The gatekeepers of shidduchim
So what do you think? I know that some people will say that this is the system, and we have to stick with it, despite its flaws. But there is something to be said for less mediation (which is not synonymous with pritzus). If the young people are mature enough to marry, they should be mature enough to make the decision of whom to marry with an understanding of the reasons behind their choice.
There are a number of accounts of the shidduchim made on Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur in the vineyard. (See the links in http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/08/thoughts-on-tu-bav.htm) The Talmud's account in Taanis 31a is as follows:
The daughter of Israel go out and dance in the vineyards. Anyone who lacked a wife went there. . . . Our rabbis learned: The beautiful ones among them would say: "Raise your eyes to beauty, for a wife is only for beauty." The girls who had yichus [well established, reputable families] would say, "Raise your eyes to family, for a wife is only for children." The ugly ones among them would say, "Take what you take for the sake of Heaven, and adorn us in gold jewelry."
Each type here offers a reason for marrying her. Not all would marry for beauty. Some would marry for yichus. But then there are the ones enjoined to marry truly leshem Shamayim. After all, getting married is a mitzvah. The girls who have the least to offer -- the ones termed outright ugly in the description -- declare that they too have a right to marry. They even go a step further by declaring that they can also be beautiful if only their husband buy them the right jewelery and clothes (as Rashi, I believe, says) would work wonders on their looks.