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Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant: Who is the family behind the most lavish wedding ever?

All eyes were on one of India’s richest couples this weekend, as they brought Rihanna out of retirement for a performance at their pre-wedding celebration.

Anant Ambani, 28, and Radhika Merchant, 29, hosted more than a thousand guests at a three-day party in Jamnagar in Gujarat, India, as they celebrated their upcoming nuptials.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Ivanka Trump were among the high-profile guests in attendance, while Rihanna was reportedly paid $5m (£3.94m) to perform.

So who are Anant and Radhika, and what do we know about their dream wedding plans?

Anant Ambani, the son of India’s richest man

From L to R, billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, son Anant and wife Nita, posing for a photograph as guests gather to celebrate the wedding (Reliance Group via AP)
From L to R, billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, son Anant and wife Nita, posing for a photograph as guests gather to celebrate the wedding (Reliance Group via AP)

Anant Ambani is the son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, 66, who has a net worth of $117.8bn (£92bn), making him the richest man in India and the ninth richest man in the world.

Mukesh inherited the company from his father, Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded the company in 1966. Dhirubhai died in 2002.

Anant and his siblings Akash and Isha are involved in the family business and joined the board in August 2023, with Anant heading Reliance Industries’ energy businesses.

Forbes reports that the company is set to invest $80bn (£63bn) in renewable energy over the next three years.

The family live at Antilia, in Mumbai, which is considered to be the second most expensive private residence in the world (after Buckingham Palace). Reportedly costing around $2bn (£1.6bn) to build, it has a whopping 27 floors, room for 168 cars, and is serviced by 600 members of staff.

Radhika Merchant, the daughter of pharmaceutical tycoons

 (Niharika Kulkarni / Reuters)
(Niharika Kulkarni / Reuters)

Radhika Merchant is a businesswoman and daughter of Viren and Shaila Merchant, founders of pharmaceutical company Encore Healthcare.

Though not quite as rich as her soon-to-be in-laws, her father reportedly has a net worth of approximately £70m.

Radhika graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from New York University in 2017 and is a trained classical dancer.

Forbes reports that Radhika serves on Encore Healthcare’s board, alongside her sister, Anjali.

From childhood sweethearts to a dream wedding

The Ambani family at Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s wedding (Sunil Verma / AP)
The Ambani family at Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s wedding (Sunil Verma / AP)

Anant and Radhika are reportedly childhood sweethearts, or at least family friends. Radhika attended several Ambani family occasions in recent years, including Anant’s siblings’ weddings.

In 2018, the couple attended Nick Jonas’s wedding to Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Anant reportedly proposed to Radhika in 2022, and they formally got engaged during a ceremony in January 2023. They are set to wed on July 12.

Lavish weddings with celebrity performances

Rihanna performed at the pre-wedding celebration (Evening Standard)
Rihanna performed at the pre-wedding celebration (Evening Standard)

The Ambani family is no stranger to lavish weddings – and celebrity performances seem to be a given.

In December 2018, Anant’s sister Isha married billionaire Ajay Piramal's son, Anand Piramal, and their wedding featured a performance by pop icon Beyoncé. Isha’s wedding reportedly cost around $15m (£12m), though some reports speculated that it cost as much as $100m (£79m).

Then, in 2019, Anant’s brother Akash married Shloka Mehta, with British band Coldplay performing at their wedding.

Not to be outdone by his older siblings, Anant had Rihanna perform at his pre-wedding celebrations, as well as Lonely singer Akon, and illusionist David Blaine.

If these major stars performed at the pre-wedding party, we can’t wait to see who will perform at the ceremony itself…