- Question: [Tuesday, 13th Shevat 5781]
Dear Rabbi, I just got engaged and would like to know if it is permitted for one to talk about wedding plans prior to doing a Kinyan by the engagement party. One rabbi told us that this is not allowed to be done, and due to Covid 19 our engagement party will be delayed for quite some time and we need to get things moving for the wedding.
It is permitted to discuss and make wedding plans prior to the engagement party and having the Kinyan take place.
Explanation: I have never heard of such a restriction against speaking of wedding plans prior to the Kinyan and am unaware of any such source in the Poskim. This especially applies according to the Chabad custom which does not have any binding Tanaim until the day of the wedding, and the Kinyan that we do at the engagement party is simply a gesture for the bride and groom to orally cement their commitment to marry and is not formally binding until the day of the wedding when Tannaim are signed. Certainly, it is permitted to make arrangements for the wedding prior to the wedding day when the official Tanaim are signed and hence I do not see how the informal nonbinding Kinyan done before the wedding by the engagement party can serve as an impediment to begin wedding discussions. Furthermore, the Tannaim include many details of the wedding etc which were obviously planned before it was written, and the entire Kinyan that we do by the engagement party is an offshoot of these Tannaim [as originally the Tannaim and Kinyan would be done by the engagement party, and only later did it become the Chabad custom to delay the Tannaim until the day of the wedding and simply perform a Kinyan by the engagement party] and hence just as certainly wedding plans were done before the signing of the Tannaim certainly they may be done prior to the oral nonbinding Kinyan. Unless the above-said Rabbi can provide a source and reasoning for his statement, I would remain that there is actually no issue with doing so prior to the engagement party and so is the custom. To note, that there were cases in which the bride and groom lived in different countries when they got engaged and the Rebbe instructed them that it is not worth it for them to travel to make an engagement party simply to do the Kinyan, and hence the wedding day took place without any Kinyan being done beforehand.
Sources: See Koveitz Chasunah [Kratz] p. 19; Regarding the custom of doing a Kinyan by the engagement party see: Rama C.M. 207:16; Admur 444:15 “Seudas Kinyan”; Michaber and Rama E.H. 50:6; Hiskashrus 70 p. 15 in name of Rav Groner that it is the Rebbe himself who instructed in Chabad not to do the Tannaim by the engagement party but simply to do the Kinyan in order so it be easier to break off the Shidduch if necessary; Seder Kiddushin Venissuin [Farkash] 1:3; Article of Rav Ashkenazi printed in Koveitz Chasunah Nispachim p. 7-8; Regarding that an oral Kinyan is not binding, see: Admur Eidus 16