The Lancaster County Amish traditionally have their weddings in the autumn, following the busy season of farm work. This tradition has generally held even as it has changed in other communities (Amish in Holmes County, for instance, hold weddings in other months, including May and June).
But the Amish in Lancaster County do adapt to changing needs. Jennifer Kopf shares the idea behind a recent innovation in the community – the portable “wedding house” – in an article for Lancaster Online:
For years, Amish communities have had bench wagons to transport communal benches from one home that’s hosting church services to the next.
And for years, local Amish-centered businesses have rented stoves and ovens — so family and friends can cook meals for hundreds at a time — and propane lights to illuminate large gatherings.
Similarly, Amish parents now can rent “wedding houses”: temporary structures, built in sections, that can be quickly set up and connected like prefab housing, then taken down and moved to the next wedding site.
They fill a need created by a relatively recent trend:
These days, an Amish family might not live on a farm. Or the property is smaller and doesn’t have structures that easily accommodate not only guests but parking for their buggies and shelter for horses.
A rented wedding house comes with a small crew of men to help set it up; the family recruits about eight more men to make a full work crew.
In a matter of hours, the wedding house is ready.
Here’s an image from the article showing what one looks like:
Wedding houses can accomodate around 300 people, and are used for the wedding service as well as dinner, served in shifts. Read the article in full here.
While we’re on the subject, here are some related articles on the Amish, weddings, and marriage:
Amish Wedding Season (& Bill Coleman photos)
What happens at an Amish wedding?
Do Amish wear wedding rings?
When do Amish get married?
Amish Wedding Pens
Do Amish remarry?
Can Amish marry non-Amish?
9 Questions on the Amish and Marriage