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Bride Balks After Groom’s Deaf Family Asks For Sign Language Interpreter To Translate At The Altar

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We’ve all heard about excessive wedding planning and a bride going way over-the-top with her expectations.

But when it begins to impact her family, it might be time to reevaluate what the wedding day looks like, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor GullibleSandwich444 wasn’t sure what to think when she requested accommodations for several family members who were a part of the D/deaf community, only to be met with a solid no from the bride.

Realizing this was because a sign language interpreter would distract away from the happy couple, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was really wrong to ask for the accommodation.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for requesting my brother have a BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter at his wedding?”

The OP made a request for a wedding she was attending soon.

“I’m a 35-year-old woman who has been deaf since I was 6 years old. My husband is 38 and also deaf and we have an 8-year-old son who is also deaf, though, like my husband, he was born deaf.”

“My younger brother is getting married in the summer and he and my future sister-in-law are doing personalized vows.”

“I don’t want to miss out on the vows, so I’ve asked my brother and his partner if he could get an interpreter for my family, so we could understand.”

The request was met with mixed reactions.

“My brother was fine with it, but his partner is not keen on the idea of having a stranger up beside them as they make their vows.”

“My brother then suggested that our older sister could be the interpreter instead, so it wouldn’t be a stranger.”

“Both he and our sister are fluent in BSL (British Sign Language), as we learned it together when I became deaf to help me learn.”

The bride remained unconvinced.

“His partner again isn’t keen on this, either, as she apparently just wants it to be them up there.”

“I understand it’s her day, and as the sister of her husband-to-be, I really don’t have any right to make demands, but I’m a bit uncomfortable she isn’t keen to make any kind of accommodations when joining a family where three members are deaf.”

The OP’s brother continued to work on accommodations.

“I don’t want to miss my brother’s wedding and will likely go even if she doesn’t let there be an interpreter present.”

“But I don’t think my son will be going then, because he’ll be bored, as he won’t understand what is going on and being said without the interpreter there, and that isn’t a good recipe for a wedding.”

“My brother was clearly not happy about this and told me to leave it with him, and he’d see what he could do.”

“I know he’ll try, but I also don’t want to cause trouble for him.”

“AITA in this case?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought the OP was asking too much on someone else’s wedding day.

“Someone signing doesn’t impact the bride, but someone signing up on stage right next to them distracts attention and does negatively impact the bride.”

“OP wants to have an interpreter AND wants that interpreter to be on stage so she’s ‘looking in the right direction.’ It would be much more discreet and respectful to have someone seated next to her do the signing.” – MrsSnakeySnake

“The bride would wind up with wedding photos of herself, her husband, the officiant, and someone signing (whose hands could be in motion or forming signs in each photo).”

“This is in addition to having the wedding guests distracted from the moment by watching the interpreter, so it does impact her and her day as well as her long-term memories of the moment in the form of photographs she’ll be paying for.”

“I agree that OP should be accommodated, but a written script or someone signing for them at their seats is still an accommodation without compromising the bride’s day. Her desire to be ‘facing the right direction’ doesn’t trump the bride’s desires for her own wedding day.” – ScarlettCamria

“The reason OP wants an interpreter up by the bride and groom is so they can watch them. If having an interpreter right next to them is a distraction, I can see how that would be annoying.”

“Would having an interpreter closer to OP really be so bad? Sure, it isn’t optimal for them, but it isn’t excluding them either.”

“This feels like OP wants what they want and they won’t consider other solutions because they think they’re right. And maybe they are, but if having only the couple getting married upfront is a priority for the bride, then they should try to find other options.”

“Honestly, a lot of this depends on their prior relationship too. If the bride is generally nice to them and willing to accommodate OP, but she wants things ‘perfect’ on her wedding, then I don’t see an issue taking a suboptimal solution to accommodate her.” – The_Thrash_Particle

“I used to do wedding photography professionally and I have photographed 3 weddings that had ASL interpreters.”

“At two of them, the interpreter was there for 5 or 6 family members on one side that needed them and was placed at the end of the groomsmen’s line.”

“In the photos down the aisle to the bride and groom exchanging vows, you can see the sides (not the back) of all the guests’ faces because they are turned to the interpreter at the side of the church.”

“I took some different angles and such to mask that effect a bit, but in all of the photos of the ceremony, it’s pretty obvious that the majority of the guests aren’t watching the bride and groom.”

“In the third, the interpreter was there for the bride’s sister who was a bridesmaid, so she was sitting in the front row and signing forwards, so that one isn’t relevant.” – ScarlettCamria

But others thought the OP could be easily accommodated at the wedding.

“There is a good reason why an interpreter is upfront. It is so a Deaf person has the same view, an equal view, as their hearing counterparts.”

“And unlike hearing people, who can stand anywhere and hear the vows, a Deaf person has limited options of being able to see and understand the context of what they are watching.”

“The interpreter doesn’t stand right beside the couple but rather to the side and upfront/higher than the general public or in this case, guests. Ensuring that they can be seen by those who require their services and so they can interpret in ‘real time’ without the risk of being blocked. This is the legal guidance in the UK.”

“OP wants what they want. I don’t think they’re unreasonable for asking.”

“To think that an interpreter, for members of the family you are marrying into, will take away or lessen your ‘perfect’ day is a pretty weird stance. I understand it, I just don’t agree with it. In my view, it’s shallow and shows a lack of respect for diversity.”

“The D/deaf community has a strong identity and unique culture. Either you’re somebody that embraces that or you’re not.” – arcoftheswing

“Some people may be distracted because they aren’t used to being around signed languages, but that’s their problem, not deaf people’s.” – Comfortable_Stick520

“Everyone would not be staring at the interpreter!”

“Imagine your average wedding set-up. Bride, groom, and officiant in the middle, and a line of bridesmaids and groomsmen flanking them.”

“Stick the interpreter at the end of the groomsmen’s line, OP’s family can sit on the outside edge of the first row of seats on the Groom’s side (which is pretty standard seating, groom’s parents on the center aisle, siblings seated next to them).”

“Then OP and her family are facing the front (and the interpreter can actually hear the quiet part of the vows), but most of the guests who are turned towards the center aisle and bride and groom aren’t even going to have a clear view of the interpreter.”

“This isn’t complicated or hard to do.” – OrindaSarnia

“Are you SERIOUS? Have you ever seen an interpreter? They do not dress flashy, they literally blend into the background, and they are there so that those that cannot hear can understand what is going on.”

“The interpreter will not be outshining the bride or taking away attention from her. Those that stare at the interpreter are doing so out of curiosity and/or rudeness.” – nlladybug

Some were just grossed out by the bride’s reluctance and bride culture in general.

“I am so tired of this ‘the bride’s ideal vision must be indulged at all costs to everyone else’ bulls**t.”

“This is the groom’s sister and her family. Part of a wedding is the celebrating the joining of two FAMILIES of which the sister is a part.”

“Having someone sign is really not a big deal, and I say this as a hearing person. If making an inclusive accommodation is that big of a deal, then you need to sit down and really reflect on your attitude towards disabled people, because I have a feeling that attitude is reaaaaalllllllyyyyyyyyy gross.” – Bord_Ad8420

“Excuse me, future bride, but you literally just said that a wedding where you’ve invited three deaf people, who are your new FAMILY, you don’t have to provide assistance to because it’s your wedding and it ruins the aesthetic?”

“Yeah, sure, you dream of your perfect wedding day, blah blah blah, but you decided to marry someone who has hearing disabled people in it. How callous of you to decide not to provide them with what they need to also enjoy your wedding.”

“And this is your future sister-in-law. I’m sorry, but if it was me, I 1000000% would be providing an interpreter for my new sister, brother, and nephew. Me, my wedding, my venue, and all else will still be just as beautiful. Like seriously, come the f**k on.” – RoxyVapes99

“Some people are acting like the interpreter would be in between the wife and husband. You probably also think having subtitles on is too distracting for you, right?”

“And can we stop acting like weddings are just for the bride? The husband wants the interpreter there. It’s his family, and she clearly doesn’t care about them.” – FreeHattt

“I know I’m not the only one who’s seen press conferences, emergency news updates, presidential briefings, etc. that almost ALWAYS have an interpreter. The interpreter has NEVER distracted me at all, let alone to the point of my losing the thread of what’s being said. In fact, it always makes me happy to see.”

“I live in NYC and I remember the press conferences in preparation for, and during, Hurricane Sandy (2012), the lovely interpreter that was standing to the side of the mayor as he gave updates and emerging information. She even became kind of a mini-celebrity. There were articles about how everyone liked her.”

“This occurred during the preparation for, and in the midst of, a horrendous and serious natural disaster when what was being said was of such importance that it could literally be the difference between life and death. No one missed what Bloomberg was saying because there was an interpreter standing a few feet to his right. That’s ridiculous.”

“OP, your future SIL (sister-in-law) is a true bridezilla. It’s not HER day, it’s her and your brother’s day. I’d find this behavior gross if your brother had a close friend or a cousin or work colleague who was deaf and she said no, let alone his sister, BIL, and nephew!”

“Absolutely NTA, and now you know the type of person she is. And your brother SHOULD put his foot down and make it clear it’s not a request, it’s a requirement, for him. If he didn’t respond the way he has, I’d have a problem with him as well.”

“You are not causing trouble for him or anyone who is reasonable, respectful, and caring. The future bride needs to stop being a hurtful and selfish AH, both in this situation and in general.” – dresses_212_10028

The subReddit was divided on this one between offering accessible options and maintaining a bride’s aesthetic choices.

But ultimately, the point both sides wanted to make was about the importance of family. If the bride was unwilling to accommodate her new family in favor of her aesthetic, what would that say about her future with her husband?

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.