Picture this: you are invited to a wedding. Your first thought is AWESOME- after all, you love weddings. But then you read the invitation and there it is, you don’t understand a single word! How would that make you feel? Frustrated, left out, uncertain and insecure? Certainly not the way you want any of YOUR guests to feel about your big day!
So when you are planning your own wedding, and you invite people who speak a different language, invest a little thought in how you can make all of your guests feel welcome, included and appreciated!
I know a wedding is already a daunting task, and planning a bilingual one can feel overwhelming. So let me show you how you can plan a thoughtful bilingual wedding with ease!!
Set up a bilingual wedding website as a website gives you unlimited space to put up all the essential information in both languages! Think about including:
All your wedding stationery needs to be bilingual! Including your save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, and thank-yous.
As for your invitation suite, you can either print two sets, one in each language, or include the same information in both languages on one card. Either way, this shows your guests that you genuinely care about them.
Bilingual programs also give you an excellent opportunity to include interesting information for your guests! Besides the basic outline of your day, think:
To plan a thoughtful bilingual wedding, go the extra mile and put up signage in both languages such as directions but also welcome boards and seating charts.
Putting together a well-done bilingual wedding ceremony is, for sure, the most challenging part of the entire wedding! But if you are mindful to a few little things you will be surprised how easy and super romantic it can be!
First things first, don’t overdo it and translate the whole ceremony in both languages! It might seem a good idea at first, but believe me, the ceremony would be way too long, and your guests might zone out quickly.
Instead, have a bilingual wedding officiant who knows which parts are most meaningful to say in both languages while keeping the ceremony short and sweet. If you don’t have a bilingual wedding officiant, ask a friend or family member who speaks both languages to translate certain parts of the ceremony. However, make sure to discuss that first with the wedding officiant and your translator!
Now it’s time to have loads of fun by incorporating both languages (and cultures) during your reception! Serve, for example, dishes and desserts from both countries. Create a signature cocktail that represents the blending of your cultures. Celebrate your differences with non-verbal games where the language barrier doesn’t matter and play a variety of songs that appeal to all your guests. If it is difficult to find a live band that can play songs in both your languages, hire a DJ!
As for the table decoration, jazz it up with cards that include basic conversational phrases like Hello! How are you? My name is…! Would you like to dance?
Speeches and toasts are a vital part of any reception. My advice is to keep them super short, and anyone who gives a speech should do that in their native language. You don’t need to have the speeches translated. Instead, try to alternate them in both languages to keep all your guests engaged.
My final tip is to ask for help! If you have a friend or family member who speaks both languages, ask them to help your guests find their way around, and to answer any questions they might have.
Do you have any experience with bilingual weddings? As always, I’d love to hear your tips!!