The streets of the capital were choked last week by families attending weddings - 10,000 nuptials on the busiest nights, in fact. Astrologers - whose word is holy writ - declared it an auspicious time to get married. So auspicious, in fact, that even couples whose horoscopes clashed catastrophically could marry. This week is a good time, too, though the constellations are not quite so resplendently propitious. After last week's traffic nightmare, Delhi police are prepared for the worst. They have worked out a traffic management plan for November and December - a popular time for weddings owing to the clement weather. Indian weddings are big, extravagant and chaotic. On the roads, decorated white horses carry the bridegroom, shining like a Christmas tree in his wedding outfit. Accompanying him on the road is a brass band - lit up by men carrying florescent tube lights powered by a mobile generator on a cart - and close family and friends. As they walk to the venue in the middle of the road, the group stops periodically to break out into some raucous bhangra, a traditional Punjab dance. The cars behind them slow down and honk, but it's pointless: their drivers have no choice but to wait till the procession winds its way to its destination. In the wedding season, luxury hotels do a booming business. Their lobbies are full of rich women glittering in sequined saris. They wait, tittering nervously, to welcome the bride or bridegroom's family with flowers and gifts before moving on to a poolside dinner. But most weddings these days are almost unmanageable, even by Indian standards. They have become a huge industry. Most involve half a dozen functions - the mehndi (henna) ceremony, the sangeet (musical evening), cocktails, parties, dinners and the actual reception - spread over weeks. It's exhausting - for the guests, that is. 'You meet the same people at every function. It's so boring, but you'll never be forgiven if you miss a wedding,' said publicist Anuradha Khanna, drained after attending four functions for her niece's marriage. For an outsider, a traditional Hindu wedding is a curious affair. What is missing is a sense of occasion, a shared solemnity and a central focus to the gathering. The guests mill around as though they are waiting for a train, while the actual ceremony with the priest happens on the sidelines, observed only by the immediate family. The rich get special wedding designers to give a particular look or theme: African safari, Rajasthan desert or an Arabian Nights fantasy. These extravaganzas cost billions of rupees, but money is no object. Weddings are the perfect opportunity for the rich to flaunt their wealth to everyone they have ever known in their lives. Except the taxman: the money is often 'black' money - undeclared income.