Bilingual weddings: How are you going to do it?

posted 8 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 16
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Our wedding was in Spain and our ceremony was bilingual. The ratio of English to Spanish speakers was probably 50/50 with only a few able to understand both. Luckily, we found a bilingual priest and he did some parts of the ceremony in English, some in Spanish and I think everyone thought it was really beautiful. We also had an English reading, a Spanish reading and then the bidding prayers were half and half, with everything translated in the programs.

My dad also took Spanish lessons in secret and surprised us by doing a toast in both languages! It was extra lovely that he did the Spanish toast first, rather than having it as an afterthought, which went down really well with both nationalities. We incorporated a few traditions from both too, so everyone got some surprises.

My only regret is that we didn’t learn enough Spanish ourselves to be able to chat properly with our Spanish guests but all in all, I LOVED our bilingual wedding!

I’m sure yours will be amazing!

Post # 17
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@couawilou: I would love to help you with the French, but I can’t. I’m only fluent in the English. I can give you our invitation text in French if you are interested, but I don’t have our program text yet.

Post # 18
7339 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@blayne7: That would be great to have the French text, thank you so much. You can e-mail me at [email protected] Thank you so much for this.

Post # 19
5091 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2012

Both our families are full of native English speakers, but I spent a couple years living in Japan, and I have several close Japanese friends.  Though the number of English speakers will far outweigh the number of Japanese (assuming any of the Japanese can even make it – the Pacific Ocean is a very large thing, and it’s kind of in the way), I still want my Japanese friends to feel included.  I’ll probably have Japanese language programs for them that go slightly more into depth about the ceremony and with translations of all the readings.  We’ll also likely play a few Japanese songs at the reception, and my awesome DJ has mentioned something about learning a few Japanese phrases so he can greet everyone there.

Post # 20
1 posts
  • Wedding: May 2016

mkpw:  Hi there – I would love to hear more about what you did for your ceremony.  My fiance is Portuguese and I am American… we are getting married in Portugal and we are trying to figure out how to handle the ceremony.  1/2 of the guests will be english speakers and the other 1/2 portuguese.  Would love any advice you have!

Post # 21
21 posts
  • Wedding: August 2017

Like @Bonni and @Owlet, my wedding guest have a trilingual problem (spanish, english and german). MOST young people speak English, but many older people only speak German or Spanish. So, were going to have the officiant do it in German and have papers printed with the English and Spanish translations. Ive experienced several bilingual ceremonies that were confusing and horrible, so we are sticking with just one language at a time. For the rest of the celebration, were going to do everything in English and hope for the best. My immediate family and I speak all three so my dad may give a toast in all three languages, but we havent talked about it yet… It might go on too long 😂

Post # 22
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

My husband is Irish and all his family speaks English, I am Spanish and all my family speaks Spanish. I can speak both languages fluently. The wedding was in Spain and the ceremony was all in Spanish as we couldn’t find anyone with the authority to celebrate a wedding who could speak English. His dad took part for a short time during the ceremony and said a few words in English for the English speakers. I had prepared wedding programmes that were bilingual and left them in the seats for the guests. The wedding invitations and the save the dates were also bilingual. As well as the wedding menus on the tables. I had also created a website with information about what to do in the area, the dresscode, etc, and that was also bilingual.

I considered for a while sending invitations in Spanish for the Spanish speakers and in English for the English speakers, but I decided against it because I thought that making them bilingual reflected much better what the wedding was going to be like.

Luckily, we have some bilingual friends, and they were a great linking point between everybody. The photographer was also bilingual and that was great too!

Ah! I couldn’t decide having Spanish or English songs during the ceremony, so I chose to have only instrumental songs, played with piano and cello.

My family come from an area of Spain with celtic roots, so during the appetiser we had a bagpiper and a drummer. Everybody loved it!

Post # 23
551 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016 - Theater

Wow, zombie thread!

Finnish and English, wedding will be in Finland and my family speaks 90% Finnish. We have international guests and family.

We sent invitations in two versions (we just printed a translation to go with it because of our small volume we’d otherwise paid a ton for the invitations). The ceremony will be in Finnish, with a condensed version in English to make sure the internationals (and SO) follow. The reception we’ll try to accommodate our English speaking guests with translations of all the texts and interpretations/condensed versions of speeches etc. We’ll try to do as little talking as ever possible, lol! The wedding is only coming up so I can’t yet say how it’s all going to turn out.

Post # 24
9623 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

My family speaks Spanish and Catalan, and a few speak English but others don’t really.  The rest of our guests and Fiance and myself all speak English primarily, though some of us speak other languages including Spanish and Catalan.  

Anyway, we’re just doing everything in English.  Yes, it sucks for the 4 guests who don’t speak English well enough to understand every word, but I’m sure they’ll excuse us (2 of them are under 10 years of age anyway, and at that age I doubt they care one way or another, heh.)

Also, just wanna throw in there for a fun anecdote: my mom got married in Spain to my father, and didn’t speak a lick of spanish.  She’s a native Cantonese and Mandarin speaker, and was fine with english by the time she got married (as she’d been in the states for almost 8 years at that point) but she didn’t understand a word of her own ceremony. Lol…

Post # 25
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I am Canadian, Fiance is Israeli, and we are getting married in Israel, with about 60 guests coming from abroad, most of whom don’t know Hebrew. We did a double-sided invitation – one side in Hebrew, one side in English – and our officiant will be including some English in the ceremony, though not much. We will be making English-language programs for non-Hebrew speaking guests, some of whom also won’t be familiar with a Jewish wedding ceremony, to be able to follow along.

Speeches, etc.. everyone will do in whatever language is most comfortable to them, and I am sure everyone will be fine 🙂

Kind of comforting to see that it’s not just us!

Post # 26
217 posts
Helper bee

Don’t do a bilingual ceremony. As a guest, I hate them. They take long and they are so boring because I don’t understand it. I understand it will be in English as well, but why does it need to be in Spanish if your Fiance does not even speak that language.

Post # 27
1150 posts
Bumble bee

elsa0984:  She’s probably not on this board anymore and most likely is already married. OP’s post was 5 years ago.

Post # 28
1 posts
  • Wedding: July 2018

mkpw :  mkpw :  Hey im honduran! MArrying my english boyfriend. Doing 2 ceremonies. One at the beach in Honduras! I would love to know more details about your ceremoy since we are struggling on figuring out how to make it enjoyable for everyone. His family no spanish. my family no english! jaaja

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