A letter from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations suggests “no more than drinks and pastries” and limiting guests to family, close friends and immediate neighbours.
By doing so, “the burden of expenses will surely be eased. The rabbinate considers it their most particular duty to care for the well-being of the kehilla.”
The union offers a “low-budget” wedding scheme where members can invite 150 couples for around £7,000.
Union executive co-ordinator Chanoch Kesselman said that many families felt obliged to invite a large number of guests, requiring the hiring of a hall, and spent unnecessarily on catering by providing a wide variety of food.
“Because of the heavy financial burdens placed on the Jewish community due to the current economic downturn, the union rabbinate feels that this ostentation is misplaced and the correct approach for celebrating an engagement is a modest gathering of the immediate families concerned with just a few close friends held at the private home of the engaged.”
Rabbi Avraham Pinter, principal of Yesodey Hatorah School, used the low budget scheme for his daughter’s wedding.
“I have 150 employees and am active in the union and in shul. Everybody expected me to invite them. The scheme was a real life-saver. It meant I could tell people that I could only invite 75 guests from our side and the rest could come for the dancing.
“It’s become much more popular to use this and I hope it will change people’s expectations.”