Cross-cultural marriages are more common than ever these days, and it is so important to plan a wedding ceremony that is inclusive. Honoring two different cultures within one marriage ceremony is entirely possible; all it takes is a bit of extra wedding planning ingenuity. Use these tips to help you plan a bilingual wedding ceremony that will make everyone feel included.
When the bride and groom come from families that speak different languages, there is a real possibility that one side will be unable to follow along with the marriage ceremony. That would be a real shame, as it would leave them out in the cold. A wonderful idea is to plan a bilingual wedding ceremony so that all of your guests are able to keep up with what is happening in your nuptials. It will also make for a very unique and personal ceremony.
As all the wedding planning books point out, finding the right officiant for your marriage ceremony is very important. It is even more important when you have special requirements, such as weaving together two languages into one cohesive ceremony. Sometimes you may be fortunate enough to find one officiant who is fluent in both of the languages you need, while in other locales, it might mean bringing in a pair of officiants who are willing to work together. A bilingual ceremony does not mean that the entire ceremony is duplicated in two tongues…can you imagine how long that would take? It is generally organized with alternating portions in each language so that everyone in attendance will be able to keep up with the flow of the ceremony. For the very important parts, such as the vows, you might wish to keep them brief and repeat the pledge in both languages.
Another idea for handling the marriage vows is for the bride and groom to each say their vows in their native tongue. The nice part about this is that the parents of each individual will be able to understand the vows recited by their child. On the other hand, if the bride and groom are bilingual, it would be lovely for each to say their vows in the native tongue of the other. So if the bride is an English speaker and her groom’s primary language is Spanish, she could recite her vows in Spanish. It will show a true commitment to the other, and is a beautiful way to symbolize the joining of the two cultures into one.
There is often a concern that a bilingual marriage ceremony will be difficult to follow. The best way to prevent that problem is with a very detailed wedding program. Wedding planning books will have common program designs, although you might need something a bit more specialized for your cross-cultural celebration. One side of the program can be written in Spanish and the other side in English (or whatever the pair of languages happens to be). The program should clearly detail the order of the ceremony, so that even during the parts being conducted in their non-native tongue, guests will be able to keep up and know what is going on. Such a special program will also make a unique keepsake from your wedding.
Planning a bilingual wedding ceremony can definitely be done, and it is really not so much harder than planning any multi-cultural wedding service. The symbolism of the blending of both cultures is a truly beautiful way to start a marriage, and it is wonderful to make both families feel like it is their day too.