Marriages are occasions when co-habitation is formalized....And because there are 'risks' associated in the process, divine and social sanction is sought by ceremonies - particularly in the prajapatya system of marriage ( Manusmriti lists 8 types of marriages - and these are brahmana, daiva, arsha, prajapatya, asura, gandharva, rakshasa and pisaka ).
In the 'good' old days, there was a higher emphasis on divine sanction....and probably because, mobility was not great, marriages would happen in houses or in temples. Marriage ceremonies would go on for about a week and in some cases even 10 days. Close relatives from far and near would come stay over and the entire place would be brimming with activity....and somewhere down the line - along with divinity and social sanction ( read 'community' sanction) , 'commerce', also got in. And as times changed (for better or worse - depending on how one wants to look at it), marriage ceremonies moved from houses to 'marriage halls' - chatirams , the number of days shrunk to two - and the usual post-wedding reception has in the last several years become pre-wedding reception. The size of the hall and its address have now become symbols of wealth...weddings are fixed after blocking the hall. Ceremonies have been cut to the bare minimum....and the emphasis has moved more to blatant displays of wealth, political connections and what not....
All this is still fine. You can call them socio-economic-religio changes..
In the recent times - well - not exactly recent...ever since the video camera came in, there is a craze for recording the entire wedding rituals on the video. At one level I have always wondered if anybody would want to watch the video at all.....I mean , why will somebody want to see and re-live the memory of himself getting trapped ? Anyway, when you go to a wedding hall, you will see one or more video-graphers going around blinding your eyes with glaring light, freezing your picture in awkward positions and capturing all movements , from the time you enter to the time you have the feast. You don't even have the freedom of walking around - since there are so many cables running hither and tither that you will need to be really careful.
And things have become worse of late.
Well, one doesn't travel long distances just to eat the wedding feast...One goes to the wedding to shower some flowers and 'akshadai' on the boy and to pray that he gets divine help ( he needs a lot of it) for life thereafter.
And, when you go to the hall, you see a stage on which one can easily count more than a few dozen people - mainly women - the heavier ones in traditional heavy Kanchivarams and bedecked with heavy jewelry, and the not yet heavy ones, with heavy make up ,'fashion' jewelry and flowing sarees, several children of varying ages , and few gray haired or dyed men - all clamoring for space, for a view and of course a lot of attention. Somewhere between all these people, the camera men, the priest and his assistant(s), lamps, pots and a havan, you see the poor groom sweating it out in a silk shirt (that is usually used just once in a lifetime) - with an already tired but beaming face (with no clue of what he is getting into). And the 'final' moment comes, when the boy is to tie the knot (and ironically get tied down)...,when the nadhaswaram reaches a crescendo...and lo and behold you see nothing but posteriors of all camera men ( photo and video), everybody who thinks she/ he is a camera man and everybody else who has managed to fish out a smart or not so smart phone with a camera. ..Yes ..just all their posteriors ..nothing else... Senseless. You take some effort to go to the wedding - and get to see only people's posteriors. While somebody logs in to their fb account and sees the groom and the bride.
And so Ladies and Gentlemen ! If the boy/ girl is not your immediate 'இஷ்ட மித்ர பந்து ' attending weddings is a futile exercise ...see the pair's pictures on fb , pray to the Almighty to bless them and be done with it. You would have saved yourself a lot of time , effort and the embarrassment of having to see so many people's posteriors.