A Beginner’s Guide to Popular Mexican Wedding Traditions

Mexican Wedding Traditions

Mexico is renowned for its extremely vibrant culture. Everything from the food to the music and a dress is rich in color and character, and Mexican wedding traditions are no exception. Here are some of the most beautiful elements of their marriage ceremonies and celebrations, in case you would like to add a little bit of Mexican spirit to your wedding plans.

La Pedida

The family is really important in the Mexican culture, and many still embody a patriarchal dynamic where the father clearly runs the household. That is why up to this day the groom will still approach the bride’s father to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Mexican Weddings Are Usually Catholic

Therefore, most marriage ceremonies will take place in a Catholic chapel or a church, and several of the Mexican wedding ceremony traditions that are still currently used have religious roots.

Both Parents Walk down the Aisle

In the Mexican wedding tradition, the bride and groom are accompanied to the altar by both their parents. This symbolizes the parents’ consent to the marriage, which is uniting their families. Additionally, family relations are really important in the Mexican culture, and many rituals serve to honor both parents.

Padrinos and Madrinas

These are special people to the couple. They act as witnesses for the ceremony at the state office and as ‘sponsors’ for the wedding. Traditionally they gift the couple various things, including religious items and a pillow, which the couple kneels on.

As well as their involvement in the ceremony, these godfathers and godmothers act as mentors to the couple, and sometimes they even pitch in to help with the costs of the wedding.

It is important to note that in Mexican tradition, who pays for the wedding gets to determine how things go. So, these days, many couples only appoint sponsors to be mentors rather than to provide financial support.

The Wedding Attire

Mexican brides choose from a variety of wedding dress designs. Some opt for simple cotton fabrics, while others may choose to show off more extravagant garments made of more expensive fabrics. More conservative brides will also wear a mantilla style veil.

 

Another archetypal tradition has the bride stitching different colorful ribbons to her underwear. These represent good fortune and ensure that the couple will always be financially stable, with food on the table and passion in their marriage. However, many modern brides choose to simply wear a blue garter.

As for the groom, the traditional Mexican wedding attire would be a Latin American garment known as a “guayabera”. The shirt is worn untucked, typically has two or four pockets on its front and is decorated with small pleats or rows of embroidery. Many grooms these days hire or buy a tux.

La Arras Matrimoniales

Mexican Wedding Traditions

During Catholic ceremonies, this Mexican marriage tradition becomes a part of the wedding mass. The ‘arras’ are a collection of thirteen gold coins, which the groom gives to his bride as a symbol of eternal faith and conviction. The coins are placed in a pretty box or on a designated tray which is blessed by the priest as the ceremony begins. The number of coins represents Jesus and his disciples, and the physical coins represent the groom’s riches. Basically, this is a very grandiose way of saying that they share everything now.

El Lazo

Another enduring wedding tradition in Mexico is that of the wedding ‘lazo’. Traditionally, a lazo is a double rosary, joined by a cross at its center. It is placed on the couple’s shoulders in the shape of the eternity symbol, which in many cultures represents new beginnings. The couple wears this for the duration of the ceremony, before it is removed by the priest.

 

Nowadays, non-religious versions can be made using a simple cord or string of silk decorated with pretty details.

Two Bouquets of Flowers

According to Mexican wedding traditions, more religious brides will have two bouquets. After the ceremony, the couple will present the first bridal bouquet to the Virgin Mary so that she will bless their marriage. The second bouquet is then used as a prop for wedding pictures, and this is the one used in the bouquet toss at the wedding.

Throwing Rice

Although it has no religious significance, another Mexican wedding tradition is that guests will usually shower the newlyweds with grains of rice, bird seeds, or pieces of white confetti as they leave the church.

The Money Dance

At the reception, guests get ready to attach bills to the bride and groom’s clothing. The idea is that they do this in exchange for a dance with either half of the couple. However, the donation is essentially a gift to help pay for the honeymoon or contribute to the costs of setting up their home. These days people will usually designate someone to collect the money as to not ruin the wedding gown and tux.

Music

Like many modern weddings, the couple will hire a DJ to play music during the celebrations. However, some more traditional people also choose to incorporate a Mariachi band into the musical line-up, adding a touch of local folklore to the wedding.

Food and Beverages

At traditional Mexican weddings, the main menu will include either poultry, pork, or beef, and nearly everything is imbued with the flavors of cilantro and lime.

 

A wide selection of alcoholic beverages is often available to drink, as is Sangria, infused with seasonal fruits. Non-alcoholic refreshments include various kinds of fresh juices.

 

In some regions, a popular Mexican wedding tradition is to serve lucky guests bowls of hot chocolate on water with a roll of sugar-coated egg bread.

Wedding Cake

This is typically a rum cake which is stuffed with nuts and coconut shavings. Another popular choice, rarely missing from any Mexican occasion, is a traditional almond cake.

Wedding Favors

Marriage traditions in Mexico also include handing out wedding favors. There is a custom for the bride and the bride’s family to make these; however, some people outsource the work to a local craft shop. They can be treats or decorative pieces of memorabilia that reflects the theme and colors of the wedding.

La Tornaboda

Traditionally, a Mexican wedding has an open invitation for the whole town to come to celebrate the wedding, and so receptions could be attended by hundreds. La Tornaboda, on the contrary, is an after-party or a smaller, private celebration that takes place after the main event so that the couple may celebrate their marriage with close family members and their dearest friends.