The Q: My family predominantly speaks Spanish, but my fiance’s family doesn’t. I don’t want to send out invitations that half the guests can’t understand, but I’m not sure how to best incorporate two languages into the invitation. Any ideas?
The A: It’s so fantastic how the world of stationery has responded to the increasing number of couples joining together who come from different backgrounds. When we started this business if you wanted bilingual it would literally have to look like the invites from My Big Fat Greek Wedding… Today, however, there are so many thoughtful solutions to the bilingual challenge.
Actually, earlier this year we worked with a fabulous couple where the bride was Chinese and the groom’s family pretty much Middle American WASP. They really wanted an invitation that would incorporate both languages in a way that didn’t make one feel less a part of the invitation than the other. Ultimately, we turned to Meredith at Regas New York for a custom design that reflected traditional Chinese wedding symbolism, but allowed us to incorporate the use of both languages into the design of the piece itself. The result was a belly band engraved with chinese characters overlaid over a design created to reveal the English when the band was removed. (Photos courtesy Karen Wise)
There is also the option of using the same page and playing with the layout. Bella Figura does a fabulous job with this as shown in the Vietnamese/ English invitation.
Same “solution”, but totally different (and utterly delicious result) in this custom designed piece by Rob Ryan (via wedding bee pro). This was fabulous because it really reflected in it’s inherent design something about the culture that it was speaking to. It reads very “Mexican” via the use of “cut out” technique, and yet the silhouettes are so contemporary American wedding style.
Another option is to offer up two-sided invitations. These Italian- English invites for a wedding in Italy were printed on both sides and designed by Lela New York. I really love the idea of a two sided invitation. In case you can’t make it out in addition to one side being Italian and the reverse being in English, the left has the groom’s parents names announcing the marriage of their son and the right has the bride’s parents making the same announcement. This, by the way, also presents an awesome solution to the issue of how to incorporate BOTH SETS of parents names (a big issue when LOTS of couples who have MULTIPLE parents)
Some couples though, find it easier to simply print two sets of invitations. Often, in Indian weddings, it is more customary for the GROOM’s name to appear first. I remember a few years ago this came up with a couple we worked with and the groom’s family insisted on his name being first. The bride, who was Latin and knew her family was NOT going to go for that since it was the complete OPPOSITE of their custom was very stressed out. So, the solution was printing two sets of invites. Sometimes, be it language, or custom, doing something separate it actually can help people come together. Here is an awesome example of an invite suite done in English and Spanish by Beast Pieces.