An Amish Wedding

Amish Christmas Miracles is coming, and you are going to love it! Amish Christmas Miracles is a collection of 14 Amish Christmas romances from 14 Amish authors, and it is available on preorder for only 99 cents!

Most of my Amish romances are set in beautiful Wisconsin Amish country. I met Joyce Natzke the first time I went to Wisconsin for research. Joyce and her husband Ken have several Amish friends, and Ken conducts tours of the Amish sites in the area. This is Joyce’s account of the wedding of Leora, her Amish neighbor. It comes complete with fireworks.

The wedding took place in the haymow of Leora’s family’s barn. It had been cleaned, and all the hay had been stacked to one side. The chickens were corralled behind the hay bales so they wouldn’t disrupt the wedding.

Men and women sat on benches facing each other. The women dressed in Sunday best with white organdy aprons, various colored dresses, and white prayer kapps. The men wore white shirts and black pants.

Two hymns were sung, then the bride’s uncle spoke for forty-five minutes. After another song, the bishop spoke for more than an hour. The messages were delivered in German with an occasional English word thrown in for the benefit of the Englischers.

After the sermons, the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom took their places on the empty chairs at the center of the room. Then the bride and groom and their attendants sat in front with the girls facing the boys. The bride wore a black head covering, a white organdy apron, and an orchid-colored dress. Brides in Bonduel can choose the color of their wedding dress.

Eight couples—table waiters—attended the bride and groom. It is a great honor to be chosen as a table waiter. The girls each wore a dress the same color as the bride. Each table waiter carried a tatted white hanky as a present from the bride.

The couple faced the bishop to be married and didn’t make eye contact during the entire ceremony. After the ceremony, men moved the benches into the shed for the wedding meal. The tables were covered with white paper tablecloths and set with white stoneware. Amish brides rent the dishes for their wedding dinner.

Round layer cakes served as decorations for the tables. Each cake was topped with white frosting and purple glaze. Flowers and another cake sat at the bride and groom’s table.

The bride’s family does all the food preparation. At Leora’s wedding, they served chicken, stuffing with carrots, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, and two kinds of pie in addition to the cake at the table. Bowls were passed down both sides of the table, family style. After dinner, they cleared tables in preparation for the evening meal.

Often between meals, the young people play volleyball or other games. The adults visit. The wedding day is like a family reunion. Relatives come from all over the country. There’s lots of catching-up to be done.

After supper and pie, the bride’s family passed around candy bars and pens with the couple’s names on them—purple pens for the bride and green pens for the groom.

To top off a wonderful-gute day, the bride’s father lit fireworks after supper. What a celebration!

Thank you, Joyce. I love this account of an Amish wedding. I include a triple Amish wedding in the third book of my Honeybee Sisters series, Like a Bee to Honey. (There are fireworks!)

And there are three brides in Amish Brides, the collection I wrote with Molly Jebber and Amy Lillard. The Amish have so many traditions that surround food and family. You’ll find plenty of both in Amish Christmas Miracles.

 

Christmas in July Giveaway

Christmas in July is here, and you're the one getting the gifts! The Amish Christmas Miracles authors have teamed up to bring you a Christmas in July giveaway!

The 14 Amish Christmas Miracles authors are each giving away one of their Amish books to 14 lucky winners. To enter, please visit here.

And don't forget to preorder Amish Christmas Miracles: 14 Amish Authors, 14 Heartwarming Christmas Romances. You're going to love it!

You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books.

 

Amish Christmas Traditions

Amish Christmas Miracles is coming, and you are going to love it! Amish Christmas Miracles is a collection of 14 Amish Christmas romances from 14 Amish authors, and it is available on preorder for only 99 cents!

Amish Christmas Miracles features stories from some of your favorite Amish authors: Kathleen Fuller, Lenora Worth, Loree Lough, Laura Bradford, Tracey Fredrychowski, Jennifer Spredemann, Rachel Good, Adina Senft, Ashley Emma, Susan Lantz Simpson, Mary Alford, Dana R. Lynn, and me, Jennifer Beckstrand.

All 14 authors will be blogging here in the weeks leading up to the book’s release. Be sure to come back here on July 25 when we will be celebrating “Christmas in July” with some fabulous giveaways.

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One of the things I love about writing Amish Christmas stories is that Amish Christmas traditions are simple and meaningful. Their traditions focus on time with family and the true meaning of Christmas. I love Christmas traditions. They are definitely anchors for my family. Even though my children are adults with children of their own, they still look forward to the things we do every Christmas.

Every December I pull out twelve special Christmas candles and use them as a centerpiece on our table. After a traditional Christmas Eve dinner of ham, rolls, Gala Jell-O Salad, and cheese potatoes, we take turns lighting the candles one by one. The person who lights the candle gets to pick a Christmas song that we sing together. After we sing the song, the next person lights a candle and picks another song. Once all the candles are lit, we enjoy their flickering light and share our feelings for our Savior and express appreciation for each other. It is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

I wanted to put this tradition in one of my books. In my Amish Christmas novella, “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” in The Amish Christmas Kitchen collection, Anna Helmuth tricks her grandson Titus into coming to Huckleberry Hill to take care of her special Christmas goat. Katie Rose Gingerich is staying with Anna and Felty, and she misses her family and their Christmas tradition of lighting candles and singing Christmas carols. To make Katie feel at home, Titus decides to recreate the candle burning tradition for Katie in Anna and Felty’s barn. Unfortunately, Titus can’t find twelve candles, so he tries a goat manure pellet as a substitute.

So, I had to do some research. I needed to know if goat poop would burn like a candle—the pioneers used to burn buffalo chips. It seemed logical that goat manure would burn.

I contacted my friend who owns a goat farm and asked her if she would kindly let me borrow some goat poop. She laughed and told me I could have all I wanted. I took my little bag of goat manure home and let the little pellets dry out in the garage. (My husband didn’t even bat an eye—he’s gotten used to my wacky schemes. Mostly.)

After the pellets dried, I tried to light them on fire while my husband documented the experiment with his iPhone. I am sorry to report that the poop smoked and sizzled but did not hold a steady flame. That answered my question, so Titus had to get even more creative in the book.

Many Christmas traditions in our family revolve around food, as they do in the Amish community. On Christmas morning after the presents are opened, our family gathers around the table for Christmas breakfast. This is extra special because I seldom make breakfast of any kind the other 364 days of the year. In various years, we’ve had yogurt parfaits, pancakes, sausage, bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs, breakfast casserole, and orange juice. (In that one day, I make up for a lot of breakfast neglect.) We use the snowman cups and the festive plates. There is nothing my children look forward to more.

Here is an authentic Amish recipe for breakfast casserole from my Amish friend Priscilla in Lancaster County, PA.

Priscilla’s Breakfast Casserole

8 slices of bread

½ lb. cheddar cheese

1 lb. sausage (cooked) or ham

4 large eggs

2 cups milk

1 t. salt

1 t. paprika

1 t. mustard

½ t. oregano

4 T. butter, melted

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Cube the bread and place in the casserole dish. Sprinkle cooked sausage or ham over the bread. Mix together the rest of the ingredients except the cheese. Pour mixture over the bread. Top with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Priscilla tells me she sometimes substitutes Tater Tots for the bread.)

Be sure to order Amish Christmas Miracles, which will be full of love, laughter, food, and many Amish Christmas traditions.