Today, we have a guest blog from the lovely Yvonne Beck Celebrant! She’s sharing her best tips about how to have a bilingual wedding!
Hi there! It has been my pleasure and honour to create wedding ceremonies for couples since 2011. I have worked as a Celebrant for hundreds of couples, and since moving to Germany in 2017, I have been offering bilingual wedding ceremonies! This has been a lovely expansion for me and for my wedding business. It offers so much more in terms of inclusivity to the occasion, and celebrates diversity too. As a Wedding and Family Celebrant, I have been asked several times how to create a multilingual or bilingual wedding ceremony. I’d like to explain how this can be done throughout the whole wedding process.
(Feature photo by Clare Tam-Im Photography)
1. Bilingual Wedding Invitations & Website
You can mention that you are having a bilingual wedding ceremony in your save the dates or invitations, using both or more languages. It’s a lovely way to start the “bubble” of love that your wedding day is all about! Make sure you have an understanding and professional printer if you are not doing these yourself, as you do not want any spelling mistakes! As many couples and families tend to keepsake everything about a wedding in the family, this means your wedding invitation will be especially precious.
There are many wedding websites now which are free to use, or you could set up your own. Or, you could make a Facebook group, where you can post information in both languages. The instructions, directions, names of the wedding party and order of ceremony could be added.
2. An inclusive wedding ceremony
An order of ceremony is not always considered important these days but can be useful at bilingual weddings. If it is written out in both languages, everyone can keep up with what is happening. Celebrant ceremonies are unique in that we write a completely different ceremony for each couple. This often includes many new elements- poems, songs, hymns and rituals.
Celebrant weddings are still quite new, and it is often the case that guests are grateful to know what the couple are planning. Sand Blending, Hand Washing and Ring Warmings are popular choices at celebrant ceremonies!
3. translating readings and vows
Readings in the ceremony are popular, and couples often ask their friends or family to take on a role as a Reader. Some of my bilingual wedding couples have had their readings translated. Others have asked their reader to choose a poem in their native language. Not everything needs to be translated – often the feeling behind the words can be conveyed without a need for it. Couples can also add the reading and its translation into their ceremony pack.
Couples often decide to write their own vows and promises in a celebrant ceremony. For a couple who have a different native tongue, this can be done in several ways. I have had couples read their vows in the non-native language, which is a challenge, but is always a very tender and emotional moment. Alternatively, they could recite their vows in a mixture of languages, especially if their vows are a surprise for each other. Some couples are shy and would prefer the celebrant to change their vows into a question, which I am always happy to do. This calms nerves as they will hear their Vows and just give a simple “I Promise” in return.
4. bilingual wedding signage
Whatever the wedding venue, you might need signage to direct your guests. A welcome sign in different languages is a lovely touch for all arriving on the day. Menus, the labels on the favours, or even the table plan, can all be adapted with small touches which make everyone feel special and part of the big day!
5. Include both languages in your music choices
After the speeches and the food, it is time to hit the dance floor. Your music choice adds so much to your wedding day! Why not book bands or a DJ who are able to support your bilingual wedding? A blend of different music and the facility to take requests ensures everyone is happy. If you are creating your own playlist, remember to ask for ideas from your guests through your invitation responses or wedding website.
hire a bilingual wedding celebrant
I love being a Bilingual Wedding Celebrant for weddings in England and throughout Europe. My first language was German but I have spent much longer speaking English. Since moving back to Germany, I am now fluent in both!
I can offer so much flexibility and many more ideas for my couples as their Bilingual Celebrant. Many are delighted that I can include all their guests in the ceremony and bring everyone together on this wonderful and joyful occasion. My focus is to ensure the ceremony is exactly how they dreamed it would be. My satisfaction comes from the smiles and the happiness I see around me.
You can find out more about Yvonne here!
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