Amish weddings are usually kept secret until a few months before the ceremony, even from parents and siblings.  The younger married couples are encouraged to find mates from other church districts.  They may have met during the singings held on Sunday evenings, or visited church services in the other district or through friends and family members.  Older couples, frequently having been widowed, usually have known their new mates for some time.

The intention to be married is announced at a church service several weeks in advance of the wedding.  The local Bishop or a minster will announce the wedding to the congregation and the father of the bride will annoce the date of the planned wedding.  Weddings have been traditionally held in late fall or early winter, after the harvest.  But the number of weddings has changed this custom, so wedding are now held year round.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are most popular for weddings, as it takes one full day to prepare for the wedding and one full day to clean up after the wedding.  Sunday cannot be one of these days.

The wedding is held in the Bride's parents home.  Family and neighbors all pitch in to get ready for the wedding.  This is one time that the Amish plan a feast.  Chicken Roast, a mixture of roast chicken and stuffing is frequently served.  Fried Chicken, meats, relishes, pickles, bread cookies cakes and pies fill out the menu.  Several wedding cakes are made, some by Amish women and frequently some from a bakery.  Servers are friends of the wedding couple and the meal is eaten in shifts, with the bride and groom seated at a special table throughout the meal.  The wedding couple choose the seating arrangements.  They try to seat couples who may have a special friendship with each other.  M

The wedding itself is preceded by a church service, with sermons related to the sanctity of marriage and sincere commitment to the church and family.  There is no divorce in the Amish Church.  A short wedding ceremony is held after the service.  Non Amish friends are sometimes invited for the wedding feast, but rarely to the wedding itself.

The bride wears a dress of solid colors allowed by their particular church district. A matching apron and traditional prayer covering is also worn.  The dress an Amish woman is wed in is frequently the dress she will be buried in.  The bride chooses the colors of her attendants dresses, usually matching her own.

The groom and his attendants wear white shirts, black pants and coats.  The groom usually wears a small bowtie.  Most of the people attending the wedding wear their church clothes.  Women all wear white bonnets and solid color clothing.

After the ceremony and meal, many people stay and visit.  Wedding gifts are not usually given at this time.  An evening meal is served to those who stayed late.  A singing for the young people is sometimes held, with fast hymns being prevalent.

After the guest have left, the bride and groom spend the night at the brides parents home, helping to put the house back in order the next day.  The couple may live with the bride's parents until they get on their feet, can afford a farm or a house is built for them.

The next few months are spent visiting relatives and friends homes.  They may visit 3 or 4 homes a day, spending the night at a 5th.  This is the time wedding gifts are given.  Items for the new home, canned goods, farm equipment and the like are most commonly given.  After the wedding, an Amish man begins to grow his beard.


All photos, videos and content copyright 2009 Brad Humble 

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