The kanya daan ritual.
Kanya Daan, which means the giving away of one's daughter, has been derived from the Sanskrit words Kanya which means girl and Daan which means donation. Kanya Daan is a very significant ritual performed by the father of the bride in presence of a large gathering that is invited to witness the wedding. The father pours out libation of sacred water symbolizing the giving away of his daughter to the bride groom. The groom recites Vedic hymns to Kama, the god of love, for pure love and blessings.
As a condition for offering his daughter for marriage, the father of the bride requests a promise from the groom for assisting the bride in realizing the three ends:
• and kama.
The groom makes the promise by repeating three times that he will not fail the bride in realizing dharma, artha and kama.
Ideally, the parents of the bride place the right hand of the bride over the right hand of the groom and place their own left hands at the bottom and the right hands (the two of them) on top, securing the Conch with gold, betel nut, flowers and a little fruit (in it) placed in bride's hand. It is at this point that the purpose of the Kanyadaan is clearly stated per scripture and the names of the parents and forefathers are stated from both sides. Wedding can not legally proceed without this Kanyadaan step in which parents of the bride agree to the wedding.
This must be remembered that in Hindu wedding, the bride and groom marry each other and the priest only assists with the Mantra. He can not declare them married as no authority is vested in him to do so. Agni, gods and the invited members of the family and friends are the witness