As our world grows smaller and our countries more multi-cultural, weddings with couples from two or more cultures is becoming more commonplace.
Some couples opt to have a wedding celebration in each of their native countries (my husband and I had one in Munich, Germany where he’s from, and a second one several months later in California). If two weddings isn’t feasibl,e another option is to have one ceremony and include as much of both cultures in it as possible.
However having a wedding where half or more of the guests don’t speak one of the languages runs the risk of leaving many people attending feeling out of the loop. Here are some ways to keep everyone engaged and feeling included.
1. Make sure guests receive wedding stationery and or communication in their native language. There are many ways to do this, you can create bi-lingual stationery, or create two (or more!) sets of stationery; one in each language. If all your guests are online and you are less concerned about formality you can go entirely paperless which makes it easier to create invitations, directions and other communication in more than one language.
2. Consider a mixed language ceremony. Your wedding ceremony is the heart of the event. Ideally none of your guests will have to feel lost or tuned out while it’s happening. If possible keep it short and sweet. If you both understand one anthers native language, each person can say his or her vows in their native language. If the ceremony is primarily in one language, intersperse it with poems, songs or readings in a second language or say key phrases ‘You may now kiss the bride’ in both or a second language.
3. Split the ceremony. In Germany, where I got married, a civil ceremony or ‘Standesamt’ takes place first, followed by a religious or church wedding ceremony separately. Our civil ceremony was in German, and later our wedding ceremony was in English.
4. Create a wedding ceremony program in each language. If a linguistic mash-up won’t work in your ceremony, create dual-language programs with sections dedicated to explaining the wedding traditions of each culture. Translate poems, wedding party roles, songs and explain each section of the ceremony.
5. Add subtitles to reception slideshows or movies. If you’ve put together a film or slideshow for the reception of the wedding, include sub-titles if someone is narrating it, or consider making it a wordless montage and adding music from both cultures instead.
6. Incorporate food and music from each culture. Food and music are universal and transcend language. Alternate courses with a dish from each culture or have both cuisines represented in your wedding buffet. If you’re having a wedding DJ ask him or her to learn a few key phrases in both languages, better yet, if the DJ speaks both languages, for example Spanish and English, ask them to speak ’Spanglish’ ‘Ok, ahora! everybody bailando!’
7. Hire or assign interpreters. If you can’t hire an interpreter for the wedding ask friends that speak dual languages to help out (you can request this as a wedding gift). Strategically sit them between important guests (like parents) so they can do some light translating during meals and important moments.
8. Come up with a few ‘buzzwords’ to teach everyone. For example instead of toasting ‘Cheers’ teach everyone to say ‘Prost’, ‘Salud’, ‘Kampai’ or ‘Skål’. Share words for ‘kiss’, ‘love’, ‘happiness’ and another phrases that are appropriate to use at a wedding celebration. Guests can lean on these as needed to cement connection or raise a glass.
9. Plan smaller, single language events leading up to the ceremony. In some cultures, like Denmark, it’s traditional for every guest to make a speech. This can be difficult for guests that don’t understand. Plan to have smaller more intimate events, like a breakfast or cocktail hour, leading up to the big day where these cultural traditions can be shared without the burden of trying to translate them.
10. Plan language independent icebreaker actives during surrounding events. If you’re hosting events like a barbecue or picnic on the day before the wedding plan for some common group sports (like soccer), card games or even board games like chess that cut across cultural lines, and help guests to get to know one another without needing to make conversation.
Did you have a bilingual wedding? What did you do to make all of your guests feel comfortable?
Last year I got myself on a jet plane and headed over to New York City for the 2014 National Stationery Show. It was exciting and invigorating if not a little overwhelming.
This year I'm enjoying experiencing it from afar via the #NSS2015 Instagram hashtag. My FOMO is tamed by the fact that I've already been, and that I now know how much work it takes not only to walk the show but the stress and effort involved in setting up a booth!
There's a lot to be said for sipping your coffee in the morning while scrolling through the pretty images on Instagram. Here are some of my favorite snaps from the show so far:
I like the ‘Go For It’ attitude of both the notebook and the snap from @paperpanduh
Inspiring image from @tack_and_ward looking outside from within the Javitz Centre.
I’m a sucker for a good constructivist logo like this one from @modcitpress
A snazzy neon sign from @hartfordprints. Nice departure from the usual.
Refreshingly utilitarian keychain tags and pegboard booth from @variouskeytags
An entire line of cards for serious shoe lovers from @penelopespress
Bold advice from @twillandprint
05/12/2015 07:20:52 in General
Yes! It's Limerick Day!
When I was a young tween I discovered that the innocuous looking book The Limerick by G. Legman on my parents bookshelf was actually full of hillarious and naughty poems.
The book inspired giggle-filled hours with friends composing hilarious (we thought) limericks. Some I can still recite by memory. I'd share them with you but they're either too raunchy, politically incorrect or both.
But I will share this free download Vegan limerick poster and a couple of fun limerick links:
This wedding invitation design (called 'Classic Black and White') lends itself perfectly to a Great Gatsby style weddding, a black and white wedding or both!
The clean lines and layout on the invite is modern and traditional. So you could experiment with working both kinds of elements into your wedding decor.
05/04/2015 07:23:50 in Ausflüge
May kicks off a series of public holidays, most of which land on a Thursday, Friday or Monday. It’s not really a deliberate routine, but we usually end up taking a short trip some where when one of these long weekends arrives.
One of the things I love about living in Europe, and specifically Munich, is that you can drive 4 to 5 hours in any direction and be in another country; The Czech Republic, Austria, Italy(!), France. Over the last couple of years though, we’ve taken a particular shine to making a beeline directly south to Slovenia and Croatia.
Last year we spent time on the gorgeous Istrian peninsula in Croatia. We stayed in the charming town of Rovinj, which is a straight shot across the Adriatic from Venice. This is actually where we trying to go last year, but couldn’t because I didn’t think to bring my Passport, but that happy accident led us to discover the delightful town of Piran, Slovenia.
Rovinj is a small fishing town, which at times it feels like Italy. Indeed, both Italian and Croatian are spoken, and many Italians commute in from Trieste. We heartily glugged down both delicious wine (the region is known for it's white wine, Malvasia) and olive oil - we even went olive oil tasting!
One day we took a day trip to the town of Pula. Pulas claim to fame is an almost fully intact Roman coliseum. Not as large or spectacular as the one in Rome, but still an impressive sight.
A bizarre and wacky highlight was a ferry trip out to Brijuni island. The island was a holiday refuge for Tito, the former Yugoslavian dictator (and avid nudist). He would host diplomats and dignitaries on it’s spacious grounds, also full of Roman ruins.
Dozens of petrified dinosaur (Velociraptor?) prints can be found on the stone beaches of the archipelego of islands of with Brijuni is a part of. As a result, the island has earned the name ‘Jurassic Park’ (for effect they've placed giant plaster dinosaurs by the actual footprints).
To our utter delight you could rent golf carts to tour the island and we had a blast zipping around the place. I'd never been on a golf cart before in my life, who knew they were so much fun?!?
This year we’re heading to the Julian Alps in Slovenia, stay tuned for another Ausflug update!