Mexican Wedding Traditions

Aztec, Spanish and Catholic influences can be seen in many Mexican wedding traditions. All these elements combine to create a lavish affair, and the party is equally spectacular.

What to Wear
Mexican wedding attire contains intricate designs. Some dresses include a bolero jacket, and the bride may wear a mantilla. Other brides prefer a flamenco dress with many ruffles. Grooms sport outfits similar to that of a bull fighter. Embroidery is present on both the bride's and groom's clothing. If a bride elects to wear her mother's or grandmother's wedding dress, this is viewed as a sign of respect and is a status symbol.

Wedding Superstitions and Traditions
To avoid bad luck, the groom should not see the bride or her gown before the ceremony, and brides should never wear pearls since they resemble teardrops. For good luck, the bride should wear something old, something used and something received as a gift. To guarantee food, money, and passion, brides should sew a yellow, blue, and red ribbon to her lingerie.

Parents are not financially responsible for a Mexican wedding. Instead, the godparents financially support the event. If perchance the godparents aren't able to contribute to the wedding, they supply a Bible and rosary beads for the ceremony. The godparents act as mentors to the couple during the engagement and throughout their married life.

A Mexican wedding ceremony includes many attendants. The ring bearer and flower girl are clothed as a miniature bride and groom. The ring bearer brings a rope of rosary beads to circle around the couple following the vows, and act that symbolizes love binding the two together as one. The flower girl carries flowers as an offering to the Virgin Mary. The maid of honor holds 13 coins, a symbol of Jesus and the disciples. The groom gives these to his new bride, signifying that he will support his wife.

After vows are exchanged, the couple is joined by a lasso made of rosary beads or orange blossoms. A priest wraps the lasso in the shape of a figure eight around the necks or wrists of the bride and groom.

A Fiesta
After the wedding comes a grand party. Traditional dishes, including tortillas, chicken, rice and beans, are served. As for sweets, children try to break a piñata, and, once it is broken, all guests enjoy the sweet treats. If the guests aren't full after that, they can enjoy the wedding cakes, which are fruit cakes soaked in rum.

Latin dance music-the Merengue, flamenco and salsa-is played during the reception. While the couple dances their first dance, guests form a heart around the newlyweds. The dollar dance originated in Mexico. This not only gives a financial boost to the new couple, but it also allows the bride and groom a chance to chat individually with guests. A few Mexican weddings include auctioning off bits of the groom's tie and the bride's garter, and the new husband removes the garter with his teeth.

Following the dollar dance, the groom is literally stripped of his manliness as his attendants don him with an apron and a broom. After being tossed into the air, the groom is escorted to the bathroom where he removes his clothes. The male attendants take the clothing to the bride, who retreats to redress her groom. After re-entering the reception, the groom throws the apron, and the man who catches it will be the next to head to the altar.

Single women congregate around the bride who stands on a chair. She forms an arch with either her veil or the train of her dress. The single women hold on to each other's waists and dance around the bride. Once the music stops, the bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder. The lucky girl who catches the flowers will be the next to wed.

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