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Where specific alliances were socially preferred, often an informal right of first refusal was presumed to exist.For instance, marriages between cousins is permissible in Islam (though not in most Hindu communities), and the girl's mother's sister (or khala) was considered to have the first right (pehla haq) to "claim" the girl as for her son (the khalazad bhai).Sometimes the father of the bride would arrange for a competition among the suitors, such as a feat of strength, to help in the selection process.Another variant was the Gandharva marriage, which involved simple mutual consent between a man and a woman based on mutual attraction and no rituals or witnesses.500BC), the social ideas advanced by Manu gained prominence, and large sections of Indian society moved towards patriarchy and caste-based rules.Manu and others attacked the Gandharva and other similar systems, decrying them as holdouts "from the time of promiscuity" which, at best, were only suitable for small sections of society.It is increasingly common in India for a couple that has met by themselves and are involved romantically to go through the process of an arranged marriage with that specific partner in mind.
Another significant trend in arranged marriages is related to the loosening of traditional clan-bonds in India.
Where potential spouses for sons and daughters were once identified through family and social relationships, they are increasingly being solicited through advertising because many urban parents no longer have the social reach that was a given before the rise of nuclear families in India.
With the advent of the internet, this has led to the rise of matchmaking websites such as (shaadi is the Hindustani word for wedding), which claims to be the largest matrimonial service in the world.
The marriage process usually begin with a realization in the family that a child is old enough to marry.
For a girl, it is during her graduation or early twenties; for a boy, it is after he is 'settled', with a decent job and consistent earnings.