Mexican Wedding Traditions
Madrinas y Padrinos
One of the main Mexican wedding traditions involves the bride and groom choosing a couple to act as their sponsors and mentors. This couple is the ‘Madrinas y Padrinos’ and act as Mexican godparents. They sponsor the family with both with financial assistance and spiritual and emotional guidance throughout the entire wedding process.
The bride has a lot of choice when it comes to her dress, but the gowns are always very personal. The fabric for Mexican wedding gowns is important because, according to Mexican wedding traditions, it preserves the identity of the community. Some states tend to use embroidered lace, others use velvet, and the state of Chipas uses chiapanecan textile which they feel is the fabric of the soul. Whichever fabric is used, it is common to have flowers embroidered into the dress. Another one of the Mexican wedding traditions encourages brides to tie three ribbons, yellow, blue and red, on their lingerie under their dress to symbolize the abundance of food, money and passion in the couples’ lives to come.
There are two key features unique to Hispanic or Mexican wedding traditions that occur within the full Roman Catholic mass. These are the rituals of the “el lazo” and the “las arres.” The first of the two Mexican wedding traditions, the el lazo, is a ritual where the couple is joined by a beaded or jeweled rope placed around their necks in a figure eight formation. The second of the Mexican wedding traditions in the mass is the las arres, where the groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins, representing Christ and his disciples. These two rituals show the couples’ commitment to each other and their togetherness. They are the most well known of all the Mexican wedding traditions.
After the wedding ceremony the wedding party, guests, and live musicians leave the church and proceed to their reception destination. While they walk they drink and dance, accompanied by tequila and bottles of wine. According to Mexican wedding traditions this creates a sort of wedding parade where the whole town can celebrate the new marriage.
At the reception, guests continue to dance and party. The Mariachi band is the most common choice for music according to Mexican wedding traditions. The band play lively songs for traditional dances like the “money dance” where guests pin money to the new couples’ clothes, and the “La Vibora de la Mar” where guests dances hand in hand under a bridge formed by the bride and groom both standing on chairs.
Food and drink
Popular Mexican dishes for entrees or cocktail treats include flavorful rice, beans, corn tortillas, and fajitas, but the main dishes are usually beef or chicken. There are three popular cake choices according to Mexican wedding traditions: either a rum soaked fruit cake, a “3 leches” cake, or an almond cake, all of which are Mexican specialties. Whatever is served, there is usually a lot it, along with tons of alcohol to accommodate the hundreds of guests, traditionally up to 500!
Because Mexicans like to party, the “torna boda” is the last of the Mexican wedding traditions, and essentially is the after party for those party animals who are still going strong when the sun comes up the next day. Tacos or tortillas are served as comfort foods to aid the impending hangovers and the guests retire from a long and exciting day of celebration.