Mexican weddings are large family affairs, oftentimes treated as family reunions. Everyone from all sides of the family is invited, along with handfuls of friends, which means guest lists often exceed 200. Whether you’re related to the couple or not—if you’re celebrating, eating, and dancing together, you’re family. Read some of the traditions us Hispanics have for weddings!
Widely popular in Hispanic cultures are Las Arras. In this custom, 13 gold coins (arras) are blessed by the priest and given to the bride by the groom during the wedding ceremony. The coins represent his commitment to supporting her while the number 13 symbolizes Jesus and the 12 apostles.
2. LAS ARRAS
El lazo is a unity ceremony performed after the exchange of vows using a lasso to join the couple. The lasso could be anything, but it’s typically an oversized rosary or a silk cord. El lazo is placed over the couple by los padrinos y madrinas and signifies their new status as one in the eyes of the Lord. “The lasso is a symbol of their mutual support for each other in carrying their duties and responsibilities as a couple,” says Father Ryan.
3. THE MONEY DANCE
At different points throughout the mass, the bride and groom (along with guests in the pews) will kneel to pray. Los padrinos y madrinas will often gift these kneeling pillows to the couple, typically white and embroidered with lace. The couple will keep the pillows as mementos of their special day.
4. KNEELING PILLOWS
As for the money dance, male guests “pay” for a dance with the bride, and female guests “pay” for a dance with the groom by pinning dollars on their attire. It’s a way to secure some one-on-one time with the newlyweds, which is rare in large Mexican weddings, and extend your best wishes to the happy couple.
5. THE BOUQUET
La Vibora de La Mar (the Sea Snake Dance) is a song and dance where the bride and groom stand on chairs opposite one another and form an arch, which guests pass through while holding hands and dancing. The goal is to not break the snake formation, and that gets harder as the music gets faster.
6. LA VIBORA DE LA MAR
It’s common for Mexican couples to present the bridal bouquet to the Virgin Mary after the ceremony and ask for her blessing. “We are praying with Mary to ask for her intercessory prayer that their desires as a couple be heard,” says Father Ryan. A second bouquet is prepared ahead of time for the bride to carry in photos and at the reception.
7. THE AFTER PARTY
La tornaboda is a smaller get-together held after the larger reception, or sometimes the next day, exclusive to family and close friends. If they get together the next day, they’ll also use this time together to open gifts. Mexicans love a big party, but family is at the heart of Mexican culture, so this is a time where those closest to the couple get to enjoy and celebrate the newlyweds in a more intimate and personal way.