Indian weddings

Ludhiana is India's capital of industry and boredom I'm here for a friend's wedding. She has spent the whole day having her hands and feet painted with henna ink as traditional decoration for the ceremony. There's to be no white worn—or white-coloured gifts given—at the wedding. In India, white is the colour of death as opposed to the colour of virgins. It's naturally assumed that the girl will be a virgin at marriage anyway.
Today is the engagement. I'm having a suit tailor-made for the occasion—all for the handsome sum of 65 pounds. But for the wedding I'll be wearing traditional Indian dress... male dress: a sherwani. I'm not sure how to pronounce it properly so I say Sharmani and everyone seems to know what I'm talking about—basically Armani with a 'Sh'.
The wedding will only be family and close friends, so only a small gathering of 900 people is expected. This is relatively small compared to weddings of 2,000+ guests. The bitch is that all the wedding invitations have to be handed out personally by the parents. Each wedding invite is a box of candy and a fancy card, which costs 3 pounds. The total projected cost of the wedding is in the neighbourhood of 18,000 pounds—and that's without the dowry, for which the bride's father is solely responsible. The dowry usually covers everything the couple needs to get their home up and running: furniture, electricals, clothing, white goods (preferably in another colour) and so on. It actually does sound more appealing to have a funeral.