Summertime begins what I think of as “prime wedding season.” Brides are getting excited, grooms are getting nervous, and family/friends are thinking about the perfect wedding gift for the happy couple. In the Amish culture, summer is usually a non-wedding time. There’s too much work to be done from planting and gardening to spring cleaning for the Amish to think about a wedding. But when wedding season comes, they contemplate the perfect wedding gift just as we do. However, the bride’s family has it a bit easier than most because there is a standard list of items that the bride’s mom supplies to her daughter to get her started in married life.
My Amish friend once told me, “We don’t have to pay for a college education for our children, but we get their household started. That’s probably close to the cost of a college education!” Then she graciously gave me a copy of “The List.” It’s a two-sided, hand-written document which she titled “List For Girls.” It’s been in her family for so long, no one remembers who actually wrote the list. Here are a few items that I found interesting:
- Canned goods
20 quarts of applesauce, 40 quarts of fruit, 20 quarts of vegetables, 30 quarts of meat, jellies, and 4 rolls of “baloni”. Canning is a way of life for the Amish, but it is very time consuming. Can you imagine the amount of work that went into canning these items? What a treat for a new bride to have her cold cellar stocked like this!
- A kitchen stove and pipe
Amish girls learn how to become wives and mothers from an early age. But once they finish the 8th grade, they spend a great deal of time with their mothers learning how to cook, sew, and take care of children. The kitchen is often the center of family gatherings. A kitchen stove is a must in any home, but especially in an Amish kitchen.
- A sewing machine and cabinet
Since Amish women make most of the clothes that their husbands and children wear, a sewing machine is something that they cannot live without.
- Twelve tablecloths
I’m not sure what I would do with twelve tablecloths. I don’t even own one! But the Amish have very large families and entertain often, so this is a great start for a young couple.
- A bedroom set
This includes a box spring and mattress, along with two extra box springs and mattresses. Several bedrooms will already be furnished by the bride’s parents by the time the couple begins thinking about having children. Often times, if the groom is one of the youngest in his family, his family will give him his bedroom set for one of his future sons to use.
- Washing machine and twin tub
Just like in our culture, a washing machine is a must.
There are 37 more items on the “List For Girls”. So you can see how this could be close to the cost of a college education!
How many items on this list did you receive as wedding gifts when you were married?