In Pakistan it seems when you want to marry off your daughter, there are demands to be met. Depending on your financial status and the greed of the boy's family, you may either have to take loans you can never hope to pay back or sell any property that you had kept (hopefully) for such a day.
The list for an average Lahori bride:
A bedroom set (bed, large wardrobe, chest of drawers and dressing table)
A drawing room sofa set
A microwave (modern times)
A washing machine
Jewellery (should include minimum two complete sets, 6 bangles, a few loose lockets,chains and rings for daily wear)
Two trunks of full of clothes (stitched and unstitched)
A 4 piece suitcase set with matching makeup box (bear in mind that neither have ever set foot on a plane and probably never will)
Bedding for 6 people (the bedding concept was new to me but apparently its very Lahori as they sleep on the rooftops- includes heavy blankets, mattresses, and pillows, and bedsheets and pillow cases)
A seperate list will be for things to be given to groom and his family.
This will consist of
A pair of gold JHUMKA'S (dangling bell shaped traditional earrings)
Clothes for all brothers/sisters (married or unmarried)
(If married then for spouse of married siblings)
Clothes for both sets of grandparents (or warm shawls)'
Clothes for servants.
The groom will get
A pen set
An expensive watch
A suit to wear for reception (walima- given from boys side)
A sherwaani to wear on wedding reception
Undergarments, ties, handkercheifs etc
Most of these clothes will be worn once or if at all. There have been many cases where the groom is too much of an asshole to wear these clothes because they are not up to his calibre (this is transalated as: he has never worn such fine clothes and himself feels totally inferior, and out of place wearing them)
In the eventuality of the bride's father/brother working in the gulf the screwing is of supreme levels with extra cheese.
Optional items are Toaster, vacuum cleaner, dinner set, pots and pans, cutlery and well everything one would normally get as gifts at ones wedding reception.You know it even makes sense if the newly married couple are moving into their own place.
But in most cases she is going to live with her inlaws and they will get a room to themselves. They will procreate, reproduce and the ensuing brood will sleep with them in the same room.At some stage a sister will be married off and a spare room will be available or they will hit the jackpot and the oldies will conk off.This is how the average middle class joint family is in our part of the world.
But it doesnt end there. If within the period of engagement either of the eid's take place then clothes will be sent for groom, sweets, and in the case of eid ul adha , then a goat too will be sent.
If you think once she is married it will end then rest assured it will NOT.
Every eid, every birth of a child, and any occasion that can be cooked up will have the parents of the girl sending things.
For the girl's family the only silver lining is if they have son's of their own then they can refurbish their own homes in exactly the same method.
A lot of time things brought in by the girl into her husband's home will be recycled and used for the marriage of the husband's sister.
I suppose the only thing parents would want is for their daughter to fall in love, so they can make a big deal ,draw swords/guns and shout about family honour, and be secretly relieved when she runs away to marry.
No cost incurred, and very economical.