This is the wedding portrait of my mother and father
Ruth Landis Metzler and Ray Martin Longenecker
October 26, 1940
June is the month for many American weddings. And so is August. Because many Mennonites were farmers, Mennonite weddings often took place in October, a month that signaled a break in heavy farm work after most of the crops had been harvested. My dad was a farm implement dealer, so his work cycle mimicked that of the farmers he served, which would probably explain the October date for the wedding.
The bride and groom, my parents, are dressed in Mennonite attire and comply with the rules for weddings prescribed by the church in this era: no bridal party prancing down an aisle to “Here Comes the Bride,” no flowers, and definitely no exchange of rings.
Excerpts from Article II, Separation and Nonconformity, Section 2. Public Worship. (19) from the Statement of Christian Doctrine and Rules and Discipline of the Mennonite Church, 1968:
- “We deem it improper to employ instrumental music in worship and church activities.”
- “Weddings shall be conducted in a Christian manner avoiding all vain display and in accordance with the prescribed regulations for weddings.”
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Anna Mae Longenecker’s father John is my dad’s first cousin on his father’s side of the family. Anna Mae with her brothers and sisters lived on the farm at Bosslers Corner, a farm bought from William and John Penn by Robert Allison in 1762, and subsequently bought from Jacob Bossler by John and Nancy Longenecker and kept in the Longenecker family for five generations. On the lawn of this homestead, one of John’s daughter’s, Anna Mae, poses for wedding photographs with her new husband, Hiram Aungst.
Either the rules for wedding have relaxed a little in the ten or more years since my parents’ wedding, or brides have become more bold. This wedding accessories include corsages for attendants, a white Bible with streamers for the bride and the groom and groomsmen in non-Mennonite suits and neckties.
As the video shows, there was muted frivolity after the wedding which included rice throwing. Yes, it was real rice, not bird-seed!
Note the cars decorated in full post-ceremony regalia, worthy of any “fancy” wedding.
Then and now: Your thoughts on wedding ceremonies welcome.