Mexican culture is recognized for hosting vibrantly colorful celebrations in the company of dear family and friends. Weddings are no exception. Prominently a devout Roman Catholic culture, the wedding ceremony is centered around the Mass.
Mexican weddings tend to be large with many wedding party attendants. The attendants are called Madrinas and Padrinos and they have special roles in the wedding.
A traditional couple getting married are sponsored, financially, by their Godparents, to act as Padrinos, sponsors of the wedding. They are mentors to the bride and groom throughout their engagement, and even after they are married. The bride and groom honor them with a place in the wedding program. The Padrinos may present the couple with a rosary and a Bible during their wedding ceremony.
The flower girl and ring bearer may be dressed as miniature versions of the bride and groom. The Madrina de Ramo carries flowers for the Virgin Mary. The Madrina de Laso carries a jeweled or beaded rope that is placed around the couple as they say their vows, to symbolize their union. The Madrina de Copas carries the wine glasses for the toast. Madrinas or Padrinos may carry a prayer book, a rosary, a guest book for signatures and an embroidered pillow to commemorate the day.
There also is a Madrina de Velacion, who the bride has chosen to turn to for guidance throughout her married life. God parents of the bride and bridegroom give the couple a prayer book, rosary, and kneeling pillow for the ceremony.
The last persons in the procession carry the recuerdos, which are remembrances, similar to wedding favors, given to the guests. In addition there can be several sets of wedding sponsors, similar to god parents, who look after the couple promising them financial and spiritual aid.
Brides in Mexico may wear a mantilla veil, or a slim dress with a bolero jacket, or even a Flamenco-style dress with ruffles at the hem. In many Latin American countries, the bride wears a light blue slip beneath her dress. In lieu of carrying flowers she may carry a fan or a prayer book. The groom may choose a Mexican wedding shirt.
During the marriage vows, to symbolize unity, a large loop of rosary beads or a lasso is placed in a figure eight shape around the shoulders of the couple. Some couples choose to be entwined in orange blossoms as this symbolizes fertility and happiness. In some families, a double rosary lasso is also given by one set of the parents and may be blessed with holy water three times in honor of the trinity.
A special person or 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 symbolizing their love which should bind the couple together every day 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. Traditionally, the lasso is given to the Bride as a memento.
It is customary for a Mexican groom to give his wife a wedding present of thirteen gold coins, which are then blessed by the priest during the marriage ceremony. This gesture represents the groom’s commitment to support his new wife. Couples who choose to be more modern will each exchange gold coins.
A truly touching tradition during the ceremony happens when the Bride places a special bouquet at the feet of the Virgin of Guadalupe image to thank and pray for their marriage.
Most weddings will end with mariachis as a part of the recessional. As the newlyweds leave the church, red beads may be tossed at them, to bring good luck. The reception is always family oriented and festive. Everyone is presumed to be invited.