My Amish romances are set in beautiful Wisconsin Amish country. I met Joyce Natzke the first time I went to Wisconsin for research. Joyce and her husband Ken have several Amish friends, and Ken conducts tours of the Amish sites in the area. This is Joyce’s account of the wedding of Leora, her Amish neighbor.
The wedding took place in the haymow of Leora’s family’s barn. It had been cleaned, and all the hay had been stacked to one side. The chickens were corralled behind the hay bales so they wouldn’t disrupt the wedding.
Men and women sat on benches facing each other. The women dressed in Sunday best with white organdy aprons, various colored dresses, and white prayer kapps. The men wore white shirts and black pants.
Two hymns were sung, then the bride’s uncle spoke for forty-five minutes. After another song, the bishop spoke for more than an hour. The messages were delivered in German with an occasional English word thrown in for the benefit of the Englischers.
After the sermons, the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom took their places on the empty chairs at the center of the room. Then the bride and groom and their attendants sat in front with the girls facing the boys. The bride wore a black head covering, a white organdy apron, and an orchid-colored dress. Brides in Bonduel can choose the color of their wedding dress.
Eight couples—table waiters—attended the bride and groom. It is a great honor to be chosen as a table waiter. The girls each wore a dress the same color as the bride. Each table waiter carried a tatted white hanky as a present from the bride.
The couple faced the bishop to be married and didn’t make eye contact during the entire ceremony. After the ceremony, men moved the benches into the shed for the wedding meal. The tables were covered with white paper tablecloths and set with white stoneware. Amish brides rent the dishes for their wedding dinner.
Round layer cakes served as decorations for the tables. Each cake was topped with white frosting and purple glaze. Flowers and another cake sat at the bride and groom’s table.
The bride’s family does all the food preparation. At Leora’s wedding, they served chicken, stuffing with carrots, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, and two kinds of pie in addition to the cake at the table. Bowls were passed down both sides of the table, family style. After dinner, they cleared tables in preparation for the evening meal.
Often between meals, the young people play volleyball or other games. The adults visit. The wedding day is like a family reunion. Relatives come from all over the country. There’s lots of catching-up to be done.
After supper and pie, the bride’s family passed around candy bars and pens with the couple’s names on them—purple pens for the bride and green pens for the groom.
To top off a wonderful-gute day, the bride’s father lit fireworks after supper. What a celebration!