Family and marriage in Amish communities are key aspects of their lives. Amish boys and girls start looking for potential spouses at the young age of 16.
At the age of 20, many Amish men and women begin thinking about marriage and starting a family, to grow the community.
Amish people are strongly encouraged to marry within the Amish community, making their already-tightknit communities even more exclusive. An outsider will rarely marry into the community.
Amish weddings tend to be less flashy and decorated than western weddings with no photographers, no wedding dance or kiss at the altar.
A sermon and a big feast are the main events for the wedding day, with lots and lots of fellowshipping.
Despite the lack of flashiness and decorative aspects, an Amish wedding is a special experience with an intimate and meaningful celebration that truly shows how much family and tradition mean to these communities.
What this article covers:
Amish Wedding Traditions
Like many things in the Amish community, There are differences in how things are done compared to western culture.
The Amish have many customs and traditions in their marriage and wedding ceremonies.
Something that remains the same, however, is that weddings are a celebration of a newlywed couple that calls for a day of joy.
Amish weddings have many traditions and practices carried down through generations that are crucial to these events.
Tradition is important to the Amish people, which means weddings and celebratory events carry a lot of meaning.
The Amish wedding season occurs towards the end of the year when the harvest season ends.
In the Amish community courting is more secretive and private. An engaged couple will usually not announce their marriage proposal until a few weeks before the wedding.
As far as weddings go, they are joyful and celebratory occasions in the Amish community, which makes sense, as the Amish are very invested in family and a sense of community.
Amish communities view marriage as a serious commitment, which explains why divorce in Amish communities is almost non-existent.
The Wedding Day and Planning
Many Amish weddings get planned around other couples as well as the community usually has a short wedding season.
Couples planning to get married in the community disclose their wedding plans to the bishop so that all wedding plans can be approved and community memberships verified.
On a chosen Sunday, the couples are “published” to the congregation at the end of the service. The couples are announced, by individual name and partner, to the community.
In the days leading up to the wedding families will be working around the clock to prepare enough food and make sure the house is ready for the guests.
Amish weddings are mainly held on Tuesdays or Thursdays due to the amount of preparing and setting up. A full day is set aside for the family to set up and clean up after.
On the wedding day, a simple service for the couple is held in the morning. After, the bishop speaks to them in private, giving them advice and his blessing for their future.
After the service, the couple will proceed outside to give their vows in front of the congregation.
Most of the day will be fellowship and socializing held at the bride's family house, where meals are also prepared.
Two main meals, supper, and dinner, which consist of quite the feast, are served for the guests reaching 200 to 400 people. Amish wedding foods are all homemade and grown.
The couple will spend their wedding night in the home of the bride's family, to help clean up the day after.
Couples in Amish communities don't go on honeymoons as western newlyweds do, instead, they spend a few days visiting and spending time with their new relatives.
This “honeymoon” takes several weeks as they plan to meet everyone, they also get their wedding gifts as they make the rounds.
Gifts from other family members or community members can include homemade or homegrown food.
When the visit and the family meeting conclude, the planning begins for the couple as they decide to move into their own home and most probably start a family.
What Do the Amish Wear at Weddings
Flashy clothing and bright colors may not be what the Amish go for in their day-to-day lives, but a wedding calls for new clothes.
An Amish bridal dress is usually calf length and plain cut with no lace or trim and no flashy adornment; a plain yet elegant look.
For the color choice, many women choose blue or shades of purple as their dress color with white aprons and capes to go with them. White is hardly ever used as the dress color in Amish weddings.
Many young Amish girls will have their color picked out from a young age, dressing up their handmade Amish dolls in their favorite color.
The bride or her mother will make the bridal dress and the dresses of her attendants in matching colors, during the days leading up to the wedding, and after the wedding, the bride's dress may become her new Sunday church attire.
The bride never wears a veil, she will instead wear a black prayer covering and not the white cap she wears day-to-day.
The groom and his attendants wear black suits and coats with black vests and white shirts. Amish men don’t routinely wear ties, however, for this special occasion, bow ties are the option of choice.
The groom also wears high-topped black shoes and black socks, as well as a black hat with a brim no longer than 3 and a half inches.
Amish weddings and their celebrations may seem plain when viewed through a mainstream lens, however, the meaning and sincerity of the occasion are just as strong.
The plain nature and sincere focus on the meaning behind the marriage can be a beautiful experience and occasion to witness and the plainness offers a certain elegance that can be admired.
Both men's and women's wedding clothing have been the same for generations, and that’s not changing any time soon.
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