Bilingual weddings: How are you going to do it?

posted 7 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 3
Member
277 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

My Fiance and his family speak English only, and my family speaks Portuguese. Our wedding was in Brazil with everyone speaking Portuguese, and only 10 people from the UK.

We made two different versions of the invitations, one in each language. The ceremony was in Portuguese with someone doing simultaneous translation to English (and the English guests wearing headphones, inc. my FI)

In the reception, he gave a speech which was in portuguese, I was so proud of him!

Post # 3
Member
277 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

My Fiance and his family speak English only, and my family speaks Portuguese. Our wedding was in Brazil with everyone speaking Portuguese, and only 10 people from the UK.

We made two different versions of the invitations, one in each language. The ceremony was in Portuguese with someone doing simultaneous translation to English (and the English guests wearing headphones, inc. my FI)

In the reception, he gave a speech which was in portuguese, I was so proud of him!

Post # 4
Member
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Our both families speak russian, and in fact his family is coming over from Russia to our wedding. My family being only my mom who lives here can speak and understand some english. Both me and my fiance are fluent in english,cause we came to the US as teens. All our friends are americans. The wedding is going to be all in english, so I was worried that our parents will be the ones a bit confused. Hopefully they will enjoy the picture tho πŸ™‚

Post # 5
Member
532 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am in a similar situation. 

My Fiance and his family speak Spanish at home, although all the generations can understand at least conversational English. For example, his grandmother manages 90 percent of the time, she once in a rare while searches for a word. 

Meanwhile, I speak only English – can comprehend most Spanish – and my family only speaks English. 

The ceremony will be in Englsih, its the language we both use on a daily basis. Some key phrases like ” I pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride” we are goign to ask to be repeated – English first, Spanish second. 

OUr first dance is likely Hero by Enrique Iglesias, so we’re starting with the English verison and morphing to the spanish. 

 

 

 

Post # 6
Member
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Fiance speaks my language πŸ™‚ He will make a toast mostly in my language and I will make mine mostly in his (English).  Most of my family knows that he has learned Albanian, but they assume that he can hardly speak…he is actually pretty fluent!  I am so proud of him and I know everyone will be pleasantly surprised (and shocked) to see this American guy speak a language of such a small country (my country) πŸ™‚

We are also going to have traditional dances from my country and LOTS of greek and albanian music at the reception.

Every table will have the word “LOVE” writen in different languages (languages of every country we have both visited).

 

I am thinking of more stuff to do. 

Post # 7
Member
7339 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Hey,

I’m Portuguese but was born and raised in Montreal so I also speak French. My Fiance is Portuguese and we speak English to each other, with alot of portuguese lol…

So for the wedding, we are doing Portuguese and English since most of the family speaks portuguese and all our friends speak English. All my family speaks French also so I’ll be doing some of the invitations in French, some in English and the rest in Portuguese. Its alot of work to translate all this in so many languages but I feel that it will be best to include everyone and it will add that special touch for them as well. I don’t want anyone to feel left out. Am I crazy?!

Post # 8
Member
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@dragonlover: I am in the same situation…although I need to work on my Spanish skills some more! We are having a Catholic wedding and a bilingual priest – so far we are planning to have the wedding mostly  in English, but certain prayers and parts of the service will be in Spanish; and there will be some translations in the programs. 

 We are trying to find a Trio for the cocktail hour, and will have some Spanish music througout the reception. 

Post # 9
Member
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Thank you everyone for sharing these stories and ideas. I moved to Haiti last year, fell in love with my Creole tutor, and will be married to him at the end of this year. I am not fluent in Haitian Creole by any stretch of the imagination, but since we are getting married in Haiti the ceremony will be in Creole/French. My family and friends are not Creole/French speakers, so the ceremony will be translated for them. My question is about the vows. Is it weird for us to say our vows in our native languages? Should all the vows be in the same language? Should I start practicing my vows in Creole now?

Post # 10
Member
16 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2013

This is a really interesting post & I will keep on checking it!

Mine is going to be a language FEAST. My family is English on one side, German on the other, and my fiance’s family speak Arabic and French. Though most people can speak English, not everybody can, so we want to incorporate all of the languages into eg. the leaflet for order of service, the table names, etc. Not sure about all of the spoken parts, though… The ceremony will definitely be in English, but I think it may be fun to mix it up a bit with the speeches! Perhaps you could make a thing out of it… don’t hide the languages or feel overwhelmed by them, celebrate them! I reckon that’s what we’re going to do…!

Post # 11
Member
46 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2011

our ceremony was bilingual (english/spanish)…my family doesn’t speak spanish and his family doesn’t speak english so it seemed like the only way to really make sure that everyone was included.  I would be happy to talk anyone’s ear off about what we did for our ceremony if they care, but here’s one thing from our wedding weekend that I definitely wanted to share:

I can’t take credit for this but it was one of the best things about the weekend and definitely the most successful attempt at getting families together who can’t communicate easily.  My aunt made us this beautiful book of marital advice submitted by my (english-speaking) family and my husband’s (spanish-speaking) family.  While we were at our rehearsal, some bilingual friends and family diligently translated all the passages into the other language, and at our rehearsal dinner, they passed the book around and let people read their passage from the book to the rest of the room.  After each passage, my aunt would read the translation in the other language so that everyone was involved, and really the translations were the most meaningful part because through them, both our families got to know the other family, their stories, their hopes for us.  It really brought everyone together, and those of us who speak both languages were very busy for the rest of the weekend as relatives grabbed us to help them tell someone in the other family how moved they were by what they wrote.  

We had been worried that the Honduran family would feel left out because they were so outnumbered and out of their element, and similarly worried that some more old school relatives of mine would be a little alienated by all the “weird” things we were doing to try to be more like what the other family would think of as normal.  But starting the weekend with a shared meal, some beers, and some stories that EVERYONE could appreciate really did wonders.  So for those of you in a similar situation, if you have a chance to get the families together for any bonding type activity before the ceremony, I think you’ll find it takes some of the pressure off the ceremony as being the big unifying/bonding moment πŸ™‚

Post # 12
Member
3142 posts
Sugar bee

My FI’s family is French and mine are English.  I did biligual save the dates and will either do bilingual invites or I might do seperate English and French (our wedding is very small)

So I will be having a French/English ceremony… but here’s the kicker… we are getting married in Mexico and I hear that the officiants are not all that superbe in English, never mind French.

So I am of no help here, but I thought I would chime in anyways.

Post # 13
Member
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@Oneeleven: My FI’s family is also French speaking. He didn’t want to send STD cards to his family, so I only made English ones. However, we are doing separate invites. I created them on the computer, and we’re printing them ourselves. Once he gives me the translation, I’ll just replace the English with French and have two files. We haven’t decided how we will do the programs though. I would like to do a one page program with French on one side and English on the other. But recently I was thinking that it would be nice to include an explanation of the various traditions we’re combining from our cultures. I don’t know if all of that will fit on one page.

Post # 14
Member
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Spanish is my first language and, while many of my friends and family speak English, some do not. No one in my husband’s family speaks Spanish. The invitations were in English only. Our officiant was a friend and only speaks English, but we had translations printed out in pretty paper for Spanish-speakers who wanted to follow along. The only part that wasn’t translated was our vows, since those were a suprise for each other. 

The announcements at the reception were done by a friend who acted as the emcee and were done in English and Spanish. The toasts from the Maid/Matron of Honor and best man were only in English, but our moms worked together on a bilingual toast. 

It sounds complicated but I think it worked out well. I think everyone felt welcome! 

Post # 15
Member
7339 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Oneeleven & @blayne7: I would love to have your help for the french part of things. I’ve been looking at sites to translate from English to French and they are not very good. I’m fully bilingual but when it comes to these things, I don’t want to make a mistake. I am working on an I SPY in all languages, (English, French, Portuguese), here it is, not finished yet, still have to complete the Portuguese side. I’ll be folding it (trifold) and putting it on every table with a disposable camera.

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