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Wedding Planning: How to Incorporate ASL Interpreters for Deaf Guests

Wedding Planning How to Incorporate ASL Interpreters for Deaf Guests

On your special day, the last thing you want to worry about is a gap in communication. From the ceremony to the reception, ASL interpreters at your wedding will ensure that family, friends, and all guests can fully share in your matrimonial joy.

Our Inclusive Communication Services (ICS) interpreters are there for those who require American Sign Language and English services, and conversations between guests will often require both. The interpreters are available to provide full access to the event, including speeches, conversations, and announcements.

Requesting Interpreters for Your Wedding Day

Booking the interpreters in advance, ideally 1 to 3 months before your wedding, sets the foundation for a seamless experience. When reaching out to secure their services, be prepared to share the following information:

  • A copy of your invitation with the date and location. The invitation should also include names of the bride(s) and groom(s) for spelling purposes.
  • Provide information about your Deaf guests including the number of guests and their role in your wedding day. This information will help determine the number of interpreters required to best accommodate your wedding. 
  • Provide an overall agenda or order of ceremonies. 
  • Consider sharing your wedding website for additional details.
  • We encourage you to book a free session with our Inclusive Team to review logistics concerns and ensure a well-organized event. 

Wedding Material Preparation is Key

Once you’ve booked the interpreters, it’s crucial to ensure they receive all necessary preparation materials. This includes the pre-written ceremony scripts, poems, vows, speeches, toasts, and any musical selections with lyrics. Please also provide the names of any wedding party or family members who will be called by name, including the officiant.

The interpreters will practice any materials given with sufficient time to provide the clearest communication possible. We understand some people don’t write their speeches until the last minute, but please keep in mind that part of an interpreters’ job is to show up prepared for your big day! 

Wedding Rehearsal Considerations

While not mandatory, it’s highly recommended to have the interpreters present at the rehearsal, especially if a Deaf person is a member of your wedding party. Their presence allows for sightlines to be established, last-minute script changes to be accommodated, and ensures peace of mind on the day of the event for all involved. 

Interpreter Seating and Set-Up on Your Wedding Day

When considering seating arrangements for Deaf family and friends, keep in mind their need for visual access to the proceedings and the interpreters. Avoid creating a “tennis effect” where guests constantly switch their gaze between the speaker and the interpreter. While each venue presents unique circumstances, interpreters should always be positioned in full view of the audience members requiring their services at the ceremony.

This placement ensures optimal visibility for Deaf guests. If interpreter services will be used at the reception, ensure they have a seat at the same table as your Deaf guests. As it is customary to provide a meal for the entertainment, it is also customary for a meal to be provided for the interpreters.

Interpreter Etiquette on Your Wedding Day

Interpreters do not dress like the wedding party. They appear appropriately and professionally attired for your event. If you have specific dress requirements, be sure to inform ICS well in advance. Interpreters maintain professionalism throughout the event and do not consume alcohol to ensure clear communication.

If you have never worked with an interpreter before, there’s no need to stress! We recommend booking a free session with our Inclusive Team to discuss some helpful tips such as encouraging your friends and family to interact directly with Deaf guests just as they would if the interpreter were not present. 

Interpreters for Your Destination Wedding

ICS serves the following regions: New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. If you’re planning a destination wedding, ICS can provide services outside of the United States for a higher compensation due to travel. Flights and accommodations are factored into the overall cost of travel and included in the payment for interpreting services. 

Making Your Wedding Day an Inclusive Experience 

Your wedding day is a celebration of love and unity. By incorporating ASL interpreters, you’re ensuring that your Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) guests can fully partake in the joyous occasion. Clear communication paves the way for unforgettable memories and genuine inclusivity. Let our Inclusive Team interpreters take care of the communication, while you and your guests focus on embracing the magic of the moment.

At ICS, we believe love is love. Our team is honored to interpret weddings for LBGTQ+ couples with a continued commitment to embracing all sexual orientations, gender identities, and preferred pronouns. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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