My Big Fat Amish Wedding

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by Amish at the Altar Production Team

The striking thing about an Amish wedding is how big they are. The Amish are community oriented, and when a couple is about to get hitched, everyone—yes that really means everyone—is invited. Some weddings have upwards of 500 guests. This is why they have to add new rooms to the house before the wedding only to take them down once it’s over. Weddings might be the biggest celebration the Amish have.

Luckily for the family of the bride (who will host the wedding) they aren’t in this alone. All those guests? They all help out in some way. Whether it’s cooking, building, or helping the Amish park their buggies, everybody’s got a job.

To many non-Amish, it’s rare you have a stranger from your neighborhood offer a helping hand, and even more rare that stranger would be invited to your wedding in the first place. But the Amish are raised to rely on one another through thick and thin.

It’s something that most people are taught, but rarely follow. In the Amish, where the distractions like Internet and cell phones are fewer, you entertain yourself the old fashioned way: by hanging out with other people. You communicate. You don’t text or IM—you talk and tell stories. Without the other people in the community—you might go insane.

Seeing the tight knit Amish community was a lesson our production team had to relearn. The cliché we kept finding ourselves saying was, “It takes a village…”

Production works in a similar assembly-line manor that a wedding does (bear with me here). Each of us has a specific job to do and we all depend on one another. If one person has a problem, everyone has a problem. Just like at an Amish wedding, everything needs to be in sync in order to move forward. If one of the cooks can’t make it the day of the wedding, someone else better get in there and start cooking fast. So many people attend the wedding that losing one set of hands can spell disaster.

Sometimes we forget that getting things done is as simple as working as a team. Hearing how the Amish do it cemented that in our minds. We had a lot to do and very little time in Garnett. In order to accomplish our goals (while keeping our sanity) we had to become a community. Each of us had to contribute.

The Amish certainly have it right when it comes to getting things done. Just like a wedding is a statement of unity, the Amish way of working together says, “I know I can’t do this alone, and I’m glad to have you helping out.”

I think our crew felt that way during the whole process. It was a difficult shoot, and we were all glad to have the support from one another.

Video Preview: “Young, Free, and Amish” — The teenage years in the Amish community bring a surprising freedom of choice, as well as some chaste dating.

“Amish at the Altar” premieres Wednesday, November 10th at 8P et/pt.