Frequently I get hired by a hotel or venue to come in and officiate an intimate wedding. In most cases I do not have the opportunity to meet the couple until the day of the wedding. As with all our couples I call and email them, I send them a ceremony planning kit, and try to write a ceremony that will be beautiful and fit the two of them.
On this occasion the couple selected a very religious ceremony, with eloquent and poetic vows that they were to repeat to each other, and a beautiful piece where they acknowledged the love of their parents.
As I entered the rooftop location of the ceremony, the groom immediately was led to meet me. I reached out my hand to shake his and told him how good it was to finally meet him. His hand went out to meet mine and as I looked up at his eyes I realized that he did not understand one word that I had just said. (Now you have to understand that I am a blond haired, green-eyed, Cajun, and I can’t even order at Taco Bell if it requires Spanish.)
I quickly pulled my tablet from my bag and pulled up the couple’s ceremony and asked him (via an interpreter) to practice repeating his vows to to me.
Word by word coming forth from his mouth like pulling the teeth of a professional sumo wrestler. After just a moment I realized that he was not capable of repeating the lengthy vows they had chosen ( or should I say; she had chosen.)
I asked the hotel staff where was the bride getting ready and they led me to her room. I showed her the ceremony selections she sent me and expressed my concern for the groom not understanding the vows or even able to repeat the vows. As fast as possible I rewrote those beautiful vows and changed them from repeats to a simple I Do.
The ceremony went off without a hitch. The groom said “I Do” with the prompting nod of my head, but when I got to the part of thanking their parents I saw the same glazed over eyes and knew that they too had no clue to what I was saying and it all happened down the aisle.
Just one more note: if your loved ones do not speak the language, ask for a bilingual officiant. You wedding day is stressful enough without having to overcome a language barrier