While arranged marriages are not common in Western countries, they are still prevalent in many other cultures, such as India and some Asian countries. There are advantages and disadvantages to arranged marriages that really depend on what your personal definition of marriage is. The advantages are that it helps solidify two families more thoroughly, while the main disadvantages are that it takes personal choice away from the people getting married.
Some believe that young people are not capable of making decisions, especially decisions regarding marriage. An arranged marriage takes this decision out of their hands and leaves it in the hands of older, allegedly wiser relatives. This is an advantage if you believe that young people cannot make decisions; it is a disadvantage if you believe that they should be trusted to make their own decisions as responsible adults.
One advantage of an arranged marriage is that it connects two families more than a regular marriage might. A non-arranged marriage is essentially a matter of making a new family with the bride and groom as its head. An arranged marriage, on the other hand, is a matter of connecting two families. So, while the individuals in an arranged marriage may not be as happy as they would have been had they been able to make their own choice, the new, combined family will likely be happier because of the marriage.
One advantage of an arranged marriage is that it gives love an opportunity to grow by matching two people based on objective criteria. The disadvantage, of course, is that it may never grow, or the husband and wife involved may think that the affection and companionship they feel is love because they have nothing to compare it to. A marriage-by-choice, on the other hand, has a guarantee of love right now but cannot make any guarantees about the future.
A marriage-by-choice is often just a matter of love, and finances do not come into the equation. Arranged marriages, on the other hand, have a firm financial component, with bridal families often paying large dowries if the groom makes enough money. This means that where there may not be love in an arranged marriage there will be financial stability, which is an advantage, although it does come at an emotional price.