How to accommodate hearing impairments at a wedding ceremony?

Posted by in Auckland Celebrant Blog, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding Ceremony Ideas

How to accommodate hearing impairments at a wedding ceremony?

Imagine being at a wedding ceremony and being unable to hear the couple’s wedding vows or not hearing the joke that all of the guests laughed at.

With everything else there is to think about, it’s easy to assume that our guests will love (and hear!) the wedding ceremony – however this may not always be the case.

The thought that any of your wedding guests might feel somewhat alienated from the wedding celebration because they were unable to hear is just heartbreaking. Guests who have hearing impairments at a wedding ceremony deserve to enjoy your beautiful wedding as much as everyone else!


Hearing impairments are not created the same

Many people experience hearing impairments from mild or moderate hearing loss to being deaf, and effect people of all ages and walks of life. Your guests experience of your wedding will be greatly effected if hearing isn’t considered during the wedding planning. If the bride or groom has a hearing impairment it’s imperative this is high up the criteria list when choosing a wedding venue!

Here are a few key things that you can do to ensure that your special day is enjoyed by absolutely everyone.


Help hearing impaired guests enjoy your wedding ceremony

Whether you are looking at an indoor or outdoor wedding, you need to think about a PA system. Ask if the church or venue has a loop system installed or can they install one? The loop system works with a variety of hearing aids and allows hearing aid users to hear directly from the PA system, while background noise is diminished.

If you are having an outdoor wedding it’s important to hire a PA system that will suit your location. Check your PA system works with weather elements like wind. We all know sound travels – and don’t want your wedding ceremony audio to be lost due to a cross wind.

Testing…1, 2, 3

Importantly let your wedding celebrant know if there are guests attending, or the bride or groom, who are hard of hearing, so they are aware when performing the wedding ceremony. Do a sound check during your wedding rehearsal and test the sound around different sides of the venue or location. (If a sound check isn’t possible at the rehearsal, ensure one is done on your wedding day during the set up.)

Don’t let guests miss a moment!

On your big day ensure guests with hearing impairments at a wedding ceremony be given reserved seating up front, as close to the altar as possible. Remember to pump up the volume! It’s important to speak up and speak clearly when reciting your wedding vows so your guests with hearing loss can hear and feel engaged in your wedding ceremony.


Best ways to accommodate deaf wedding guests

The most important thing you can do is talk to your deaf or severely hearing impaired wedding guest(s) in advance. Ask what kind of assistance they need to feel equally and fully included in your wedding ceremony.

  • Check if they would prefer a seat at the front?
  • Do they prefer to speech or lip read? Or would they prefer sign language?
  • Would giving your deaf guest a script of the ceremony and vows be sufficient?

Engage a sign language interpreter

Some deaf or severely hearing impaired people prefer communication through sign language. I can engage the services of a highly experienced sign language interpreter to translate the whole wedding ceremony. This means the wedding ceremony is accessible and everyone can enjoy the memorable experience.

Include a sign language interpreter in your wedding ceremony

I have worked with a sign language interpreter on a number of weddings now. I can offer guidance about the best ways to include an interpreter in your wedding ceremony. Creating the best experience for both you, your deaf guest(s), and all other guests is the priority. Contact me to find out more about sign language interpreter services.


If you have hearing impaired family and friends, they absolutely do not need to miss out on one of the most precious moments your life. Contact me and together we can plan your special day that everyone will enjoy!


Glenys xx

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