My name is Ruth and I am a long time “English” friend of Lovina. She asked me to write the column this week because she is busy preparing for Friday's wedding of her daughter Loretta and Dustin.

The wedding will start about 9 a.m. and they will be married about 11:30 a.m. A noon meal will be served and 450-500 people are expected. Some guests will stay for the afternoon to visit and catch up, and more guests will arrive for the 5:30 p.m. meal. They will be ready to serve about 600 again for this meal. In the early evening, the youth will gather, and they will be served a hot meal also.

The cook wagon and refrigerated wagon were delivered on Saturday, and all the tables were set up in the pole barn and set with dishes and silverware. Long plastic tablecloths were placed over the set tables to keep them clean.

Early in the week Lovina went to get groceries for the wedding. She had already been stocking up on the staples like flour, sugar, butter, and so on, but most groceries need be bought fresh the week of the wedding.

Just a few of the items on the shopping list 400 pounds of potatoes, 20 gallons of milk, 40 heads of lettuce, 48 loaves of bread, 50 containers of whipped topping, eight watermelons, 10 cantaloupe, and 10 bunches of celery.

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On Tuesday a couple of women came and cut up and toasted all the bread for the dressing.

Loretta and Dustin requested that cupcakes be served as one of the desserts, so the women baked some of the cupcakes also. In total they plan on baking, frosting and decorating more than 600 cupcakes. Other desserts will be cherry pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and caramel pudding.

On Wednesday more women came and baked the cherry pies. The onions, carrots, and celery for the dressing were chopped, bagged and labeled. They baked the rest of the cupcakes, and some were frosted and decorated. The frosting is a delicious light chocolate, and the decorations are little multicolored sprinkles in the shape of leaves.

The three head cooks for the wedding are sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and Barbara, who is a neighbor and friend who goes to the same church. As the women arrive, the head cooks give them their job for the morning, and they all quickly go about their tasks. As the women work together, there is conversation and laughter as they catch up on news of family, church, and community.

Baked goodies are brought for morning coffee time, and casseroles and salads are brought for lunch.

Loretta chose a fall theme for her wedding which is appropriate as the leaves are beginning to turn and pumpkins and mums can be seen on front porches. Loretta’s tables have tablecloths of yellow and red and orange, fall leaf garland is strung around the windows in the shed, and colored leaves are sprinkled down the middle of the tables.

There is a chill in the early morning air, but the weather this week promises to be warm and sunny during the day, which is a welcome change from the rainy days and cooler temperatures we had last week.

Dustin is putting the finishing touches on his pole barn across the street from Lovina’s. The siding is on, the concrete floor is poured, and the windows and doors are installed. Dustin is hoping to complete some work on the eaves before Friday. His pole barn is where the wedding will be held, and after the wedding, the family and friends will walk across the street to Joe and Lovina’s for the noon meal.

There are special touches in the decorations that honor and remember the loved ones who have passed. There are three wooden candle holders that each have an engraving with the names of Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob on them. A deer that Mose shot is mounted on a special board that Emma’s son Jacob cut, finished and engraved in his honor. They will be missed terribly at this special celebration.

As an outsider I can see that the hurt is still present but alongside the pain there is acceptance and peace. There are smiles and laughter as they share precious memories and there is focus on making the day special for Loretta and Dustin. May God bless this special couple as they begin their journey as husband and wife.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Readers can write to her at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her.