Amish weddings are typically simple, traditional, and community-centered affairs. They reflect the Amish values of simplicity, humility, and adherence to tradition. I'm not sure there is any one authoritative guide to Amish weddings because they are all different, but I'll share with you my experiences, keeping in mind that customs vary from place to place.
The engagement period in the Amish community is typically very short, usually lasting only a few weeks or months. During this time, the couple will spend time making plans for their future together.
❤️ Getting Published
The engagement is usually announced at a church service – known as “getting published” - and the couple will begin preparing for their wedding. The wedding itself can take months of preparation, so the wedding date and engagement are a closely guarded secret by a few until it is announced.
The wedding itself is typically held in the bride's home, a family member's house, or in some Amish settlements, a community center. The ceremony is usually conducted by the bishop or minister of the community, and is conducted in the German language. The bride and groom exchange their vows, and the community members present at the wedding offer their support and blessings. The service usually starts around 9 a.m. and doesn't wind down until around noon.
After the ceremony, an amazing meal is served to the guests, typically consisting of traditional Amish dishes such as roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade bread. Dancing and alcohol are not typically a part of Amish weddings, but there may be singing and other forms of entertainment.
⛪ Amish Wedding Season
Amish wedding season used to be after the harvest. October was, and still is, a very popular wedding month. But as the Amish have grown, lifestyles have changed, and tastes have changed, weddings now occur pretty much throughout the calendar year. June is also a very popular month for Amish brides, which reflects a move away from the agri calendar.
💒 Amish Wedding Supper
One of the most distinctive features of an Amish wedding is the "wedding supper." This is a large, elaborate meal that is served on the evening of the wedding day. The bride's family is responsible for preparing and serving the meal, and it is typically attended by the entire community. One of the best Amish meals I've ever had was a wedding. The food just kept coming: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, pie, and on and on. Water was flowing from pitchers.
Most Amish weddings are attended by just Amish. Close non-Amish friends do sometimes attend and are seated with everyone else for a meal. The non-Amish are often seated together.
🍰 Amish Wedding Cake
Yes, the Amish do have wedding cakes. How elaborate the cake is depending on the particular community and couple. There is usually one main cake and often what are known as "side cakes"; these are smaller cakes. With so many people in attendance at an Amish wedding you can never have too much cake! Would you like to make an Amish wedding cake? Here is a recipe for a typical Amish wedding cake!
Not all Amish wedding cakes are as elaborate. This is one from a very conservative Amish community.
🚃 The Wedding Wagon
This is a relatively new development in the evolution of Amish weddings. The wedding wagon is essentially a “mobile kitchen” which an Amish family can rent for a wedding. The wagons are equipped with huge pots and pans and enough utinsels to feed an army
Traditionally Amish weddings have been held on Thursdays although that is slowly changing. Some Amish weddings are shifting towards Fridays and Saturdays.
The wedding meals are an amazing spread of entrees, rolls, salad, and plenty of pie. Unmarried boys, girls, and young women and men serve as “tablewaiters” and it is considered an honor to be asked. It’s also considered an honor to be asked to be a cook at the wedding, even though it is a lot of work.
🙋 FAQ Answered Questions About Amish Weddings
Few Amish can actually give the reason behind the Thursday weddings, the original answer is largely lost to history. Now, most Amish just cite “tradition.” The best answers I have been given date to the 19th century, This is when people might have had to travel a long distance by horse-drawn buggy. If the wedding was held on a Thursday, faraway guests could leave without missing church on Sunday, They could then return home for Sunday services. Although since worship is held every other Sunday among the Amish that theory has some holes.
Many Amish businesses are closed on Thursdays so that commerce doesn't interfere with weddings.
Amish couples do get marriage licenses so the ceremony is official and the advent of the “wedding wagon” has made life much easier for the bride’s family which usually holds the wedding at their home. Gone are the days of having to round up every spoon, commandeering ovens, and procuring plates.
These questions are tough to answer because they vary from community to community. If you look online, you’ll see mixed answers, and that is probably the best answer, some do, some don’t. Amish weddings that I have attended, rings have been exchanged, but the rings are never worn. In some cases, the rings are baked into the wedding cake as a prize to be found.
The Pennsylvania Dutch term is “eck.” This is a corner of the “wedding room” where the bride and groom sit. The Eck has the wedding cake and decorations celerating the union of the couple.
Yes, the Amish can divorce, but they will likely be expelled from the church and shunned. Divorce is not permitted within the Amish faith.
Colors vary, white isn't the standard like it is in other cultures, although white is sometimes worn, but so are pastels like green, blue, or even mustard yellow. Some Amish women make it a point to be buried in the dress they are married in. Amish grooms will often wear a necktie, the only day in their life they will usually do so.
Among the Amish celery symbolizes fertility, so it is put into the wedding decor for good luck. But on a practical level, beautiful green celery makes for an inexpensive but pretty table decoration, so you see celery a lot on tables at Amish weddings!