Having a bridal wardrobe teeming with custom looks by Indian couturier Tarun Tahiliani is a dream for any missus to-be. Not only was Ananya Bhandare able to check this box, but an added twist made her wardrobe doubly precious for her — she said ‘I do’ in TT to exchange vows with the designer’s son, Jahan Tahiliani. “It really was the dream bridal experience, made extra special as I got to plan it with my father-in-law, who was super excited about the process too,” reveals the bride. “The best part was that he did not have any expectations for what I should wear. He encouraged me — as he does all his brides — to be myself, rather than fit into a mould.” The designer reiterates this mindset. “I wanted both Jahan and Ananya to wear exactly what they were comfortable in. The wardrobe had to be an expression of their individuality. They had fun in what they wore — that was the idea,” he tells Vogue.
But before the wedding, comes the meet-cute. How did this couple meet? They first crossed paths at their childhood friends’ wedding, and went out on their first date two months later. “We have been together since that one night in June 2019,” says the groom, who is the founder of Tahiliani Homes, co-founder of online retail management tool Fabtrack, and a promoter at IT company Helios Next. He proposed to Bhandare — a health coach and founder of healthy snack company Jungly Delights — in October last year. The couple said yes to an intimate wedding in the bride’s home this February, followed by celebrations with their extended circles the following month. “We let our parents and siblings do all the planning. We were really just in-charge of enjoying our celebrations, which is all we wanted in the first place,” smiles the bride. “Both our fathers take great pride in planning their parties, and love to host. They were most excited to plan the wedding. Our mothers are more practical, and made sure all important bases were covered,” adds Jahan.
For the daytime spring wedding in Bhandare’s backyard, the theme was the ancient art form of Pichwai, enhanced with pastel and personalized touches. “I wanted the whole experience to be really sensory. So we had an abundance of fragrant white flowers,” explains the bride. The music was carefully curated too — Indian classical for the ceremony and retro hits for the celebrations after. “I walked in to ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles,” she adds. The food, helmed by the bride’s aunt Sonali Asgaokar, was a melting pot of the various cultures that make up the lineage of the two families. Think delicacies from Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Sindh.
In keeping with the pastel theme, the couple were both dressed in ivory. The bride wore the ‘Pichwai’ lehenga from Tarun’s atelier that featured tulle draping and a veil decked in crystals and pearls. “I was originally to wear a draped sari, but I didn’t feel like myself in it. I changed to this lehenga just five days before the wedding, and it ended up being my favorite look from my bridal wardrobe!” she tells us. The groom complemented her in an ivory chikan kurta set, also made by his father.
A month later, the newlyweds extended the festivities with a mehendi, sangeet-cocktail and reception. The celebrations were spread across the homes of the groom and their family friends. “We chose to have all our functions at homes (either ours or close friends’) as it feltmore intimate and personal,” adds Jahan. The color-drenched mehendi was high on nostalgia; with elements like a sketch artist, magician retro music, and cult culinary favorites like hot chocolate fudge from Nirula’s, popsicles and club Chinese food adding to the throwback charm. The cocktail was an “epic night”, orchestrated by Tarun himself, who was also simultaneously prepping for a runway presentation at fashion week the next day! “It was fantastical with a gigantic Pegasus hanging above the bar, kathakali dancers on the dance floor, and a four-sided bar. We got a glimpse into the wildly creative mind of TT,” says the bride. The reception was an elegant affair celebrating the couple, rather than “designed to please just the guests,” the bride says. Live band Frankie’s belted out the duo’s favourite tunes, and the feast comprised of their go-to cuisine, Italian.
While the planning was kept in the family; Varun Tuli and Ritu Dalmia were roped in for the food, and DJ Praket for the music. Adil Akhtar, Jasmeet Kapany, Azad Khan and Shahbaj Khan were in-charge of the bridal glam. The invites featured a floral motif made at the TT studio, which was also used on the stationery sets handed out as mehendi favours. “As for the wardrobe, the aesthetic was meant to be fun, Indian and colourful for the mehendi and sangeet-cocktail. The reception was all about streamlined elegance in a beautiful canopy surrounded by a magical forest. Ananya even wore a western gown for one of the events, exactly as it should be,” says Tarun.
The fashion-loving bride wanted to wear red for one of her events, but not the wedding day. So she gave into the hue for the mehendi, in a traditional red zari lehenga offset with a modern and fluid draped blouse, complemented with heirloom jewellery passed down by her maternal grandmother. Jahan wore a contrasting blue kurta set for the occasion.
The cocktail called for a white chiffon halter gown by Elie Saab, paired with a maang tikka, hasli, arm band, bracelet and gold earrings for fusion look. “I threw the jewellery together last minute, and it was a mix of pieces gifted to me by my parents and in-laws.” The couple closed the celebrations dressed in complementing TT looks: She went with the ‘Bloom’ lehenga — first worn with a veil, and then with a cape as the night progressed — and he was in a mint green sherwani. “Jahan is not very fussy when it comes to his clothes. He didn’t have any pre-conceived notions of what he wanted to wear, so he just picked outfits that would complement mine,” signs off the bride.
Below, take a closer look at the best moments from Ananya Bhandare and Jahan Tahiliani’s wedding.
Photo: Cory Goldberg
Originally published in Vogue.in