In 2007, at age 51, I got married—for the first time. (Call me a late bloomer.) One day not long after I got engaged, my boss asked, “Have you thought about having your Amish friends at your wedding?” My answer was, “I’ve thought about it every day.” I’d brought my fiancée out to meet them, and they shared my joy that I was finally “settling down.” But I didn’t think there was a way to have them attend the wedding—after all, they lived 150 miles away, and the logistics would be more than I could handle.
My boss had been thinking about it, too, or he wouldn’t have asked the question—and he had a plan. He offered to rent a 7-passenger van; drive over that Friday; bring back six of my Amish friends; have them stay at his house Friday night; bring them to the wedding on Saturday; and then drive them home on Saturday evening, in time for them to attend church at home on Sunday morning. I was overjoyed.
The next task: Deciding which six to invite. I quickly decided on Glenn and Ruth, my two original Amish friends, and two of their daughters with spouses—the oldest two—the two who had invited me to their weddings several years earlier. (In the end, one of the daughters was just too nervous to come, but her younger brother and his wife came in their place.) Glenn said to me, “Well, Sue, we’re nervous. But we’re coming.”
How to make them less nervous, I thought to myself?… So I printed out three copies of the entire wedding script and mailed the copies to them. I also assured them that there would be no alcohol, loud music, or dancing at the reception—just food, quiet music, and socializing.
The time came, and they arrived. I decided they might be more relaxed if they met the wedding party and families the night before, so I invited them to the rehearsal dinner at my new home. They arrived looking very nervous indeed! But half an hour later they were eating and talking and having a fine time. The next day, after asking the wedding photographer to not take any pictures of them (it’s against their religious beliefs), they settled in at the church, and I still remember the beaming smile I got from Ruth as I walked back down the aisle.
It was so special to share my big day with my friends from a different culture who had been so accepting of a middle-aged, unmarried woman in their midst all those years. After being invited to two of their weddings, it was wonderful to return the favor!