Latino Fiestas

Depending on the country from which your family originates, Latino wedding traditions will vary almost as much as they do with Indian weddings. The most important element of any Latino wedding is to make sure your family is involved. Family is always central and the vast majority of Central and South American weddings are Catholic. Most Latino weddings also take some of their traditions from Spain. For instance, the mantilla veil is a classic Spanish tradition used in most Latin American weddings. The mantilla veil is typically a cathedral length veil that rests around the forehead of the bride with beautiful Spanish lace around the edge of it. Many mantillas are passed down from one generation to the next.

Most countries will have a typical wedding feast and almost all will have lots of dancing all night long! The dollar or money dance is very common at most Latino weddings where guests will pin dollars (or the local currency) on to the bride or groom for a dance. Like Filipino weddings, many Latino weddings will incorporate the tradition of the gold coin arrhea ceremony as described in the Filipino wedding tradition section.

Some typical wedding traditions from specific Latino countries include:

  • Mexico — calla lilies are traditional wedding flowers.

  • Puerto Rico — the bridal doll is a unique wedding tradition. The doll is typically dressed exactly like the bride with beautiful charm souvenirs attached to the doll. The charms are given to guests and the guests will typically pin dollars to the doll in return.

  • Cuba — since Cuba is a communist country, the wedding ceremony is a simple and short civil service. In Cuba, the wedding is all about the procession in the streets on the way to the wedding ceremony, as well as the reception.

  • El Salvador — the bride and her family must wait for seven white cars to escort her to the church.

  • Dominican Republic — the wedding cake is typically the central décor item at the wedding reception. Most formal wedding portraits and photos with the guests are taken with the cake. It's tradition for the guests to take cake home instead of eating it at the reception — so be sure you have disposable (or compo stable) plates and tin foil on hand!

  • Some of the best places online to find more information about Latino wedding traditions, customs, and ideas are:

  • Para Ti Novia (www.paratinovia.com, which has information in both English and Spanish).

  • Bodaclick (www.bodaclick.com, which is in Spanish only).

  • Destination I Do Magazine (www.destinationidomag.com, since they cover weddings all over the world, their website has information on weddings from the Caribbean and Central America).

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