Do You Have To Say Your Vows In English
The vows are the words brides and grooms most want to say on their wedding day. But do you have to say them in English? Can you say them in a language that your family and friends understand if they don’t speak fluent English? Can the language of your vows reflect your cultural heritage?
Of course you can
You can say your vows in another language, but there are some guidelines that you must follow.
The advice from the Attorney-General’s Department is that if your celebrant is competent in a language, the entire ceremony can be conducted in that language as long as the Monitum (sentences said by the celebrant defining marriage in Australia) and the minimum legal vows are translated accurately and the marrying couple and their witnesses understand what is being said.
My celebrant doesn’t speak the language
No problem – if the celebrant does not speak the language, they can read the Monitum in English and have it repeated in the other language by a competent translator. The vows can be spoken in the other language, but then have to be translated into English by the translator for the celebrant.
After the ceremony, the translator will need to sign a statutory declaration that the translation of the vows and Monitum is complete and accurate and the celebrant must submit this to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages along with the other wedding paperwork.
Now for the good news
If the celebrant does not speak the chosen language, there is no reason why the couple cannot say their vows twice, once in English for the celebrant’s benefit and again in the other language so that all the guests can understand the vows as well. Similarly, if the celebrant reads the Monitum in English, it can be repeated again in the other language.
Whether the ceremony is conducted in English, another language, or a combination of both, the celebrant will work very hard to ensure that the ceremony is both beautiful and as stress-free as possible so that everyone enjoys it and has a great time at the wedding.