Engagement Party on Nine Days

I have a friend who is getting married shortly after Tisha B’Av. My friends wanted to celebrate a bachelor party for him next week, during the Nine Days. I didn’t feel it was appropriate but they claimed that so long as there is no music it is fine. Is that correct?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Your suspicion is correct that we should not celebrate parties during the Nine Days, even without music. It is a period of mourning, and not a time to celebrate happy occasions. Of course if a circumcision or Bar Mitzvah falls out during this time, it is celebrated with a festive meal (without music). But an event which can be rescheduled should be planned for an earlier or a later date. This would include other similar events such as birthday parties, going-away parties, graduation parties, etc.

One exception to this is the formal engagement party held in religious circles immediately after the engagement, known as the “vort” (and sometimes called the "l'chaim"). Jewish law states that one may propose and become engaged even on Tisha B’Av itself, “so that another not precede him.” Right after an engagement, a small gathering is held between the families, usually with close friends and relatives, to make the engagement official. In some circles the “tena’im” (the details of the marriage agreement) are then signed. (“Vort” is Yiddish for “word” – when the two families give their word that their children will marry.) This event may be celebrated even during the Nine Days as part of the process of formalizing the engagement, lest something go wrong in the interim and it never comes to being. This party may not include music or a formal meal, but light refreshments are served.

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 551:2 Mishna Berurah 13, 16, Chut HaShani II 325.)

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