Holmes County Ohio Bed and Breakfast shares what she has learned about Amish weddings: "When we first moved to the world's largest Amish community we knew almost nothing about the Amish. One local tour guide shared that in the Old Order Amish church a young couple goes to the Bishop (the head of their church) to discuss their intentions of getting married before they tell family and friends. She said that the Bishop would talk with/counsel the couple to see if he felt that a marriage would appropriate. If the Bishop felt the couple was a good match he would set a date to announce at church that the couple was "pledged" to each other. Meanwhile the girl may have bought herself a bolt of cloth and started sewing herself a new dress to get married in. The dress would be black or navy and a traditional Amish top/skirt, nothing like the wedding dresses in the outside world. She explained that the wedding would usually take place within a month of being pledged. The day of the wedding it all starts with a church service. The tour guide explained that there would be an hour of singing by the congregation while the couple to be married met with the Bishop. Next there would be a church service. She told us that all couples get the same service...nothing personalized for them. At the end of the service the couple would exchange vows. After the service there would be a meal that is prepared by family and friends. She told us that many times the mother of the bride is not at the church service because she is cooking and preparing to serve the meal but that she may come in at the end of the ceremony to see the couple exchange vows. The couple does have attendants but unlike other bridesmaids/groomsmen there are no fancy clothes or flowers. In fact their job is to help pass the potluck foods up and down the tables and to help clean up after the meal. She told us that there would be no 4 or 5 tier cakes but a basket of candy would be passed up and down the tables and each guest would grab a handful of candy. The noon time meal after the church service would have family, friends, church members, neighbors, etc. She told us that a 2nd reception would take place in the evening. She said that all of the single people would meet and this was an opportunity to hook up other couples. She told us that there would be no flowers, no fancy table settings, no band, no extravagant gifts, etc. She said that gifts are what we would usually see at a wedding shower...things to start the couple off like towels, pots, glasses, etc.
Today Amish weddings are different. I met an Amish woman, Mrs. Miller, who told me how things have changed from the time she got married to when her daughters recently married. Her wedding was much like what the tour guide described. She told me that when her daughter married that there were flowers and decorations on the tables at the reception. There was also a decorated wedding cake. Today there are "wedding wagons" that can be rented to refrigerate salads and those that contain ovens to keep hot foods warm. Since Amish families are so large it is nothing to find 500-700 people at a wedding. This means having to rent glasses, plates, silverware, etc. The bridal table may have candles, flowers, or other decorations at the meal.
If you visit Walnut Creek Cheese, they have a store/section with kitchen gadgets. You will find a bridal registry table there where the bride-to-be can put items that she would like on the table. Friends and family can shop their store and take items off of the bridal table to purchase for a wedding gift.
Amish weddings are still very simple, especially compared to non-Amish weddings, but people get very excited about attending them no matter how they have changed over the years."
Guests that stay at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast in Holmes County, Ohio, can have the innkeepers map out directions to Amish owned businesses and talk with the innkeepers around the nightly campfire to learn more about the Amish culture.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608 www.garden-gate.com