Wedding Customs Mexico
In the Mexican tradition, padrinos, who are bridesmaid and groomsman pairs, are considered for different roles in the wedding ceremony.
Padrinos de ramo provide the bouquet (ramo) for the bride. Padrinos de lazo furnish a special symbolic rosary used to show the unification of the couple during the ceremony. Another pair of sponsors, the padrinos de arras, bring 13 silver or gold coins in a special basket or box for the ceremony. They also provide the cojines or kneeling cushions for the bride and groom during the wedding mass.
Younger bridesmaids (damas) and their escorts (chambelanes) are invited to participate. These are usually teenage relatives or friends of the two families. The bride and groom pick a little girl and boy to be the flower girl and ring-bearer for the ceremony. In Spanish they are called pajecitos, which means page, from the royal term for young attendant.
In the Mexican tradition, all of the wedding attendants are listed on the invitation with their special significance as padrinos noted. Also information about the reception and dance are printed on the invitation or included as separate cards. A guest must remember to bring the entire invitation along to the festivities to gain admittance.
On the day of the wedding, everyone is up and dressed early in preparation for the big day. Even the groom and groomsmen who celebrate the American-style bachelor party the night before are expected to fulfill their duties. They must decorate the cars to be used in the wedding party as early as possible. If the couple are not using a caterer for the reception, then family members will be busily cooking barbecue or mole, frijoles, Mexican rice and chile con queso for the wedding reception that afternoon or evening.
The attendants and the bride and her family travel to the church in the decorated vehicles. The groom awaits the rest of the wedding party at the church with the priest. Before the ceremony begins, the priest blesses the couple and the articles, which will be used in the ceremony. A traditional bride will carry a rosary and Bible for the special day. Roman Catholic belief is that marriage is one of the seven sacraments, which a person receives in life. This is a most reverent and spiritual time in a young person’s life.
Guests begin arriving at the church, and children of all ages often attend these border celebrations. Little ones are more likely to remain with their parents than be taken to a nursery or to be left home with a sister. Border weddings are truly a family affair.
When the ceremony is to begin, the padrinos begin to procession into the church followed by other attendants and then the pajecitos. All of them take their proper places at the front of the church. As the bride enters, escorted by the father , the congregation stands and watches the bride proceed to the altar.
For the Catholic service a regular mass is held, and the marriage ceremony is conducted. Often in our area the ceremony is conducted in both English and Spanish out of respect for the bilingual community.
During the ceremony the groom presents the arras to the bride as a symbol of support in their married life. Thirteen coins represent the 12 apostles and Christ. He pours the coins into the bride’s hands as she accepts and promises to use the provisions for the care of the family.
The couple next kneel on the cojines to take communion together. The priest and the padrinos de lazo place the lazo around the couple. The lazo is two rosaries joined together with a cross. Placing the lazo around the couple signifies that the couple are united as one. The traditional belief of the lazo is that if the couple pray the rosary together every night , their marriage will endure.
The congregation is invited to share in community with the bride and groom. The priest offers advice to the new couple, and the mass is ended with a prayer for the congregation. The church is then filled with the sounds of music, and the attendants precede the new married couple down the aisle.
Following a photo session, the wedding party joins guests at the reception and dance. Halfway through the wedding dance another custom is observed, a blend of Anglo and Hispanic customs. The bride throws the bouquet for a single women, and the groom tosses a garter for the single men. The guests chant, “Beso! Beso!” encouraging the recipients to kiss. They are supposed to be the next married.