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ESL Wedding Vocabulary & Activities

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Delaware, and a master's in TESOL Literacy from Wilmington University.

This lesson will provide teachers of English as a second language (ESL) students with vocabulary associated with weddings. Additionally, in this lesson, teachers will learn strategies for implementing this vocabulary into instruction.

Weddings in America

Weddings are a big deal in American culture. In order to support your ESL students who may not be familiar with American customs and traditions, you can teach vocabulary related specifically to weddings. Following are some word lists that can help get you started.

Wedding Preparations

  • Engagement
  • Proposal
  • Pop the question
  • Down on one knee
  • Ring
  • Diamond
  • Wedding band
  • Wedding dress
  • Veil
  • Tuxedo
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Invitations
  • Save the date
  • Gift registration
  • Bachelorette party
  • Bachelor party
  • Bridal shower
  • Fiancé
  • Guest list

Wedding Party

  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Maid/matron of honor
  • Best man
  • Bridesmaid
  • Groomsmen
  • Flower girl
  • Ring bearer
  • Mother of the bride
  • Father of the bride
  • Usher

Wedding Ceremony and Reception

  • Marriage/married
  • Church
  • Venue
  • Speech
  • Cake
  • Vows
  • Flowers
  • Escort
  • Aisle
  • Confetti
  • Photographer
  • Priest
  • Minister
  • Speech
  • Bells
  • Caterer
  • DJ
  • Bouquet
  • Garter
  • First dance
  • Newlyweds
  • Honeymoon

Activities

To help students acquire their new wedding vocabulary, you'll want to include activities that will allow them to practice the new words and phrases. Following are some strategies you can use:

Discussions

Ask students to describe wedding customs in their native culture. How are they similar to or different from American weddings? This activity can be expanded into a short compare-and-contrast writing assignment. Students can use the following sentence frames to help guide their writing:

  • In my culture, weddings are _____, but in American culture, weddings are _____.
  • One difference between American weddings and _____ weddings is...
  • I prefer _____ weddings because...

Wedding Invitations

Have students design and create wedding invitations for a celebrity couple. They can use a variety of materials, such as card stock, a printer, stencils, stickers, and other art supplies. Instruct students to use as many vocabulary words as possible on the invitations and to consider the following questions:

  • What are the names of the bride and groom?
  • Where is the wedding venue?
  • Where will the reception be held?
  • When is the wedding?
  • Where is the couple registered (for gifts)?

Dream Wedding

Ask students to write a descriptive essay detailing their dream wedding. For students with limited English proficiency, you can provide sentence frames and a word bank, and allow them to work with a partner. Some questions students might want to consider include:

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