Majorities of the Maher weddings are arranged by family and friends, very similar to that other Hindu arranged marriages around the world.
There are several stages in an arranging a marriage, firstly it is always the groom's parents or close relatives who seeks out a suitable bride to be and it's never the bride goes out looking for husband!
The average age for guy to get married is 21 and for a girl is 19, however these figures varies from region to region and depending upon individuals circumstances.
When the time comes, a member of the family or close friend would suggest few suitable brides to be, that would fit in with family, which is very important, as they would have live and work together for rest of their live. They would point out the girl(s), at wedding or at Navratri festival or at a mutual friends house.
If the guy likes the girl then the family would make approach by going to her house, accompanied by a mutual friend or relative, this is another chance for the guy to have a good look! And girls to see him maybe for the first time. After some tea/ coffee and general chitchat they eventually get to the point! The guy would have answer several question on all matter of live, although mainly about his work and education. Then the guy would have a chance to ask the girl (bride to be) anything question he feels needs answers to!
Both families concerned would then have several days to think about and do a thorough background research about each other's history. Whatever the outcome, then they would let the other family know by telling a mutual friend or relative, remember the answer is not always pleasant, if so then it's back to beginning and try again somewhere else!
If everything goes fine then another formal visit to the girl's house is arranged, this time accompanied by more relatives, usually the elders and the relationship is verbally confirmed.
Some time later, on an auspicious day, set by the priest (gor), both families meet again at the girl's house, only the close relatives and friends are invited for be rupia ceremony. In this ceremony be rupia (2 rupee coins) are handed to the girls father or guardian as a token that they have accepted their daughter as their daughter- in-law. Of course lots of good food and drink for everyone to enjoy.
Sagai - engagement
Sagai is held on another auspicious day, determine by the Brahmin priest. This is very special day (second to wedding day), quite a lot of family members and friends gather to officially announce the relationship.
Four or five men from each side of the family sit opposite each other and feed each other gor (caramel - sugar cane) - this is to symbolise that their new relationship will hopefully remain as sweet as gor.
After that the guy and the girl would sit on decorated armchairs in front of the rest the family members. They are given gifts, presents (money) and blessings, After some traditional Gujarati food and sweets, a dandia raas may take place or singers would sing popular Hindi songs.
Wedding is arranged on an auspicious day, (of course the hall booking has to be taken in consideration by the priest, this applies mainly to outside India!). Once the date and the venue are confirmed, invitation cards (Kankotris) are sent out to all the relatives and friends.
The wedding mainly consists of three days, firstly the Sanji, second Ganesh puja and Mandap ropan (at the groom's house) and Mehndi at the bride's place.