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COMPLETE GUIDE TO HAVING A BILINGUAL WEDDING
How to make sure everyone feels included
Planning a bilingual wedding?
As a bilingual celebrant in Spain, i’m frequently asked how guests will understand the ceremony and for advice on how to make all your guests feel included. I, myself had a bilingual wedding with guests from many different countries. Here are my top tips on how to create an inclusive and fun bilingual wedding.
Firstly, before you go any further you need to establish what the primary languages will be at your wedding and if there will be any more languages you may need to cater to.
Ensure you have your invitations in both languages, so that all your guests understand and feel included. I used the same design for my invitations but had a version printed in Spanish and another in English.
A bilingual wedding celebrant
I believe a bilingual celebrant is essential, so that all your guests can be welcomed in their language. Afterall, Why pay for two celebrants when you can pay for one! A trained bilingual celebrant will craft you a ceremony that flows nicely in both languages, as you don’t necessarily need each part of your ceremony translated. Before contracting a celebrant, speak to them so you can hear their language skills, it’s important that your ceremony is beautifully written and sounds great.
Translated booklets / Order of service outline
Some people opt for booklets with their whole ceremony translated, I did! But sometimes it’s enough to have an order of service outline so that your guests can follow what’s happening throughout your ceremony. Guests might not bother reading the booklets because they want to watch the ceremony, for instance, at my wedding lots of guests used them as fans!
One of the reasons I love working as a celebrant in Spain is that I get the chance to craft many weddings for couples of different cultures. For example, we incorporate traditions and marital rituals from both cultures into the ceremony, your guests will find it interesting to see other and will feel included when they see their own traditions. I also love carrying out symbolic rituals such as handfastings and sand ceremonies where guests from both sides can participate.
Involving your guests
In my wedding ceremonies, I always suggest a guest reading in both languages and you can have the readings readily translated so that your guests can understand what’s being said. In a celebrant led ceremony with symbolic rituals you can involve guests in your handfasting or sand ceremony. Click here to read more about the symbolic rituals for your wedding. Have guests read speeches in both languages.
Cheat sheet of language phrases
Guests love this, have a cheat sheet of phrases in both languages; Cheers! Nice to meet you! Would you like a drink? Do you want to dance? This results in a fun way to help guests break the ice.
Having a table plan can ensure you don’t leave guests feeling isolated or dealing with awkward silences. Distribute your bilingual guests around so that they can help out with translating and put guests who can communicate together, later on you can pull out some tricks to get people mingling.
Bilingual signage and staff
Have signs and menus in both languages, if you are having a rustic wedding then hand painted signs on wood look amazing. Try and choose a venue with some bilingual waiters and bar staff so they can communicate with your guests. If you are getting married in Spain, then read here how a wedding planner can help you.
Music and songs for your bilingual wedding
Finally, it’s time to get those guests mingling, so make sure you have a selection of music and songs in both languages and organise a couple of dances to get your guests up on their feet and together.
If you are a bilingual couple and getting married in Spain, I would love to talk to you about your event and would be happy to create and conduct a bespoke, romantic and bilingual ceremony for you and your partner.
Featured image: Amber Varghese Photography
Congratulations on your engagement!
Hi! I’m Sophie an expert at creating creative, bespoke and truly personalised Billingual Wedding Ceremonies in Spain that are all about you as a couple! I specialise in bilingual weddings, outdoor weddings and weddings with symbolic rituals.
I'm based in Southern Spain whether you would like a beach wedding at sunset with the breeze on your skin, an intimitate wedding in an authentic Spanish hacienda or a stylish, luxury hotel wedding I will listen carefully to your ideas and wishes and with creativity and passion craft you an unforgetable ceremony to start your forever!