A Hutterite wedding

A Hutterite wedding

Please leave a comment below, or on my blog

There are perhaps 1000’s of photos that i would like to post from the wedding. It was all just incredibley fun, and the photos turned out geogous.

In the end, i took almost 30GB of photos (that’s raw files), but we had like 5 seperate photoshoots, and there were two couples.

Since it’s a wedding, i though i would write a description of stuff that i was at. It was a three couple wedding, there were two brothers marrying two sisters, and there was one cousin that married a girl from another colony near winnipeg. The two brothers are my cousins as well as the two sisters, because a generation my dad and mom from their same families also married together.

Here on our colony we woke up at 7:00 so we could have breakfest and get ready. The bus to maplegrove was sceduled to leave at 8:00 so we would get there in time to go to the wedding ceremony. On this bus there were only the youth that was 15+ and not babtised. The babtised people had left the day before to attend a special supper.

We arrived around 10 after 9. And because we know Almost everybody in maple grove colony so well we all went our own way. Most of us anyways. I didnt really have to go to anyboyd, i was with a good friend that had came from a colony in Alberta. And we stuck together alot.
Our small group of boys went to the kindergarden, not to attend, but to wake up the boys that had slept there, because there was no room in the houses anymore.

As it was coming closer to 9:30 we were repedetly informed that we wouldnt have to attend the ceremony, there was room for not too many people, and because boys dont want to sit for that long, they told us that we wouldnt have to go. So we went for a walk. (at that time the group i was with consisted of about 15 boys) We just walked around the colony, and finally ended up in the house of a good friend and cousin, we stayed there till they came from the ceremony. (we could hear the ceremony from at home, via a speaker system they had set up for older people who couldnet go to it but wanted to hear it)

Here is a blog post by Camille that tells everything about a hutterite wedding ceremony
There is a season for (Hutterite) weddings!

Today, the kids and I attended our first Hutterite wedding ceremony. It was very interesting, to say the least!

As ‘Englischers’ we had to sit in the back row. The men and women sit on different sides of the room. The left side (facing forward) was for the men, the right side was designated for the women. However, Jacob was not required to sit on the ‘Men’s Side’ of the room.

In the front of the room were two ministers. One from the colony of the groom, where the wedding was held, and the other, I believe, from the bride’s colony. There were also three ‘Witness Brothers’ – again, I believe that is what I was told they are called. They are the fellows that handle any type of disciplinary action within the church body. They are not to discuss the wrong-doings of any of the members that require action with anyone – even their wives. Usually they are from the groom’s colony, but this particular colony only has two, so the third one was a ‘stand-in’ from another local colony.

The service began with two hymns that were sung by ‘line singing’. The ‘song leader’ reads a line, and then the congregation sings it back to him. I remembered reading once about this type of singing that was done in the south, especially in the churces of the slaves.

Then there was a prayer in German. Next, the minister from the bride’s colony stood up to give the sermon. He talked for a bit (again in German), and then everyone stood up – so we followed the cue! I was later told that they always stand for the reading of the Word. Every wedding ceremony uses the same sermon and the same Scripture. The Scripture read was from Ephesians 5 starting in verse 22.

After the reading, we again took our seats and he began the sermon. This part of the service was entirely in German. I had learned in the past that all of the sermons that are given are from books that are written in High German that contain letters from the founders of the Hutterite denomination when they were held in prison. These letters are expositions on certain portions of Scripture used to encourage ‘the saints’ when the leaders were in prison. They have been read through the ages – never changing – never varying.

During the exposition of the Scripture – other Scriptures are used (but not identified) to let the Scripture read prove itself.

From my understanding, the sermon begins with Adam and Eve and God’s instituting marriage. The sermon then moves to various examples of Scripture of good and bad marriages. I heard Abraham and Isaac mentioned. Sarah was mentioned. Samson and Solomon were also mentioned as ‘bad examples’ – marrying someone because they are ‘pleasing to the eye’ (later Samson was blinded) – or marrying someone outside of your own religion – because they can turn you away from God. (As an aside, in order for any one to marry in the church they must have taken a kneeling vow to the Hutterian Brethren.) The minister then moved on to the responsibilites of the man and woman within the marriage – ultimately pointing out that marriage is a symbol on earth of Christ and the church. He taught that man is exhorted to lead in a loving way, remembering to treat his wife as the weaker vessel. There were some pretty strong admonitions to the man – in that the man that does not lead in a godly way is worse than an infidel. As for the woman, she was exhorted to submit to her husband in all things and to make his leadership a joy and not a burden.

After this, the minister from the groom’s colony began his portion of the service. He gave his portion in English. From what I heard, his portion was a rough translation of the first portion.

Once this was done, the bride and groom were called forward. The groom exited his pew and went to stand before the minister, and the bride exited from her pew and stood one step behind the groom just behind his right shoulder. The minister then began the vows. Basically, he asked the groom if he willingly took this sister to be his wife, and would he lead her in a godly way. All questions, from both the bride and groom, were answered with a ‘Yah’. He also warned the groom to not allow his wife to come between him and the church. He then asked that if for some reason she chose to break her vows to the church and leave, would he remain faithful to the church and let her go. The minister asked the bride the same type of questions. Would she willingly take this brother to be her husband, and would she submit to him in all things. At this point they clasped hands – he then said a prayer to them (in German) and proclaimed them husband and wife. After this, they took their seats (each on their respective sides of the church). We then had to get on our knees for another prayer. Once the prayer was finished, we took our seats and sang another song in the ‘line singing’ format. Almost every other line was ‘Praise the Lord’ in this song.

Once the final song was sung, the service was over, and everyone filed out. The men went out first – and then the women.

It was very interesting to say the least!!! I have notes that I took – but I do not have them handy, so I will be making some updates once I get them down to the computer!!! A couple of the references that he used were from Timothy, Titus, and Ephesians 4 – that much I do remember.

In case you are wondering – there was no ‘you may now kiss the bride’. There was no instumentation of any kind. Everyone was dressed in dark colors. The men wore black pants with black suit jackets. Most had on white shirts. The women wore dark dresses with short ‘dress’ coats over them (that were black). All of the head coverings were black. The only exception was the bride’s dress. It is the same style they wear every day, however, hers was a darker royal blue.

If you have any questions – ask away!!! I’ll do my best to answer them! I do hope I gave justice to this wonderful (interesting and different!) ceremony!

Thanks, Camille for writing this all out, now i don’t have to.
See her Blog here

Shortly after the ceremony i was asked if i would like to be a waiter at dinner, i agreed and asked my firend Ryan that he should try it as well and get a little experience doing it. We baisically waited at a home, talking with everybody, waiting till the someone announced over the PA that we should come and prepare to serve the tables with food.

My table, along with my brother and someone else from Maple grove was the bride’s table, which was along the front. they told us that we had priority over everybody. We could get food first, and we introduced food before any other table got it. I really loved the business of it all, there was so much going on and i really liked that.
After seving all the food, and drink, taking the food away and cleaning up the dishes, the 20 or so Waiters plus the 15 or so cooks sat down and had a rushed meal. We wanted to finish with the ohers, because many of them were our friends, and we wanted to squeeze in as much socializing as we was humanely possible.

After dinner was finished, i had plans of going for a walk with a few friends. But i hadn’t thought of the family wedding photos i was to take. So as i passed the home of the bride i was told that i should get ready. So i let my friends go for a walk by themselves and i had to go shoot people. I was not really dissapointed because i loved photography as well as walking with frinends, but just a little less at that time.

Anyways i stood there for a time till the family was gathered and we went a distance fromt he colony to were there was a perfect place for pictures and i waited for everybody to arrive.
And OMG, did people ever arrive. Aside from the big family, and the 10 other people with cameras, and random spectators, there were about 50 people watching. And then it started. I set my camera to full manual and got ready. There were two couples, brothers marrying sisters and so the families were essentially the same ones. That made it much simpler. We shot the main family portrait with everybody from the family in it, includind the ones that married into the family. And then the individual families. And then the fun part. Every friend they had, or relitive wanted a picture of themselves with first one couple, then the other, then both together. I just stood there, with my camera in manual mode, and shot RAW photos like a robot. 5 photos, quuick inspection, "next"

Eventually we finished with photos and i scrambled to find my friends so i could sit with them at the wedding. I was with them for maybe 5 minutes when the the two couples wanted a photo with the third couple, and no body else. And that took maybe 3 minutes. And i was back with my friends. As i sat there It came to mind that we had been told to come practice the candle drill after family portraits, and i had forgotten and decided, heck, i know it well enough from all the practice we had at home.

The wedding
Around 2:00 we all went to the shop for the wedding. It was held in the shop because the kitchen (where weddings are usually held) was too small to accommadate that many people. So the shop was made spotless, and decorations were hung, and round tables set. The tables were set with some centerpieces and some food.

After all people were seated the couples arrived with friends and family, they sat at the head tables. All people sat ahead of them, and the stage for singing was in the opposit corner of them.
Obviously a shop is not an ideal place for a wedding, with florecent lighting and no particular interior design that makes it look lavish. But considering that, it was not uncomfortable to celebrate in there.
The stage for singing was about 2 feet high, and had a microphone set up so even the small voices could be heard.

We began the 5-6 hour wedding/supper with the congregation singing some german and english songs from books or memeory. And following that there came the colony choirs, duets and small family choirs.

There are a few proformances that stood out to me:
The one that i enjoyed them most was a song "Another soldier down" sung by two boys aged approximatley 6 and 11. I generally associate boys of that age to having childing voices that are not too good at following a tune, and that dont sound all that good. But i was blown away by their proformance. With a few exceptions, they hit every note with such clarity and accuracy that i was stunned. And so was everybody else. For at the end, everybody errupted in applause. (this meant something, because there was no other song that got applause, that is because we were told at the start that applause was not needed).
The other proformance that stood out to me is the shadow play. The girls and boys of Maple Grove colony had written and proformed a play wherein the actors impersonated key moments of the couples relationship. Like they acted the scene of how one guy wanted to propose, how another made room for his wife in their already small house, and how they faught over the phone line(because they were brothers calling sisers).

That play was about half an hour long, and for me, it was quite entertaining. Because i knew most of the scenes through the hutterite grape vine or from friends of the couples, having them acted out was soo cool.

The last proformance that stood out, not to me, but to the spectators was the candle drill that our choir proformed. They told us that they got the shivers, because the song was so well sung and the candles in a dark shop made everything so much better.

At the end we had supper, because it was around supper time. We had the usual chicken soup with ‘gehstel" as we call them. Along with fruit salad and a good hearty sandwich.

The wedding supper was over after a prayer, and soon everybody dispersed. The folks at that colony invited everybody to come watch a immense machine at their shop. one that makes tubing from flat iron. So for 10 minutes or so we were there.

Soon after that the youth playes sports. It was announced over the PA that we should come play some baseball. And after everyone arrived, they realized another sport had to be started so soccer was played as well.
I joined in the baseball game, because i didnt want to get worked up like soccor requires. I wanted a relaxing end to the evening. And darn, i got that, the pitcher threw nothing but balls, and they became strikes only when the batter had bad judgement. 😛

After all the games there was a short time to socialize some more with the many people from so many different colonies. But that’s where we had to say our good bye’s and leave for home in a bus with all the other youth from our colony.

I enjoyed this wedding too much. I made a couple of new friends and got to know them quite well. I think my mouth had talked too much by the end of the day. Well, i like talking, so i did just that. I mean, the point of socializing is to express oneself, so i did that. And whatever i couldnt let out there, i talked about one the way home and the next morning and here on flickr.

Email complaints to kellyhofer@gmail.com

1/100second, F7.1, ISO400, 37mm

Posted by Kelly Hofer Studios on 2009-07-07 12:43:05

Tagged: , the wedding day , people , girls , boy , kelly , hofer , canon , 40D , abandoning , 365 , trees , group , hutterites , hutterite , shutterite , maple , grove , colony , social , gathering , evening , smiles , laugher , couple , hiding , behind , face , peeking , olympics , blue , dress , traditional , culture , anababtist , amish , mennonite , portrait , faces , smile , expression , am , http://kellyhofer.com/






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