The hype surrounding modern day celebrity weddings, like last week's Bollywood wedding, is so immense that it leads many people to speculate, "Why?"
Former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, married Abhishek Bachchan, the son of an Indian cinema legend, in a colorful Bollywood ceremony that drew hundreds of fans on April 20. In recent years, celebrity wedding festivities seem to have drawn more press and larger crowds. A fan outside of the venue where the Bollywood wedding ceremony took place, attempted to commit suicide.
According to Theresa DiMasi, editor in chief of brides.com, people look at celebrities and they want to emulate them.
"Following celebrities is a way of living vicariously through them," DiMasi said. "How they look, how they dress and what they do -- it's the whole red carpet thing."
Among the events that followed the Bollywood wedding was a trip to Tirupati, in southern Andhra Pradesh state where the couple visited the famous Tirumala temple. DiMasi believes fans aren't solely "obsessed" with the celebrity wedding itself. The events that occur afterward heighten their interest.
"The Bollywood wedding took place on a Friday, then on Saturday, the Bidae occurred where the families officially gave away their children," she said. "Then you see trip after trip and party after party; that's what fans love to follow."
Like the Bollywood wedding, when Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise officially tied the knot, the festivities went on for days. Events surrounded a Catholic wedding as well as a Scientology wedding in Italy.
DiMasi believes that it's not just a wedding for these celebrities; it's like their pivotal red carpet moment. Brides need to get the best dress for that one moment. Events like celebrity weddings are "very much entrenched in our society."
In Britain, celebrity wedding hype is associated with the royal family much like in America where Hollywood-types are referred to as America's royalty.
The Bollywood wedding was similar to the Tom-Kat nuptials with a frenzy of fans and media following their every move. In fact, Bachchan's father apologized two days after his son's wedding because of a photographer's claim of suffering minor injuries from a scuffle with a security guard.
As with the Tom-Kat wedding, huge crowds surrounded the venue of the Bollywood wedding to catch a glimpse of the participants hidden inside vehicles. Both weddings have been referred to as "the wedding of the century."
"All of the secrecy and the fanfare makes these things seem really big," DiMasi said. "In the Bollywood wedding, no one could catch much of a glimpse of the bride, so the mystery of the whole thing is provocative to the public."
The guest list is another thing that lends to the hype of celebrity weddings and their festivities. Celebrities included on the guest list are specifically asked not to speak to the media, garnering even more public attention and curiosity.
On brides.com, DiMasi gets flooded with a variety of questions about celebrity weddings, proving that the hype is not just because of press coverage. She is asked everything from what the bride and groom wore, what style the bride chose for the wedding, what the rings look like, to whether they did anything special and unique.
"A wedding is something we all experience. It encompasses so many different things," DiMasi said. "It's about love and family, but it's also about the fashion."
Although celebrity weddings are lavish, each event seems to incorporate some sort of tradition. The Bollywood nuptials was a very traditional Hindu wedding; a pandit or priest married the couple on an altar, then there was a ritual of unity where the couple's wrists were tied together with the parents' hands placed on top and covered with a large scarf, showing unity among the couple and their families.
The traditional exchange of wedding bands is replaced by an exchange of garlands. There is also a giving of thanks to the family and their ancestors at the altar -- they give thanks for the fire god; they make offerings and take seven encirclements around the sacred fire.
In Hindu culture, married life is also about friendship. The mentality is, "We are friends and this will keep us together."
"It seems to be that many celebrities are incorporating tradition," DiMasi said. "It's a very general trend. In order to personalize and kind of make their weddings different, they follow these trends which contribute to all of the hype."
Even though tradition is often evident in these weddings, many celebrities deliberately put on a show, incorporating their own individual tastes, which, in turn, attracts more publicity, media attention and crowds.
Cruise wanted a big splash of a wedding, so he and Holmes wed in a medieval castle in Italy.
Sandra Bullock and Jesse James rode off on a monster truck after they said "I Do," instead of a limousine.
The groom came in on a horse in the recent Bollywood wedding. Despite the fact that many families hold a private wedding like the Bollywood ceremony, DiMasi believes they want the attention and the hype.
"The hundreds of people in the streets -- along with the couple getting married, and their families -- feel like they are part of history," she said. "It's like the king and queen. It's a royal wedding."