• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Customs and Traditions

Trilingual Wedding?

MCmeowMCmeow member
500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
edited September 2015 in Customs and Traditions
Hi everyone! Posted this in the interracial boards but it was pretty empty. I'm Dominican-American and my fiance is from Hong Kong. We are perfect for each other and he's my best friend so we're obviously really happy, woo.
Anyway I've been stuck on a few things. Of course we have very different cultures so we plan on having an American wedding with some traditions from our own cultures. My last issue was that my family loves to dance so I plan on putting Spanish dancing music for them to enjoy the party. I was worried about isolating his family until he told me they normally just mingle at family gatherings. So that's all good.

But now I'm worried about something else.
I speak very limited Spanish (But I understand all of it) while he is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. We both have family with a few non-English speakers including his parents. He is only planning on inviting a handful of family while my own family is huge. I was thinking, if everything was translated the ceremony would take too long which would frustrate and bore guests. I need advice on what we should translate, what you think would be convenient for non-English speakers. How can we make the event less confusing for them? Especially since the customs we do may be different to what they're used to. Not to mention our invites will also need to be translated, ha.


By the way, anyone know of any Hong Kong and Dominican wedding traditions? I'd love to know as many as possible. Thanks
Wedding Countdown Ticker
KnotRiley

Re: Trilingual Wedding?

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2015
    I went to a wedding where the bride was from Austria.  Her mom, however, is from France.  So she grew up speaking both French and German.  Her mom's side pretty much only spoke French.  Her dad's side German.

    The groom was born in the states, but his parents immigrated from Ecuador.  His extended family pretty much only spoke Spanish.

    The met in the islands and speak English to each other.
     
    If you got all that, there were 4 different languages. 

    They had the wedding in English since that was their common language.  Their programs, were in English, French, German and Spanish.   It was a Catholic wedding, while doing the prayers of the faithful they did each one in a different language.     


    I would keep the ceremony with your common language.   Then have programs with languages for the other guests.  Maybe throw in a reading or something for your FILs.  The other guests can follow along using the program.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    [Deleted User]
  • Four languages? Damn, we got it slightly easier :P. I bet it was really interesting. Well designing the programs and invitations is going to be fun! (No sarcasm) I love doing this kind of stuff. It would be nice to dedicate a nice reading for his parents, especially since he hasn't seen them in over a year.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    lyndausvikimmiinthemittenemmaaa
  • I agree with PP, I think this is a situation where doing programs could be your best option. I do like how the PP had the different readings & prayers done in a different language.
  • I'm also having a trilingual wedding, but our languages are Punjabi, Icelandic and English.

    We haven't done much planning yet, but our general idea is that we will have the mass majority of our ceremony in English because most of our guests speak or understand English, and we are having it in an English-speaking country and our officiant only speaks English, but we will have readings in Icelandic and Punjabi, and my FW might do her vows in Icelandic.

    Our programs will be in English and Punjabi, since all the Icelandic speakers speak and understand both English and Punjabi, and will have full translations of everything.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    MCmeow
  • We ended up doing the ceremony in English with a reading in Italian (DH is from Italy). The reading was translated into English in the program for non-Italian speakers to follow in.

    We also said our vows (we wrote them ourselves) in both languages - vows were probably around 1.5 mins. each - so short and sweet. 

    DHs family was very happy that we also said the vows in Italian (after all, its one of the most important parts) so that they could understand too and really enjoy the moment and appreciate what we were promising to each other.

    Hope this helps! 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • My fiancé and I speak Portuguese together (he speaks very limited English), but the majority of our guests speak English. Our officiate speaks a little Portuguese and also speaks Spanish (my fiancé and I both speak Spanish as well). We are planning on having most of our ceremony in English and will have parts of it in Portuguese/Spanish (depending on our officiate's knowledge of Portuguese by our wedding date...she says she's going to brush up on her skills). We're writing our own vows in Portuguese and will include English translations in our programs. We'll receive a transcript of any part of the ceremony that will be in English ahead of time so that I can translate it for my fiancé ahead of time.

  • I am a wedding officiant and recently I did a trilingual wedding.  The bride was from Germany and the groom was from Vietnam; and the wedding was in California.  I don't speak German or Vietnamese, and it would have been too complicated and long for there to be two translators.  So, they worked with me to learn a few key phrases in each language.  I said "Hello," "Welcome," "Marriage of Duchuy and Claudia" and "Thank You" in all three languages.  This way, each culture was represented, and nobody was left out, but it did not take the time to do the whole ceremony three times.  Even though some people missed what was going on in the pure English parts, the thought and emotions were conveyed, and everyone understood and appreciated the fact they were respected by some of their language being included.  It didn't have to be perfect, it was just the thought that counted.  I had several people tell me this, even the pure English speakers thought it was amazing to have this included.

    I've also worked with translators.  Usually, we just translate the most important parts (vows, ring exchange, etc...) and cut out translating things like the welcome, and any readings to save time.

    If you are not writing your own, you can have your officiant give you a transcription of your ceremony far in advance, and translate it as well, and have paper copies for people to take.  However, this will take you time, and then people will be reading during your ceremony, instead of watching you.

    Depending on what state you are in, you do not necessarily have to say vows if you are not comfortable doing so; or if you want to cut it out to save time and confusion.  In CA, the only thing that is required is the "Declaration of Intent" or the "I Do's" where each of you basically state you are willfully entering a legal marriage of your own free will.  (Do you take this person to be your legally wedded wife, etc...).  I had a bride once, English was her second language, and she did not feel comfortable speaking vows in front of everyone, so we didn't do vows.  BUT, each state is different, so I urge you to look at your local laws or ask your officiant before cutting anything out of your ceremony.  

    Here are some sites with wedding traditions.  You can put "Hong Kong Wedding Traditions" and "Dominican Wedding Traditions" in Google and a ton  of things come up.


    MCmeow
  • I am a wedding officiant and recently I did a trilingual wedding.  The bride was from Germany and the groom was from Vietnam; and the wedding was in California.  I don't speak German or Vietnamese, and it would have been too complicated and long for there to be two translators.  So, they worked with me to learn a few key phrases in each language.  I said "Hello," "Welcome," "Marriage of Duchuy and Claudia" and "Thank You" in all three languages.  This way, each culture was represented, and nobody was left out, but it did not take the time to do the whole ceremony three times.  Even though some people missed what was going on in the pure English parts, the thought and emotions were conveyed, and everyone understood and appreciated the fact they were respected by some of their language being included.  It didn't have to be perfect, it was just the thought that counted.  I had several people tell me this, even the pure English speakers thought it was amazing to have this included.

    I've also worked with translators.  Usually, we just translate the most important parts (vows, ring exchange, etc...) and cut out translating things like the welcome, and any readings to save time.

    If you are not writing your own, you can have your officiant give you a transcription of your ceremony far in advance, and translate it as well, and have paper copies for people to take.  However, this will take you time, and then people will be reading during your ceremony, instead of watching you.

    Depending on what state you are in, you do not necessarily have to say vows if you are not comfortable doing so; or if you want to cut it out to save time and confusion.  In CA, the only thing that is required is the "Declaration of Intent" or the "I Do's" where each of you basically state you are willfully entering a legal marriage of your own free will.  (Do you take this person to be your legally wedded wife, etc...).  I had a bride once, English was her second language, and she did not feel comfortable speaking vows in front of everyone, so we didn't do vows.  BUT, each state is different, so I urge you to look at your local laws or ask your officiant before cutting anything out of your ceremony.  

    Here are some sites with wedding traditions.  You can put "Hong Kong Wedding Traditions" and "Dominican Wedding Traditions" in Google and a ton  of things come up.


    Thanks for the advice, I really like the idea of the officiant translating a few things.  And the Hong Kong tradition website is really helpful! I had a gist of what the Dominican traditions were (There aren't much :P)
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • You're welcome, my pleasure to help! You are right, some countries have a lot of customs and traditions, and some do not.  You can always combine traditions too.  Like, my FH being from Canada, they do  not clink the glasses to get the couple to kiss.  To get them to kiss, guests have to do a contests or stunt, of some sort - answer a trivia question about the couple, sing a song with the word "love" in it, do the chicken dance, etc...since I don't want to completely give up on the tradition of the clinking glasses, we will have guests clink a few times, then make an announcement we are switching to the Canadian custom (so the US folks know what is going on).  I hope you have a happy, beautiful day! 
    MCmeow
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards