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Inside the lavish wedding between a WWE star and a tech billionaire – The Independent

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Tech billionaire Ankur Jain has married the former WWE wrestler Erika Hammond in an extravagant ceremony with the Great Pyramids of Egypt serving as backdrop.

With a seemingly unlimited wedding budget and after a lengthy back-and-forth on where they should hold the wedding – space reportedly being one of the suggestions – the couple settled on Egypt, and the prominent Egyptologist and Jain family friend Dr Zahi Hawass a officiator.

Jain, the 33-year-old founder and CEO of Bilt Rewards, said he met former WWE star Hammond, 32, while working out at Rumble Boxing, which Hammond is a founding member of along with being an instructor.

He told People magazine that the details of the wedding festivities didn’t matter as much to the couple of the draw of an exotic location.

“We’re New Yorkers and there’s something so special about being in a completely different world environment,” Jain said.

“So we decided, our wedding is about having a moment together to celebrate the new beginning, having a really special party with our friends somewhere where you’re in a different world.”

The couple decided to have no bridal party or a traditional wedding cake and left nearly all the planning to their wedding planners.

“I had no idea what the napkins looked like or what the table setting looked like,” Hammond said.

“We’re not traditional wedding people. Why do you have to spend $20,000 on flowers? It doesn’t make sense,” added Jain.

Ankur Jain and Erika Hammond’s wedding celebrations in Egypt (Ankur Jain/Instagram)

While the wedding festivities went by smoothly, the wedding party hit a snag before the welcome reception.

Jain and Hammond had organised a three-day safari, at a reported expense of £1,600 per night, for guests in South Africa, from where they were meant to fly to Cairo for the wedding. However, despite weeks of negotiation and planning, the charter flight they had booked was sent back because of a permit issue.

“We were gonna miss for sure at this point, the whole opening day,” Jain recalled.

“We were even worried about making the second day and you can imagine, we planned this for a year. Erika was in decent spirits… I was devastated.”

However, things worked out and everyone landed in Cairo—hours after the Modern Cairo-themed party was scheduled to start.

The party was held at the Muhammed Ali Palace in Cairo, with belly dancers, fire dancers, and a shoppable bazaar for guests.

“Everybody rallied when we were running late and our guests said, ‘Nope, we’ll push the party, we’ll stay up…. we’re going to keep the party going and you guys come when you land, and we’re going to celebrate together,’” Jain said.

“We partied until 5am having just the best opening night.”

Ankur Jain and Erika Hammond’s wedding celebrations in Egypt (Ankur Jain/Instagram)

The star-studded event was attended by a long list of celebrities, including Lance Bass and his husband, Michael Turchin, Robin Thicke and his wife, April Love Geary, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary and his wife, Linda, influencer Serena Kerrigan, several politicians and prominent businesspeople.

The day after the welcome reception, the couple arranged a private tour of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, one that included areas not generally open to the public. The night saw an Ancient Egypt x Met Gala themed dinner at the yet unopened Grand Egyptian Museum.

“We wanted the vibe to be kind of like the Met Gala’s Egypt section, but in the real Egyptian area, where you’ve got one of the largest statues of the Pharaoh Ramesses II in the middle of the hall,” said Jain.

Hammond described her wedding dress – a gold-embroidered gown designed by Indian designer Rahul Mishra.

Ankur Jain and Erika Hammond’s wedding celebrations in Egypt (Ankur Jain/Instagram)

“It was important to me to draw inspiration and celebrate my fiancé’s Indian culture, ancient Egyptian culture, and Western traditions,” she said.

“Since we weren’t doing an Indian wedding, I wanted a little bit of Indian inspiration, mixed with a Cleopatra feel”.

“[Rahul Mishra’s] designs are modernised Indian. So like the sari gowns.”

Jain described his wedding as being “crazier than we imagined”.

“We had the best time. It was so special. When the fireworks went off, it was one of the most spectacular moments. I was so emotional, I couldn’t even put it into words.”

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