Almost every engaged couple dreams of having a wedding full of traditions and deep meaning. In order to accomplish this desire, many couples have adopted wedding traditions from their own ancestral celebrations or from other cultures.
Customs and traditions from Mexico or Latin America have become very popular in the U.S.A. and several other countries because of the deep symbolism and beauty of weddings from south of the border.
One of the major differences in a Mexican wedding is who pays for the wedding. Both families are involved with the wedding plans from the beginning and all help with the expenses, including parents, grandparents, godparents and friends. The bridesmaids and the groomsmen each traditionally pay for a specific item for either the ceremony or the reception.
Bridesmaids and groomsmen are paired and each pair is responsible for a different function in the wedding ceremony. One pair will provide the highly symbolic Lazo, effectively a ceremonial lasso that is a symbol of unity in this case. The Lazo could be a white satin cord or a large loop of rosary beads and is draped around the couple’s shoulders, or around their wrists, as they kneel for a wedding prayer.
As a symbol of their love, the couple wears the Lazo for the rest of the service. The couple who placed the Lazo around the couple removes it at the end of the ceremony and gives it to the bride as a reminder of their promise to always remain together.
Another pair of attendants provides the bride’s bouquet, while a third brings the Arras, 13 gold or silver coins in wealthier families and gold-plated in families who are not so wealthy. Traditionally, the groom gives the coins to his bride to show his promise and ability to support his family.
If there are only three pairs of attendants, the pair who provided the Arras also provide the pillows the couple kneels upon during the service.
The money dance originated in Europe and has become a very popular way to help start the couple out with some ready cash. At some weddings, there is a special purse or money bag available for collecting cash donations to the new couple’s future. The money dance, called the dollar dance in the U.S.A., is however, a different way to help the couple financially.
Male guests are expected to pay to dance with the bride. Different cultures have different methods of collecting the payment. In some, the bride carries a purse and the dancers put the currency in it. Some will pin the money on the bride’s wedding gown. Sometimes, the maid of honor will wear an apron with pockets to collect the dancing payments.
As in most weddings, the bride chooses her wedding colors and they will be prominent in all aspects of the ceremony, including the wedding cake. The automobiles used for transporting the attendants will be decorated with ribbon and paper flowers in the same colors. The church pews will be adorned with flowers and bows of the same colors. Petals from the flowers will continue the color theme on the bridal path to the altar.
If a piñata is included in the festivities, it will be heart-shaped and probably full of wedding candies and appropriate trinkets.
A wedding anywhere is a beautiful and symbolic ceremony full of traditions and meaning for all who attend. The growing practice of blending family traditions with a few from other cultures deepens the significance for the new couple.
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