1. 30 days in advance of the day you wish to be considered married, go to the local registrar, sign the paperwork. The thirty-day notice is required. If you don't do this, but desire a church marriage INSTEAD, only THEN the church has to be government registered and you have to announce weekly banns for a month. But if you do the civil step first, the church doesn't have to be registered at all, nor the minister credentialed, because legal requirements have been met through the civil paperwork. This paperwork is very inexpensive--it has to be so that anyone of any income can do it.
2. After the necessary interval (so that people objecting to the marriage can give their reasons why), the marriage ceremony can take place, or not (as far as the law is concerned). But all expenses to which you go are your own choice beyond what is technically required, and hence are your own responsibility.
This incident reminds me of a pastor a few years ago who, when his first child, a daughter, was born, went into debt for a christening party, and then asked other people to bail him out of debt. I told him only a birth certificate is required, and that didn't cost this much money. And a baby dedication service, although not required, is nice to have, but that, too, is not costly. This lavish party was your decision and therefore is your responsibility.
Both events—the wedding and the christening—are family occasions, and not the church's responsibility. This is covered in the text by Paul in 1 Timothy when he says that families should take care of their family members so that the church is not burdened with care for them, and that a person who does not do this has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
We are not here talking about sudden emergencies that caught people in need by surprise, such as a medical crisis or natural disaster or war. In those cases, 'bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ' applies, because 'burden' there is a huge weight that no one person would be expected to carry. But 'everyone should bear his own burden' uses a different word in the original language, meaning 'everyone should shoulder his own pack', speaking of ordinary life responsibilities, which we should take on ourselves and not try to pass to other people. When we're inexperienced in taking on these responsibilities, we can seek advice and instruction, but too many people already 'borrow' with no attempt at repayment, and we need to teach responsibility. I know a pastor’s daughter in Mumbai who years ago harassed and hassled and finally ‘borrowed’ $100 from someone and then promptly never spoke to him again—he might be tempted to consider it among the best $100 he’s ever spent.
Regarding the marriage request, someone asked me, ‘But did you give them the money?’ No. I have repeatedly previously raised money and given money to their orphanage, but I won't for this wedding. Taking care of true needs is part of our faith.
An Indian friend says, ‘I agree completely and it's high time this social evil be uprooted from the entire Indian subcontinent. It's a game that both parties indulge in—one party suggests, "I have all the wealth to change your world and you are hapless. You have no other way but to depend on me." The other party always thinks, "Let me go to the other pasture where there are many who can give me money. If I am doing my ministry it's the responsibility of others to help me with money. I choose to remain ignorant and provide a ministry with overseas finances which will keep my people perpetually poor and ignorant. This is the promise of salvation according to my understanding! I have a right to beg and borrow." ‘ She’s right—that mentality keeps people subservient, dependent.
And if their conscience bothers them at all about this beggarliness, then sometimes they ‘bite the hand that feeds them’, lash out at the people who help them just to show their own ‘manliness’, which is no manliness at all. To illustrate, consider dogs: the snarling, mangy street cur, or even the yappy aggressive Chihuahua acts more like this in a miserable attempt to assert himself than does the well-behaved, orderly German shepherd, collie, great Dane. True greatness doesn’t have to belligerently announce itself.