The wedding business is complicated, but I actually entered it quite easily. My best friend Hana was marrying an American in Prague, and their luxurious wedding was organized by a professional named Andrea. I was to arrange a few Czech/English interpreters, as Hana’s family was unable to communicate confidently with the American groom’s side. Having many English-speaking friends in Prague, I brought six girls to the wedding to translate in small groups, maintaining the intimate feel of two families joining their lives. Andrea asked if I had an agency supplying interpreters, but at that time, I was focused only on teaching languages. A week later, Andrea asked for my help with another Prague wedding, and from there, our business partnership, as well as a beautiful friendship, flourished.
Although I have now been in the wedding business for more than thirteen years and speak fluent Czech, German, and English, plus some Russian, weddings don’t always go smoothly. Knowing every detail of the plans is not enough; I must communicate with clarity and nuance to achieve a perfect, error-free wedding. Being able to communicate in multiple languages without hesitation is, for me, a major advantage. Everything depends on people being dependable and cooperative and keeping a sense of humor, but sometimes stress can overwhelm the participants, so my ability to speak the right words at the right time in the right tone of voice is key.
Especially for brides, weddings are all about the stress factor. This is her princess day! She needs to know I am equal to the requests flying from every direction, and the inevitable crises. The range is endless: holding bouquets, sewing up veils, getting pitchers of water, carrying dresses safely across the mud into limousines, finding ID cards (a surprisingly common problem), or just reassuring the bride that the ceremony will not start without her!
Communication with the bride and groom, as well as with a group of international guests – American, English, Irish, Scottish, French, German, Swiss, Russian, Italian, Scandinavian, Korean, Chinese, Malaysian, Pakistani, Iranian, Indian, Persian, Brazilian, Nigerian – needs to be both perfect and relaxed. If they see that I know what to do, where to go, what time we move where, but also that I am cheerful and composed, they will start to trust me. I have learnt how to confidently address 100 or 200 wedding guests in three languages. After six May-October wedding seasons of 15-20 weddings each in differing locations with differing nationalities, not including ‘weddings in the snow’ at Czech chateaus, I have learned the mental discipline necessary for switching adeptly among languages according to the understanding
levels of my clients.
However, some things are the same no matter the different origins of guests and wedding couple, such as: showing older guests to chairs, having enough ‘nannies’ and a special corner for kids to keep them entertained, having ordered enough flip flops beforehand for ladies suffering from their gorgeous shoes after standing two hours on a stone floor in the church, having a few extra umbrellas even for the British guests who always pretend they do not need one when it starts to rain … .
We often organise sightseeing trips around the city on the historical tram, with refreshments of course, or leisurely boat tours on the river, a delightful means for guests to interact after the ceremonies, which can be held in centuries-old churches or in manicured gardens, such as the Prague Castle Gardens, Vrtbovska Garden, and others. Having been born and raised in Prague, my knowledge of the city is another major advantage. Leading a group of more than 100 people from the church, across Old Town Square, and to the tram stop by the river is not a problem.
In all the ways the wedding business has developed me, one strength stands out – I know now how to cope with every unexpected problem immediately when it appears. And that is quite useful for any kind of business!
Misa Loos, LOS Consultant