Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wedding Traditions: Latin Wedding Traditions

Many brides today would like to honor their heritage with adding something that reflects their culture to their ceremony. Here are a few things that a bride with Latin or Hispanic heritage might add to her special day.


The Thirteen Gold Coins (Trece monedas de oro)
The madrina de arras holds the 13 coins the bridegroom presents to the bride. The coins, or arrhea, was a Roman custom of breaking gold or silver, one half to be kept by the woman and the other half by the man, as a pledge of marriage.
The groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins as a symbol of his unquestionable trust and confidence. He pledges that he places all of his goods into her care and safekeeping. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence.
The custom of the coins originated in Spain. Thirteen gold coins are given to the bride by the bridegroom, signifying he will support her. Often presented in ornate boxes or gift trays, this represents the brides dowry and holds good wishes for prosperity. These coins become a part of their family heirloom.
The number 12 represents Christ and his 12 apostles. The coins are presented to the priest by a friend or relative (usually the purchaser). The priest then blesses the coins and hands them to the bride who places them in the groom's cupped hands at the beginning of the ceremony. The coins are then placed on a tray and handed to an assistant to be held until later in the ceremony. Near the end of the ceremony the box and coins are given to the priest who places the coins in the box and hands them to the groom.
The groom will then pour the coins into the bride's cupped hands and places the box on top. This represent his giving her control as his mistress of all his worldly goods. (Sometimes their hands are tied with a ribbon for this portion of the ceremony.)

The Lasso (El lazo)
As part of the ceremony to symbolize unity, a large loop of rosary of beads or lasso cord is placed in a figure eight shape around the necks of the couple after they have exchanged their vows. It also is beautiful when made of entwined orange blossoms (which symbolize fertility and happiness). A double rosary lasso may also be given by one set of the parents and may be blessed with holy water three times in honor of the trinity.
A special person/couple places the lasso around the shoulders of the bride and groom, groom's shoulder's first. The lasso may also be tied around their wrists. The couple wears the lasso throughout the remainder of the service. (The loop is symbolic of their love which should bind the couple together everyday as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives.)
At the end of the ceremony, the lasso is removed by either the couple which placed the lasso on the couple, or the priest. The lasso is given to the Bride as a memento of her becoming the mistress of the groom's heart and home.
Most weddings will use the mariachis at the end of the ceremony as a part of the recessional.
The reception is always family oriented and festive. Everyone is presumed to be invited.
For the bridal couple's first dance, guests will gather in a heart-shaped ring at the reception around the couple. Salsa, merengue and the flamenco guitar music may add a Latin flare to the reception.
Favors could be wedding cookies wrapped in tulle, Spanish fans, note cards of Mexican painters, or pieces of pottery could be given.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

You rock! You are such a great resource for brides!