English Neighbors Object To Amish Wedding

This is one of the few negative stories I’ve seen so far, concerning relations between English and Amish people during the ongoing coronavirus situation.

branch county michigan amish farmNon-Amish neighbors have complained after an Amish household held a large wedding yesterday in a southern Michigan community.

This happened in California Township in Branch County. As you’d expect for an Amish wedding, hundreds of people attended:

CALIFORNIA TOWNSHIP, MI (WTVB) – An Amish wedding held Thursday but planned before the COVID-19 outbreak in Branch County’s California Township has raised the ire and concern of other residents in the area.

According to Branch County Sheriff John Pollack, his department was alerted about the wedding Tuesday, and he contacted the families involved, as well as the Bishop. Pollack says because of a lack of technology, the families didn’t have an effective way of notifying invited guests to tell them to stay away.

The wedding was held on property on Hamman Road in southeast Branch County. Upset neighbors say several hundred Amish ended up attending the wedding Thursday afternoon after all.

This is a very plain Swiss Amish settlement of about 8 church districts.

Authorities met with a bishop (described in the article as “the Bishop,” though there is certainly more than one bishop here) and he agreed to shut down marriages in his community until the pandemic is over:

The Sheriff says when he met with the Bishop and the families Thursday morning, they were very cooperative and agreed to limit the event to just their immediate property and to try to limit the number of guests.

Pollack says the Bishop agreed to put a hold on all future weddings in his Amish community until after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

So if this lasts several months – or longer as some suggest – does that mean would-be Amish newlyweds will just have to wait til autumn – or even next year?

I could see that agreement being given – if someone expected things to last just a few more weeks. But at some point people in this Amish community will need to tie the knot.

It could be that this bishop’s view – and that of others – changes if this situation lasts into the summer and beyond. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.

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    1. David Tatlock

      making truce

      If the Amish are like the Hutterites,
      making compromise,
      what Native Americans could not achieve, given
      their English and French harassers, is a central
      quality. Shows confrontational Americans how to go.

      1. Marshell Foss

        Deal with the situation it's not WW3

        I suspect that there are hundreds of opportunities to come together and compromise. It has absolutely nothing to do with past histories, native Americans who were far from wanting to be Americans, or other problems communities. My best to the Amish, and their willingness to understand and I hope we return all this in kind!

    2. Van Shteffy

      Auctions should be cancelled

      If this virus hits their community then their eyes will open.

    3. David Tatlock

      philosophy basics

      Live and let live.

      1. Belina

        live and let live - 2 approaches

        I don’t think ‘live and let live’ has anything to do with viruses. On the contrary – if it had anything to do with viruses it should be taken literally: take all precautions necessary to indeed ‘live and let live’. I am a practical person – so, wouldn’t it be possible for people to hold very small weddings (with only the immediate family and a bishop/priest/rabbi/imam present), postponing the big party for later, when it is no longer so threatening to self AND to others?

      2. Amish wedding

        The Amish do know how to use the postal services!

    4. Carol Scott

      What would have happened if the wedding had been an English wedding?

      Many people are holding their wedding in a park or in their parents’ homes because of the absolutely outrageous cost of having a traditional wedding with a venue and caterers, etc. These are not by any means all Amish.

      So my question is, if this wedding was an English wedding with about 200 guests, would there have been objections from the Amish or other English in the area? Is it discriminating?

      One couple, one wedding, one day. I feel sure that English neighbors would have been welcome to attend the wedding. After this event, there could be a guideline about how many can attend and group together in one place so that the social distancing guideline be followed through this virus. I didn’t see anything in this article about a reason for objections – Noise, trash left on the ground, loud band, etc.

      I say, let the couple have their wedding and use it as opportunity to interact with Amish and be good neighbors.

      1. CoraVee Caswell

        What if it were an English wedding?

        I live a mile and a half from Hammond road. I can tell you exactly what would have happened if English there had done this. A number of people would have been arrested. And no, English neighbors would have NOT been allowed here, at any wedding, at least as far as I have ever heard. We might be invited to the home the night before so we can see the beautiful table, (and leave a gift) but it is unheard of for English to attend the wedding itself.

        This is a very conservative group. For instance, they cannot accept ANY employment inside town limits. Women do not have the use of power driven clothes washers, just one that is manually operated.

        In the article the question was addressed about a single bishop. I believe there might be only one. The last I knew, their bishop was a godly and gentle man that I respect. He might, just barely might not have know of the ruling, but I can guarantee most of the adults of the community did. They have English friends, neighbors and drivers. They meet at a community sotre. They know some of the news before I do. (Plus the teens with hidden radios.)

      2. Amish wedding

        Ms. Scott: I get the impression based on some responses, that some people don’t understand the seriousness of this virus. It doesn’t matter if you’re Amish or English, no one should be gathering in crowds. Weddings can be celebrated in very small groups. A huge party can be had later on.

    5. Stephen

      Churches Discretion

      A couple in the Mennonite church here in Smithville just got married today. Originally there was suppose to be a large wedding reception, but they changed that plan 2 weeks ago. They thought it best to just have the wedding ceremony at the brides home with just close family. Not that they’re worried about covid19, but they thought it best to appease the worried locals who seemed to be terrified of meeting the Lord sooner than they have to.
      The young couple also had reserved a private cabin in the smokies for their honeymoon. I don’t know if they canceled that. But it looks like for the time being, all wedding ceremonies will be family only.
      Couples that have been courting and we’re planning to get married after the usual one year courting practice will still be getting married on time. Most people agree that it wouldn’t be fair to the couples to wait till who knows when. Especially when the courting is completely hands off. A year of that is long enough for a young couple. Im sure those in most anabaptist churches will also do the same.

    6. KimH

      This is an interesting article.. what I find interesting is that the Amish Hotline works with lightening speed in every other case.
      I dont believe they couldnt have alerted the majority of the wedding goers, especially the local folks. They’ve known for many weeks that
      there has been a Social Distancing Order. It didn’t just happen. If local folks showed up they could have told them they weren’t permitted to stay.

      I’m sure they spent a lot of time & money and didn’t want it to go to waste.
      Personally, I see it as a blatant disregard of the law since they knew it wasnt permitted.

      Unfortunately, it seems the more conservative the group, the more they believe they are above the law and they can do whatever they want without regard for the law or rest of the community they live in. Their way or the highway.

      Most/All ultraconservative groups are this way;not just Amish.. seems its just the nature of the beast.

      I’ve been seeing posts on FB about some Amish not respecting the Stay at Home Orders, though I believe m ou st are.
      Personally, I think the Sherrifs need to go to each district’s bishop and give them an Order and make it clear it’s not th their choice, and just like everyone else, there are consequences to be paid if disregarded.

      1. Catherine Segal

        Cultural Norms

        You are right that they should have known, whether or not they did. No community, I don’t care how small or how strict should have no knowledge of something this dangerous to the entire world. Kids having and hiding phones is no secret to the Amish. Businesses with web sites run for some Amish business are run by English for them. Not a secret. It doesn’t matter at this moment how or why they have phone.

        Hopefully this wedding and it’s postwedding story will make this a well known thing throughout any and all Plain communities. It doesn’t matter whether we are young, middle aged or elderly, Blue or Red, Plain or Fancy we all need to stay home. No exceptions. It’s not easy for anyone. But we need to stay home. Or we won’t be around to discuss this any further. Sorry, but it’s a worldwide pandemic. Not having group gatherings applies to everyone even if it is not their cultural norm.

    7. Cynthia Bliss

      Pictures not loading

      Why are the pictures not loading on m6 iPad like they used to?

      1. I changed a setting for this post. Could you try again and let me know if you can see the image? There is just one image on this post btw – a small photo of a farm.

        1. Cynthia Bliss

          Pictures not loading

          Thank you Eric,it is now working on my iPad. I hope that it keeps working on future articles.

        2. Catherine Segal


          6:08 am in Michigan on the 4th. No pictures ( except for FB yucky ads)

          1. I recently starting using a feature that should help the pages load faster, but apparently it might interfere with images on certain devices/browsers.

            After hearing it wasn’t working, I deactivated that feature on this page, so the image should show now. And by the comments it looks like a couple other readers have seen it working now.

            Could you try refreshing the page and see if that helps? Again, this post only contains one small farm image, near the beginning of the post.

        3. Maureen New York

          Pictures are loading!

          Erick, seeing your handsome face clearly – problem fixed! Headed to Penn Yan tomorrow. Happy Easter! Keep safe.

          1. Thanks Maureen, glad it worked. You too – and have a good visit!

    8. Maureen,New York


      Pictures are not loading on Macs either.

    9. Adrienne McGinley

      Sadly, this pandemic is a 1st in the world as we know it. Given the fact that the Amish interact w/ the English, & not enough is known about this virus, it seems better to err on the side of caution, if only for the greater good. The entire WORLD is making sacrifices! The Amish habit of large gatherings, be they weddings, work frolics, or barn raisings SHOULD be of concern to one & all.

    10. Sunflower


      So much planning goes into a wedding that it is such a hard decision to postpone. It is a very emotional and stressful thing to do. I pray all who attended this Amish wedding stay healthy! My youngest daughter is supposed to be married in May and they agonized over the decision to change it to October. I told her and her fiancé that I wouldn’t mind if they still get married on the original date even if it had to be with just 10 people spread out 6 feet apart. Marriage is more important than a big wedding. So it looks like the wedding will be in May with an October reception. What a story to tell future children and grandchildren! With all this stay at home business I predict another baby boom! Haha

      1. Catherine Segal

        That is the perfect resolution, whether you are Amish, Mennonite or English.

    11. Al M


      Amish couples can get married with only immediate family and then have a large celebration later. Others are doing that.

    12. Walter Boomsma

      Looking at the "good" news...

      I’m a bit ambivalent on several points but will focus and limit my reaction to the fact that the Amish were cooperative and collaborative in seeking a solution. I’m not surprised but it’s still worthy of note.

    13. Alice Mary

      Plain and small

      I agree with Belina and Sunflower. A very small wedding ceremony now, with a large celebration POST-pandemic (whenever) makes the most sense. Let there be PEACE on earth!

      Alice Mary

      p.s. And yes, I too believe a baby boom is on the horizon. So much for the 6 foot rule!

    14. Adrienne McGinley

      We were lucky that my daughter’s Super Bowl wedding day went off w/o a hitch. No, she did NOT pick the date BECAUSE of the game, she & my new son-in-law liked the symmetry of the numbers (02/02/2020). Marry now, party later.
      And LOL Alice Mary! I wonder how many “C” named babies will be born in the next 9-12 months?

    15. kerry

      Weddings are still going on here in this Swartzentruber area, despite the ban to 10 people only at weddings. And today they are having church down the road; tons of buggies rolling down my street at this very minute.

      We’ve done our shopping in the local Amish-owned stores as they are much less busy and better supplied. We just decided not to go to certain ones until this is over after seeing this weekend’s group activities. The ones that tend to draw more local Swartzentrubers or owned by them, as we know for certain they’ve been gathering in groups. This includes our very favorite stand down the road for eggs and treats.

      They do know what’s going on and I do understand their thought that if it’s God’s will to become ill, then so be it and He comes first. I usually feel the same, as we usually aren’t granted some control. But He also gave people brains to think, talents to heal, and skills to reason. I expect He would wish us to use those gifts as well.

    16. thom


      The entire world is shut down. People everywhere are sheltered inside, changing plans, not even allowed to have funerals in most countries. Churches are canceling services, schools are closed, people are out of jobs, world leaders are in quarantine and we think Amish couples aren’t capable of postponing weddings for several months or until next year? Why on Earth not?

    17. Laura Dean


      I hope they have a wonderful life. I have been sheltering in place but I go for car rides and see grocery stores and hardware stores full of people! I went to Walmart at 7. am on Sunday , I was only one with mask/gloves on. I hope everyone stays safe. Maybe if they saw less English in their stores unprotected they, too would take it seriously. God Bless everyone! I hope it gets better soon!