Amanda and Jonathan’s Wedding
Written by: Louie Vetter on Sunday, June 17th, 2012
by the father of a bride
Long before the June 10th wedding date, my wife Sarah and my daughters Amanda and Lillian are busy preparing for Amanda’s upcoming wedding. Making invitations, discussing whom to invite, designing a cake and choosing wedding dresses…it takes a lot more to prepare for a wedding then us menfolk realize.
As time was getting closer I realized that in only a few short weeks Amanda will have left home. (Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh Genesis 1: 24.)
It had been a stressful spring with exceptionally dry soil conditions, cool daytime temperatures and frost almost every night. Now I was caught between dealing with whether we should even spray the crop, wondering if there would be more frost, reseeding decisions, concerned about the lack of pasture and buying hay for the dairy cows.
There was so much on my mind. I felt like I was neglecting my darling daughter Amanda, and time was running faster than I could imagine. Our little girl had grown into a lady, and had chased her dreams which would now become a certainty.
Three weeks before Amanda’s wedding on our regular Saturday evening singing, prayer and Bible discussion we realized that this would be our last Heiliger Abend (evening of worship) with Amanda at our home. We reminisced about the good times and the joy of growing as a family and how life goes on. Lead by myself as the father of the house, we each took turns encouraging her to keep going this torch of family love and adoration, the unconditional Love for God , and not to ever lose sight of her husband’s and family’s salvation. We assured her that we were here if she ever needed us, and that we would love her forever. With a mix of happiness and a few tears, a prayer and many hugs we prepared for Amanda’s new journey in life. Praise the Lord!
The Sunday before the wedding, Amanda’s husband-to-be Jonathan went to his Colony’s Minister to put forward his desire to marry Amanda, after which the Minister from that Colony gathered with all his colony’s members to discuss and arrange the upcoming wedding celebration. After consulting with the members of his Colony and some counseling and well wishes, the wedding celebration officially begins.
On Wednesday afternoon Jonathan, his father John and his favourite uncle arrived at our colony where all folks and children await with great excitement. I’m still busy tying loose ends to make sure all is organized until I finally concede that it’s time to let go and join in on this moment of happiness.
After the blessing of our Church and members we moved to our home with only immediate family and a few invited aunts and uncles, where Jonathan (along with his Dad and uncle) asks for Amanda to be his wife. Lead by me, then followed by Sarah and Amanda’s brother and sisters, Jonathan and Amanda are reminded that marriage in the Hutterite Church is a lifelong commitment . There will be good and bad days ahead, but with the help of God, and if they choose to serve Him, they will be blessed. After some counseling and words of advice and encouragement Amanda and Jonathan thanked and hugged all in attendance. With the blessing of God through prayers of hope, and the love of God through our Lord Jesus they take the first step to their new life, the celebration of their engagement begins by serving some refreshments and a light lunch.
On the next day friends and invited guests were entertained to a fine supper of scrumptious baby back ribs, black tiger shrimp in oyster sauce, wonton soup and fruit salad in the colony kitchen. After supper we went back to our home and visited with family and friends till 8:30. We then gathered again in the kitchen for hulba to fellowship, lunch and sing songs of spiritual guidance and praise to God. Around 12:30 AM we retired from the community hall as we would get up at 6:00 am and make our way to Amanda’s future home at Willow Road Colony.
At six thirty AM the next morning found me sitting in the rocking chair contemplating that this would be Amanda’s last hour on the Colony, with a tear running down my face I somberly thanked God for all that he has done for our family and I prayed that He would continue to guide Amanda’s life. It was like the quiet after the storm from the previous night celebrations, sitting by myself with a refreshed mind and body, when Amanda appeared from her room. I could see that she was emotional, realizing these would be her final minutes in her father’s home, she squeezed alongside me on the rocking chair. We both shed tears of good memories and joy, hugging each other. I assured her that this was all part of God’s plan, it was the way it had to be, and we both understood. We just sat there rocking and enjoyed the moment of just being by ourselves, knowing that we will love each other forever.
Along with 40 members from our Colony we were on our way to Willow Road Colony, a 4 hour drive. We arrived at noon, where we were met at the road leading to the colony by youngsters on horses; Jonathan and Amanda then rode the final mile with horse and carriage to her new home, where bride and groom along with our immediate family and friends were greeted by a mass of well wishers. After meeting Jonathan’s family we had a lunch and visited, meeting old friends and making new ones.
Saturday evening at 8:00 pm we again met in the kitchen for the main hulba, a celebration of singing hymns, a lunch and visiting that went until 11:00 pm. As one can imagine this is our fourth night and I’m getting played out. Amanda and Jonathan were bushed but they’re enjoying every minute of it.
Sunday morning at 9:30 am we proceeded to the Colony Church where Jonathan and Amanda were married. The wedding ceremony involves a sermon about marital commitment and the couple exchange vows binding themselves together until death parts them. The husband and wife agree not to drag each other into sin, or make trouble with the colony if they should fall from their faith. Hutterites marry for life, and do not allow divorce. Newlywed couples do not express marital bliss at the wedding ceremony with exuberation, but with an inner joy and peace knowing that they have dedicated themselves to one another and to God. They do not give rings, since jewellery is forbidden, and Hutterite brides always take their husband’s last name. All is not sombre as we now depart to the newly wedded couples house where the marriage is celebrated with great jubilation and toasts from family and friends. We ask God, to help them keep lit the torch of love that they now share in their hearts, so that by their loving example they may pass on the light of love to their children, and to their children’s children forever.
A hearty meal of roast duck with shrimp and fine noodle soup, along with many other dishes is served at 1:00 pm. This celebration goes on until late in the afternoon when it is ended with a supper of soup and pizza; a final song that seals and closes the wedding celebrations of Jonathan and Amanda.
A final Reading and a Marriage Prayer for Amanda and Jonathan, read by her father follows:
Greetings of love and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jonathan and Amanda, congratulations on this special day and wishing God’s blessing to a new life. When we stop and think to appreciate all the good that God has done for us by sending His Son, and for all that confess and want to live His Holy way and purpose awaits a great joy. When we think of Him, who He is what He did for us and what He offers us we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him? Let us trust Him and praise Him.
As one can imagine there is a lot of work that goes into a wedding, the help of the immediate family, the brothers, sisters, moms and dads and finally the blessings of the colony. It’s always nice to thank each other and to know that we are doing a good job; however we must give all praise and glory to God. Without Him we can do nothing.
Heavenly father we ask you to bless Jonathan and Amanda’s marriage, O God, as they begin their journey down the road of life together.
We don’t know what lies ahead, for the road turns and bends.
But help them to make the best of whatever comes their way.
Help them to continue to enjoy each other, as they did when they first met.
Help them to realize that nothing, nor no one is perfect, and to look for the good in all things and all people including themselves.
Help them to respect each other’s likes and dislikes, opinion and beliefs, hopes and dreams and fears even though they may not always understand them.
Help them to learn from each other and to help each other to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Help them to realize that no matter what happens to them, they will hold on to each other, and know that things have a way of working out for the good.
Help them to create for their children a peaceful, stable home of love as a foundation on which they can build their lives.
Life is such joy, all a part of God’s plan. When one-door closes, He opens another one. He always gives us strength for another day. To spend quality time with family and friends is something that all of us cherish. Today we’re strongly blessed by new family members and many new friends. In our prayers, please God bless Jonathan and Amanda, and all our friends with strength, good health and the Holy Spirit and to endure whatever is Your will.
Thank you and May God Bless you all!!