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Amish WeddingThe Amish live a simple life, and their wedding customs reflect this. While the service is long — often lasting three to four hours — it is understated and lovely. Here are the basics of Amish courtship and weddings.

Amish Courtship

Amish youth begin dating when they’re 16 and enter their rumspringa, a rite-of passage for Amish adolescence. They typically attend Sunday night singings, where they sing hymns and get to know each other. 

During the singings, boys and girls sit at a long table across from one another. They socialize between songs until about 10:00 p.m., when beverages and baked goods are brought out for everyone to enjoy as they mingle for another hour or two. If a boy is interested in a girl, he will ask to give her a ride home.

Courting typically involves buggy rides and group activities. Since there’s no divorce allowed among the Amish, courtship is taken extremely seriously.

Getting Engaged

When an Amish couple decides to wed, they keep it to themselves. The bride-to-be will tell her parents in July or August so they can start preparing for the upcoming nuptials. Otherwise, nobody knows until one Sunday in October or November, when the names of couples to be wed are published after the church service. 

The groom doesn’t give the bride a diamond ring. He gives her a more practical gift, such as a clock or set of china. 

Wedding Day

Amish weddings are usually held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall, when there are fewer chores to be done on the farm and there’s less risk of bad weather. In larger communities, spring and summer weddings may occur. An Amish wedding requires a full day of setup and preparations and another full day of cleanup. 

The bride typically makes her own dress, often in blue or purple, though green and maroon are other options. She makes matching dresses for her newehockers, or attendants. The bride won’t just wear her dress once; it will become her Sunday dress and also the dress she’s buried in.

The groom and his newehockers wear black pants, black jackets, and white shirts. All their clothes are fastened with hook-and-eye closures. 

The day of the wedding starts at 4:00 a.m. with morning chores. Helpers arrive at the bride’s home to help with any last-minute tasks. By 7:00, the wedding party has eaten breakfast, changed into their wedding clothes, and gathered to greet the guests — all 400 to 600 of them.

The Ceremony

The wedding begins with the forgeher, or ushers, usually four married couples, helping everyone find seats on the long wooden benches that have been set up in the church or meeting room. The guests will start singing hymns at 8:30, while the minister talks with the bride and groom in another part of the house. 

When the minister, bride, and groom return to the church room, there’s a prayer, a scripture reading, and a long sermon. After the sermon, the minister calls the couple forward. He asks them questions about their upcoming marriage and blesses the happy couple. 

After the blessing, the couple’s fathers and other ordained men give testimony about marriage. Another prayer is said, closing the ceremony. 

After the Wedding

Once the ceremony is complete, guests usually head back to the brides home and lunch begins. Traditional Amish wedding foods include chicken and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed celery, and a variety of desserts. Different foods are prepared for dinner at 5:00 p.m., including chicken stew, peas, and more desserts. The celebration continues until about 10:30 p.m.

The Amish wedding ceremony is a simple one, but no less meaningful than more flamboyant ceremonies seen around the world. Its restraint makes it about two things — community and family — rather than pomp and circumstance.

Category: Ceremonies

Universal Life Church wedding

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