Letter From New Delhi: Land of the Wedding Planners

India's elite are used to throwing lavish weddings. But is there a cost to all this fun?

Decked out in a fluorescent orange sherwani, Ashwani Chopra surveys the modest cocktail party he is throwing to celebrate his daughter Samara's wedding to Sharik Currimbhoy. The 1,000 guests mill under a marquee that's the size of a cricket field and help themselves to a 42-dish buffet. The sides of the tent are crimson chiffon, the ceiling is black satin inset with sequin stars, and the drapes and the throw cushions are gold and amber silk. The place is heated by 20 gas burners and illuminated by 25 chandeliers, 40 lanterns, 66 spotlights and 288 candles. Tradition dictates that separate celebrations...

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