Nikki
Just Said Yes June 2019

Multi-lingual Weddings....?

Nikki, on June 5, 2019 at 4:23 PM Posted in Planning 0 17
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My fiancé is from Incheon, South Korea and his whole immediate family will be flying in the week of the wedding. My fiancé will be one of few people at our (American) wedding and I am worried he will be so focused on trying to translate everything for his family as that is just the type of guy he is... Worried he won't fully relax and enjoy our wedding day as a couple. They speak maybe beginner/conversational English but not enough to understand the pastor, for example.

My fiancé and IMulti-lingual Weddings....? 1

Any tips, tricks, advice? Too late and not enough resources to hire a translator for the day. We incorporate lots of Korean music, language, food, clothing, into the ceremony and reception as Korean culture is important to my fiancé and has played a large role in our relationship. We can honor his family in that way, but I am just worried that he will give them more attention out of obligation/respect than he will give to me on the day.

P.S. Let me know if I am being selfish... never navigated this stuff before.....

17 Comments

  • Furture Mrs. G
    Expert September 2019
    Furture Mrs. G ·
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    I'm kind of in the same boat. My FH's parents speak Spanish only. & everything is in English EXCEPT one reading during church and I requested it be in Spanish to incorporate his Language. Luckily his sister speaks both perfectly and she can translate to his parents.

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  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
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    I would for sure do programs, explaining the ceremony, in english & in korean. If you do signs, I'd do them in both languages. Then your seating chart will be important, to sit people by people they speak the same language as.

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  • SraDeCarrillo
    Super August 2019
    SraDeCarrillo ·
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    Do you already have an officiant? Maybe you could even have a co-officiant from a Korean church or a bilingual friend for a bilingual ceremony? If its truly too late for that maybe you could quickly get some programs printed in Korean. Maybe have a friend announce things in Korean after the DJ makes announcements in English.

    As it is I think you will make a good impression by having Korean food and bonus points if you have a Hanbok to wear.

    I’m also having a bilingual ceremony in English and Spanish. Invites and everything were pretty much done in two languages and its been a challenge but doable. FH’s family hardly speaks English so I felt it was a need from the moment we got engaged. I was sooooo happy to find a bilingual officiant to do our wedding in both languages. That took a lot of stress off of my back.

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  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
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    I like the idea of having a bilingual friend that can help translate and printing everything bilingually

    i am a bilingual bride as well and i know i've had to be mindful of everything due to that.

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  • Cher Horowitz
    Rockstar December 2019
    Cher Horowitz ·
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    I agree with PP about having programs in both Korean and English!

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  • Hermione
    Devoted February 2020
    Hermione ·
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    They are neighboring Seoul in an extremely modern city so I don't think they are going to have issues with American numbers. The train stations are full of romanized numbers and it is a business / airport hub. English to korean people is like Spanish to American people. Not everyone speaks it but it is very common. I lived there for 2 years and I do speak Korean.

    I think you need to look at this from more the Spanish / English wedding side as far as language. Picture being a guest at a Spanish language wedding. Most of us can understand basic Spanish such as hello and bye but even then we made Cs-Ds. What would you like at this wedding.


    I would go to the local asian market and look for an interpreter/maybe bilingual officiant if you can so you can have a Korean / English ceremony and ask them to stay for the reception so they can help out the Korean family with any questions or conversations as needed. I would have bilingual programs and menus. This way the questions are already answered and they can enjoy it better too.

    Your fiance will probably spend a lot of time with family. There isn't much you can do about that. It's kinda part of the territory. He sounds pretty close knit with his family.
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  • thisismrsb
    Expert June 2019
    thisismrsb ·
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    I agree with these ideas. Ask around to find someone who is bilingual aside from your FH. Talk to your pastor about bringing on a bilingual co-officiant or guest to stand next to him and translate the ceremony. If all else fails, have your fiance type up an explanation of the parts of the ceremony in Korean and maybe the translated prayers as well.
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  • thisismrsb
    Expert June 2019
    thisismrsb ·
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    @Hermione, I once went to the funeral mass of a Brazilian friend. The whole sevice was in Portuguese and my FH and I were probably the only Jews there, so neither of us understood a word of it. I talked to the priest at the end. I told him that I thought it was a beautiful service even though I didn't understand it. He told me that if he had known there were people coming who didn't know Portuguese, he would have made sure to include English in the service. So I completely agree that having a translator for a wedding where a large group of non-English speakers are in attendance is not only a necessity, but also a courtesy to his family.

    @Nikki, for your wedding, have you tried contacting the Korean student population at your local universities or high schools? There are lots of cultural clubs and organizations at these schools. Perhaps there is a Korean Student Union that can set you up with a translator for hire? Maybe there is a student there who needs course credit for translating at large events, or just needs the extra money.
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  • Nikki
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Nikki ·
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    Yes, they are in an extremely modern city and very close to the airport! Since you lived in Korea, they are from ?? area of Incheon, which, in my option, isn't extremely kind on English translations. My in-laws are older and learned Chinese instead of English, but can listen and understand well just not speaking. I am more worried that my fiancé will want to help them facilitate first meetings with my family or my friends and such.

    Luckily we have a great officiant who supplied us with Korean transcripts of our ceremony!!

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  • Nikki
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Nikki ·
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    There is one student at my university who is actually doing our wedding makeup who is native Korean. I am thinking of hiring her for the rehearsal just so that my fiancé and I can kinda focus instead of translating the instructions... It's a good idea, thank you!

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  • Nikki
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Nikki ·
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    Our officiant supplied Korean-transcripts of his whole ceremony!! We are lucky to have him. Also... definitely got the bonus points with our hanbok that will be worn at the wedding! Smiley smile

    We are going to Korea next summer to do a "Korean" wedding with all of his family so this wedding feels more like it is expected to be fairly Americanized. When we go to Korea, we are thinking everything will be operated in Korean. Definitely helps to have points here and there translated though, for both sides!

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  • Nikki
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Nikki ·
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    It's so nice to have family members to help out! I think my fiancé's cousin would be a great translator but it feels a little sad to put that role on him when he is also a guest. Would you recommend reaching out to him beforehand and asking if he would be okay with doing this?

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  • thisismrsb
    Expert June 2019
    thisismrsb ·
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    I think that's a great idea to have her around for the rehearsal and possibly the rehearsal dinner. She can help your families with proper introductions and answer any questions. Would you consider having her come to the wedding as well? Having her around may help put both you and your fiance's minds at ease to know that his family's needs are being met. It may also be a good idea to discuss it with his cousin. I'm sure he would be happy to help.
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  • Jaime
    Dedicated March 2019
    Jaime ·
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    I'm Korean and my husband is Hispanic. For our wedding I had a Korean MC to help translate. My family knows more korean than English. And most of his family spoke English. So, for my side it really helped:]
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  • Furture Mrs. G
    Expert September 2019
    Furture Mrs. G ·
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    So normally family members will already know that his parents aren't well with English. So maybe they will just step up? But, yes I would bring up the conversation with whomever beforehand just to give them a heads up. Smiley smile

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  • Jerri
    Dedicated April 2020
    Jerri ·
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    I just went to a bilingual wedding last week. They had two officiants: one spoke english and one spoke Spanish. All speeches and instructions were stated in both languages. It was not awkward at all. Good luck!
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  • Hermione
    Devoted February 2020
    Hermione ·
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    Yes, it is literally next to Seoul. It shares a border. It's still doesn't want to be a part of Seoul and does it's own thing. I think it's a large city on its own but they are connected via train. It's kinda like Dallas Fort Worth in respects to both being next to each other but very separate politically and culturally on a city scale of culture.

    I lived in pyeongtaek. I frequently went to Seoul on the weekends and had a blast. If you go to Korea in May, there is a beautiful rose garden in everland and juju island is a nice romantic place. In March /April all the cherry blossoms are in bloom (weather dependent). The palaces are exquisite as well and are not to far from the subway stops. E sports is huge there and on the 7th floor of yongsan station there is a esport arena being filmed for tv. It's also the second largest electronics market in the world. The American restaurants are similar but not quite like it. Examples of both wonderful and questionable: sweet potato stuffed fondue pizza from Pizza hut, bulgogi burgers from McDonald's, and my fav Baskin Robbins chocolate fondue ice cream. There are better choices for true Korean food but I did eat that when I missed home.

    I think what you are worried about is a cultural given though. The cultural given is in a traditional korean family the older generation is highly respected and offered a lot of assistance when needed. For example if a person on the train saw an older woman and he was seated on the last seat of the train, he would give up his seat. It would be like being worried there is going to be cake at a friend's American wedding. It's probably but I think this is more of a mole hill than a mountain. He probably will take care of his family the best he can and help them out. The only thing you can do is make everyone as comfortable as possible.
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