As the temperatures in Texas begin to drop, albeit ever so slightly, wedding plans are abuzz. November is a big wedding month in Texas and I am hearing about wedding plans both in my office and in my personal life. Most often it’s the latest “crisis.” The dresses don’t fit, the flowers aren’t just right and so on.
My parents recently purchased a subscription to Our Wisconsin magazine for me. Included in every issue is Amish Family Diary. Typically it recounts the day to day goings on of the columnist’s family farm. The August/September 2018 issue, however, was different in that the columnist’s youngest two daughters both married, in separate ceremonies, within a few weeks of one another. For each wedding, the family hosted 450 guests, some traveling from Iowa and Illinois. About 40 cooks, using seven gas ranges, began preparations two days in advance. For the first ceremony, 100 pounds of beef, 200 pounds of potatoes and 12 gallons of gravy were cooked, in addition to home grown corn, various breads, rolls and baked goods. For the second ceremony, 300 pounds of barbecued chicken was prepared, beginning at 4:00 AM on the day of the wedding, along with shelled peas, potatoes, gravy and bread crumb dressing.
Amish weddings are held on Thursday mornings, with the “reception” occurring at noon and a smaller meal offered at dinner so that there is time to clean up after the ceremony and help the newlyweds move into their home by week end. Tables, chairs and pews are typically set up and taken down the same day. Dishes are washed by family and guests and returned to the rented wedding trailer for the next family. Remember, this is a farming community and animals need to be fed and chores completed every day as well, regardless of the occasion.
As I read the article I grinned at the simplicity and beauty of this wedding tradition and compared it to the plans of a typical “English” wedding. In doing so, I concluded that the Amish do weddings right. I’m not alone in my conclusion. In fact, studies show that, the more expensive the ring, the more expensive the wedding, the less likely the marriage is to last. Why? Because the goal was never the actual union of two people, it was to put on a show. My own wedding occurred during an ice storm in 1991. The elderly minister became confused and ended up giving a seven minute sermon (which was sooo much better than the 90 minute sermon he presented at the rehearsal the night before!). Half of the food could not be delivered, nor did half the guests make it to the ceremony. The string quartet was replaced with audio taped classical music. The reception was brief so we could all return home safely. My husband and I experienced a flat tire on the way home….. I was coming down with the ‘flu….. Guests behaved badly….. and so on. And, when all was said and done, we were married, which was the goal in the first place. We still are. Always, always establish and pursue worthy goals.