A Mexican wedding retains a lot of its traditional charm along with the influence of the Catholic Church. If you wish to enjoy the blending of these unique aspects, attending a Mexican wedding should be included in your list of experiences.
The Catholic Church in Mexico dates from the period of Spanish colonization and has existed as an institution into the 21st century. If you’ve been invited to attend a Mexican wedding, chances are you’ll be visiting a Catholic church/cathedral. You might see the service conducted in either Spanish or English, based on the family’s choices.
You’ll be able to find yourself engaged in unique activities that are a part of the traditional Mexican wedding customs, along with traditional Christian rituals like the Holy Communion.
Groom and Bride’s Clothing
In modern times, Mexican brides utilize bridal magazines to find the designs they like. Since most modern weddings are conducted in a church, they have to follow the Church’s dress code.
Grooms in Mexico traditionally wear shirts known as ‘guayaberas’. The shirts have a distinct look with 4 small, patch-pockets and 2 rows of vertical, delicate pleats.
Traditional Mexican wedding clothes have never involved formal suits. But a well-made guayabera is just as formal as any tuxedo.
Los Padrinos Y Madrinas
For the wedding to happen smoothly, people choose sponsors called, ‘Los Padrinos Y Madrinas’. The soon-to-be-married couple chooses people to take responsibility for the wedding. Generally, there are two types of sponsors that a couple can choose:
1. Role Model Sponsors – These are people whom the couple respects as an ideal model of a successful marriage. They can either be close friends, relatives, or family members. Their part in the Mexican wedding ceremony is to be witnesses for the married couple and be present throughout the wedding festivities.
2. Gift-Giving Sponsors – The other sponsors are the ones actually responsible for shouldering some of the financial burdens of the young couple. The grandparents or uncles/aunts of the couple fulfill this role. In the Mexican wedding tradition, these sponsors help by paying for food, clothing, wine, or other monetary ways. Hence, allowing the newlyweds to save their money for an expensive honeymoon!
Wedding Ceremony Customs
In the majority of Mexican weddings, a Catholic priest will preside over the ceremony and bless the couple at the end.
During the wedding service, the Holy Communion or the liturgy of the Eucharist will take place. This symbolizes the cleansing of both souls before they begin their new life together.
Guests not belonging to the Catholic Church are unable to take part in the Holy Communion. However, this may depend on the priest or the congregation.
The following are some more Mexican wedding customs that are unique to their culture:
- Lasso Ritual – The newlyweds wrap a string or a rosary around each other. This acts as a symbol of unity and represents two souls becoming one in holy matrimony. It is similar to many other rituals of binding in cultures like Hawai, India, etc.
- Las Arras Matrimoniales – The ‘arras’ is a tradition that predates the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Each ‘arras’ represents a year’s wealth and is a way to support the couple while they set up their own independent household. The Church then adopted the 13 gold coins as one of its own traditions. This was a way to ensure that the tradition carried on but with a Christian background instead.
- 2 Bouquets – The bride will carry 2 bouquets as a wedding tradition. The couple presents one two the Virgin Mary to pray for blessings for the marriage. This Mexican wedding tradition has its roots in the deep devotion the Mexican people have for the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The 2nd bouquet is mainly for photographs, but it also plays a part at the end of the ceremony. Where the bride throws the bouquet over her shoulder for the bridesmaids to catch.
As with most western weddings, in a Mexican traditional wedding, the guests surround the dance floor and wait for the bride and groom to take the floor. The first dance is usually reserved for the couple.
The couple then moves on to dancing with either their parents, the padrinos or sponsors, and other important family members. The dance floor is thrown open to everyone once this has been done!
The male guests are required to ‘pay’ to dance with the bride and the female guests have to do the same to dance with the groom in this post-wedding tradition. The whole exercise is a way to discreetly give a gift of money without it becoming awkward for everyone involved.
The money has to be pinned to either the groom’s shirt or the bride’s dress. The guest wishes them well during the dance.
With the world moving towards electronics and DJs, a Mariachi band is a crucial part of any traditional Mexican wedding ceremony.
A Mariachi band is not just entertainment or background music, they are a direct connection to the folklore and traditions of Mexico. However, keep in mind that many of the Mariachi songs can be bawdy, vulgar, and even downright offensive. Therefore, the hiring party has to approve all the songs the Mariachi band will perform at the wedding.
Even with all this, a Mariachi band can be the perfect entertainment for a Mexican wedding, reception, or after-party. Their unique sound and rich history are definitely a very important part of any traditional Mexican wedding.