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The History and Beauty of Mexican Wedding Traditions

Updated on May 18, 2011

Mexican Wedding Traditions and Customs

Mexican wedding traditions are preserved to this day by the modern Mexican-American couple who want to honor their heritage and traditions in their wedding and reception.

These are some of the wonderful customs and traditions that they are using.

Check this lens for a bit of history, too.

The History and Beauty of Mexican Wedding Traditions

Mexican wedding traditions are preserved to this day by the modern Mexican-American couple who want to honor their heritage and traditions in their wedding and reception.

Here are some of the wonderful customs of this rich culture.

Promise Ring
Promise Ring

The Engagement

Because Mexican couples traditionally have a long engagement periods, often a promise ring (or pre-engagement ring) is given to the bride a year or so before the formal engagement when she gets her "official" engagement ring.

This ring is meant to show a couples' commitment to each other and symbolizes that they will treat each other with love and devotion as if they were husband and wife.

Of course, this is only done if the couple knows it will be a long courtship, otherwise an engagement ring is presented

The Wedding Invitations

In Mexico it is not unusual, in fact, it's quite usual to have printed on the wedding invitation a complete list of the bridal party and the "sponsors"; and it is quite common to have this in both Spanish and English.

All of the wedding attendants and contributors are individually listed on each wedding invitation with their contributions noted; sponsors, or padrinos, are the people who have made a financial contribution to the wedding.

Traditionally, in Mexico, the godparents have been the primary sponsor although this has changed somewhat in modern times; not only are the padrinos honored on the wedding invitation but also in the wedding program and they frequently they play a role in the wedding.

Many cultures don't include the names of deceased parents on wedding invitations but Mexican tradition does include the name of deceased parents, each on a line by itself with a cross or other religious symbol depending upon the religion of the person.

Information about the reception and dance are either printed on the invitation or included separately; one common tradition is the invitation acts like a ticket and must be brought to gain admittance to the festivities!

Wedding Attire

Bride's Attire

Mexican traditional wedding attire is formal and white.

The bride will sew a yellow, blue, and red ribbon into her lingerie which symbolizes the availability of food, money, and passion in her marriage.

The bride's veil is called a mantilla which is a chapel length veil with intricate detailing along the edges; it is most often made of lace and very romantic looking.

If the bride wishes to really go back to her roots she would wear a bolero jacket and a simple white dress.

Ultra-traditional brides would probably wear a white sundress-etle with embroidery in brightly colored flowers and zig zags.

This was the bridal attire common for a bride starting around 600 years ago; today in Mexico you will still see this occasionally.

Some traditional brides carry a fan instead of flowers and it is considered very bad luck for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day, as they symbolize the tears she will shed during her marriage.

Groom's Wedding Attire

The groom also has a variety of options open to him.

A very formal wedding may inspire him to wear a traditional matador outfit consisting of a bolero jacket and fitted pants.

For a less formal and relaxed wedding, drawstring pants in ivory or white worn with a Mexican wedding shirt is the attire men prefer; it is frequently chosen now for beach weddings.

The Mexican wedding shirt while becoming a trend in recent years originated over 200 years ago.

Arras: The 13 Gold Coins
Arras: The 13 Gold Coins

Arras: 13 Gold Coin Ceremony

The groom gives the bride 13 gold coins that are blessed by the priest.

The tradition of a groom presenting his bride with coins during their wedding ceremony actually dates back to ancient Rome, and he coins, or Arras, are a custom that dates back hundreds of years ago and originated in Spain; the number 13 represents Jesus and the twelve apostles.

The Arras symbolize the groom's his trust that his bride will care for him and his "goods"; often, they're presented on a special tray or in a fancy (ornate) box or gift tray.

By presenting the bride with the Arras, the groom also pledges to provider, support and care for his wife.

By accepting the Arras, the bride pronounces her complete trust in her husband.

These coins usually become family heirlooms and are passed down through the generations.

Lazo Rosary Beads
Lazo Rosary Beads

Lazo: The Lasso

A lazo (lasso), made from a large rosary, a white ribbon or a decorated cord, is draped around the necks or shoulders of the bride and the groom -- groom first; this is done as a symbol of the couple's unity.

It's put on in a figure-8 (or infinity) pattern while the couple kneels at the altar; it affirms their union and commitment to each other.

The lazo, done along with a wedding prayer, takes place after the bride and groom have exchanged their vows and the couple wears the lasso throughout the remainder of the service; it is then given to the bride.

The tradition of "el lazo" dates back hundreds of years -- at least to when the Spanish ruled the Aztecs -- and is still a very common tradition in Catholic ceremonies.

Other Traditions

Before the bride leaves her house for the ceremony, her mother will say a "wedding prayer" together with the bride.

Consider holding the celebration in a Catholic church as a show respect if a large percentage of the guests are Catholics who appreciate religious traditions to be part of the wedding ceremony; this is especially true of Mexican weddings.

Catholic Mexican weddings include the bride offering a (second) bouquet of flowers to a statue of the Virgin Mary and asking her to bless the couple's union.

According to Mexican tradition the bridesmaids and groomsmen are paired up and each pair has a specific role in the wedding ceremony.

For example, one pair provide the Lazo, another pair the bridal bouquet, another brings the Arras, another provides the kneeling pillows for the bride and groom to kneel on, etc.

Some couples choose to honor their families' backgrounds and customs by incorporating Mexican traditions into their weddings. You might be interested in impressing a fiancé with your understanding of what her family might expect from your wedding. Researching Mexican traditions for engagements lets couples honor ideals that may be important to them and their family.

Many Mexican-Americans learn much more about their culture and traditions during the engagement period and they realize they want to honor their backgrounds and customs by incorporating some of the traditions into their wedding day.

The Mexican wedding traditions are full of wonderful history and beautiful customs and can only make the day even more special.

Share with us below any Mexican traditions or customs that might be incorporated into the wedding or reception .

The History and Beauty of Mexican Wedding Traditions

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