Post # 1
Hello ladies. I need help. I’m bilingual and fiance is not. I also have family abroad who don’t speak any English and who will be attending the wedding. Because fiance only speaks English, having a bilingual ceremony is out of the question. But, I want my non-English speaking relatives to be able to understand and feel included too! I’m trying to figure out a way to do this and I’m coming up a bit short. If anyone who has been in this situation can share their advice or how they dealt with this, please do!
Post # 4
Maybe you could have bilingual programs that explain the ceremony in detail?
Post # 5
Can you have programs with a translation and just have someone announce in the second language what part of the program you are at as you go so they can follow along at the right section?
I also had a few family there that did not understand english also and just did the ceremony in english. It was very short though, maybe 5-10 minutes.
Post # 6
There might be suggestion in the comments here that might be useful http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/11/ask-team-practical-bilingual-weddings/ (I can’t seem to post a link for some reason?)
My SO is French as his entire family, only about 3 of whom understand/speak any English. My family is English-speaking, with extremely basic French skills. We had long been worried/frustrated about trying to sort out some of these things. We’ve decided to elope instead 😉 But in seriousness, I think it’s really tricky when only one of you is bilingual, because obviously you both need to understand/enjoy your ceremony… But it’s good to be respectful and inclusive of yor family members who won’t understand. Bilingual programs, maybe a reading in your language?
Post # 7
I’m bilingual as well so I’ve given it some thought. The bilingual program is a really good idea. Another thing I’ve considered was to do a real-time interpretation. I don’t know if you’re getting married in a church, but most churches have radio headsets where you can listen to someone speaking into a separate microphone from the main one. If you have access to such equipment, you can have a member of your family read a pre-translated version of the ceremony, real time.
Post # 8
Thanks ladies. I thought of doing all signage and printed materials in both languages (it’s also a nice way to get my parents involved). what do you think about doing live written translations on a TV screen (like when you go to the opera)? too much? too tacky?
Post # 9
About a quarter of my guests do not speak English and another quarter are bilingual. I’m learning my FI’s first language, Russian, as fast as I can, but I am told my terrible accent makes it hard to understand me. So, everything we say will be in English for the ceremony! At least I will be able to understand their speeches.
I will be having two programs made, one in Russian and one in English. In the Russian one, I’m going to have a complete translation of our ceremony and the details of some wedding traditions my family will do that his has never heard of (like tapping glasses to make the bride and groom kiss… my fiance looked at me like I’m crazy when I described this to him!). In the English one I will explain some Russian wedding traditions.
Post # 10
I went to a Spanish/English wedding where they had two ministers who basically said the same thing, one in Spanish and the other in English. I think the bride and groom just did their vows in English, but since that was basically the only thing they had to say it wasn’t such a big deal to do it in one language.
Post # 11
I’m not bilingual, but my family speaks English and my fiance’s family (parents, older relatives) speak Spanish.
We are planning on having our priest do most of the service in English with a lot of the liturgy in Spanish. It works well because the liturgy means more to my fiance’s family (who is Catholic) than mine.
We will have a bilingual program with translations of the vows and liturgy in both English and Spanish. We will also include in our program some of the Mexican and Catholic traditions which will be unfamiliar to many of our guests (the lassos, padrinos, etc). That way all can follow along and we honor both heritages without a service that is too lengthy or complicated.
Post # 12
@RinaRoo: I’ve got the same situation. I’ve decided that since my side (English-speaking) will not be able to attend in force that we will have our ceremony primarily in French. However, since we’re having a Catholic wedding, I will have the readings done in English as well as print the programs in both English and French. If more of my side were able to make the trip to France then we would pay for the costs of having an English-speaking priest present as well.
Post # 13
My Fiance is Czech (also english speaking), and family is coming from Germany. They speak many languages but english is not one of them. It is amazing the ability we all have to communicate with each other dispite the language barrier. I think love is universal, and until I saw this post I thought it would be easy and still beautiful for them to follow along with the cermony. I hadn’t considdered any adaptations for them. I think no matter how you decide to incorporate different languages everyone will relate to the happiness and love and have a great time.
Post # 14
I’m thinking about this too. I’m registering for Spanish classes and will hopefully get enough to talk to my FMIL over the course of a year (double credit classes and summer school to get from beginner to advanced in 3 semesters).
My aunt wedding had our Finnish minister who is used to switching back and forth and it worked really well, if the ceremony is relatively short and sweet having a bilingual officiant or two perform the ceremony will have both. Both sides should be able to understand and enjoy your special day!
I vote for bilingual programs and signs, having the vows in both languages (could be one for you and one for him or you can teach him the vows in your family’s language which I think would be really sweet) and for readings/songs alternate one of each. I think it will represent your two blending families. 🙂
Post # 15
I dont get why cant you make it billigual. Your FI shoudl understand and want to support you and your family in any language necessary. We are having a few welcoming words in french but thats it since everyone I know is fluently billigual.
Post # 16
@naturalysam: unfortunately, only a few people on my side are fluently bilingual and all of my fiance’s family speaks nothing but English. that’s a very different situation from yours. My fiancee its doing his very best to learn my second language and is totally supportive of whatever i choose to do. however, my language is considered to be one of the hardest to learn by non-native speakers and my fiance is not particularly gifted in the linguistics department. I’m just trying to figure out what would work best based on ceremony time constraints and overall etiquette considerations.
thanks everyone for your input! I will definitely have all printed materials in both languages. I’m still trying to figure out the ceremony situation but that’s okay… I have a year to think about this. 🙂