It sounds like they really like a party. I won't even comment on the $2500 thing since here in America there are plenty of ceremonial things people still do that are sexist as well.<quoted text>
Well it depends on the particular culture. I got married in Morocco and Moroccan weddings are all night affairs. We actually GOT married in a civil service at the Mosque/court house by the judge/priest ("Adul") then we went home and had a blow out party that lasted for about 18 hours. Lots of food, music and everyone in the city was there.
I don't know if other cultures have an actual ceremony (similar to "American style" weddings) or not. Ours was pretty perfunctory, just the legal stuff. "Do you agree to marry him? Did he give you $2500.00?" "Sigh here." They asked him the same stuff (minus the money question...in Islam the husband pays the wife a dowery...it is supposed to be $2500.00 per the Koran...it's her separate property) and he signed.
IIRC, his mother (who was with us) signed as a witness, but I don't really remember for sure. Of course in the US there are legal requirements for witnesses and such depending on which state you're in.
Thanks for the info, Mimi!