Clerk F brought me the license. I checked it over and found what I thought might be an error. The bride's name was Mary Worth. Her mother's maiden name was Sally Forth, her dad's name was Rex Morgan. The bride had been married before and on the line for name at birth if different, it was blank. I looked at the names of her mom and dad and her name, it didn't add up. I was 99% sure Worth was not her birth name. Now she could have been adopted and they kept her birth name but I doubted it. I had to check it in case we needed to correct the license.
I went out to talk to to the couple. The couple was Japanese and the groom did all the talking while she looked to him for a translation. That is never a good sign. I told the groom he mustn't talk, she had to answer my questions. I asked her what was her birth name, blank stare. What was your name before you married? Is Worth your married name? No answer and then very broken English that I could not understand. I asked if she could understand what I was saying, blank stare. The groom says she has a problem with English. He said Worth was not her birth name. I told him we had to correct the license. Then I explained if she could not understand me I legally could not marry them. I told him it was for her protection.
I talked to F and she was bent out of joint. She didn't want to correct the license, and the bride spoke English. We have no Japanese translator so we would have to credit their credit cards. Not a happy clerk. I went to get the lead clerk Y to do the refund.
About 5 minutes later Y says, "She speaks pretty good English and if you aren't comfortable doing the ceremony someone else will do it." I agreed to do the ceremony, not understanding why the groom said she had a problem with English.
The bride and groom explained they only speak Japanese at home and it takes a while to totally switch to English. The bride said she just got nervous and couldn't think of any words. We laughed and I tried to make them comfortable. They both relaxed and I did the marriage ceremony. The groom asked if we really have men bring in non English speaking brides and we have to refuse to do the ceremony. Yes, yes we do. More than you would think.
I think the bride thought I was going to make her take an English test before they could marry. I feel bad that I might have scared her. I thought I was being nice and professional. Maybe I need to work on professional being a little softer.