It is my pleasure to share a guest
This post was written by a fan of
my Facebook page, Cindy Cosmo, describing the
Amish wedding she attended recently. I
hope you enjoy her description as much as I did.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Night Before
Larry and I arrived in Shipshewana
on Thursday, October 27, the night before the wedding. Vera (mother of the
bride) called me on their outside phone…
When she found out we were staying the night, she invited us to come over
that evening so she could show us around. I'm so glad we went; we haven’t seen her or
Clyde in three years and I wasn't sure if I would recognize her (or vice versa)!
Vera told me if I wanted to take
pictures to take them that night, because it would be too hard to do them the
day of the wedding. (The Amish do not like the English taking their pictures.)
The dinner settings were set up in the banquet building and it was amazing! She
told me they could fit around 400 people, so it was set up with very long
tables and benches. (The benches, which are also used for church, are stored in
a bench wagon; every church district has one.)
Gray plastic tablecloths with
darker gray runners covered the tables, and sprinkled on the tables were flat
back glass stones. Huge vases in the middle of the tables were filled with
beautiful array of flowers. The plates and silverware were just gorgeous.
In an Amish wedding they have
wedding wagons that come and family/friends to help with all the cooking. The
china settings and silverware are rented. I did take a couple of quick pictures of the
tables; there was a red stepladder in the middle which of course would be gone
the next day.
As I was leaving, Vera pointed out
a guitar shape plaque on the wall with the names and the wedding date of Brenda
and Merlin and also the names of the Table Waiters, Coffee Servers, Water Boys,
Special Helpers and Day Brighteners—more about that later. Vera told me I could
take a picture of it, which I did.
The Wedding Day
This was my first Amish wedding and
it took place on Friday, October 28, 2022, and it was a wonderful experience!
Larry was invited, but he has been fighting a cold so he just dropped me
off and took a distant picture as I was heading for the Amish church
service/ceremony. There had to be at least 100+ Amish men standing and waiting
I felt sheepish but I looked at
one man and said, can I go in the building, and he said yes. As I entered, I
saw that all the Amish women and children were already there. The women and the
girls were dressed in shades of pastel blues, greens, brown, grey, and purple;
one little Amish girl had on a bright yellow dress. All the women except the
bride wore white caps, the bride had a black cap.
The young boys wore white shirts
and had either black or grey pants with matching suspenders. The Amish men wore
dark pants and coats with white shirts; they wear suspenders and not belts. The
Amish men take off their hats and hang them outside before entering the
In the Amish services, the men sit
on one side and the women on the other. When I entered, an Amish woman
asked where I wanted to sit, and my reply was anywhere you want to put me. The woman
said, would you like to sit so your back can be against the wall and I said yes—phew,
that saved me from a backache!
Amish services are three hours
long—you sit on backless wooden benches and it is all in a form of German called
“Pennsylvania Dutch.” There was supposed
to be another English couple at the 9 a.m. service and three people from South
Carolina were joining us at 10. But the
9 a.m. couple never showed up, so for a good hour I was the lone Englisher in a
church full of Amish people!
An Amish man came over and handed
me a hymnbook, all in German. The service started on time, at 9 a.m. The
ceiling was metal and they love to sing—so when they sang, the rafters almost
I sat there and listened, holding
the hymnbook, when two Amish women showed me the page, so of course I opened it
up and stared at it—I don't know German. For the first two hours they sang, no
talking. I found out after they sang for quite a while and then were silent for
a minute, that it meant we were changing songs/pages in the book. So I was still
on page 55 and when the next round started, the two women showed me we were on
The future bride and groom and
their witnesses came in around 10 or so. There were six metal chairs in front
for the bride, who sat in the middle, and her two witnesses, who sat opposite
of the groom and his two witnesses. The bride looked lovely wearing a purple
dress with what I believe is called a white cape with an apron over her dress, with
a black cap, stockings and shoes. Her two witnesses were dressed in matching
Around 11, the servers and the
cooks came in the building. There were
15 empty long benches reserved for them, and they filled all of them.
Several large bowls of candy were
passed around at that time for the children—and seeing the smiles on their
faces, you could tell they really enjoyed the treat.
The father of the groom started to
speak in front of the couple and the witnesses.
Since it was mostly in Pennsylvania Dutch, I didn't understand what he
was saying, but every so often an English word was said, so I kind of got the gist
of it—he welcomed Brenda to the family. He spoke at least 20 minutes and then another
minister spoke. After that the Bishop
performed the ceremony, which was short, I think less than 10 minutes. It was
serious—no flowers, no wedding rings, no
kisses or clapping for the newly married.
Soon afterwards, the servers left,
then the bride and groom’s families left, then Brenda and Merlin, and then all
of us. I was quite impressed that the children were so well behaved and when it
was time for prayer—silence. Some people were surprised when I told them
that the three hours actually went fast—maybe because of all the singing they
did, which was beautiful to hear and listen to—or maybe it was just the
experience itself, but it the time did go by quickly.
After the Ceremony
It was a beautiful day—the sun was
shining and other than being a little nippy in the shade, you couldn't ask for
a more perfect day for a wedding! I was
standing outside with Vera’s sister, waiting until we would all go in to get
seated for the meal. Vera’s sister told me that the bride, groom, and four witnesses
were inside her parent’s house.
When they came out, Merlin’s young
niece threw rose petals on the path they were walking on. Brenda now had a
white cap on instead of the black cap, meaning she was now a married woman. Before the men get married, they do not have
beards, but now Merlin will be growing his. Young children were opposite each
other on the path, and as Brenda and Merlin went by, the children handed them a
single rose—it was cute and quite touching to see.
I mentioned above about Day
Brighteners on the guitar plaque. Brenda and Merlin decided to give the small
children a part in the ceremony, passing out the roses to the bride and groom,
and they wanted their names mentioned on the plaque.
We finally gathered in the banquet
hall… The Amish men were seated first,
followed by the women and the four English people who attended. We Englishers
sat across from some Amish women and when we asked some questions, they were
very nice and helpful.
Before luncheon was served, they
sang “Gott Ist Die Liebe,” which translated is, “God Is Love.” Afterwards
we were all talking when a prayer was about to be said—and suddenly, just like
that, the whole room was quiet—I was very impressed!
Now the luncheon was being served. The first thing that was passed around the
table was a small piece of wheat bread with homemade marmalade jam and butter;
followed by meatballs; stuffing; green beans; homemade mashed potatoes with
rich gravy; and cornbread casserole. We had water and coffee with our meal.
Before long, a second round of
food came our way and then finally the dessert. I didn't see a wedding cake but
they had some mighty good desserts and of course I had to take a little of
everything! There was pecan pie; cream pie; blueberry pie; and homemade ice
cream and raspberry sauce.
As we were eating, a young Amish
boy came to all the tables and we all got a pen with the names of the bride and
groom and the date they were married to take home. Just after we finished
eating, a huge bowl of candy was passed around.
I was “stuffed,” but I took some candy for my husband. As we were exiting, we passed by the couple’s
table and shook hands and congratulated them.
I forgot to mention that when I
got the invite, I was asked if I wanted to go to the noon or the 4 p.m. seating.
I later found out that they were having two more seatings that day—one at mid-afternoon
(this was for the servers and cooks) and I think the last one was at 7—that was
for the younger people.
I was also told that the bride and
groom stay at the bride’s parents house the first night, so they can help with
the cleanup the next day. Everything had to be cleaned quickly since the wedding
wagons would leave around 10 a.m. Weddings are usually on a Tuesday and
Thursday, but because there are so many, other days are used too (with the
exception of Saturday and Sunday).
Opening the Gifts
Another tent was set up outside
where the bride and groom had their gifts. The other English people left,
leaving me the only English person there. I have read that in some parts of the
Amish community, only Amish are invited to the gift opening, but I was told I
could go in, and I wanted to experience it all, so I followed the woman that I
was talking to.
As soon as I entered, Vera saw me
and invited me to sit with her up front—we had a nice chat. The bride and groom
opened their gifts but did not pick them up or say what it was or who it was
from—but I could see everything so that was fine.
While doing this, the Amish men
once again sang. I asked Vera if that was religious and she sort of nodded and
said it was a wedding song. The gifts they received were practical and things
they would need for the household, and Merlin also received some tools. The
gifts were mostly wrapped in towels or blankets which was a good idea and
certainly wouldn't go to waste. I was
working on an afghan to give them but being self-taught, I wasn't happy with one
edge and I didn't complete it in time, so Larry and I decided to give them a
gift certificate to Blue Gate Restaurant.
It was after 3 p.m. and they still
had gifts to open so I finally texted Larry and said I would be ready in ten
minutes. I saw Vera and she thanked me for coming, along with a few other Amish
women I met… but I felt like I should be thanking her, since it was probably a once in a lifetime experience and I
was honored to be invited.
A Few More Photos
As I waited for Larry, I wanted to
take pictures, but I was leery because I know how the Amish feel about taking
photos of them. I tried to be careful, but
I did get some of the kids playing volleyball from a distance. I sort of hid trying to get pictures of the hanging
text and photos courtesy of Cindy Cosmo ***
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