Girls today are sometimes married at the age of 25 or 30, far beyond the limit fixed by the law. The inability to raise the money required for the wedding is one reason for this. All the ostentation at weddings, dowry and other gifts given to the groom's people have no sanction in the sastras. To demand a suit for the groom or a pair of boots, an expensive wrist-watch or other luxury articles is nothing but extortion. It is as good as milking the bride's party dry. This kind of plunder is not approved by the sastras. So too the procession called "janavasam", with all its glitter, taken out on the eve of the wedding as though it were an essential part of the ceremonies.
In the past, when the bride and groom were very young, the wedding included functions to keep the couple in good cheer since they would perhaps have felt uncomfortable before the smoke of the sacred fire. There were elements of play like nalangu and also the procession.
"Kanyam Kanaka-sampannam" (the bride adorned with gold): these words occur in the sastras relating to the marriage rites. Gold symbolises the grace of Laksmi but a mangalasutra with a grain of gold as part of it is enough. There is no need for other types of expensive jewellery, diamond studs, and so on. No silks are required. A cotton sari will serve the purpose of the kurapudavai. Above all the custom of dowry must be scrapped. There is also no justification on holding a lavish wedding dinner for the whole neighbourhood. Nor is a music or dance recital needed. A big pandal too is not necessary.
For a general background, please see here