Unique Latin American and Hispanic Wedding Traditions
Each country has its own special customs.
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Inside the Cultures
Though many Latin American and Hispanic cultures share some wedding traditions, each country has its own special customs to admire. Take a peek inside some of these unique, beautiful and fun wedding traditions.
Argentina: Multiple Garters
All the single ladies, all the single ladies! In a traditional Argentinian wedding, the bride wears multiple garters under her wedding gown, which she’ll give away to single ladies at the after-party.
Bolivia: Pulling the Chains
Do you and your partner joke about which of you is the boss in your relationship? In Bolivia, many brides and grooms have a fine chain wrapped around their necks during the wedding ceremony. Both tug their end and whoever pulls the hardest is said to be the one who will wear the pants in their marriage.
Chile: Rings on the Right
As opposed to other cultures who place wedding rings on the left hand of brides and grooms, traditional Chilean couples wear their rings on the right until the ceremony is officially over. Then, they’ll switch to the left hand.
Colombia: Candle Ceremony
Before the bride and groom say “I do” in Colombia, they each light a candle individually. Then, they’ll light a third candle together and blow out their separate flames as a way of symbolizing their joint union.
Cuba: The Money Dance
Weddings can be expensive, but couples in Cuba have it covered! After the wedding ceremony, where family and friends dance and celebrate with the newlyweds, men who wish to steal a dance with the bride have to pay a fee. During a dance, male wedding goers pin money to the bride’s dress to help pay for the couple’s honeymoon and future.
Dominican Republic: Las Arras
Celebrated in many Spanish-speaking countries, Las Arras is a ceremony held during the wedding where the priest will bless 13 gold coins that represent the Apostles of Jesus. Once blessed, the priest will pass these coins to the groom, who then passes them to the bride, signifying their pledge to provide for one another.
Ecuador: Honoring Parents
How would you and your love have ever met without your parents? In Ecuador, the bride and groom take time to honor both sets of parents with special gifts, which are usually objects they treasured as a child.
El Salvador: Groom’s Family Pays
Traditionally, in an El Salvadoran wedding, the groom’s father and family will pay for the wedding and bride’s dress. Thanks, in-laws!
Guatemala: Breaking the Bell
During Guatemalan wedding receptions, the mother of the groom has the important job of breaking a white bell that is filled with flour, rice and grains. The shattering serves as a welcome to the newlyweds as they come into the party and is meant to bring them both luck and prosperity.
Mexico: El Lazo
El Lazo, or the lasso, is a rope of flowers and rosary beads that is placed around the couple’s shoulders while a priest blesses their union. The lasso forms a figure eight around their bodies and represents their everlasting love.
Nicaragua: A Moment for the Virgin Mary
Most Nicaraguans follow the Catholic faith, and some traditional brides choose to honor the Virgin Mary during their wedding ceremony by placing roses in front of her statue.
Puerto Rico: Wedding Favors
One of the more popular Puerto Rican wedding traditions is to give away capias as wedding favors. These include ribbons with both the names of the newlyweds and their wedding date. Parents of the bride and groom will commonly display these special favors in their homes.
Peru: Find the Fake Wedding Ring
During a traditional Peruvian wedding ceremony, the cake is placed on top of an assortment of ribbons. Attached to each is a simple charm, except for the one that has a fake wedding ring on the end. Whichever friend of the bride’s pulls the ribbon with the fake ring attached is said to be the next of the bunch who will get married.
Spain: Godfathers and Godmothers
In the U.S., brides and grooms often pick a maid of honor and best man. Similarly, in traditional Spanish weddings, the couple chooses a godmother and godfather, who offer marriage counseling and advice to the soon-to-be newlyweds.
Venezuela: The Disappearing Couple
Sometimes weddings can be long, and you just want to start life with the one you love. At a Venezuelan wedding, it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to slip away before the end of their reception. Successfully getting away unnoticed is thought to bring good luck, and the first person to notice they are missing will receive such luck as well.