The notion of an arranged marriage seems so foreign to the Western world that it evokes an image of a time long, long ago - but the tradition is alive and well in certain parts of the world.
In India, arranged marriages take place alongside "love marriages" - and both seem to be acceptable to society there.
Swati Pandey of the LA Times recounts her experience attending one such arranged marriages, of her cousin Garima to a man she had just met:
All of it -- the years spent selecting a suitor, the final minutes of anticipation, the newness of the couple, a man and woman not shaped by former loves and heartbreaks -- was romantic in a way I hadn't expected. Growing up in America for all my 25 years, I'd long ago given up on the tradition, but by midnight, I had started to wonder.
What I never realized, as a googly-eyed adolescent who had imagined eloping with a George Clooney type, was that "love marriage," as many Indians call it, is the aberration.
Arranged marriages are common in countries and cultures that came belatedly to Romanticism and rock 'n' roll and whatever else gave rise to what we call youth. It's difficult to quantify them because the term is such a broad one -- encompassing a childhood betrothal and a parent's mere suggestion of a vetted match.