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A Guide to Amish Weddings in Lancaster County

Weddings are special celebrations within the Amish community. In this post, we’ll learn more about Amish weddings and you can test your knowledge on Amish wedding traditions.

Marriage in the Amish community is seen as a passage into adulthood. To get married in the Amish community, members must be baptized in the church. Outsiders, non-Amish, or ‘English’, as they call the rest of the world, are not permitted to marry within the Amish community.

True or False: Amish marriages are arranged.

FALSE! Members are free to choose their partner within the community.

In Lancaster County, the wedding season begins in late October and goes to about mid-March. They follow this strict schedule based on harvest season. Since there is little to no farm work from October through March, they take advantage of the free time to have weddings. Weddings are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These particular days of the week were chosen because the bench wagons are available for use. These bench wagons are also used for church ceremonies, making them not available at the end of the week.

temporary amish wedding house
Left: A bench wagon used for church ceremonies and weddings.
Right: A temporary wedding “house” built to accommodate all wedding guests.

True or False: Amish weddings last all day long.

TRUE! You can plan on being at an Amish wedding from 8:00 a.m. to well after dark.

Weddings are held at the bride’s family’s home and around 400-600 people are invited to each wedding. Due to the large list of invitees, a temporary wedding ‘house’ is built to accommodate everyone. Bench wagons will also make their appearance at a wedding. Inside these gray wagons are long wooden benches, china, and flatware. The benches serve as seating for the hundreds of wedding guests. China and flatware will be used during the two meals that are served at the wedding.

amish playing volleyball
Amish young adults play hour-long volleyball games after the meal.

True or False: English people are not invited to Amish weddings.

FALSE! There are two parts to an Amish wedding, the church service and the wedding ceremony. English friends are invited to the ceremony, not the church service. Religious ceremonies are for church members only.

Traditionally, a bride wears a long-sleeved blue or purple dress along with a white apron. Today, not all brides follow this tradition and choose any color for their long-sleeved wedding dress.

This season we saw many brides dressed in gray and maroon. Her soon to be husband will be dressed in his Sunday outfit — black pants, a nice white shirt, and his black hat.The wedding party consists of only two to three couples. The wedding party is dressed in their Sunday best, white aprons for the women and white shirts for men.

sign at Amish wedding
A necessary sign to help the 500 guests find their way around the wedding.

True or False: Amish women get buried in their white wedding apron.

True! After their wedding, the white cape and apron used in the ceremony is kept in a safe place until her funeral.

There’s no first dance, kiss at the altar, or photographers at Amish weddings. But there is a lot of good food! The Amish wedding meal consists of creamed celery, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chicken, and gravy. Dessert isn’t to be missed; a whole spread of pies, donuts, and sweet treats are made by the dozens. Wedding guests will eat in shifts, about 200 people at a time. The bride, the groom, and their families eat first.

amish wedding party
If you look closely you can see the bride dressed in white standing with her wedding party.

True or False: The Amish do not exchange vows.

FALSE! The newlywed couple exchanges two vows* at the wedding ceremony.

Vow 1: “Do you promise… this is he/she should be afflicted with bodily weakness sickness or some other circumstance that you will care for him/her as if fitting a Christian husband/wife?”

Vow 2: “Do you solemnly promise with one another that you will love and bear and be patient with each other and shall not separate from each other until dear God shall part you from each other through death?”

*Vows taken from page 234 of Donald Kraybill’s book, The Amish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last winter the Amish neighbors had a wedding at their farmhouse. So many buggies!

Wrapping Up

How many questions did you get correct? We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Amish weddings in Lancaster County. If you’re interested in learning more about where the Amish live in Lancaster, read our post Where Do the Amish Live in Lancaster County?

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