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Hispanic Wedding Traditions

The Hispanic culture is rich with traditions that can add depth and special meaning to your wedding day. Be sure to explain the symbolism of the Latino traditions and customs used in your wedding. Your non-Latino guests will be charmed and informed and your Latino guests will be proud that you are celebrating your heritage.

Ceremony

Traditionally, a Hispanic wedding or Matrimonio is deeply spiritual and involves a full mass in a Roman Catholic Church. The Novia (bride) and Novio (groom) and their attendants stand or kneel at the Church’s alter. Prayers are said for the couple as they begin their life together.  See our Christian collection.

Madrinas Y Padrinos

In Mexico, sponsors called padrinos act as mentors to the couple throughout the engagement and marriage. They are usually people who have played an important role in the lives of the bride and groom. The Padrinos help the bride and groom pay for the wedding. In addition to agreeing to pay for different aspects of the wedding, they also take part of the church services. For example, they may put the lazo around the couple during the ceremony or present the couple with the madrina de arras.

El Lazo

As part of the ceremony to symbolize unity, an extra-long strand of rosary beads or Lazo is placed in a figure eight shape around the necks of the couple after they have exchanged their vows. The symbolism of the lazo is to show the union and protection of marriage. Often, specific members of the wedding party are responsible for "lassoing" the Bride and Groom together after they kneel for the wedding prayer. Sometimes a white satin cord or rope is draped around the shoulders of the Bride and groom. Tradition requires the couple to wear the lasso for the remainder of the service. This act is symbolic of their love, which should bind the couple together everyday as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives. See our Lazzo collection.

Las Arras

This wedding custom originated in Spain and consists of the groom giving the bride thirteen gold coins or arras to represent his commitment to support her. In Spain, thirteen represent Christ and his twelve apostles. The symbolism is often explained by the officiant that the Groom pledges his ability to support and care for his bride. The arras and the madrina de arras, an ornate box or gift tray that holds the coins often become a part of the family heirloom. See our Arras collection.

Reception

The Latino wedding reception is family oriented and festive. For the bridal couple's first dance, guests will gather in a heart-shaped ring at the reception around the couple. Salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, and samba music add a festive Latin flare to the reception. For appetizers, try pasteles, Puerto Rican meat patties, or empanadas, Colombian pastries stuffed with meat and vegetables. Spanish tapas make perfect appetizers. Other must-have dishes include rice and beans, paella, arroz con pollo or chicken with rice, and fried plantains.

In Puerto Rico, a doll dressed in a replica of the bridal gown, is placed on the head table at the reception. It might also be placed on the cake table. Little mementos or favors, called capias are attached to the doll. During the reception, the bride and groom will walk to each person pin a capia on them and thank them for their presence at the wedding. The capias have the couple’s names and wedding date inscribed on them.

The Mexican wedding cake is usually a fruit cake that has been soaked in rum. Also served are Pastelitos De Boda.  These are delicous Mexican cookies made of sugar and nuts.  During Cuban wedding receptions, wedding guests partake in the traditional money dance, where each man who dances with the new bride must pin money to her dress, to help the newlyweds with their honeymoon expenses. See our Latino-influenced wedding favors.

Wedding Attire

Latina brides have a wide variety of options for their vestido de novia or wedding dress. In Mexico, the bride might don a brightly colored, Flamenco-style dress with ruffles at the hem. While some brides chose a traditional wedding dress, in Spain, brides wear a black gown to symbolize their devotion till death. Also popular in Spain is the mantilla veil. The triangular veil with beautiful lace edging can be worn for a subtle Latin feel. The groom may choose to wear a guayabera, a light, short-sleeved shirt perfect for tropical temperatures.

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