Congratulations! You‘ve just got engaged and you‘ve decided to have your wedding in Spain, one of the favourite destination wedding locations for couples from all over the world.
Now that your luxury and personalised daydream is about to come true, you may want to add some extra Spanish flavour to your special day.
Spain is steeped in tradition and history and weddings ceremonies are not to be left out.
For some extra Spanish olé on your wedding day, you might want to add one or more of the following traditional Spanish wedding rituals:
Coins: The groom presents his bride with 13 gold coins, called arras in Spanish which means “earnest money.”
These coins represent the groom’s promise to provide for the family and the bride’s acceptance of them symbolises her trust in her soon-to-be husband.
It is also believed that the 13 coins represent Jesus and his 12 apostles as well as the 12 months of the year and prosperity for the newly-weds as they combine finances.
The Godparents (Padrinos) are the ones to purchase the 13 coins for the groom, an act which also signifies that the Godparents have shared their wealth of knowledge concerning life and marriage with the bridal couple prior to the wedding ceremony.
The coins are kept in a small decorative box which is presented to the priest during the wedding ceremony by the Padrinos.
The Priest blesses the coins and gives them to the groom who pours them from the box into the bride’s cupped hands. The bride accepts the coins and pours them back into the box.
This exchange is typically done after the blessing and exchange of rings, just before the couple says their vows.
The underlying sentiment of the 13 coins is a beautiful Spanish wedding tradition.
Additionally, orange trees bear their fruit and blossom at the same time, leading to the belief that this special flower will bring both happiness and fulfilment to the newly-weds.The blossoms are also symbolic of fertility.
Bridal Escort: The Godparents are the ones who accompany the bridal couple. One one side, the bride’s father accompanies as escort for his daughter, likewise, the groom is escorted by his mother to the church for the wedding.
The escort is much simpler as there are no flower girls, page boys, bridesmaids, maid of honour or best man! Unheard of in typical British weddings-albeit somewhat cheaper!
Mantilla: a formal headdress made of intricate lace worn by the bride, typically shorter than a traditional veil, worn over the head and shoulders, often over a high comb called a peineta.
The comb is normally sewn at the top of the veil so it can be worn right at the front of the head above the forehead to create that ‘Spanish veil’ look.
Spanish brides typically wore black wedding dresses up until the late 1800’s as a symbol of devotion to their husband ‘till death do them part’. These days however, most brides opt for a white wedding dress.
Confetti Time: As the couple leaves the ceremony, guests line up outside to throw dried rice or rose petals. This symbolizes both fertility and prosperity for the newly-weds.
The bouquet toss, while brides don’t throw the bouquet in Spain, they do hand out small pins, to be worn the wrong way up, to the single ladies throughout the wedding feast. According to Spanish wedding ceremony customs, it’s believed that if the pin is lost in the course of the reception, the woman will get married soon.
Kids are more than welcome to Spanish weddings. Most bridal couples will arrange activities and prizes at the kid’s table to keep them preoccupied throughout the party.
Another Spanish wedding tradition is that the wedding ring is worn on the right hand and that surnames don’t change after marriage.
So while there is no traditional bouquet toss, newly-weds in Spain do use a sword to cut the cake and most Spanish weddings have some very colourful events filled with customs and traditions.