Love has no boundaries. It has no colors, no borders, and no restrictions—not even words. You’ve found the love of your life, and now your extended family will bring together two different cultures. You’re thrilled, but logistically, you now need to figure out how to how to plan a bilingual wedding to ensure both your families feel included and can fully enjoy every aspect of your ceremony and reception. To help you plan your bilingual dream wedding, we’ve got seven expert tips to help you get started.
1. Send Invitations to Your Guests in Their Native Language. Work with your stationer to create two versions of your wedding invitations and all your day-of stationery and send the appropriate language version to your guests accordingly. If, for example, your new grandmother-in-law receives an invitation she cannot read, she may not feel included the way you intend.
2. Hire a Bi-Lingual Wedding Photographer. Yes, your photographer will be snapping candids all day long, but he or she will also need to communicate with both bridal parties and families. Make sure you choose a photographer who can competently and comfortably hold dialogue with all of your guests.
3. Consider a Mix-Language Ceremony. There are limitless ways to organize a mix-language ceremony. You can either choose to work with a bilingual officiant, or two separate officiants to repeat all of the spoken ceremony components in each language. Alternatively, you may decide to lead the ceremony in one primary language and incorporate poems or songs in the other language. Deciding how inclusive you want the ceremony to be is a significant decision, so make sure all your immediate friends and family members are comfortable with your decision.
4. Provide Resources to Guests Traveling Outside of Their Home Country. If your bilingual wedding will require one half of the new family (or both) to travel out of their home country, provide them with comfortable accommodations. This will include a hotel with bilingual staff and convenient transportation to the ceremony and reception venues. Also, consider offering some cultural guidance that will help prepare out-of-country guests for their time in an unfamiliar area.
5. Plan a Multicultural Menu. What better way to reflect the merging of your lives than to build a reception menu that incorporates signature foods that are meaningful to both of your cultures. We think Caldo Verde goes exceptionally well with Lamb Tikka.
6. Minimize Speeches. Unless your best man and maid of honor are bilingual, consider asking them to keep their speeches brief so that guests who do not speak the same language don’t feel as though they are missing out.
7. Incorporate Multicultural Music. Just as with food, each culture has signature wedding music. Make an effort to play a few songs that will be meaningful to both cultures, across the generations (and yes, you can still play the electric slide if you must).
If you are ready to start planning the best day of your life, contact the wedding invitation and day-of-stationery experts at RSVP to me. We’ll ensure every aspect of your wedding stationery, from the save-the-date cards to the programs, are designed with cultural significance to be appreciated and understood by all your guests.