(Closed) Involving Non-English Speaking Inlaws

posted 8 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 3
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

My FI’s parents speak Spanish, his father speaks conversational English, and his mother only knows a handful of words.  There aren’t any parts of the wedding ceremony that the groom’s parents are “supposed” to take part in, so I don’t have any particular jobs for them to do per se.  However, our wedding ceremony is going to be bilingual for the benefit of both our families.

I think that just saying a few words in Korean during the welcome or something, in acknowledgment and respect for them, should be enough.  I’m guessing your FI’s parents are going to be too shy to play much of a role in the Canadian ceremony anyway.  ๐Ÿ™‚  If you’re planning on forming a receiving line, you might want to teach them a few handy phrases to use.

Post # 4
8 posts
  • Wedding: July 2009

I am having a “three language” wedding- english, german and polish. our inlaws do not speak a common language – my fiancè is from poland and his parents emigrated to germany when he was 9 – so they speak polish and german (and russian!) and my parents are american (as am I) and they speak english (my dad is learning a bit of german)

I am addressing this “problem” in several ways:

  • we are making it a fun part of the wedding! the ceremony programs are in all three languages, as are the invitations.
  • we will have a basket of buttons with polish, german and US flags on them – people can wear the buttons of the language(s) they speak
  • our vows will be spoken in two languages – i will speak mine in english and he will speak his in german. parts of our ceremony are in three lanugages, (we are having a reading in each language).
  • we are incorperating as many “non verbal” elements as possible so that everyone can follow along!
  • signage (and lots!!)
  • we are placing cards on the table with fun words in each language like “cheers” and “love”

i think the most important thing is not that your guests understand EVERYTHING but that they feel included and not left out.

Post # 5
340 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Love the suggestions so far. My fiance is Cuban, and although is parents emmigrated to America 30+ years ago, his mother only speaks a few words of english and his father can speak it conversationally, but is extremely self-conscious of his accent. My parents only speak english.

I was planning to do the program in both english and spanish, along with a spanish reading during the ceremony. We will also be having a mojito bar during cocktail hour, along with a 10 piece band that are known for playing a great combination of regular “hits” and spanish music.

Post # 6
166 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

We are not having an bilingual or intercultural ceremony ourselves, but I just wanted to share an idea that our officiant shared with us about a situation with non-English speaking in-laws: the bride had her bouquet made so that it was actually three small bouquets, and then at a certain point in the ceremony sort of untied her large bouquet and offered one bouquet to her new Mother-In-Law and one to her new grandmother-in-law. Our officiant said that it ended up being a beautiful moment and crossed the language barrier, involving them in the ceremony and showing the bride’s commitment to the new family without making anyone uncomfortable because of language barriers. I don’t know if that is helpful in ANY way but wanted to share just in case!

Post # 7
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

My FI’s family is French (from France) and most of them don’t speak any English at all.

We had our Save-The-Date Cards invitations printed in two different languages.  We tried to put everything on one, but it just ended up needing more paper products, which we are trying to cut down on to be eco.  The wedding website is supposed to be in two languages, but I did the English section and he was supposed to do the French section for his family, but I think he’s only done a few pages.  However, the complain to him about his laziness so it’s his issue really…it’s more teasing than complaining.

For the ceremony, we will have some things in French, but the priest isn’t bilingual.  I’ll be saying my vows in English and he’ll say his in French (I’m fluent enough), so it will be meaningful that way.

For the reception we chose a bilingual MC (our mutual friend) to translate and the 3 speeches (MOH, Bridesmaid or Best Man and ours) will be in both languages.  It’s a bit of a pain, but we’re trying to be as inclusive as possible.  We don’t have tons of MC moments, just a few things, so it won’t drag things out too long!

Post # 8
761 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

We are having a bilingual ceremony by sheer luck! My Fiance is from Sweden and I had put him in charge of finding a church and he found a Church of Sweden about thirty minutes away from where we live. We decided that it was worth the drive to make him and his family feel not as isolated from the ceremony. The ceremony will be half in Swedish and half in English, not decided on what parts yet, and the vows in English since my Swedish is extremely limited (ie 10 words!!!!). We did the STD’s all in English and will do the invites the same but the programs and signage at the wedding will be in dual. At times I get frusterated with dealing with all these sort of things but in the end I am happy to be including these things for my Fiance.

Post # 9
1854 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

I went to a few multi languages wedding.. One was French/English/German; the other French/English/Indi.

The parents would do their parts in their own language, and the couple had translated prior so the other set of parents would do the translation in another language..

All very beautiful

Post # 10
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

We’re having a bilingual ceremony. My fiance’s parents and most of his relatives don’t really speak English. Only a few of our guests are native English speakers – including my family. Our invitation cards, menu, etc will be printed in both languages.

I’m worried my family will feel left out during the reception because most of the people will be speaking Slovak language only.

Post # 11
34 posts
  • Wedding: April 2012

Hmm I never thought about doing that. I speak 3 langagugaes, and we will have guests from different countries, they all know English at least a little bit, but I haven’t thought about incorporating things for them. It’s definitely something to think about.

Post # 12
3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I did as much as I could within reason in both languages.  My wedding website, the invitations, the programs.  I managed to convince my pastor to get me a rough draft of the entire ceremony in advance so that I could have it translated into Dutch for my Mother-In-Law (deaf, hard of seeing, and doesn’t speak more then 20 words of English) and my SIL’s (both speak English but not fluently) and a good friend of ours (speaks very little English).  

Everything went very well!  ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 13
255 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My fiance’s parents don’t speak english, but they are the only ones so we are going to have the ceremony translated so that they can follow along! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 14
46373 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

There is an app for smart phones that does instant translation-you say something in one language, it instantly gives you a voice translation in the language of your choice, and also a text of the message in whatever language you choose.

You might be able to incorporate that by having someone who speaks English sit next to those who don’t and repeat key phrases into the phone.

This could also be easily used during the reception to include the non- english speaking in the activities, toasts, etc.

Post # 15
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

My English only parents will be the ones feeling a little left out at our Haitian wedding. The ceremony will be translated into English for our American guests. We’re not doing a unity candle, so my mom’s role as mother of the bride will be very minimal. I think with the language barrier they would feel awkward being front and center, so after my dad walks me down the isle they’ll just sit back and relax. ๐Ÿ™‚

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