Costly Afghan weddings under govt scrutiny

Some brides in Afghanistan change their outfits up to 10 times.

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.


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