By Dr. Edward R. Brandt, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ours was an interdenominal marriage, so something
was borrowed from each side.
We were married in the Lutheran church, although
my parents were Mennonites. Among the Mennonites,
it was customary (at least where the bride's parents
did not do it themselves) to pitch in with making
the food served after the wedding, in this case in
the church basement, so members of my family helped
quite a bit with that.
But my ancestors did not dance, although I did. So
after the dinner we went to the Friedensfeld Community
Hall. Marie had told me in advance that it was customary
for people at the dance, where some food was also
served, to donate money to the bridal couple. (I was
fortunate in that respect, since - can you believe
it? - I had only $6 in my pocket the night before.)
The first dance was for the bridal couple but after
that, all of the men who were present were given an
opportunity to dance with the bride. Quite frankly,
I don't remember how this worked for the groom, because
my focus was on my new bride, but I know I danced
a lot - perhaps every dance.
My recollection is that the last dance of the night
was also reserved for the bridal couple.
Another custom was for those in attendance to tinkle
their glasses by striking them with their cutlery.
This meant the bridal couple was expected to stand
up and kiss.
Although it didn't happen at our wedding, it was
(and remains) customary to toast and roast the bride
and groom. Marie's family was Volhynian German on
her father's side and half-Reformed, half-Lutheran
Galician German on her mother's side. But the congregation
consisted predominantly of Volhynian German Lutherans,
although I found out much later that the first arrivals
had been from East Prussia. When I talked about East
and West Prussian records at the 2005 FEEFHS convention,
I was amazed at the number of descendants of immigrants
from East and West Prussia who were present. This
was obviously the result of an article in The Carillon
of Steinbach, which covers the southeastern part of
the province, with a few readers in the Morris area
on the west bank.
All of the Rural Municipality of Hanover (the most
heavily German and most heavily populated part of
the paper's circulation area) was originally settled
by Mennonites with the mostly west Volhynian Germans
arriving a good 15 years later. It seems that Germans
settled mostly in areas where there were already German-speakers
- definitely in the eastern part of Manitoba, but
also it seems in many areas in Saskatchewan.