Wedding Latino Traditions

Madrinas y Padrinos

Padrinos and madrinas, at their core, are essential members of their Hispanic community who act as patrons or sponsors for family events. Some of the most important celebrations in Hispanic culture only happen because of this very important tradition. These milestone events include quinceañeras, weddings, baby showers and more. Families host beautiful celebrations and they reach out to padrinos to make it happen.

Traditionally, the family organizing the event will ask grandparents, godparents, cousins, uncles, aunts and close friends to accept the honor of being the padrinos for the special occasion. By sponsoring essential items for a celebration, such as the band, cake, venue and more, padrinos help lessen the financial burden on the family. More significantly, padrinos create a sense of community by supporting and pitching in for the main cause. In the Hispanic culture, being asked to be a padrino is an honor and the blessings that the family receives on the special day are said to be passed on to their padrinos as well.


El Mariachi

La musica tradicional for events. Usually a mariachi group consists of at least two violins, two trumpets, one Spanish guitar, a vihuela (a high-pitched, five-string guitar) and one guitarrón (a small-scaled acoustic bass).

Nowadays, it is common to have a mix of a Mariachi band and a DJ. This depends on the band, timeline of the event, and the budget you have.

Lasso Ceremony 

This ceremony is where the lasso (rope) is put around the groom and the bride. It is done in the form of figure eight (infinity symbol), to symbolize their everlasting love. The lasso can be put on the wedding couple by the officiant or family members can take part in this beautiful ritual!

The lasso can be made from rosary beads, white ribbons, colored flowers, fabric, crystals, or even painted wood. The Lasso is associated with a wedding prayer during the ceremony. After the Lasso, the Veil is placed over the shoulders of the Groom and the shoulders or head and shoulders of the Bride. It may have to be pinned in place in order to stay. Thus tied together symbolically, the couple remains kneeling for the prayer.

After the prayer and before either attempts to rise, at the end of the ceremony, the lasso is removed by the same people who put it on and given to the bride as a memento of the beautiful ceremony.

Las Arras – Wedding Coins

This tradition consists of the madrina de arras holding the 13 coins that the groom presents to the bride. This 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.

During the ceremony, the officiant can explain the symbolism that the groom recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges his ability to support and care for her. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally.

El Muertito

A traditional Mexican wedding tradition is called “el muertito”. During the reception, the groom is lifted over the shoulders of all the men, and then tossed several times into the air! Sometimes, his shoes are passed around the guests and they put money and gifts into the shoes.

La Tornaboda

This is the after the party where friends and family get together to celebrate the wedding. These celebrations go long into the night, sometimes even long enough to see the sun come up the next day! A “levanta muertos menú”, literally get up the dead menu, for those who want to keep on celebrating, and also for those who have partied too much and need sustenance.

Depending on where you are, and your family’s traditions, the menu will vary. For example if in Queretaro, the “trasnochados menu”, an after-hours menu, consists of gorditas. In Mexico City for example “tacos de canasta”, literally “basket” tacos, are part of the menu. Other customs will see the infamous “chilaquiles” in the menu.

La Serenata

This is a tradition where the groom/boyfriend will go to the woman’s house and serenade her. He will show up with a mariachi band or guitarists to serenade or sing to her. The novia will wait for 2-3 songs until she comes out to meet him, signifying that she approves la serenata.  


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