Mexican Wedding Traditions

Audrey M. Jones
Tehuanatepec wedding in Oaxaca, Mexico
Tehuanatepec wedding in Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexican wedding traditions celebrate a couple's love, union, and cultural heritage. Adding any of these elements to your wedding will add flair and act as a nod to your cultural background.

Traditional Sponsors

According to World Wedding Traditions, Mexican couples typically have sponsors when marrying. A Wedding Day states that sponsors may be grandparents, parents, godparents, relatives, or friends.

These sponsors act as mentors to the couple during their engagement and after their wedding, but also provide financial support to the bride and groom in the form of paying for some of the wedding costs or purchasing something specific for the wedding ceremony.

Sponsors are usually honored by being mentioned in the wedding program. Some sponsors gift a Bible to the couple during the ceremony.

Attire

Bride's Attire

bride and groom

According to Discovery Mexico, the bride's dress is to be sewn by her family members at the groom's family expense. The type of dress varies, and can be a Flamenco-type dress consisting of ruffles at the bottom or a narrow dress with no ruffles, reports Wedding Details. A Wedding Day reports that Mexican brides wear a blue slip under their dress.

Regardless of style, however, the bride's intent in her attire is to respect the church's dress code, reports Hispanic Culture Online. Because of this, she may wear a bolero jacket to cover bare shoulders and usually also wears a mantilla veil to cover her head.

Groom's Attire

Hispanic Culture Online reports that a groom traditionally wears a Mexican shirt and linen pants. Mexican wedding shirts are also known as a "Guayabera" and contain up to four small, patch pockets and two rows of vertical, fine pleats. These shirts are commonly made of linen.

Bridal Party

A Wedding Day reports that bridesmaids and groomsmen in a traditional Mexican wedding are paired together for the ceremony. These couples are then assigned tasks to perform during the ceremony.

The color of dress worn by bridesmaids and the cummerbund or tie worn by groomsmen typically match. A Wedding Day states that flower girls and ring bearers might be dressed to match the bride and groom.

Ceremony Customs

Discovery Mexico reports that Mexican wedding ceremonies consist of a combination of traditional Catholic and cultural elements.

  • According to Wedding Elegance, the majority of Mexican wedding ceremonies involve a Catholic mass. In homage to Mexico's devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, it is common to have the couple present flowers to the Virgin Mary during the ceremony in hopes that she will pray for them during their marriage.
  • The bride and groom typically kneel on pillows during the wedding mass, reports A Wedding Day. A sponsor may gift these pillows.
  • World Wedding Traditions also states that red rose beads are tossed at the couple as they exit the church. This symbolizes good luck.

Within the larger ceremony, there also occur several smaller ceremonies.

Lazo Ceremony

During traditional Mexican weddings, the bride and groom are linked together with a Lazo to symbolize their joining in love and trust, reports World Wedding Traditions. The Lazo is placed by sponsors either around the couple's necks, shoulders or wrists. A Wedding Day states that the Lazo can be a white ribbon, large rosary or decorated cord.

The placement of the Lazo occurs during a special wedding prayer, after the bride and groom have exchanged vows. The couple wears the Lazo throughout the remainder of the service, A Wedding Day reports. The couple keeps the Lazo as a keepsake.

Arras Ceremony

Gold coins for Arras Ceremony
Gold coins for Arras Ceremony

During the ceremony, World Wedding Traditions reports, the groom gifts the bride with 13 gold coins. This is referred to as the "Arras". The officiant blesses these coins during the ceremony.

The coins symbolize the groom's commitment to supporting the bride and also represent Christ and his apostles, reports A Wedding Day. The coins may be presented in an ornate box and, after the wedding, become a family heirloom. The bride's acceptance of the coins represents her unconditional confidence and trust in the groom, according to A Wedding Day.

Ring Exchange Ceremony

The couple exchanges rings during the ceremony. However, unlike American weddings, the rings are carried by an adult, perhaps a sponsor or a member of the wedding party, according to WeddingBee.com.

Reception Elements

Traditions during Mexican weddings don't end with the reception. In fact, Discovery Mexico reports that, historically, Mexican wedding celebrations lasted two days. There are several traditions that occur during receptions, including:

Reception Invites and Seating

Men and women were historically seated apart from one another at traditional Mexican weddings. It is assumed in traditional weddings that everyone in the town is invited, according to Discovery Mexico.

First Dance

During the reception, according to World Wedding Traditions, the guests on the dance floor surround the bride and groom as they enjoy their first dance. Guests typically hold hands and form a heart shape.

Piñata

Heart piñata

A piñata also appears at most traditional Mexican weddings. The piñata is filled with candy and broken by children attending the wedding. A Wedding Day reports that the piñata may be in the shape of a heart. However, all guests share in the candy.

Money Dance

In this tradition, A Wedding Day reports, male guests pay to dance with the bride. Payments may be put into a special bag or pinned to the bride. Given money is expected to be used by the newlyweds for their honeymoon or to set up their home.

Reception Food

Traditionally, reports Discovery Mexico, the entire town assists in preparing foods for the reception. A traditional Mexican sauce to serve at the reception is mole. This sauce is made of multiple types of chili pepper and can be poured over any type of meat.

The traditional Mexican wedding cake is a rum-soaked fruitcake. The cake is decorated with the colors of the wedding.

Wedding Décor

A Wedding Day reports that the colors the bride chooses to decorate her wedding are carried throughout the entire event. The wedding pews are adorned with flowers or bows and the attendants vehicles also carry décor in the chosen colors. The aisle and reception are also decorated with flowers in the bride's selected colors.

Planning Your Traditional Mexican Wedding

Whether you would like to throw a fully traditional Mexican wedding or just seek to incorporate elements of one into your celebration, there are plenty of traditions to choose from. When planning your wedding, select those Mexican wedding traditions that you find fun and meaningful.

Mexican Wedding Traditions