The Gandharva marriage (the marriage of the celestials) involves simple exchange of garlands . We find references of this type of wedding in Hindu mythologies and epics. This is equivalent of eloping in today`s world, and couples whose union is not blessed by families seek refuge in this custom.
Gandharva marriage is a form of love marriage. Here the bride and the bridegroom get married secretly without the knowledge of their parents. This marriage reminds us of the love affair of Sakuntala and Dusyanta.
Mutual love and consent between bride and the bridegroom, are the only conditions to bring about such a marriage. It is a voluntary union of a maiden with her lover. Parents and kinsmen have nothing to do in such marriages. KamaSutra regards this marriage as an ideal one. Hindu mythology literature abounds in such type of marriages. For example that of Dushyant and Shakuntala; Daksheya and Prajapati, Bhima with Hidimba; Kamdeva and Rati, Kach and Devyani. The two get married prior to informing anyone.
Gandharva Marriage takes place either in a temple depending on their religion. In this marriage, there is no Yajna and presence of any other person except girl and the boy. Both agreed to marry and continue family life.