Rohit and Maithili, Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku was treated to its first 'Big Fat Indian Wedding' courtesy Maithili and Rohit.
As a grand toast to their new beginnings, Maithili and Rohit wanted to open the doors to an undiscovered location for their destination wedding. Their wedding planners, Chapter 2 Events rose to the occasion and zeroed in on Baku in Azerbaijan. We share highlights from this lavish celebration that set a few precedents of its own.
The wedding proposal only took three months to plan. Rohit roped in Maithili’s sister Gayatri and her brother-in-law Vallabh. He wrote Maithili a poem and they drove out on a desert safari in Dubai. Vallabh recited Rohit’s poem to Maithili and then she was instructed to turn around. There was Rohit, down on one knee, ring in hand.
The wedding planners, Chapter 2 Events, believe in bringing to the fore, untouched/virgin destinations for Indian weddings. Azerbaijan, they knew, had heartwarming hospitality and an exotic Asian-European culture. Baku, its capital, is a low-lying city along the Caspian Sea. The iconic Flame Towers, home to the Fairmont Hotel, provided the perfect venue for the wedding.
The Punjabi Welcome
It all kicked off at Baku’s popular Jazz Club at the Fairmont. There was an authentic Punjabi Welcome when the venue was transformed into a colorful Pind giving the guests a quintessential Punjabi vibe. There were dholwalas, pagdiwalas, a truck bar, quirky Punjabi signs and an amazing performance by Hari and Sukhmani (the family’s favorite duo). The event lasted till 4 a.m. and then moved to the 24-hour lounge for some more bubbly.
The day event was set in a Sufi Mehfil that integrated the Azeri Henna ceremony. Dressed in pink, the venue was replete with beautiful gifts for the guests; potlis, peacock feather fans, a variety of bangles and traditional juttis for all the ladies. The Bazaar was the real highlight of this function where local Azeri artists applied henna for the guests. The equally attractive mehfil set by the Pakistani Sufi artist, Shafqat Ali Khan, and his entourage was also a success.
This evening was all about the glamor and the guests brought it. ‘Save Water Drink Champagne’ was the motto of this wedding and there were a lot of surprises too; a Vogue photo booth, a ‘Glitter Bar’ and Bollywood sensation, Hardy Sandhu who took the party to the moon. Energetic performances went on into the wee hours of the morning. And the little details weren’t overlooked either. An extra luxury was the fleet of makeup artists doing touch-ups for guests all night, late night buffet for the party crowd that had the dance floor on fire till 5 a.m. and a 24-hour bar serving bubbly.
This day started with the spirited Baaratis joined by lively Azeri dancers and drummers who got into an exhilarating Jugalbandi with the Indian Dhol. It was a true spectacle, which made this wedding the most talked about event in Baku. The procession moved into the beautifully decorated Four Seasons Hotel, which was a class apart. A dreamy white and beige altar was integrated with the Indian mandap. The exciting affair turned into a royal, vintage ‘Vidaai’. Staying away from the traditional dolis, a vintage car had the couple’s hashtag rendered in beautiful flowers.
Finally, the couple decided to immerse their guests in the culture of the host country for ‘A Night in Baku’. Over 2000 kilos of real fruit were used to decorate the garden- themed event with erected trees featuring real branches and fresh fruit. The pre-function areas showcased traditional Azeri artists, from calligraphers to carpet weavers, and the stage events showcased thrilling Azeri performances. The guests were at the edge of their seats. The crowd kept the music going into the wee hours again for the fourth night in a row.
The Wedding Makers
Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Fairmont Baku-Flame Towers (Baku)
Wedding Planner: Chapter 2 Events
Bride’s Outfits: Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla (Punjabi Welcome and Sangeet), Sabyasachi (Mehndi and Reception), Tarun Tahiliani (Wedding)
Groom’s Outfits: Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla (Punjabi Welcome), Vavci (Sangeet and Wedding), Kachins (Reception)
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Shagun
Entertainment: Hardy Sandhu, DJ MK, Hari & Sukhmani
Photography and Videography: Imprint Studio Dubai