A special committee set up by the Belz Hasidic stream recently issued a special protocol limiting wedding spending among the community members, in a bid to ease the financial burden on couples' parents.
The "Wedding Plan," which was sent to the families of the community this week, includes a list of restrictions regarding wedding preparations. For instance, the parents of the groom are instructed to choose between a bracelet and a mixer as a gift for the bride during the engagement period.
The document also states that it is prohibited to send the bride's family Purim gifts or birthday presents. It also places a limit on the price of flower bouquets and states that the wedding ring must be adorned with a fake, rather than a genuine diamond.
According to the instructions of the stream's spiritual leader, the Admor, those who fail to abide by the new rules will not be eligible for loans or financial assistance from the Hasidic court's administration. Wealthy Belz families are required to follow the regulations as well.
The document was based, among other things, on questionnaires handed out to families of the community.
Belz is not the first Hasidic court to place limitations on its members' wedding expenditures, as Satmar and Gur have done so before. But it is the first stream to publish an elaborate document that leaves no room for interpretation. For example, it stipulates the exact number of guests a family is allowed to invite to wedding events, and defines which family members should be considered "close relatives."
Luckily, the new plan includes not only restrictions, but also some benefits. The document's authors have taken a number of steps to help families lower the cost of the wedding by getting entertainers, photographers and wedding bands to agree to charging reasonable prices for their services.
Home furnishing for the newlyweds will also be offered for cheap.