Traditions And Customs Of The Spanish and Latin-American Wedding
The Spanish, as well as Latin-America’s, culture is greatly embedded in their lifestyles and
traditions; their wedding traditions are no different. There is a wide variety of wedding customs
that are included in the wedding event that often start before the actual ceremony itself, but
are also included into the wedding and receptions as well.
– The evening before the wedding ceremony, hand lanterns were known to be used to show the
light along the way from the groom’s house to his bride’s. Then the groom’s family would carry
a “wedding chest” that has been filled up with gifts for the bride-to-be’s family.
– On the morning of the ceremony, the groom’s mother and relatives will walk to the bride’s
house with gifts in order to ask permission to receive her at their home. This ceremony
originated during the times of arranged marriages insuring that she has not fled, and that the
wedding was still on. Now it is done out of love, respect and perhaps fun.
– During the receiving of the bride procession, her groom, along with his family, will often carry
boxes that are decorated in lacquer and red cloth that represents his wealth. The boxes also
include gifts for the bride’s family.
– After the couple pays their respects towards their ancestors, they will then serve tea to their
parents, where they will give their kids advice about marriage and family. During the lighting of
the unity candle, the couple’s families are united and are celebrated. The groom’s mother will
then open boxes that are filled with jewelry and will place them on her new daughter-in-law.
– Throughout the entire event, the bride will wear three different outfits. The first is a modern
day western wedding gown, second is a western dress and lastly the traditional ao dai.
– During the ceremony, the couple will usually enter the church together. The head of the
household is decided by the one whom first steps over the threshold or says “I do” the loudest.
– It’s also common in Spain to see brides wearing black silk dresses as they symbolize their “until
death” devotion. However, in modern days, Spanish brides have gone more towards the white
dress. Generally, in Spanish and Latin American cultures, you will often see the groom and his
bride wear their wedding rings on their right hand instead of their left.
– During the wedding, the bride will have someone hold on to her bouquet while she holds a
rosary and a bible. Brides often go with Orange blossoms for their choice of flowers as they are
a symbol for happiness and fulfillment.
– To deter evil spirits, the bride’s bouquet is generally made with the strongest smelling flowers.
– Traditionally, both the flower girl and the ring bearer will dress the same as the bride and
groom. The bride will receive 13 gold coins, which represents Jesus and his 12 apostles. The
coins are blessed by the priest before they are given to the bride with a promise by the groom
to care, love and support her.
– After the ceremony is over, there will be plenty of music to celebrate with. Often you’ll hear a
Spanish guitarist, a mariachi band and/or salsa music in full swing.
– Single females attending the reception usually will wear special pins that are worn upside
down. If for some reason she is to lose the pin, she will be next to wed. The most common
wedding favor for men is usually a good cigar, while others still favor wedding cookies or even
– At a Spanish ceremony, the preferred meal of choice is paella or another form of seafood dish.
In addition, you cannot have reception without sangria as your choice for drink. However in a
Mexican ceremony, the dishes usually include foods such as carne asada, beans and a spicy rice
plate. This is usually accompanied with a spicy tomatillo sauce. In addition to the wedding cake,
it is common to find almond cookies at the reception. The reception typically has a 7-10 course
– For the first dance, the guests are invited to form around the bride and groom in a heart shape
so they can cheer the couple on.
– Lastly, the groom will officially get permission to return to his home with his new bride, but
before they leave, they make a point of going to each table and express their gratitude and
receive their gifts.