Costly Afghan weddings under govt scrutiny
Last Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2011, 18:47
Kabul: Some brides in Afghanistan change their outfits up to 10 times. Throw in the six-hour trips to the beauty parlors and the meals for 1,000 guests and one wedding alone could bankrupt many Afghans.

Now the Justice Ministry is proposing limits on the lavish events to cut down on the pressure poor Afghans face to match the elite's elaborate weddings. The government is specifically targeting party halls and threatening to fine owners who flout the austerity rules.

"It is breaking the back of the groom and of the family," Justice Minister Habibullah Ghaleb said of the lavish nuptials. "It creates an immoral corruption."

Under the proposed wedding law, which still needs to be passed by parliament, locations would be barred from allowing more than 300 attendees for an engagement party and more than 500 people at a wedding, Ghaleb said.

Those halls caught breaking the law would be subject to serious fines or other possible penalties. However, it remains unclear what enforcement powers authorities would have to go after the wedding halls, especially in a country where bribery remains common.

Other rules are aimed at protecting grooms' families from spending too much money on gifts for brides and their relatives. Brides would get only two dresses, one for an engagement party and one for the wedding. The law would restrict other gifts too, Ghaleb said without elaborating.

"We don't want to put pressure on the people," the minister said. "We want to put pressure on the wedding halls." Afghan weddings traditionally took place in the home, with families and friends attending several events marking the groom and bride's union. Under Taliban rule, lavish ceremonies were forbidden.


First Published: Sunday, June 19, 2011, 18:47

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