Multilingual wedding ceremonies

As our individual worlds become more global and our lives become more mobile it is not surprising that there are more and more couples coming together with different native languages. Of course, there will be one language that the couple will share, maybe one of their mother tongues or maybe a third language. But when it comes to a wedding ceremony deciding which language or languages to use can be difficult.

There are some important elements to consider when making this decision:

  • First, what is the language of your relationship? What is the language or languages that you, as a couple, speak most to one another?
  • What language do each of you individually feel most comfortable expressing yourself in? Given the nuances present in every language one partner may feel more comfortable in a certain language as compared to another.
  • What languages do your families and friends speak? Your families may speak a different language from your friend group, which should be taken into consideration. Especially be aware of older family members who may only speak one language.

Once you have thought about these different aspects of your life regarding language you must then decide how to incorporate all the languages. Do not be worried or intimidated about including various languages, there are many ways to do so and it all depends on your preference. Here at David and Petracco Wedding Celebrants we have conducted multilingual ceremonies in the following ways:

  1. Full ceremony in two languages: this option results in the longest ceremony, but ensures no one misses out. This is best when the couple have two different mother tongues and the majority of the family and friends speak or only speak those languages. This ceremony will involve the script being read twice, either by two celebrants, as we do at David and Petracco Wedding Celebrants, or the script being read once by the celebrant and then translated by an interpreter or by a friend. In both cases, the couple should review the wedding script on both languages to ensure that the meaning and sentiment is consistent throughout.
  2. Alternating languages: this approach eliminates the repetition of the previous approach that may occur for those who speak both languages. This approach allows the couple to speak in the language they are most comfortable in, while translation is provided via the wedding program. This also means that readings or speaking parts done by friends or family members can be in the language they prefer. This approach can also be used in a three language scenario, with the speaker’s words translated into the other two languages in the program.
  3. One language: this approach is best when the majority of people speak one language and if there is one language that the couple is most comfortable with. In this case, the wedding program would again be used for translation purposes to make sure that the guests who do not speak the language can follow along.

No matter what your decision is in the end, the different languages and cultures of the couple should be celebrated. And with these options, there is no reason that all the languages of your life and of your marriage cannot be a part of your wedding ceremony!

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