Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Amish Wedding

Every year, I travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania with my husband and his amazing family. It is one of the highlights of our year. The integrity and ingenuity of the Amish people is awe-inspiring. The beauty of the farmlands and countryside truly create a feeling of peace and calm. We also eat ourselves SILLY!

This year, as we were enjoying the splendor of Amish Country, I thought about how a wedding could be inspired by the nature of the area and its local people. As is the case with weddings, the Amish culture is also steeped in tradition.

Consider hosting your event in a beautiful location such as the gorgeous barn pictured below. It will set a rustic, simplistic and elegant tone for the evening.

(photo source unknown)

The Amish people are known for their refusal to use modern electricity. In keeping with that idea, try to use as little artificial lighting at your event as possible. Take it a step further by placing the candles in a mason jar and hanging them throughout the venue. Nothing is more romantic than a beautiful barn awash in the soft amber light of hundreds of candles.

(photo source unknown)

The beauty of nature is revered amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch. Use this concept in creating the feel for your event. Natural items such as wheat stalks, pumpkins, apples and garlands can serve as lovely centerpieces. Take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us every day in decorating your wedding.

(image courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens)

Traditional Amish fare consists of comfort foods such as farm-fresh fried chicken, potato stuffing, candied yams, and baked bread spread with apple butter. This meal would be great at a wedding served “family style” (where each dish is set on the table for guests to pass around) as is the custom when in Amish Country. This would really foster a sense of closeness and home. After all, a wedding should be about family!

(image courtesy of Dutchman Hospitality)

Quilting is at the heart of the Amish culture. Beautiful squares painstakingly sewn together are given to new Amish couples as they embark on their new life together. Incorporate this idea into a variation of the traditional wedding guest book. Set a basket filled with squares of various materials on a table by the entrance of your venue. Provide permanent markers and have guests indicate their well-wishes for your marriage on the squares. Find someone to quilt the squares together after the wedding. This beautiful blanket will serve as a memory of your special day for years to come.

(image courtesy of Broadway Paper)

Pies are a staple of Amish dessert. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, serve your guests Shoofly pie (a mixture of sweet crumbs and molasses) and Whoopie pies (sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between two small cakes). Usually made with chocolate cakes and cream filling, Whoopie pies can also be made with red velvet, pumpkin, and oatmeal variations. Give your guests a selection of these home-baked desserts and serve them with warm, comforting beverages such as hot mulled cider, strong coffee, and hot chocolate.

(photo source unknown)

(image courtesy of Kitchen Kettle Village)

A great favor to remind your guests of your Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired wedding, gift them with small jars of locally-produced apple, pear or pumpkin butter. Kitchen Kettle based in Intercourse, Pennsylvania (one of my favorite spots to visit) offers their fruit butters in mini jars- the perfect size for a wedding favor! Personalize it even further by customizing a label with your names and wedding date.

(image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings)

The love of family and friends that defines the Amish lifestyle is a perfect way to begin the marriage of two families.

Here are a few photos from our trip! (the following photos are courtesy of my brother-in-law, Ben Strano)

Elizabeth & Jay (isn't my husband adorable?!)

My in-laws

An Amish farm

Tractor on the farm

Lovely Amish sunset

No comments: