Lovina’s Friend Ruth Shares About the Wedding

I am Lovina’s “English” friend Ruth, and I had the opportunity to help Lovina shop for food, take pictures of the wedding preparation, and then attend Daniel and Lovina’s wedding on Friday, June 21. Lovina asked me to share with you what happens in the days leading up to the wedding, and she will share more about the wedding in her next column.

Lovina and Daniel asked Lovina’s sister Emma and her daughter Elizabeth to be the head cooks for the wedding. That is a special responsibility because they were in charge of organizing all the food, deciding what dishes would be prepared in the days leading up to the wedding, writing out and posting the recipes in the different areas where the food would be prepared, and setting up what the cooks would need to complete their tasks each day. They organized and set up the lunch that the women would share together each day and cleaned up when they were done. They were there before anyone else each morning and were the last ones to leave. There was so much more they did, and they were always cheerful and happy to answer questions and give directions.  

Much of the food prep is done on the two days prior to the wedding, and some is done the morning of the wedding. For instance, on Wednesday, the group of women who came to help made pie crusts for the fresh strawberry pies, then cut up the berries, made the filling, and assembled the pies. They cut the potatoes, carrots and onions for the homemade dressing. They cut the fresh rhubarb from the garden for the rhubarb custard pies, browned the butter that would be tossed into the homemade noodles, and cut the chicken quarters into pieces. On Thursday, the women made the fresh bread and the pecan and rhubarb pies, cut the fresh fruit, cut and cleaned the vegetables for the lettuce salad, and made the homemade ranch dressing. There were 20-25 women who came on Wednesday and Thursday mornings to prepare the food. They were hard workers and had most of the work done by noon, which was good because it was a very hot week, hovering in the mid-90s every day. 

The bride and groom ask family, church members and friends to help with the wedding. There were about 150 men and women involved in food prep, set up, serving, and clean up. On the day of the wedding, the workers all wear dresses in the colors the couple asked them to wear. All the cooks wear one color and the table servers another. If you are asked to be a cook, server, dishwasher, or food preparer, you do that job the entire day of the wedding. You start at about 8 a.m. and work until everything is cleaned up at about 8 p.m. Before the noon and five o’clock meals are served, the workers sit down and eat together. When the wedding is over, which goes from about 9 a.m. to noon, there is a flurry of activity as they get ready to serve the guests. 

The tables in the pole barn were set up the Saturday before and were all set with the dishes and silverware and then covered to keep them clean for the week. A large tent was set up outside the second barn where the wedding would take place for extra seating and for the gift table. There was a smaller tent set up between the two barns that provided shade for the women doing food prep and washing dishes. 

There is a cook wagon that is rented; it is a large RV that has been fitted with seven stoves, counter space for working, and shelves for storing the pots, pans and cooking utensils. There is a refrigerated wagon for keeping all the food cold, which runs off a generator. There is also a wagon that has all the dinner plates, silverware, serving dishes, tables and the racks that are at the end of each row of tables that the food is kept on while serving. The church district wagon that holds all the benches for a normal church service is also there, and the benches are set up for the wedding service. 

The wedding quilt is an Amish tradition; it was made using Lovina and Daniel’s wedding colors. Photo provided by Ruth Ross.

Lovina and Daniel decorated the “Eck”, or corner table in a rustic, country theme. Many young Amish couples are being less traditional with their décor choices and are instead opting for decorating with themes that are special to them. There was still the traditional quilt made of her colors, and they used their special dishes and glasses as their dinnerware. 

As an outsider, watching how this community comes together and supports each other is always an amazing experience. I didn’t hear any complaining about the work or the weather; they did their jobs cheerfully and efficiently. They enjoyed each other’s company and took the opportunity of being together to catch up on family news. They welcomed me and would switch from Pennsylvania Dutch to English, so I could be included in their conversations when I was with them. They are rooted deep in their faith and their commitment to helping one another. Daniel and Lovina, may God bless you as you start this new chapter in your lives and thank you for letting me share in your special day.

One of the desserts at the wedding was fresh strawberry pie. Enjoy this recipe from Lovina’s newest cookbook The Cherished Table.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
Red food color (optional)
6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 (9-inch) baked pie crust, cooled or at room temperature

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin and a few drops of red food color, if desired. Let cool until lukewarm. Add the strawberries, stir to coat the berries, and then pour into the baked crust. Refrigerate pie for 2 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her three cookbooks, The Cherished Table, The Essential Amish Cookbook, and Amish Family Recipes, are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, PO Box 234, Sturgis, MI 49091 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails or comments on this website or social media.

9 thoughts on “Lovina’s Friend Ruth Shares About the Wedding”

  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and the quilt picture, so lovely. We were just in Ohio’s Amish/Mennonite country enjoying those sights and hospitality, including a trip to Lehman’s Hardware.

  2. Thank you Ruth for writing all about the wedding for Lovina this week. You did a great job explaining so many things that go into a wedding. I know you were much appreciated!

  3. Who had time to make the beautiful quilt? Is it a tradition to have someone make it who is related to the family or do you find a quilting business to do it? I can’t imagine with all the work throwing a wedding that ladies would have time to quilt too.

  4. Thank you Ruth for being such a good friend to Lovina! I look forward to more pictures of the special day! My background is of Amish decent, I’ve prayed this family through hard and happy times!

  5. Thank you Ruth for a really great description of all that was done in getting this preparation done, very well written

  6. Thankyou for sharing your column & family traditions & adventures with us. I’ve always enjoyed your column it has enriched my family life with the simplest things as a mom of 5 now grandma & great Oma

  7. If the rest of the people in the world acted more like the Amish, what a wonderful world it would be! God Bless us all!

  8. Hi Lovina I’ve learned that high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and palm oil isn’t good for anyone! I’m sorry! When I grocery shop I read ingredients on everything I buy like a hawk hands down! Kathy

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