10 Amazing Hispanic Wedding Traditions You Have To Know About + Vocabulary

So, you’re over the flirting in Spanish part, you know all the best romantic Spanish phrases, and now… it’s your big day! Or someone else’s.

If you’ve never attended a Hispanic wedding, there are definitely a few things you have to learn about Hispanic wedding traditions so you don’t get surprised! And to not get into a strange situation. For starters, you can check this great video brought to you by Spring Spanish (a project I co-founded) about Mexican wedding traditions:

In this blog post, we’ll share 10 of the most common Hispanic wedding traditions, and you’ll also get the most important chunks related to the Big Day.

Let’s celebrate together!

1. El lazo (The wedding lasso)

El lazo is a large loop of rosary beads or a decorative cord that is placed around the couple’s shoulders in a figure-eight shape after they exchange vows.

A pair of wedding rings elegantly placed on a decorative plate with intricate floral patterns and a gold trim. The rings signify the traditional Hispanic custom of the arras, where the groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins as a symbol of his commitment to support her

The wedding lasso symbolizes the unity and the everlasting bond they will share throughout their marriage. Okay, so this isn’t easy to explain to someone who’s not familiar with this traditions, so we’ll share a few key words related to this habit, and you can read a short Spanish conversation, too:

SpanishEnglish
el lazothe lasso
uniónunity
rosariorosary
figura de ochofigure-eight
bodawedding

You could easily exchange a few words like this on a Hispanic wedding:

Gabriela: ¿Has visto el lazo? Representa la unión de los novios. (Have you seen the lasso? It represents the unity of the couple.)
Georgina: Sí, y el rosario que usan forma una figura de ocho, lo cual es un símbolo de infinito en la boda. (Yes, and the rosary they use forms a figure-eight, which is a symbol of infinity in the wedding.)

2. Las arras matrimoniales (The wedding coins)

This tradition symbolizes the mutual prosperity and the trust both participants put into their life in the future.

The groom gives the bride 13 gold coins – these are las arras matrimoniales to represent his commitment to support her. The bride then accepts these coins to show her trust in him.

Important Spanish vocabulary for this tradition:

SpanishEnglish
las arrasthe wedding coins
monedascoins
compromisocommitment
prosperidadprosperity
confianzatrust

3. La misa (The mass)

Since the majority of the Spanish-speaking countries is Christian, and some parts are very religious, many Hispanic weddings have a full Catholic Mass. It lasts about an hour, and the service has prayers, hymns, and the sacrament of the Eucharist.

La misa symbolizes the spiritual aspect of the marriage.

If you want to talk about this wedding tradition, you have to this basic Spanish vocabulary:

SpanishEnglish
la misathe mass
oracionesprayers
himnoshymns
sacramentosacrament
eucaristíaEucharist

4. El baile del billete (The money dance)

Having a wedding isn’t cheap – nor it was ever, but it’s certainly getting more and more expensive now. So, let’s talk about money.

This Hispanic wedding tradition is about offering good fortune and some financial support to the newlyweds. During the reception , guests pin money onto the bride and groom’s clothing as they dance.

This is called el baile del billete, and the related words and phrases to it are:

SpanishEnglish
el baile del billetethe money dance
invitadosguests
noviogroom
noviabride
fortunafortune

5. Los padrinos y madrinas (Godparents)

Similar to bridesmaids and groomsmen, but with a more important role, madrinas and padrinos sponsor different aspects of the wedding: the ceremony, rings, or honeymoon.

The godparents contribute to the planning and provide support to the couple wherever it’s needed.

SpanishEnglish
madrinasgodmothers
padrinosgodfathers
bodawedding
ceremoniaceremony
apoyosupport

6. A must-have Hispanic wedding tradition: mariachi bands

We can’t leave this one out, right?!

A mariachi band performing at a wedding reception, seen from the back. The musicians wear traditional charro suits with sombreros, detailed embroidery, and sashes. The wedding reception is beautifully decorated with tables, flowers, and guests enjoying the celebration. In Hispanic weddings, mariachi bands are a popular choice to serenade guests and add to the festive atmosphere

In Mexican traditions, a mariachi band often plays lively music to entertain the guests during the reception.

Did you know this? You can even learn Spanish with music, so pay attention to every note they’re singing.

SpanishEnglish
mariachimariachi
músicamusic
diversiónentertainment
recepciónreception
culturaculture

Giving compliments to the band could sound like this:

Ana: La banda de mariachi tocó una música increíble durante la recepción. (The mariachi band played amazing music during the reception.)
Lupita: Sí, fue una diversión total y añadió un toque especial de cultura a la recepción. (Yes, it was total entertainment and added a special touch of culture to the reception.)

7. The wedding parade is nothing without traditional dances

Traditional dances like salsa, merengue, and cumbia are also part of the celebration. Hispanic weddings are happy places on Earth when they’re happening, so you will probably see a lot of people dancing and enjoying the festivities.

Learn the most important Spanish dance names:

SpanishEnglish
salsasalsa
merenguemerengue
cumbiacumbia
bailedance
celebracióncelebration

8. La tornaboda (After-Party)

In some cultures, the wedding celebration continues well into the night or even the next day with a more relaxed and informal after-party.

Why wouldn’t you celebrate the Big Day for a few more days, right?! This allows the closest friends and the family to keep celebrating with the newlyweds in a casual setting.

SpanishEnglish
la tornabodathe after-party
celebracióncelebration
informalinformal
nochenight
día siguientenext day

And when everything is over, you can talk about it even more!

La tornaboda fue una celebración muy divertida y informal. (The after-party was a very fun and informal celebration.)
Sí, continuamos la fiesta toda la noche y hasta el día siguiente. (Yes, we kept the party going all night and into the next day.)

9. A wedding reception with traditional food

The best part! The wedding feast is full of amazing dishes like tamales, paella, and empanadas. The meals aren’t only there so that you can eat them (that’s their primary role, of course), but they also reflect Hispanic cultural traditions.

You can check these words, and you can also check out our Spanish food vocabulary:

SpanishEnglish
comida tradicionaltraditional food
tamalestamales
paellapaella
empanadasempanadas
banquetefeast

10. A fun Hispanic wedding tradition: the bouquet toss

The lanzar el ramo when the bride tosses her bouquet to a group of single women. According to the legend, the one who catches it is believed to be the next to marry.

The ramo de novia (bridal bouquet) adds a bit of fun and anticipation for the guests: who wouldn’t want to attend another Hispanic wedding ceremony after the first one?!

SpanishEnglish
lanzar el ramothe bouquet toss
ramo de noviabridal bouquet
solterassingle women
casarseto marry
diversiónfun

Spanish vs Mexican Wedding Traditions

Although both Spanish and Mexican wedding traditions share the same basic values, there are differences, too. Let’s go over them one by one!

Pre-Wedding events

In Spain, the “La Pedida de Mano” is a formal event where the groom seeks the bride’s parents’ blessing. “Despedida de Soltero(a)” parties are held – similar to bachelor and bachelorette parties – but a little more relaxed with close friends and family.

Mexican weddings feature “Las Serenatas,” where the groom serenades the bride with a mariachi band – already mentioned earlier in this blog post -, either the night before the wedding or during the engagement Mexicans also celebrate “Despedida de Soltero(a)” with close family and friends.

Reception Traditions

The reception in Spain often has a lavish banquet featuring multi-course meals with local delicacies and seafood. Traditional Spanish music and dances, such as flamenco, are integral, with the couple’s first dance being the main event during the reception.

Mexican wedding receptions have the “El Baile del Billete” and the reception also features traditional dances more popular in the Americas (salsa, merengue, cumbia).

Learn more about the Hispanic wedding traditions with Conversation Based Chunking

Love is a wonderful, yet still unexplainable thing in our lives. Hispanic wedding traditions try to highlight this unexplainable thing, and help with defining whatever you feel during a romantic relationship.

Because sometimes saying I love you in Spanish isn’t enough. You have to use metaphors and symbols to express your love. In this blog post, we tried to explain all the important Hispanic wedding traditions – but the best way to learn more about them is to actually use all of these expressions in real-life context.

We advocate for a method that’s called Conversation Based Chunking – a method that not only helps you with the language, but also gets you closer to the Spanish culture. If you sign up now, you’ll get an essential Spanish chunking list, my favourite resources to learn Spanish and even access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

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