How to think and organize your secular ceremony in bilingual mode?
To imagine, to invent, to create a secular ceremony in the image of a couple, is also to integrate a little bit of everyone’s history, including their mother tongue. Inventing a bilingual wedding ceremony requires a little ease, a lot of imagination, and a pinch of originality. Here are some ways to get there.
Which languages for your wedding?
If you ask yourself this question, it is surely because several languages have enriched your respective paths, whether you practice them daily or not. If you live or have lived abroad, if one of your parents, or both, speak a language other than French, if part of your family comes from far away to attend your wedding, you’ll want to put honor this part of you and your story. You can choose to give pride of place to your mother tongue and to your language of adoption, you can opt for a part in English if most of your guests speak it. Just a little touch in the language of those who have traveled thousands of miles to attend your wedding moved them a lot: with a simple “Do you want to take Mary here? Says in Russian, Arabic or Chinese, you are sure to touch your future in-laws!
Think about the highlights and the best language to celebrate your love
Once you have chosen the languages that will be spoken during your ceremony, you can reflect on the moments of the ceremony that you wish to live in each language. It is not necessarily necessary that the balance be perfect and that everything be said in both languages. If the language of your couple is French, for example, and it would seem unnatural to pronounce your wishes in German even if you live in Hamburg, stay on the French for this part of your ceremony! It will only be more authentic and therefore moving, even for those who do not understand the content of your remarks. You may want some texts to be read in their original version and not translated. You may ask for each part of your ceremony which language (s) will be most suitable (s), speeches of the officiant (e) to the exchange of alliances, through the rituals, the readings, wishes, music, etc.
Some ways to make each language in their place
Several possibilities are available to you: if you have in your entourage the rare gem who masters the chosen languages and knows how to address an audience, if you trust him to showcase your couple and your love, ask him he wants to play the part of your officiant for a day! You can also opt for two officiants, who must coordinate to create a harmonious whole. Otherwise you can call on a professional bilingual, or even trilingual, professional. You can then think together about art and how to juggle between languages. Of course you can translate each part of your ceremony word for word, at the risk of losing part of the audience who will hear it all in duplicate. For my part, I favor the alternation of languages in a subtle balance. Evoking each part of your life and your love in one language then in the other but without repeating the same details, allows to create a bilingual fluid, original and never boring.
A bilingual ceremony booklet
The ceremonial booklet offers several options. It may contain in Italian or Spanish, for example, the entire ceremony, which you have taken care to (translate). Be careful though, some will be more focused on reading than on your ceremony! But the booklet can also serve as a one-off support for the translation of one or two texts that will not be read in both languages, and it will then play its role of bilingual mediator wonderfully.
And you, what alternatives did you think?
- Photo credit: Sophie de Vasselot (http://sophie-devasselot.fr/)
- Texts credit: Céline LARIGALDIE, bilingual officer