Every culture has its own wedding traditions and the Latin American marriage ceremony is no different. There are countless unique Latin American wedding traditions that are still followed to this day and are part of what makes the day special for every Latina bride.
In Latin American tradition, the night before the wedding, a procession takes place from the groom’s house to the bride’s family home. Hand lanterns are carried and the groom’s family take a gift-filled chest as a present for the bride’s parents.
As in many other cultures, the Latin bride and groom are forbidden to see each other before the wedding ceremony. The bride’s father’s responsibility is to keep the bride hidden away and then to give her away as part of the wedding service. It is the groom’s job to escort his mother down the aisle.
Flower Girls and Ring Bearers
As in many other cultures, Latin American wedding traditions dictate that there should be a flower girl and a ring bearer and that they should wear clothes that are copies of the bride and groom’s outfits.
13 gold coins representing Jesus and the apostles form an important part of the ceremony. They are presented by the groom to show that he can provide for his wife and are blessed by the presiding priest to be given to the bride as part of the service.
Every Latina bride knows how important her wedding dress is. In traditional Latin American weddings, she a mantilla veil and orange blossoms in her bouquet and hair are wore to symbolize happiness and fulfillment. Although Latin wedding dresses are now often white, traditionally the bridal dress color was black to show devotion for her husband until death.
Traditionally, both the bride and groom wear rings following their engagement on their right hands. After the ceremony, they swap the rings to their left hand.
In Latin American tradition, the lasso cord is used to bind the couple together during the ceremony. This is either a rosary or white rope tied around the couple’s’ shoulders symbolizing their union.
As in many cultures, giving guests wedding favors is an important part of the ceremony. Capias, or small gifts, are given to guests during the receiving line and took the form of ribbons with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the marriage on them.
The White Bell
During some Latin American weddings, there is a white bell hung outside the church filled with rice and flour to symbolize prosperity. As the couple enters the church, the bell is broken by the mother to wish the couple luck.
In traditional Latin American culture, it is the godparents (or sponsors) who bear the cost of the wedding and also play a big part in the ceremony. It was their responsibility to carry in the arras (gold coins) and the lasso cord into the ceremony.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom dance their first dance while the guests take to the floor in a heart shape surrounding them.
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