Wedding Customs and Traditions from around the World – Part III – Mexico

As we continue to head south in our Wedding Traditions and Customs from around the World Series we head to Mexico.  Mexico boasts a fabulous culture with a great many wedding traditions and customs that are unique to the country that we find rather interesting and hope our brides will, as well. 

The most prominent faith in Mexico is the Roman Catholic religion.  As the Spanish migrated to Mexico they brought to the region some of their wedding traditions and customs and as the Spanish and the native Aztec Indians began to intermarry, they blended their customs of worship.

Mexico Wedding Traditions and Customs

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Before the Wedding

Individuals in the wedding party are called Madrinas and Padrinos, and a Mexican wedding party is typically quite large.

According to Mexican tradition, the family of the young man to be wed will approach the family of the bride to be to ask for her hand in marriage.  The family may visit the home of the bride’s family several times.   During this time, if the parents continue to talk, the girl will not be allowed to meet any other young men.  This tradition is not always followed today; but, in most instances, the gentleman will be with his prospective bride’s family to ask for her hand in marriage.   

It is tradition for both the family of the bride and the family of the groom to help to pay for wedding expenses. 

Traditionally, the bride and groom to wed would choose their godparents to sponsor their wedding.  Godparents, also referred to as the Padrinos and the Madrinas, are chosen out of respect among Mexicans.  The Godparents are considered to be elders that are mature and wise, and help to guide the couple throughout their engagement, as well as, throughout their marriage when problems may arise.  The traditional gift from the Godparents to the newlyweds is a rosary and a bible which symbolizes their love and best wishes for the couple.  The Godparents are also honored with a special place in the wedding ceremony.

It is tradition for the bride to choose the wedding colors.  The colors will be the scheme throughout the wedding and will be included in all aspects of the wedding.  The bridal path is also decorated with the colors to create a sense of harmony throughout the event.

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Mexican wedding tradition also accepts large wedding rooms which are located in luxury hotels to be decorated for the wedding ceremony. 

In some North Mexican cities some grooms give what is called a “ring of promise” which is somewhat like the giving of an engagement ring that shows that the woman will soon be wed.

The bride and the bride’s parents will pray before leaving for the wedding ceremony.

 

The Wedding Ceremony

The ancient wedding tradition in Mexico was to hold the wedding at the bride’s home or in the bride’s yard.  The groom would arrive at her home on horse, and once the ceremony was concluded he would transport his wife to his parents’ home in a cart, where they would then live.  The couple would dress in formal court costumes; if the couple were ordinary they could they could wear luxurious clothes.  The way to the groom’s home would be lit by hand lanterns which would be lit the night before the wedding.  The family of the groom would also carry a wedding chest full of gifts to the home of the bride’s family.

Wedding attire for the bride typically consists of a mantilla veil, a bolero jacket over a slimming dress, or a Flamenco-style dress with a ruffled hem.  The groom may wear a Matadorian outfit, drawstring pants that are loose fitting with a Mexican wedding shirt, or a bolero jacket with tight fitting pants.

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During the couple’s wedding ceremony, the groom will give his bride 13 gold coins which are a symbol of his optimal confidence and trust in her as his wife, and that he will provide for her, always.  The number 13 is a representation of Christ and his 12 apostles. .  All the responsibility of his material belongings are given to her at this time.  The bride’s acceptance of the gold coins is assurance to the groom of her commitment, total love and devotion, unconditional love, and it is a promise that she will care for him and his belongings.  During the ceremony the bride cups her hands and the groom places a box in her hands with the 13 gold coins.

A decorated cord or ribbon, which is called a Lazo and is actually a rosary, is first placed around the shoulder or neck of the groom, and then the bride.  This affirms the couple’s union and their undying devotion and commitment to one another, and it confirms the fact that they will always be next to one another.  The Lazo remains on the couple throughout the ceremony, and at the conclusion of the ceremony, it is removed and given to the bride.

Courtesy of JRM Rosaries

The bride’s sash may be decorated with cranes and wedding ducks which symbolize a long and happy life, and a long and happy marriage.

Custom is to have both a flower girl and a ring bearer as part of the wedding party and to have them dressed in attire that is a version of the bride and groom’s attire.  The Madrina de Ramo, which is the name for flower girls, holds a basket of flowers for the Virgin Mary.   The Madrina de Lasok, which is the name for ring bearers, carries a beaded or jeweled rope that symbolizes the couple’s union and is put around the bride and groom as they wed.

The bride’s march is usually played on the organ.

The Wedding Reception

Mexicans will typically hold a large celebration with a meal that includes spicy beans and rice, tortilla dishes with beef and chicken, Sangria, which is a mix of brandy, white wine, soda water and fruit juice which is served cold.  

Courtesy of Wedding By Color

During the wedding reception, Latin music will be played. 

The bride and groom will have a special “Money Dance” where male guests pay to dance with the bride, and the money is used to help finance the honeymoon expenses and the setting up their home.

With Mexico under our belt, next we will be traveling to the wonderful land of Belize.  As we get further and further into the nations of the world, I think you'll find that the wedding traditions and customs become more unique to each country which will give our brides a true insight to weddings from around the world!