Friday, November 26, 2010


If you read my blog on Tuesday, November 23, you will understand why I was nervous doing weddings on Wednesday.  Luckily nothing awful happened.  Very nice couples and fairly normal problems.

By the time I got upstairs with the first couple, I had figured out the bride spoke very little English. I had to go to the Marriage Desk Clerk and have her call several people to get a translator.  I wish the clerks would talk to both the bride and groom.  We have commissioners to do foreign language ceremonies.  I sometimes think some of the clerks just don't want to bother tracking down a bilingual commissioner.  They want me to take it to the Marriage Desk Clerk and let her do the work. 

I shook hands with the next bride and groom and their toddler walked up and stuck his hand out too.  So I shook hands with him.  This couple was young, each 22.  They had 2 children, the little boy and an infant. The bride wore a black and white satin dress and the groom wore a white dress shirt and white slacks.  They had close to 20 people with them and all were dressed for the occasion.  The groom was a nervous wreck.  I was worried he would pass out before we finished the ceremony.  He made it OK. The family was so thrilled with the marriage.  Lots of love in the room.

One more problem couple.  The couple and the witness were Iranian.  He was 68 and she was 56.  He was very debonair looking:  Silver hair, ascot, sport coat and dress slacks, major jewelry. His English was perfect.  The bride said hello and then was quiet.  I asked them if they had rings and the witness started translating to the bride.  I stopped her and asked if the bride spoke English.  They said just a little.  I explained I could not marry them if she didn't understand me.  Oh, they would translate, I said no you can't.  Why?  So I explained that women could be brought in from other countries and married and not know what was  happening.  I don't know what they are saying and brides don't know what I am saying.  So for their protection only our translators may speak for the bride.  We have to be sure they know why they are here.  The groom and the witness were floored.  Who knew there were evil people out there. I questioned the bride, why was she here, did she want to marry, could she understand what I said.  Turns out she could understand basic things.  So I did the ceremony.  Because vows are not a legal part I let the groom translate them and they said their vows in Farsi.

I hated being hard nosed about the translating.  But the rules are the rules.  Good thing the bride could answer my questions.  Because to my knowledge we have no Farsi translators.

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