple, specially created for the occasion with candles, pillows, flowers, and fabrics. When Vinita and Muqit looked at each other there was genuine love in their eyes, always with a dash of humor. Guests dressed in silk turbans and saris sat on elegant cushions, surrounding the family with love and support. The ceremony was Hindu with, I was told, a touch of the Koran; I don't know enough about either religion to understand the significance, but my feeling as an observer was that two people were taking sacred vows based on genuine love and mutual respect, not only for themselves, but for those around them.
After the ceremony, everyone tossed baskets of rose petals on the newlyweds, then wandered into an enormous space decorated with Murano glass chandeliers, overhead baskets tumbling with orchids and roses, faux art, sofas, chairs, and bars brimming with wine and cocktails.
When I left the wedding around two or three in the morning, everything was still going strong, a crowd out on the dance floor, and people scattered on the sofas and chairs. I took a red rose and a pink rose and a handful of petals, just like Zuzu's, to remember where I had been, went to the boat stop, got in the taxi, and zoomed across the lagoon, back to my reality... which is Venice.
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
Vinita and Muqit wrote a letter of thanks that was published in the local paper, Il Gazzettino, which I will share with you here:
"We want to take this opportunity to express our joy. We are excited about this past week in Venice and are deeply touched by the interest shown by the city for our marriage. After visiting a number of occasions in recent years, to marry in Venice has always been our dream, and it was during a trip to the Biennale last year that we visited some of the spaces then chosen for our wedding, including the School Grande della Misericordia, Tese Arsenale and San Clemente Palace. It was a real honor to be able to use these buildings that are so majestic and historically important. The whole city, in all its aspects, has been a great source of inspiration, and it was great fun to bring you here a bit of our India, creating a unique blend of Indo-Italian elements. "
"We will hold forever in our heart the memories of the days that the special magic and beauty of Venice made even more memorable. We thank the city and all those who contributed to this important moment of our lives with their support and their warm hospitality."
"In particular, we want to thank the people who made this marriage possible: Riccardo Lanza and Lanza & Baucina for the organization; the designers Matteo Corvino of the Misericordia e l’Arsenale and Sumant Jayakrishnan of the San Clemente Palace; Seventy EMG; Franco Dragone Entertainment; Guido Cerasuolo and Mestiere Cinema; Le Calandre, Federico Salza, Marut Sikka and Ritu Dalmia for the catering, Eric Chauvin and Munaretto for the flowers; Emanuela Semiani; Antonia Sautter for the costumes and finally Mircosanti and Blue Moon Travels for the critical support."