Think. Think about it with an open mind.
How did Marriage start? Let's keep our scriptures aside. Let's leave all the knowledge that we have about our culture and traditions. What possible cause there is for two persons to let everybody and the government know, that they are getting married? How did this all come to be organized into a structure?
Since the fact that we did not come into a ready-made world that has everything in it, has been proven by science, let's look at something which is not a scientific discovery. Let's look at marriage the same way we look at a scientific discovery. Let us analyze marriage, think of how it could have started and how it came to be the way it is now. Let's look at it in an out of the box way.
In the beginning, Somewhere in a jungle
There was a man, and a woman and as always there will be, in a story, a guy who we name villain. The man and the woman liked each other and wanted to live together forever. But the villain liked the woman too. So he raised a question, why can't I be the one to stay with her? There were adults around, people who can think and make decisions and they said that it's the woman's dad's choice. And the dad chose the woman's choice. And then it was decided that two of them can stay together.
After some days a man of the same clan came across the woman, saw that she was beautiful and wanted to be with her. He started giving her gifts or whatever the hunted items to earn her approval. The woman, innocent of his intentions accepted his gifts. The man gathered his courage one time and asked her if he can be with her. She got confused and said that she is already with somebody else. The man approached the elders and questioned the same and they replied the same. The man told them that if he had aware of this earlier he wouldn't have wasted his time with her.
The elders thought of it a lot and came to the conclusion that every Father who gives his daughter to someone should call the whole clan and give her to him, in front of everybody, so that something like this never happens again. And people never gather together without some sort of benefit. So they provided snacks.
And thus started the practice called marriage.
In another scenario, Somewhere in a village
This woman who was married to somebody was at the river fetching water. A guy from nearby saw her, fell in love and approached her father. Also, another guy who saw her at the market approached him. And another guy who saw her in some place else approached him to ask her hand. The Father was annoyed by these approaches and decided that she should have something that tells people that she is married, something which separates her from the unmarried, something that can be seen by everybody. So he told this idea to the village elders and they all thought it was great.
And the next time some woman got married, they gave him a thread with some precious stone to give her and instructed her that she should be wearing that all the time so that no one approaches her in future.
And thus started the practice of wearing a chain or the wedding ring etc.
Moving forward in Time, Somewhere in a society
There were a man and a woman who got married in the presence of loved ones and every other person they knew in town. They started to live together happily. They had their first of many fights in few months and after two years the man sent the woman back home unable to bear with her. And the woman had nowhere to go. She went back home crying with the kids. By this time, the system was a little more organized and there were people who solved the law and order problems.
They questioned the man and he denied every responsibility of her or the kids. There was a discussion among the elders and finally, they came up with the decision that this man can stay separated if he wants but he has to provide for the woman and the children because the woman cannot provide for herself or the kids (Women weren't sent to school back then, Remember?).
They were also afraid that this might not be the first case they will encounter and the judgement might encourage the other men of the village to leave their Women and Kids, so they put a new law that every man who gets married must get registered with the law and if ever he decides to leave them he should provide for them for the rest of his life.
Thus started the concept of Certification and divorce and settlement.
As Generations passed
There were people who were still animals and did not care about the law or the elders. They couldn't be controlled. So the priests who were thought to hold the wisdom of God instigated the fear and raised this concept of marriage as a holy one, and this has let the animal people control themselves because of the fear of God.
Rituals were built around it making it more and more sacred as the generations passed. As religion overtook, so did the concepts like this, associated with the word of God overtook the minds of people not letting them think otherwise.
So now we are here, at a position where we think marriage is the ultimate goal of life and we prepare ourselves and our kids for it right from the start of their schooling. Our whole lives are built around this concept and the rituals became more and more important such that it became a prestigious issue. It has become very important that a person should spend a lot on marriage despite the fact that his financial status doesn't allow that. In some places, it is expected of him, in some places people take it as a measure of pride and some people just show off.
The base of the marriage
Which we forgot like we did with everything, is two who love each other, deciding to live together. That's all it is. It can be done without signing papers and without telling everybody.
But since the animals out there are misusing this to have their fun, it became necessary to keep it organized and make it sacred.
Now that we know what marriages are, I want to ask the question...
Why is it necessary that a wedding has to be big?
It made sense when we were in small villages and the entire village knew each other. Now the times have changed. It is not necessary for every person you came across in your entire life to know that you are getting married. The unnatural sacredness and the importance, we give to marriage has led us to a place where it became necessary for marriages to be a big celebration.
For people who can afford it, it's understandable. But it doesn't make any sense for a middle-class person who saves his entire life just for his daughter's wedding. It doesn't make any sense for him to call out every single person he knew and show off. It doesn't make any sense for him to get a debt just for the sake of a ritual which can be celebrated with the few loved ones.
Also it makes it a lot awkward when the couple need a divorce.
Why is it necessary for the Father to bear the entire cost of the Wedding?
It was right when women were uneducated. It looked good when father saved a lot by the time son got a job. It made sense when father made a lot of money and he wants to bear the wedding costs. But, why is it still expected of him? Why are we still following the ancient tradition of Father bearing the burden of everything?
Times have changed. We are a generation where Both, Men and Women are working and are perfectly capable of bearing the cost of the wedding by themselves. Then why are we still depending on our parents for the finances? Why are we looking at them like it's their job? Why is the pressure still on the parents?
It's YOUR Wedding.
They paid for everything right from the time of your birth to the time you got your first salary. They never ask us to pay back. Doesn't it make sense to take our burden off their shoulders and put it on ourselves? Isn't it sensible to just let them enjoy their lives savings at the time of their retirement? Isn't it sensible for you to pay for YOUR wedding which is the biggest celebration of YOUR life?
It is not necessary for the wedding to be big. It is not necessary for everyone to know. It is not necessary that you should spend a lot. All that matters is, you are starting a new life with the one person that you love. Think about it.