Sonaakshi Raaj and Nikhil Merani
Ace designer Sonaakshi Raaj tied a knot with her long-time lover Nikhil Merani in a grand wedding in Hua Hin.
Bollywood’s sought after designer, Sonaakshi Raaj got married to her long-time beau, Nikhil Merani, a restaurateur who runs a popular salad bar, an Asian eatery and a European-style café in Juhu, in a grand wedding in Hua Hin, Thailand. WeddingSutra Favourites – Krayonz Entertainment thoughtfully executed this highly anticipated wedding with their impeccable taste in design, and Isrrani Photography made every shot of their beach wedding look picture-perfect, and Puneet Gupta Invitations, keeping in mind a beach venue for their destination wedding, went in with a watercolour invite with botanical and nautical cascades.
Sonaakshi and Nikhil are family friends. Since their families would often get together for dinners, the duo started meeting regularly. Eventually, they became very close friends and realised they are smitten by love. On their mini getaway to Maldives, Nikhil popped the question by the beach with a romantic proposal. They both shared the happy news with their families and made their relationship official.
The star couple kick-started their wedding celebrations with a star-studded cocktail night at Estella, Mumbai. Kriti Kharbanda, Sajid Khan, Raveena Tandon, Nushrat Bharucha, Sophie Choudry and Karan Wahi amongst others were present to grace the evening and celebrate along with the to-be-weds. Sonaakshi’s custom-made oxblood gown, from her label, stole the limelight. She finished her look by wearing shiny diamond earrings from Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery. Nikhil gave her a tough competition in a luxe, navy blue tuxedo. Staying true to the theme of the night, glitz and glamour, the invitees, friends and family enchanted everyone with mind-boggling performances.
The ace designer held three private functions in Thailand, where only her close family and friends were present. The first one was mata ki chowki to start the celebrations with the blessing of God. Sonaakshi wore a beautiful sage green gharara which her dear friend and supremely talented designer, Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, sent from across the border. Nikhil too colour-coordinated with his lady love by wearing a sage green kurta. The second function was the bridal mehndi where the bride-to-be was dressed in a bright yellow crop top and skirt. The third event was the dhol function which was a night full of dancing. The bride picked a pastel green gharara by Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, and the groom picked a red and black kurta.
The couple hosted a grand mehndi function in Avani+ Hua Hin Resort, by the pool. Sonaakshi entered walking hand-in-hand with Nikhil wearing a mint polychrome fruity palette lehenga with off shoulder tassel from her label. Nikhil complimented her by wearing a pastel yellow kurta and jacket set. Their mehndi function was all about sorbet hues of love laughter and celebrations. Matching with the colourful floral decor and purple drapes, Sonaakshi kept her hair open and added sprigs of colourful baby’s breath to her dreamy curls. The entrance of the function was an ode to the talented designer. They put a mannequin and decorated it with flowers and greens that resembled a gown.
Their sangeet night was magical and dreamy. From Wa(l)ter Drums visually stunning performance to their guests fab dance moves, their sangeet was nothing less than a grand affair. The couple graced the occasion by performing to a romantic song. Later they cut a massive five-tiered cake before calling it a night. They went for a contemporary look by wearing a grey lehenga and a bandhgala.
Sonaakshi’s chooda ceremony was held early in the morning where she was seen wearing a red kurta with yellow dhoti pants. She later changed into a yellow ensemble that she styled with blue, floral jewellery for her haldi function.
For their pheras, the couple was surrounded by the lush green foliage and emerald waters that added to the charm of their wedding at the golden hour. The stunning bride made a jaw-dropping entrance in a powder pink lehenga while the groom opted for a beige sherwani and a pink, floral print safa. Talking about the bridal lehenga, Sonaakshi shares, “Floating clouds over endless sea has always been my dream wedding’s perfect backdrop. As an evening wear designer, my core designer philosophy has always been about sensual glamour. So designing my own wedding lehenga was super thrilling. I wanted to infuse my signature glamazon take into this conventional bridal lehenga.There is something ethereal, pristine and regal about our national flower, the lotus. For the main ceremony, we decided on Thailand and what’s more tropical than the poetry of our majestic water lilies. Lotus also reminds me of the Goddess Lakshmi, resting regally in a pond floating with gigantic lotuses. So, I tried to translate this poetic grace using delicate mix of intricate Embroideries using floral thread work, baroque zari and dash of my favourite crystals. It was truly a memorable and extremely overwhelming journey to translate my dream lehenga from sketch into this reality. It perfectly complements and sums me as the bride I always wanted to be – Regal, enchanting & elegant.”
The finale to their grand wedding was their reception. The couple after all the dancing on the stage at previous functions took a step back and gave way to the reputed singer, Akhil Sachdeva who made the guests sway to his melodious songs. The newlyweds looked stunning in a champagne coloured lehenga with an attached net trail by Shantanu and Nikhil and a tuxedo.
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Estella, Mumbai (Cocktail), Avani+ Hua Hin Resorts and Villas, Thailand (Wedding)
Wedding Planner: Krayonz Entertainment
Digital Communication: Puneet Gupta Invitations
Decor: Pavarit & Co.
Bride’s Outfits: Mohsin Naveed Ranjha (Mata ki chowki, Dhol), Sonaakshi Raaj (Mehndi, Sangee, Wedding), Shantanu and Nikhil (Reception)
Jewellery: Floral Art By Srishti (Floral Jewellery, Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery (Cocktail)
Makeup Artist: Shradha Luthra (Mata ki chowki), ShaanMu
Hairstylist: Darshana Koli (Mata ki chowki), ShaanMu
Mehndi: Bridal Mehndi Artist Jyoti
Event Host / Emcee: Kubbra Sait
DJ: DJ Taher
Choreography: Cheena Dasani
Bartenders: Binny Dhadwal (Drinq)
Invitations: Puneet Gupta Invitations
Photography: Isrrani Photography