Women have backed out of marriage over dowry demands, and more recently over the absence of a toilet in the marital home, but perhaps for the first time, two sisters called off their weddings on Wednesday night, finding the grooms too dark for their liking.

The same night, another woman in the district tried to exercise her discretion further by marrying a man of her choice, however, her ‘husband’ came out of the woodwork at the last minute to play spoiler with a court’s restraint order. The first of these wedding dramas played out in Sikrara village of Fatehabad block. Police said the brides-to-be had only seen photographs of their grooms.

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“Their mother chose the grooms on the recommendation of a baba,” said Vinay Prakash, station officer of Fatehabad. When they saw the men for the first time on Wednesday night, the sisters refused to marry them saying they looked much darker and older in person. Prakash said the women stood off pressure from their extended families and the panchayat with the support of their maternal grandparents, and both grooms had to return to their homes in Aligarh disappointed.

In the second case, a woman from Itmad-ud-Daula refused to recognize her husband, a software engineer from Hathras, and was all set to marry another man when the engineer stopped the ceremony with court orders. S K Singh station officer of Itmad-ud-Daula, said, “The engineer claimed the woman is his wife. When we called up her father to inquire about her marital status, he said he knew about the court order.”

Police said the engineer had filed a suit requiring the woman to appear in court on May 9, and she was barred from marrying another person until then. The groom had to return home alone, and so did the woman and her ‘husband’. Meanwhile, the mysterious disappearance of a 22-year-old man two days before his wedding in the Khandauli area of Agra is keeping locals in suspense. Wahid Ahmad, station officer of Khandauli, said, “Saurabh Upadhyaya, who went out for his BSc final paper, is reported missing. He was to get married on April 23.”