The Amish are known for placing great importance on family life. So, it’s no surprise that Amish courtship is taken very seriously.
Because the Amish date with marriage in mind from the beginning, they want to make sure they’re courting the perfect people.
What’s more, Amish believe that large families are a blessing from God and have an average of 7 children. Although in Amish culture it’s a woman's responsibility to take care of the children, she needs to make sure she has the right man by her side.
So, how does Amish courtship work?
This article will delve into Amish values, courtship practices, and wedding traditions.
What this article covers:
Amish Dating Customs
So, what are the Amish dating rules?
While there are differences between various types of Amish people, there are major themes at play amongst all Amish courtships.
Let’s take a look at some of the key questions when it comes to Amish courtship.
Amish boys begin dating around age 16 years old, and girls a little younger, at age 14-15 years old.
Generally speaking, Amish couples get married between 20-22 years of age.
Are Amish Polygamists?
Amish people only have one spouse. They’re devout Christians, a faith that doesn’t permit polygamy and instead promotes monogamy.
Amish people take their vows very seriously. Because Amish divorce is forbidden, they make life-long commitments to their partner.
Bundling - An Outdated Practice?
Bundling is a centuries-old tradition that actually has its origins in Judaism.
What does it mean?
Bundling is a practice where an unmarried couple lay next to each other in bed while fully clothed. The idea is to spend the evening talking and getting to know each other well. No touching is allowed.
Where does practice come from?
Amish people originate from European countries. It’s thought that this practice became popular because of the cold weather. What’s more, they don’t typically technology at home so the houses would have been freezing.
At the end of the night, it’s fair to say that the best way to keep warm would have been to lay in bed next to someone with your clothes on.
Today, only the most conservative groups allow this practice, with many groups condemning it.
Amish people aren’t permitted to date or marry outside of their communities. In fact, an Amish person may be shunned from their community if they break this rule.
However, there are some slight differences between different groups of Amish.
The more conservative groups, such as Old Order Amish, only permit marriage within their community and don’t tolerate dating or marriage outside of them.
But, more progressive groups, such as New Order Amish, will allow courting and marriage outside of their community, as long as the person is within a similar denomination as them.
That means that Amish people only ever marry other Amish people, and don’t date non-Amish (English) people.
How Do Amish People Date?
Firstly, Amish people need to know where the action is. Church and Sunday night singing events are the most common places to meet a potential partner.
Although men and women are separated during church services, they can meet each other during the lunches or walks that follow.
Sunday night singing occurs every other week and is designed for young people to get to know each other. At the end of the evening, a boy may offer a girl a ride home. This is a good sign that he likes her.
Amish courtship is somewhat similar to English courtship. Young couples may head out into town for dinner or simply hang out.
Pre-marital relations are not permitted in Amish courtship.
Either party can break off their courtship at any time.
Translated into English, rumspringa means “jumping around”. This is the time in an adolescent's life when the rules of the Amish community are relaxed a little.
It’s also the time when serious Amish courtships begin.
At the end of this period (for which there is no specified time frame), the youth either chooses to be baptized into the church or leave the community. Only a small percentage choose to leave.
Amish Wedding Traditions
Amish weddings are rather different from the mainstream English weddings that we’re accustomed to seeing.
They have many unique and meaningful customs and traditions.
Let's have a look at some of the most common Amish wedding traditions.
Are Amish Marriages Arranged?
No, Amish marriages aren’t arranged.
In fact, an arranged marriage is far from the reality in Amish courtship.
An Amish engagement is considered a private affair. The happy couple might even wait several months before announcing it to their families.
An official announcement is made in church by the bishop, who will list all of the couples who got engaged that season.
Amish Blue Door - A Myth or Legend?
There’s often speculation about the meaning behind a blue door on an Amish house.
Rumor has it that a father will paint their front door a beautiful shade of blue when he has a daughter eligible for marriage.
However, this isn’t true.
Because Amish communities are so close-knit, and everyone knows each other, there’s no need for such a statement.
Perhaps once there was a meaningful reason behind this, but today Amish people simply have blue doors out of tradition.
Amish Wedding Attire
In addition to the bridesmaid dresses, the bride will make her wedding dress.
Usually, it’s blue or purple, with blue being the most popular wedding dress color. The bride will wear a white apron on top of her dress.
The groom will wear his traditional Sunday church clothes. He’ll sport black pants, a white shirt, and a black hat. Belts are considered too flashy amongst the Amish, so instead, he’ll wear suspenders.
Amish Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony is surprisingly very similar to a typical church service.
At the end of the service, the couple will stand before the congregation and make their all-important wedding vows.
A ceremony may last for several hours.
How To Tell If An Amish Woman Is Married?
Amish people aren’t materialistic, so they don’t wear engagement or wedding rings.
Instead, you can tell if an Amish woman is married by the color of her head covering (also known as a prayer covering).
Before marriage, she wears a black head covering. Once married, she changes it to a white one.
Amish Wedding Meal
The Amish wedding food is one of the highlights of the day. Or rather, two highlights, as guests eat dinner and supper at the wedding.
A roast is served alongside mashed potatoes, creamed celery, coleslaw, and applesauce. For dessert, you can expect a variety of sweet treats including donuts and pies.
Amish courtship is taken rather seriously in Amish communities. Most Amish won’t go on a date just for fun, but only if they see a future with the other person.
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