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Weddings Among Plain Folks - behind the scenes photo story

Weddings Among Plain Folks - behind the scenes photo story

by Edwin Shank

A few months ago, when I shared the well appreciated post Courtship Among us Plain Folk, I had concluded this way:


"You've also sent questions about how we plain people conduct our weddings. Lord willing, I will answer those questions (I might even provide you with an audio of a real Mennonite wedding sermon) ... But it will have to wait for a later time."

Well, I guess today is that later time! :)

Because today I'm offering you a very personal behind-the-scenes glimpse into the simple preparations, community togetherness and God-centeredness of a plain people wedding.

The following photo journal is from our son Rodrick and his wife Jeanette's wedding. It is a bit historic, as those of you who know our family will quickly notice, because Rodrick and Jeanette will soon be married 10 years. (We all look a bit younger.) 😊 But the photo story which I had prepared for our farm-food customers back then is still an excellent way to give you a real-life peek into a Mennonite wedding albeit one in Guatemala.

So, without further ado I'll let you experience the story just as I had put it together in 2014. These first photos below are only part of the story... enough to whet your appetite. To experience the full virtual wedding, you will need to follow the link Rodrick and Jeanette's Wedding. It could take a few minutes to download / open since the file is large.

We’re loading to leave the farm!  I suppose you "drop-point folks" aren’t surprised that we went to the airport in a Family Cow delivery bus! What better way to go?

Rodrick was the experienced traveler to help us ‘farmers’ all get checked in at Dulles International. We always feel a little out of our element in big cities. 

By 2:00 pm we were landing in Guatemala City... 3000 miles from The Family Cow farm!

Once out of the airport, the Guatemalan cultural difference stood out immediately... baskets on heads, babies on backs. Interesting!

From the airport we drove 5 hours to my sister Emily’s house in the coffee growing area of the tropical rainforest. Jeanette’s home is the next plantation over, just across the jungle path.

One of the first days, Loren and Emily piled us all on their Land Cruiser and took us for a really neat jungle and coffee plantation tour. With their 7 children and our 6, plus us 4 adults... that was one bunch of cousins and one full truck! 

A Guatemalan wedding isn’t like a USA wedding. Buildings equipped to handle a crowd of 300 people are basically nonexistent. So, Guatemala style, we improvised. :) We got permission to clean out and use a storage shed owned by one of the church brothers.

Rodrick and Jeanette got the brainstorm that putting up a bamboo façade behind their bridal table would be a neat, authentic, jungle touch. So, we men and boys went into the jungle at Jeanette’s home and spent an afternoon swinging machetes. Wow! Some of the bamboo was 6 inches in diameter and 40 ft tall. We had to cut it into three sections!

We then loaded the bamboo unto the Land Cruiser... drove it to the shed...

...and arranged the bamboo as a 14 foot wall at the now cleaned out storage shed.

Weddings in Guatemala, like plain people wedding everywhere, are a community event. Church sisters from miles around pitched in to help.

While the mothers worked, the little Guatemalan girls took care of the babies.

The little American girls took care of their siblings too!... This spunky little girl was hilarious. And she never once fell!

The veggies were skillfully cooked over open fires in one end of the big shed. Most Guatemalan women still cook over a fire in their homes so they knew exactly what they were doing.

Jeanette and her mom calculated that we’d need somewhere over 600 tortillas... so that was a lot of patting!

Even ironing the bridal table cloth was a working-together family event.

Jeanette gets advice from her sister and Gwendolyn for the perfect bridal table.

This is the Day! Rodrick walked the ¼ mile jungle path to Jeanette’s house to get her just like he did on their first date. Jeanette requested this. She wanted to walk the old familiar trail with Rodrick one last time before their wedding.

To experience the rest of the wedding story, follow the link Rodrick and Jeanette's Wedding. It could take a few minutes to download since the file is large.

Enjoy! And let us know your thoughts. We'd love to hear from you. To leave us a comment or a question, just reply to the email... I'll be sure to get it.

Blessings until next time.

Your plain Mennonite Christian friend,


Mark 10:6-9  "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."  - Jesus Christ circa AD 30


NOTE: This photo journal of Rodrick and Jeanette's wedding is only one example of one plain couple's wedding. We share this with you because their wedding, even though it was in Guatemala, is still typical of the practices and experiences of weddings across the spectrum of plain churches.

Our weddings are simple. They are warm community events with everyone helping. We make do with what is available. Usually, our weddings are in churches. Sometimes they are in barns or houses or schools, and in this case, a tent. But we always try to keep the focus on God and the lifelong vows of commitment and fidelity being made to God by the couple and not on the finery and costliness of the event.

Dawn and I want to make it clear that, even though this wedding was naturally a special time for our family, and that comes through in the story, we are not in any way implying that Rodrick and Jeanette are better or more noteworthy or more ideal than other couples. We only use their story and photos as a visual, typical, real-life example of a Mennonite Wedding. We realize that most of you may never have the opportunity to be at a real-life plain people wedding so we want, as much as we can, to give you a taste of the experience as if you were really there.

If there be any glory, direct it to our Father in Heaven. He wrote His Word which is the operator's manual with the principles outlined for pure courtships, simple weddings, faithful marriages and strong homes. Praise Him!


P.S. Feel free to share our emails in any way you want. Food for the Soul posts are free for all. We do not copyright any of our material nor are we possessive of its use. Freely we have received... so freely we give! More Questions about Mennonites or faith? We welcome them! We can't promise to personally answer each, but we will try to address your question in future post. And we just may get back to you personally, too.


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