It’s common for couples from different cultures to get married or travel to a foreign destination to get married. So how do wedding planners help their clients have a bilingual wedding? Here are some important tips and advice from experts for wedding planning for conducting a wedding in two different languages or staging a wedding in a locale where English isn’t the primary language.
Getting Started on a Bilingual Wedding
For the couple wanting a bilingual wedding to honor their heritages and put guests at ease, there are some must-dos and must-haves, including:
- All printed and online materials should be in both languages: save-the-date cards, the wedding website, invitations, programs, menus and signage at the venue. To accomplish this, hiring a professional translator may be necessary to avoid a language faux pas.
- Don’t skimp on providing complete information to guests. Lay out the couple’s heritage and what traditions can be expected at the wedding, along with any cultural dress and etiquette information. An FAQ page is an easy-to-digest way to impart information.
- Hire bilingual vendors. Having a bilingual photographer, disc jockey and wait staff will put guests at ease. Having a bilingual member of the wedding planning team or hiring a bilingual wedding planner partner also can make the process go smoothly.
Tips for the Big Day:
- Planners should encourage the couple to make sure the ceremony and reception includes both languages. If that is not the case, make sure there is an interpreter provided.
- Ask clients if they want to incorporate cultural traditions or rituals in the ceremony, decor, food and favors.
- Make the seating chart a priority. Have clients decide if they want their family and friends that speak different languages to be intermingled or keep those that speak the same language at the same table. If there will be intermingling, seat at least a couple of those who speak the same language next to each other to make them comfortable. Consider creating a helpful phrase cheat sheet in both languages, with terms like “My name is” and “Cheers” to help break the ice.
- Make sure signage is prominent and easily understood in both languages.
- Suggest games or activities that are non-verbal that will allow guests to mingle.
- Use music to bring people together. A disc jockey could have a playlist of songs in each language, or live musicians from the two cultures could play at different times throughout the event
For a destination wedding in a foreign country
A destination wedding in a foreign country requires a big time and financial commitment from not only the couple but their guests. Wedding planners should try to make the trip and logistics simple, stress-free and manageable for guests.
Here Are Some Top Tips:
- Make sure you know the destination venue intimately, which may require a scouting trip. Visiting venues and meeting local vendors in person can be helpful, and help the couple make their decisions.
- Consider hiring a travel agent to help guests arrange travel online. An agent who specializes in the area where the wedding will take place can be helpful for not only overseas travel but local logistics.
- Hire a bilingual wedding planning partner at the destination to streamline the process with vendors and navigate local customs.
- Use the wedding website to communicate with guests. The website can provide details for pre- or post-wedding events, as well as suggestions for things to do before and after the wedding. The site also can serve as last-minute notification for updates or changes.