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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Nelson

The Art to Planning a Bilingual Wedding

Love is a universal language, some say. However, what happens when your families are coming together and do not have a shared language in common?

With our worlds more and more connected across the globe, it is becoming more common to have couples bringing their unique heritage into their wedding. It is a wonderful site to behold, that's for sure.

It can start to be a little stressful as the wedding planning begins though. If there isn't a common language between the families, you might feel the pressure to make sure everyone understands what is going on during your ceremony and reception. Have no fear! It can be done! Having a personal connection with this topic, let's walk through it together.

Find common ground with your vendors

The best way to navigate your wedding day in two languages, is to find those experts who can help communicate throughout the day. One way to do this is to find a wedding planner who speaks both languages who can be in charge of communicating with your point people. Then, designate certain family members who can help spread the world or translate when needed. Easy peasy!

Take advantage of invitations and wedding websites, basically write everything down!

Seriously! Your wedding website will be your best friend by the end of your wedding planning. With countless ways of creating a wedding website, it is the best way to communicate every detail to each one of your guests because you can put all of the necessary information down in a way they will understand. In a pinch, they would be able to pull it up on their phone and find out what they need without having to ask around.

This is also a great place to explain about certain cultural events happening within the wedding. Some of your guests might not be able to understand while it is happening during your wedding, but they will have had the chance to learn about it beforehand and now enjoy as everything unfolds during the ceremony. Everyone will be very thankful to feel included!

If your guests are traveling outside of their home country, make sure that they are fully educated on any cultural differences they may need to be aware of. Your website is the perfect place for this information!

For example, living in AZ, I am familiar with the differences one might run into if they went down to Mexico for their destination wedding. The most important being you would want your guests to know to only drink bottled water. Things like that will make your wedding more enjoyable for everyone.

Your Ceremony

This is where I ran into some questions on how to make all my guests feel welcome. My fiancé's family is from France, and while some know enough english to get by, they might not know enough to fully enjoy our wedding ceremony. There are a couple of ways to address this, so that everyone can be included.

  1. If you are like me, and you plan on speaking personal vows to each other during the ceremony, a wonderful way to include your family is to have your vows correctly translated and written down in the program or a separate piece of paper for those family members to read along with while you speak them to one another.

  2. Having the officiant correctly translate certain parts of the ceremony can be another lovely way to include everyone. Not every word is translated the same way or holds the same meaning in a different language, but certain phrases like "You may now kiss the bride", could be repeated twice so that everyone can clap and bawl their eyes out!

  3. If you are adamant on having everyone understand the entire ceremony, you can go all out and have a live translator. If it is all practiced, well before the wedding, this is a beautiful way to include everyone.

  4. However, if you don't want the whole ceremony translated verbatim, having a family member do a reading in their native tongue can be extremely memorable.

Celebrate your cultural differences

Sometimes the best way to celebrate with everyone, is to literally celebrate all together! You don't always need to share the same language in order to understand one another. And at a wedding, everyone coming together to witness two people joining together in marriage, is the shared moment that everyone understands.

So join in on special dances from each culture, take part in customs that you may not know about and enjoy the different foods together!

A wedding where language is not shared amongst everyone, does not have to be a scary thing. It should be celebrated in it's own way and then witness as everyone comes together to celebrate two families becoming one!

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