Weddings of the more modern Mennonites are very similar to other Protestant weddings. They are usually held in the church and are complete with gowns, tuxedos, candles, and flowers. There is usually a short meditation; the usual Protestant vows (or vows written by the couple) and wedding music are used. The couple has usually received pre-marital counseling. The reception is usually a light meal – sandwiches, relish trays and/or salads, fruit, cake, nuts, and mints. In Canada the custom is a more elaborate dinner. Alcohol may or may not be served.
The weddings of the Amish, the most conservative group of Mennonites, differ in various aspects. Weddings are usually held in November or December when the fieldwork is not demanding. The wedding is held in the bride’s home and lasts between three and four hours. It includes singing, a long sermon, simple vows, testimonies from church leaders and an extended prayer. There are no kisses, rings, photographers, florists, or caterers. A large reception prepared by the family, friends and neighbors, follows the ceremony. The meal may include chicken, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, ham, relishes, canned fruit, and a host of cakes, pies, and cookies.
The descriptions above represent the two extremes in the Mennonite family. In between these two extremes you can find variations of the descriptions. For example, some of the more traditional groups may get married in church but not have any flowers, exchange rings, etc.