Amish Wedding Vows

“I Do”… Amish Style by Tracy Fredrychowski

(Photo by Jim Fisher)

Late October brings cooler temperatures and colorful scenery to Central Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania’s Amish countryside. The busy harvest season is winding down, and the Amish community starts to look forward to the upcoming wedding season.

In the late months of summer, the community starts to speculate which couples will be “published” (announced at church) and whose home will host a wedding celebration. Most marriages are kept quiet until just a few weeks before the ceremony.

Can you imagine keeping your wedding a secret for months and only letting most of your family and friends know a few weeks before the ceremony?

How exciting it must be to keep something so special to only a chosen few. I can just imagine that the secret helps build the anticipation. The thought of the courting couple planning their wedding in secret makes it all that more special. Us Englishers could learn a thing or two about keeping secrets and doing everything we can to make a wedding ceremony a once in a lifetime event.

Amish weddings are typically held at the home of the bride, and it’s not uncommon for more than 500 guests to be invited. Amish weddings commonly are held on Tuesday’s or Thursdays, but with more and more weddings taking place they now are often held on Saturday’s as well.

The bride typically will not wear white but will pick her favorite color for a new dress from the acceptable colors of her community. At Amish weddings, bridesmaids and groomsmen are called sidesitters and will join the couple at the head table called the “Eck” meaning corner reserved for the wedding party.

An Amish wedding is one of the most joyous occasion an Amish couple will share. They have spent months keeping their engagement a secret and can finally celebrate sharing their faith and starting a family together in a wedding service in front of their community.

The wedding service is much like a church service, and only after the sermon is complete, the minister will ask the bride and groom to come forward so he can ask them the marriage questions which is similar to wedding vows.

I came across my own wedding vows the other day, and it got me wondering what the marriage vows were like in an Amish ceremony. After a bit of research, I was able to find it shared by Lester Beachy in his book Our Amish Values – Who we are and what we believe.”

Amish Marriage Vows

Both are asked this first question:

Can you both confess that God has ordained marriage to be a union between one man and one wife, and do you also have the confidence that you are approaching marriage in accordance with the way you have been taught?

Answer: Yes, from the Bridegroom
Answer: Yes, from the Bride

The Bridegroom is asked:

Do you also have the confidence, Brother, that the Lord has provided this, our Sister, as a marriage partner for you?

Answer: Yes

The Bride is asked:

Do you also have the confidence, Sister, that the Lord has provided this, our Brother, as a marriage partner for you?

Answer: Yes

The Bridegroom is asked:

Do you also promise your wife that if she should become in bodily weakness, sickness, or any similar circumstances need your help, that you will care for her as is fitting for a Christian husband?

Answer: Yes

The Bride is asked:

Do you promise your husband the same thing, that if he should in bodily weakness, sickness, or any other similar circumstances need your help, that you will care for him as is flitting a Christian wife?

Answer: Yes

Both are then asked:

Do you promise together that you will come with love, forbearance and patience live with each other, and not part from each other until God will separate you in death?

Answer: Yes, from the Bridegroom
Answer: Yes, from the Bride

There is no exchange of rings which is based on the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul writes that women should not adorn themselves with gold or pearls or costly array.

Do you wonder how they know if a woman or man is married if they don’t wear a wedding band? For men, it is easy as they are required to grow a beard. As for women, single women and married women sit separately at church and at functions which helps distinguish them. Most Amish communities also have special activities specifically for unmarried youth.

After the ceremony, a meal is served that consists of chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed celery, dressing, and dessert. The new couple will personally greet each guest after the meal by passing out candy as a thank you for attending their wedding.

To the Amish marriage is a lifelong commitment and divorce is not an option. For better or worse until death do us part is taken seriously even though they do not recite those exact words in their ceremony. The only exception to this vow is if one spouse passes away, the other spouse is free to marry again.

As for a honeymoon. Typically the first night spent as man and wife is at the home of the bride’s parents, so they can get up the next morning to help with clean up. The first few weeks of their new life together is spent visiting family and friends and accepting wedding gifts.

No lavish honeymoons, no destination weddings. Just a pure and simple, God-centered way to start a life together.

Tracy Fredrychowski is a country girl, author, homesteader and everything simple living. She has a passion for writing about the simpler side of life, much like the life she lived growing up in rural Pennsylvania.

Her life has always been intertwined with the Amish, and it’s only fitting that she has a genuine passion for their simplicity, sense of community and God-centered lives.

Growing up in Northwest Pennsylvania she spent her childhood immersed deep in Amish Country.  The clip-clop of horse and buggy woke her each morning as Amish men drove past her childhood home on their way to work. As a young woman, she was traumatized by an Amish murder that involved a family member and changed her life forever.

Even though she currently lives in South Carolina her travels take her through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin’s Amish Country every year. During those stops, she researches the communities she visits and prides herself on writing Amish fiction that truly represents the Amish culture. She considers herself very fortunate to have made friends in those communities and values the information they share and wants nothing more than to represent their lifestyle as accurately as possible.

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