How to have a multilingual wedding

How to Handle a Multilingual Wedding

Problem: You and your fiancé are of different nationalities and your families aren’t familiar with each other’s languages. On top of that, some of your other guests, like your colleagues and friends, speak a third language and won’t understand what your family is saying. You realize this will make communication and speeches difficult.

A bride and groom exchange vows during a multilingual wedding ceremony. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

If this sounds like a familiar problem, you’re probably wondering how to navigate such a situation. What’s the best way to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and enjoys the day? Here are a few options to consider.

Solution 1: Use a Translator.

Ask a friend or family member who is fluent in both languages to help you out or hire a professional translator for the day. Have speaking guests send in their speeches ahead of time to be translated, then, during the reception, when a person gets up to speak, have the text of the speech in the other language projected onto a screen behind them.

You could also have the speeches read out loud in various languages or print out the text and place on tables for guests to read.

Related: How Much to Tip Wedding Vendors

A multilingual wedding officiant announces the bride and groom sharing their wedding vows during a wedding ceremony  in Austin, Texas. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

Solution 2: Hire a Multilingual Officiant.

Consider employing a multilingual officiant to guide the ceremony. He or she could say a sentence or two in one language, then repeat it in the other. As a kind gesture, you could exchange vows in you and your fiancé’s common language, then have the officiant or a translator recite the vows to the guests.

You could even get creative by speaking your vows in your fiancé’s native language and vice versa. This could make for an incredibly sweet moment.

Related: Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Solution 3: Offer Multilingual Programs.

If there is one common language among the majority of guests, use that language during official times, such as speeches. Offer multilingual programs to guests who need them so they understand what’s going on and when.

You might also consider having the ceremony in one language and hand out programs with the translations to the guests.

These are only a few possible solutions. Just remember that there is no best way to handle a multilingual wedding. There is only what works for you, your fiancé, and your respective families.

A bride and groom incorporate cultural traditions into their wedding ceremony by literally tying the knot around their hands, Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

Talk it over with your partner, mix and match solutions, and come up with something that will allow everyone to feel included in some way. You don’t have to do this just through language. Incorporate each of your cultures into your menu items, decorations, and entertainment. The fusion will create a unique and personal wedding that will keep guests happy and engaged.

Looking for other multilingual vendors for your wedding? I may know a few!

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