Do Amish wear wedding rings?
Amish do not wear jewelry
The wedding ring is an important symbol of marriage in modern culture.
However Amish married couples do not wear wedding rings, or jewelry in general. Jewelry is seen as drawing attention to the body and thus encouraging pride.
When an Amish couple is married, the officiating Bishop will place his hands upon the couple’s clasped hands and give a blessing (Amish Society, John Hostetler, p. 195). But Amish do not carry or wear anything commemorating their union.
However, in many communities men begin growing beards upon marriage, and women’s dress may change as well too. An Amish woman may wear a different color prayer covering on her head.
Amish may also receive personalized wedding presents including their names and the marriage date, such as a porch planter or bench furniture.
Despite the lack of a symbolic ring, Amish treat marriage as a lifelong commitment. Read more about typical Amish marriage age, and what Amish think about divorce.
Photo credit: Ruddington Photos
There is a woman in the Amish community near me who wears one. I see her once in a while when I got into the Bent-n-Dent store and have noticed it on her several times.
I first saw mention of it here: http://www.oasisnewsfeatures.com/editor/wisconsin-amish
After reading that, I paid closer attention when I went in and noticed this too. Interesting.
Amish wedding rings - what a tradition
I do not know how to react to this, other than, I respect their view-point. I like the tradition of wedding bands,even if they are simple. However, this is largely culturally determined. I wonder how many cultures in the world wear wedding rings or is it a European Americas thing?
Not sure if it is a European American thing or not. Quakers aren’t huge on rings, or jewelry, either, but for most it is a personal choice. Sometimes I will wear one, my husband does not. (For safety reasons more than anything in his case.) I don’t feel weird without a ring, something I hear a lot of people mention if they lose one or don’t put it on or anything like that, and I’ve heard people get VERY upset if a partner loses it, more than losing any other piece of jewelry. That in itself is enough to not want to wear one, if you get so caught up in the symbolism that the loss of a ring is a serious problem in a relationship…
My husband is from the UK…he said that at least it is uncommon for men to wear wedding rings (at least in his part of the country). He found it strange when I said we needed to go wedding ring shopping for him.
I do have my ring/wedding band, but I rarely wear it except special occasions. Part of it has to do with me having a somewhat forgetful mind and I’ve nearly lost it on more than one occasion. Another reason is I’m a fairly active person, and I don’t want to get my ring grungy with sweat/dirt etc. But to be honest, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to the world either. I’m commited to my husband, he knows that and I know he is commited to me. We have so many other things to be concerned about other than if we’re wearing our rings!
Amish wedding rings
While volunteering at the local thrift store in Millersburg, OH, I met a young Swartzentruber woman who wore a plan metal band on her left ring finger. She saw me looking at it and just smiled at me. I didn’t want to be rude and ask her about it. I did ask other volunteers, and they said she had frequented the store before and they understood that she was married.
Amish wearing copper arthritis rings
Bruce, great anecdote. That sounds like a copper arthritis ring. One of those remedies that would be more common in more conservative groups like the Swartzentrubers.
There’s a medical justification so this would be about the only “jewelry” Amish would wear, if you’d call it that. Thanks for bringing this up.
Other groups who don't necessarily wear wedding rings
It used to be common for Seventh-Day Adventists to not wear wedding rings or other jewelry. When a young couple became engaged, the man would give the woman a nice watch. Useful jewelry like a watch was ok, but not jewelry for decoration. There is a SDA university near our city. When the university’s orchestra went on tour to Russia many years ago, the married couples in the orchestra were told that they would have to wear wedding rings or the their hosts for their homestays would not allow them to stay in the same room. Many SDAs wear wedding rings now.
I’ve heard commentary and lore that the Amish might not wear wedding rings, but they have other expressions of their union and commitment. Men grow beards as a mark of being married, and women seem to often wear head-coverings that has a ribbon or whatever you prefer to call it, that can be tied (if it is untied she is unwed, if its tied she is married). They show their marriage and availabilities using these cues, don’t they?
True, they will show that they are married in different ways, but not through the use of jewelry which has been forbidden by the Bible. 1Tim.2:9 and 1Peter 3:3.
Clarity of Scripture
Daryl, you reference 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3 regarding jewelry. How I wish we could interpret these scriptures to mean that we are forbidden to wear jewelry, but I unfortunately studied these scriptures and the original translation, as well as the historic context when I was researching everything I could on plain dress. They aren’t forbidden. In fact, both verses were for the benefit of the gentiles. Many of the women had taken to making elaborate fashions with their hair, weaving gold and pearls into their elaborate hair arrangements. These arrangements took a long time and were, with fancy attire, an attempt to outshine the other ladies, which was not unifying or edifying for the church. Timothy defines modest dress for them and Peter reminds them that beauty is internal and adornment should not merely be on the outside. He never actually forbids it.
I wear a ring, as that is the only symbol in my circle that shows others I’m married. It’s not what I would prefer, but sadly, many in the church buy into the whole diamonds= love idea. When I tried to switch it for a sterling silver ring with scripture to match my husband’s, my mother was not pleased. When it left a white ring on my finger, I switched back, but now I’m looking for something (smooth gemstone ring) with healing benefits. At least then it isn’t just something sparkly ✨ to look at.
I felt like I should post, even these years later, because of the idea some have of the ring being only a symbol. I’d like to add that for me, it is also protection. Men know not to hit on me, so I’m much more comfortable out in public. I’m scared of men in general, no offense to those of you who are upstanding, so having this added layer of protection is comforting to me. Just twenty years ago or so, it would have been forbidden in my church as Nazarenes forbade jewelry and dancing until a short time ago. In fact, dancing is still discouraged within the church itself, so my wedding had no dancing.
Women and ties on bonnets
Women don’t wear the ties untied if married. I asked my sister in law about the ties, who happens to be Amish, and she said they never think about it. They tie them sometimes if it’s windy or they want them out of the way, but most of the time they are not tied.. the women really don’t have a way to show they are married or not
I’ve only ever heard that men will grow beards and women (if unmarried women in the community wear black prayer kapps) will switch their black kapps to white.
Its amazing how things differ from the communities! Here the men grow beards after joining church (they can keep them trimmed but must have facial hair if possible)and the women wear white caps after joining church. Its so interesting!
You are right Beckysue, and there’s even more variation about when the beard grows depending on the community–not necessarily right after marriage as is often said. In Lancaster County it is after you move into your own home following the visiting period after marriage. Here’s an example:
Very interesting. It’s always great to broaden my learning curve.
I am friends with several swartentruber amish. The ladies I know do wear wedding rings.