When Bhavna and Hervin began planning their wedding, they knew it had to be a Four Seasons affair. They met during a mutual friend’s wedding at Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, and for themselves they selected Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. With family coming in from all over the world for the nuptials – the bride lived in the Caribbean, the groom in Casablanca, and many of their friends and family in India – “we chose Lisbon because it was a good halfway point for our guests,” Bhavna says. The couple honoured the destination and their shared heritage with an extravagant three-day celebration, culminating in a traditional Indian wedding ceremony and elegant reception.
The Scene: The pair wanted to create a unique sense of magic while incorporating elements from Western and Indian cultures. The staff at the Hotel gave each event its own special treatment – dramatic splashes of red, fuchsia and black for the welcome dinner, tropical orange and orchid for the women-only sangeet party. The mehndi ceremony, when henna designs are applied to the bride and groom, was playful and colourful in tones of lilac, pale pink and champagne. At the wedding ceremony, the traditional mandap canopy was draped in gold silk and a delicate, forest-like arrangement of leaves and red roses, with a stunning flower wall as a backdrop. For the reception, guests were dazzled by the Hotel ballroom, filled with pink and white hydrangeas and accented by touches of pink and gold throughout.
"I wanted to create a sense of magic and uniqueness," says, Jasmine Lazzari, founder of The Wedding Company and planner for the event. "There were two rooms that were being reused, so for each event I made sure the layout, colour palette and lighting were totally different."
Magical moment: The bride and groom had plans for their five-tier cake, which was covered in roses, hydrangea, freesia and green buds, and so tall – about 1.6 metres (5.2 feet) – that designer Julie Deffense needed a ladder to reach the top. Bhavna and Hervin arranged for it to be set in the centre of the dance floor, and they worked with a dance pro to choreograph their first twirl as man and wife around the cake table.
The food: Bhavna and Hervin wanted to incorporate traditional Indian dishes and the flavours of Lisbon into their wedding menu. And because many of their guests were vegetarian, they wanted to offer a variety of choices besides, of course, Lisbon’s bounty of fresh seafood. Four Seasons Lisbon flew in a chef from Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai to serve up authentic chaat (snacks of fried dough with spicy seasonings), idli sambar (vegetable or lentil stew with a savoury cake) and pakoras (fritters made with chickpea flour and vegetables). Special pakoras were made with peixinhos da horta (traditional Portuguese fried green beans), and piri-piri, a Portuguese chilli sauce, was placed on all dinner tables. For a sweet treat after the traditional mehndi ceremony, the couple served miniature chocolate cups filled with cherry-flavoured ginjinha, a traditional Portuguese liqueur. The couple also decided to serve a plated dinner during their reception, an elegant and unexpected variation on the buffets and family-style dinners that are more often a part of Indian weddings.
The cake: To accommodate vegan guests, Bhavna shared an egg-free recipe from her grandmother with the baker, so the vanilla sponge cake had a sweet, sentimental flavour. The other tiers were made with vanilla buttercream, raspberry jam and fresh raspberries, and the towering creation became a highlight of the couple’s reception – even for those who weren’t dancing around it.