Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part installment about attending an Amish wedding in Ohio. Dorcas Raber is Gloria’s mom.
The wedding sermons held both encouragement and advice for the bridal pair as well as for the rest of us.
My dad remarked in his sermon that he and my mom were married in the very same barn. My parents have been married for more than 50 years. It was a solemn, serious moment when Michael and Lori’s hands were put together for life: a lifetime commitment. After a parting prayer and song, we were dismissed.
Meanwhile, the cooks and the servers were making last-minute preparations. They had been able to attend part of the 2½-hour service and to witness the marriage vows. As we married people filed in at the shop to eat, the table servers sang. It was beautiful. There were strains of “There is a God — He is Alive,” “Jesus — Worthy is Your Name” and “Faithful Love.” Very fitting for an occasion like this. God, in his goodness, instituted marriage and the songs vibrated His faithfulness.
The bridal pair and witnesses were seated at the bridal table in its splendor. On one end of the table, there was a display of white candles in various sizes and glowing. On the other end was the wedding cake and in the middle was a plaque “Faith, Hope, Love, But the Greatest is Love.”
Red roses and greenery added a finishing touch. The bridal party was “royally” served by three couples. The server boys wore charcoal-colored shirts and black pants, and the girls wore rose dresses.
Meanwhile, all of us married folks were seated at tables and served while the children filed through tables cafeteria-style under the large tent. What a meal it was! Homemade dinner rolls that my mom had made, grilled chicken, wedding mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, green beans, a tossed salad with veggies, pecans and cheese, black raspberry and strawberry trifle desserts, ice cream and frozen yogurt. Lori had requested 50 extra ice cream cups so that children could enjoy it throughout the afternoon (and the adults, too).
After we were finished eating, the table servers cleared the tables and reset them. Next was the cooks and servers’ turn to eat. When they were finished eating, six more songs were sung, plus my brother Marcus had a devotional.
Michael and Lori and their witnesses had the fun of opening gifts later on in the day. A wide variety of gifts were given — from a weed-trimmer and gas grill to many smaller items.
The newlyweds are residing at her brother’s rental house three miles from Lori’s parents and just a little farther to Michael’s parents. I’m sure both sets of parents will have their doors wide open for their “children.” There’s just something about family, you know. So precious!
Gloria: Thank you to mom for stepping in and writing the column last week and this week! I was delighted to hear from several of you with questions in regards to Amish weddings. Any and all questions are welcome at all times!
Someone asked about birth and marriage certificates. Yes, we do have them. I distinctly remember how I felt when Grandpa, who joined us in marriage, signed our marriage certificate. My heart overflowed with joy. I was officially Mrs. Daniel Yoder for life!
In answer to the question about whether guests are required to bring a covered dish: I have heard of some Amish with that practice but in our community the bride’s parents furnish all the food.
As for the inquiry on the size of our weddings, it varies from one community to the next. In our church it varies from 250 to 450 guests.
Here is the recipe for mashed potatoes served at our weddings. Regular milk can be used in place of evaporated milk if you wish. Adding browned butter on top just before serving really adds a great flavor. This recipe can easily be halved. And don’t add too much water to the potatoes; you are not boiling them, you are steaming them, so don’t fill the whole kettle with water.
Potatoes, diced and peeled, enough to fill a six-quart kettle
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ can evaporated milk
Salt (1½ tablespoons or to taste)
Fill a six-quart kettle with diced and peeled potatoes. Add one inch and a half water and turn on high until boiling. Cover the kettle tightly with a lid. Turn the heat down and simmer until they are fork tender. Once they are tender, they are ready to be drained and mashed. Then put a half stick of butter and half a cup milk in the bottom of the six-quart kettle before you put in the finished mashed potatoes. For the browned butter, take two pounds of butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until just browned. Top with browned butter before serving.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.