I am Lovina’s “English” friend Ruth, and I had the opportunity to help Lovina the week of Susan and Ervin’s wedding by taking photos of the wedding prep, running a few last-minute errands, and also attending the wedding on Friday, December 30. Typically, Amish weddings are held in the shed (pole barn) of the bride’s parents’ house, but with it being winter Susan and Ervin decided to use the CYC (Community Youth Center), which is a beautiful building that is used primarily for the youth to gather on Saturday nights for social activities but is also available for the Amish community to use for special events. It has two large rooms (the size of a gym) plus a fully furnished kitchen. This building has solar power, and the kitchen even has electrical outlets, which are not allowed in Amish homes even if they have solar but are allowed in the CYC building. The one large room was set up for the wedding ceremony and the other large room was set up for the noon meal after the wedding.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the wedding, friends, family, and church members came to the CYC to set up for the wedding, to prepare food for the noon meal, and to support Susan and Ervin. More folks gathered early Friday to start the cooking for the meal. Each morning when Lovina and I arrived for the preparation, Susan and Ervin and the children were there before everyone else to get started on that day’s list, and they were the last to leave each afternoon. They greeted everyone as they came in with smiles and words of gratitude for the help given. Many of you know Susan lost her husband Mose about two years ago, and Ervin lost his wife Sarah a few months before Mose passed. What I found so endearing was that both Sarah’s and Mose’s families were not only supportive of the marriage but came to help with the wedding prep. On the day of the wedding Omer and Rose (Sarah’s parents) and William and Rosanna (Mose’s parents) were seated at the head tables with the family. Susan and Ervin also were intentional about honoring and acknowledging Sarah and Mose as they started their new journey as husband and wife.
A typical Amish wedding ceremony goes from about 9:00 a.m. until noon. It includes preaching by a number of local ministers, some singing, and finally the pronouncing of the couple as married near the end of the service. Before the service begins, the couple and their witnesses sit near the door where people come in and greet all guests as they arrive. Then they go to a private room to meet with the Ministers, the Bishop, and a deacon to receive advice on having a good marriage and to pray. They are then seated in special chairs in the middle of the room where the wedding is. The bride and her witness sit across from the groom and his witness. After the ceremony there is typically a noon meal, a 5:00 p.m. meal, and a meal with the youth at 7:00 p.m. Susan and Ervin only had a noon meal and limited the guests to family, church members, and some close friends. Even with cutting back, there were still about 425–450 people there. Typically everyone sits down and table waiters pass food to everyone, but only the head table and immediate family was served this way. Everyone else walked through a buffet line to get their food. It was done very efficiently and we were all served quickly.
Susan chose jewel tones of burgundy, purple, red, and green for the wedding. The cooks wore hunter green, family wore burgundy, Susan, her and Ervin’s children, and the mothers wore purple, and Ervin wore a black suit and a white shirt. Susan’s cape and apron were white, as were Verena and Sarah’s, who were witnesses. Susan chose sister Verena and brother Kevin as her witnesses, and Ervin chose his brother Nelson and his wife Sarah as his.
The décor was red and white with Christmas-themed touches of evergreen, pine, poinsettias, and candles. The “Eck,” or corner table, where they sat was set beautifully with china, special glasses, and candles. Lovina will write more about the wedding in upcoming columns.
My impression of the week and the wedding was that Susan and Ervin are loved and supported by their families and community, and that was shown by the gifts of time and words of encouragement they received. It was clear that Ervin and Susan love each other and love their children, both their own and each other’s. May God continue to bless them richly as they begin their new life together and may their home be filled with love and laughter.
Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.