FLORENCE — Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma – India's most watched couple – sealed their relationship with a wedding in Florence, Italy, surrounded by close family and friends Dec. 11.
"Today we have promised each other to be bound in love forever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you," Kohli and Sharma posted on their social media accounts.
"This beautiful day will be made more special with the love and support of our family of fans and well-wishers. Thank you for being such an important part of our journey," the statement read.
The happy couple shared their wedding photographs on social media. In one image, they are seen laughing happily during the 'phera' ceremony, while in another, a smiling Sharma is seen holding the garland to place it on Kohli, who is held aloft by friends.
A string of congratulatory messages from the film and sports fraternity followed the official announcement. Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "Virat and Anushka, wishes and blessings on this most auspicious day in your lives. Happiness and togetherness ever," while the Board of Control for Cricket in India congratulated the couple and wished them "a very happy married life." Actor Riteish Deshmukh joked: "From now onwards Virat Kohli will happily be the vice captain at home... Hail the new captain Anushka Sharma," and Sachin Tendulkar said "Virushka look wonderful together."
The wedding was solemnized according to Hindu rituals at 2:00 p.m., with the bride and groom looking resplendent in ensembles by celebrated couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
Sharma wore a pale pink lehenga with renaissance embroidery in vintage English colors, embellished with a silver and gold metal thread, pearls and beads. The bridal jewelry – handcrafted with syndicate uncut diamonds, pale pink spinel and baroque Japanese cultured pearls – was by the Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry collection.
The groom was dashing in an ivory, raw-silk sherwani that featured hand-embroidery in a vintage Benarasi pattern, with an old rose silk kota safa.
"It was wonderful to work with the couple. From the House of Sabyasachi, we wish Anushka and Virat a very happy married life," Sabyasachi Mukherjee told IANS.
The couple, who has been together for four years, reportedly chose the luxury heritage resort Borgo Finocchieto, a little over 100 km away from Florence, for their nuptials. They appointed boutique wedding planning and production experts Shaadi Squad to ensure their celebrations were special and elegant.
A host of photographs and video clips from the gala, which was preceded by a mehndi and engagement ceremony, suggest the decor was minimalistic and sophisticated.
An Instagram post by Shaadi Squad reads: "Four months of keeping a secret, hiding even from our own team, the secret recces, midnight meetings, vague conversations, and sleepless nights have finally manifested into this grand moment."
Sharma and Kohli, both 29, set tongues wagging about their wedding when they were seen leaving the Mumbai and Delhi airports, respectively, with their family members last week. All of them maintained a stoic silence, keeping the secrecy about the much-anticipated union intact.
Kohli has been fairly open about how Sharma’s presence in his life has resulted in positive changes in his life, but the actress has preferred to keep her private life private. Rumors about their wedding gathered steam when Virat asked for rest during the ODI and T20Is against Sri Lanka. He will join the team for the South Africa series which starts Dec. 30.
But before then, the couple host a reception in New Delhi for their relatives on Dec. 21, followed by a reception for industry friends and cricketers in Mumbai Dec. 26.
They will be moving to their new residence in Worli, Mumbai in December once they return from Delhi.
The couple will then travel to South Africa where Kohli will start prepping for the upcoming series and Sharma will spend New Year's Eve with him, read a statement from the actress' representative. She will return the first week of January to begin the next schedule of Aanand L. Rai's film with Shah Rukh in Mumbai. She will also begin preparing for "Sui Dhaag," which begins shooting in February 2018. The film will also star Varun Dhawan.
That apart, the actress-producer will also be busy with the marketing and promotions of "Pari," which will release Feb. 9.
Sharma, the daughter of an army officer, was a model before she made inroads with "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" opposite Shah Rukh Khan in 2008. It set the pace for a career that has seen her in movies such as "Band Baaja Baaraat," "Jab Tak Hai Jaan," "PK," "NH10," "Dil Dhadakne Do," "Sultan" and "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil." Her most recent film, "Jab Harry Met Sejal," released earlier this year.
Kohli’s cricket career also started in 2008 on the senior team, after he led the U-19 team to a World Cup win. He has had a glorious run on the cricket pitch ever since.