Amish weddings are a completely different world compared to the typical American festivities.
The Intricacies of Amish Relationships
The Amish lifestyle is found in various locations around the globe, but within the borders of the United States, their largest population is found in Pennsylvania. Since family values are of the utmost importance to the Amish, it is vital that the single person finds the perfect mate. Divorce is unheard of and so engagement and the marriage vows are taken very seriously.
Amish children are allowed to begin dating at the age of sixteen. In order to have an authentic Amish wedding, both the bride and groom must belong to the Amish church. When a man proposes, he does not give his future wife a typical engagement ring. Instead, he gives her a homier gift such as a clock or a china set. No matter when the couple becomes engaged, they usually do not announce the betrothal until late summer. The Amish church has a special day in October where all couples with the intention to marry make it known, as the church deacon announces the names of all brides to be.
Planning Amish Weddings
After the announcement of the engagement, the wedding planning moves quickly. Weddings usually take place at the home of the bride. Amish mothers host receptions for their engaged daughters for up to 400 people, since it is common to invite your entire Amish church as well as family and friends. Weddings are a big affair with very little planning time before they are executed, so it is vital for a young bride to be to help her mother and other female relatives in the preparation.
Wedding dresses are typically blue, while some couples prefer purple. White is hardly ever used, in fact it is safe to say white is never chosen as a wedding gown color because the wedding gown becomes a functional dress for every day wear. In fact, many Amish women are buried in their wedding dress, as it is considered a high quality, sentimental garment for all of their married lives.
Amish weddings are devoid of many embellishments common to other wedding ceremonies. There are no lavish trains or sparkling jewelry on the bride or her attendants. There are also no flowers. Amish weddings are very simple, and yet elegant in their own unique way.
The Wedding Day
The day of the wedding, everyone involved gets up very early. The regular chores are done and the wedding begins before 9 a.m. The ceremony can be up to three hours long and usually involves a lengthy sermon and the singing of hymns. The bride and groom typically spend a large amount of time secluded with a religious official receiving counseling.
The rest of the day is spent with activities and socializing, similar to the mingling and eating found at regular Western wedding receptions. After the meal and visiting is finished (around 10 p.m.), the couple spends their first night together in the home of the bride's parents. Their honeymoon usually consists of visiting all of their newly acquired relatives. Eventually they will begin their own home and start a family.
The Amish uphold traditions like family-oriented wedding ceremonies and ways of life because they believe keeping family close is the most valuable part of their lives. Traditions and festivities revolve around family because this is such an integral part of the Amish culture. The Amish wedding can be a beautiful and poignant thing to witness. This intimate, sentimental celebration is an aspect of our history frozen in time and carried on through a culture that cherishes tradition and a loyalty to their past, even as couples build their futures together.