Arsha means Rishi or sage in Sanskrit and hence Arsha marriage suggests marriages with the sages or rishis. In this form of marriage the bride is given in exchange for two cows received from the groom. Marriages of this type used to happen because the parents of the bride couldn`t afford the expense of their daughter`s marriage at the right time according to the brahma rite. So the girl is married off to an old sage. However, this kind of marriage is not considered noble as there is give and take or business like transaction is involved.
In this marriage the father of bridegroom takes nothing and marriage is performed in holy yajna.