As a Mexican American, I felt it was important to discuss my background and experience with traditional Mexican weddings. At Uptown Events, we love celebrating different cultures and helping our clients include their traditions on their big day! As planners, expanding our knowledge in different cultures and traditions helps us grow and therefore help our clients to the best of our ability! The opportunity to be a part of our clients very special day becomes much more rewarding when we are able to include what is most near and dear to them and their family. We know not all couples will want to include everything on this list, but this is a great opportunity for us to learn and share about Mexican culture and how that has translated and transformed in America.
1. Los Padrinos y Madrinas
One important Mexican Tradition that couples include in their wedding is choosing “Padrinos & Madrinas” (godparents or sponsors) to help them organize their wedding. These sponsors are normally the couple’s closest friends, grandparents or other relatives whom they consider good role models in having a successful marriage. They are each given a special role in the wedding and participate in ceremony rituals where they present different gifts for the couple, to the priest, who will then perform sacred traditions that bless the couple and their future together. If you are chosen to be a Padrino or Madrina, it is considered a big honor! These godparents remain as mentors post wedding and therefore creates a greater bond with the couple in the years to come.
The most common Padrinos & Madrina titles are:
“Padrinos de Velación” (Godparents for candles)
These godparents participate in the unity candle ceremony by purchasing three candles and lighting the two outside candles as a symbol of their sponsorship of the marriage during the mass.
“Padrinos de Anillos” (Godparents for rings)
These godparents may fully purchase or help purchase the bride and groom’s wedding rings. They hold the rings during the ceremony and bring them up to be blessed and used when time for the I do’s.
“Padrinos de Arras” (Godparents for coins)
The arras consist of 13 gold coins gifted by padrinos in a small ornate box. The coins represent Jesus and his 12 apostles. During the ceremony, the coins are blessed by the priest and the groom presents them to his bride to symbolize his commitment to support her throughout their marriage
“Padrinos de Lazo” (Godparents for lasso)
The lazo is a rope either made by rosary beads or jeweled into a ribbon that gets placed around the Bride and Grooms neck, after their vows, creating a number 8, that joins them together. It represents their linked future together and is worn throughout the church service.
“Padrinos de Biblia y Rosario” (Godparents for Bible and Rosary)
The Bride and Groom are gifted a Bible and Rosary by these godparents to use and follow throughout their marriage. It is presented to them during the ceremony when the priest calls the padrinos up to get it blessed and present to the couple for their home.
“Madrina de Ramo” (Godmother for Virgins bouquet)
Responsible for purchasing the bouquet that the bride gifts the Virgin Mary at the end of the ceremony.
“Padrinos de Cojines” (Godmother for cushions)
Responsible for purchasing the kneeling pillows the couple uses throughout the entire ceremony.
2. The Catholic Mass
A traditional Mexican wedding ceremony is looked at as a very sacred and holy service in the Hispanic culture. Having the church’s blessing for the couple’s marriage is highly valued by both families! Similar to a Roman Catholic Mass, what makes a traditional Mexican wedding Mass different is the additional rituals performed during the ceremony where the chosen godparents participate with special gifts meant to symbolize the couples unity and future together. The entire ceremony lasts around one hour. Decorating the Church altar and aisles with florals, candles, and other décor is considered respectful and required for the big occasion.
3. Here comes the Bride
Although it is typical to see a priest ask “who gives this bride away,” in traditional Mexican weddings it is not strange to see both the father and mother of the Bride walk her down the aisle. This shows that both parents accept the marriage and both parents are equal in giving their daughter away. Traditionally the bride will wear a veil that covers her face until she gets to the altar. Both parents then hand her off to the groom and give the happy couple their blessing.
4. Kneeling Pillows
During the Catholic Wedding Mass, the bride and groom along with all of their guests will be asked to kneel several times throughout the ceremony. The Padrinos de cojines will gift the couple their own kneeling pillows as a gift before the ceremony. These are then kept by couple as are reminder of their wedding and can be used in new home décor.
5. Las Arras Matrimoniales
These 13 gold wedding coins are a gift by los Padrinos de Arras and are blessed by the priest during the wedding ceremony. The number 13 represents Jesus and his 12 apostles, and the coins show the importance of the couple’s relationship with God throughout their marriage.
6. The Lasso
After the couple has exchanged vows, a lasso, made of some sort of rosary beads, is placed around the couple’s shoulders. The lasso represents the love and unity of the couple and their new life as one. This ritual along with the others involving the chosen padrinos, is a good example of how important their role is in the couples marriage. These chosen friends and family usually stay involved in the couples lives post wedding as either mentors or witness’ of the couples relationship.
We have seen couples incorporate the lasso in a lot of unique ways including greenery or floral lassos!
During a Catholic Mexican Ceremony, the priest will give the Bride and Groom communion right after they are officially married to represent God’s place and support in their marriage. Guests are welcome to participate in communion as well if they are Catholic. This is very important for couples and their families as it is seen as a blessing for their marriage and God being a center of their home.
8. Bouquet Gift to Virgin Mary
After the wedding ceremony, the couple walks over to the Virgin Mary and the bride presents a special bouquet offering. This bouquet is separate from the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets and can be gifted to the couple by the “Madrina de Ramo”. Before Bride and Groom have exit procession. Bride will gift the bouquet, kneel down, and pray for the Virgin’s blessing in her new marriage.
It wouldn’t be a Mexican wedding without a Mariachi band! These festive bands will typically play outside the church when the Bride and Groom exit after mass to begin the celebration post ceremony. In some cases, like destination weddings, where the chapel is on site or near the reception space the Mariachi will also lead the procession post ceremony into the reception for a parade like celebration to get guests excited for the rest of the night.
10. La Callejoneada
This is essentially a “wedding parade” that can take place a day before the wedding or after the wedding ceremony on the actual wedding day. It invites all the guests to walk together with the couple to the reception venue (if on the day of the wedding), or around the town square if night before. It is usually led by a Mariachi band, and the couple will dance and sing with their guests while drinking tequila to get everyone ready for the excitement and party.
11. La Tornaboda
Traditional Mexican wedding receptions are known for being lively and upbeat. There will be music and dancing as late as early that next morning, and the party does not stop there! As part of Mexican Wedding tradition, there is usually an after party scheduled the next day following the wedding reception for the couple’s closest friends and family. It can be held at either the parents home or a venue where more food, music and celebration takes place before the bride and groom take off. It truly becomes a bonding experience for both sides of the family as well as their closest friends to get to know each other well.
Traditional Mexican weddings are a combination of ancient Mayan and Aztec rituals with modern wedding trends. They can differ regionally as well as locally so it is good to look into when choosing location, if trying to incorporate in your wedding! They are as a whole a very festive, colorful, and welcoming experience when it comes to ceremony, décor, music, and food. It is ultimately a unique experience and culture that has you feeling like part of the family by the end of the weekend and with some of the best memories and experiences to carry with you!