I attended my first German Baptist wedding yesterday, and it was quite the experience.
German Baptists in my north-central part of Indiana are a mix of old and new ways of living. They drive vehicles and have cell phones, but don't own televisions, for example. The women put their hair up in bonnets and wear long dresses. The men all have beards and wear black.
Lorene, the bride, has worked on my farm for 6 years (along with several other GB girls). So she invited me to her wedding. My 3 grandchildren all played a role in the wedding.
The whole affair was held in a large tent on Lorene's parents farm. The weather was awful--windy and rainy and chilly--and muddy. Out of the 250 or so attendees, we were basically the only non GBs there. The people were very friendly, so I never felt out of place. We're all used to interacting in our community.
We all sat in hard wooden chairs. From some man in the "congregation", a hymn was started. No instruments of any sort. We had a "song book" to sing How Great Thou Art--all 4 verses and VERY slow! Then another song, and then another, all in harmony.
Finally, the bride and groom came forward. No parents, best man, or bridesmaid. The backdrop was an old barn door with green plants around it--very plain and simple.
The preacher rambled on in sermon-like fashion about what the Bible says about marriage and what "we" expect (I suppose "we" meaning the GB community.). From Eve being made from Adam's rib to several other references, there was no mistaking that Lorene was to be submissive to her husband. He was to be the bread winner, she the dutiful housewife. Lorene is a very strong and independent young lady, so I don't how that went over with her. We're not sure whether she'll return to working on the farm. (The groom is a welder by trade.) I'm guessing she will.
After an hour of sitting on hard chairs, I was ready to leave. All 250 of us had to greet the newly married couple. I was talked into staying and was glad I did. We were summarily fed a large meal of chicken, rice, bread, fruit (grapes and bananas), and salad (lettuce from our Silverthorn Farm). Big bowls of food were passed down the table. Water and sweetened iced tea to drink. Then cake and ice cream. My, oh my, everything was so delicious!
It was quite the experience, but very difficult for an atheist to sit through. Despite the great dinner, I think I'll pass on the weddings of Lorene's two sisters who also work on our farm!