Bilingual wedding reception

Hi everyone, 


Is anyone marrying someone with a different first language? I could do with some help! 


I am Irish, marrying a French man in Ireland (May 2017). We have the church bit sorted (readings in both languages, vows in each language, etc.) but we are stuck for some ice-breaker ideas for the wedding reception. I'm not big on outdoor games (Ireland in May!) so I was thinking of stuff for the tables when people are sitting down...any thoughts? 

Most of the French don't speak English and vice versa! 


Thanks in advance! 




  • HailsHails Posts: 2,455

    We have this issue too, i am quite early in wedding planning but I don't anticipate there being much crossover of languages on tables. Sorry for not being more help.

  • Thanks for the reply....we're doing it deliberately. Not with the older family members but with our friends....who don't really know many people...they'll be at tables with mixed languages! 


    Good luck with your wedding planning :-) 

  • Hello, 

    I am also marrying a Frenchman next April 2017 in France. We haven't sorted anything out for the church yet (readings wise). Is your ceremony all in English then? What about bidding prayers (if you're having any?)

    The only bilingual wedding-related thing we have sorted is our wedding website which I wrote out in English and H2B translated for me in French.

    Something we're thinking of doing is printing out a 'key phrases' card with phrases like:


    How are you

    I'm fine/happy/drunk...

    My name is


    Pleased to meet you

    I am the cousin/uncle/aunt/friend of..the bride/groom


  • Hi,

    I've been living in France for nine years now and play several weddings as a pianist (, in a jazz duo with a double-bass player/singer, and with my five-piece band ( - in which I'm the only non-French person.

    So I'll throw in a couple of ideas - one of which seems outrageous, but actually works.

    You could give tables a list of useful - and real - phrases. In French, for example: "C'est pas grave" (Don't worry), "N'importe quoi" (whatever - sarcastic), "T'es bourré, toi" (you're drunk). 

    The "French people don't speak English" myth doesn't wash with me any more, as everyone has four hours of English lessons a week from the age of 11. HOWEVER, teachers are usually French and may not have a good English accent. So, sometimes - and here comes the outrageous part - you need to speak English in a very strong French accent (think Monty Python) to be understood. Whenever 'I am doing zis wiss ze uzzer people in my bande' you can see them relax - hearing the English they've been taught in school. (Note: I am normally speaking French very well, but it is happening from time to time, for the fun.)

    The main thing to remember is that we use language for communication - and the things we are all trying to communicate are all very similar. (Ah, so you might want to add things like "If find you very attractive" and "Have you met my boyfriend/girlfriend" to your list of phrases...



  • Hi my friend married a french man and had a similar problem.


    They played a game after the meal as an icebreaker.

    Take 2 hosts one french and one english

    Place 10 guests on chairs lined up on the dance floor

    The hosts then take it in turns to get items from the crowd and return to find a chair. So host "A" asks first in English and then for the second item host "B" asks for an item in french. This keeps it fair and allows both nationalities to help one another or just keep guessing!

    e.g find a lady's shoe

    After a couple of trial runs the hosts then take away a chair at a time to eliminate the players.

    It is very crazy and at first the English guests will be a bit shy (playing kids games at a wedding) but it is quite normal at a french wedding.

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