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Wedding Traditions

Wedding Customs in Spain

Spain is a nation of many regions, most of which were once independent countries, so wedding customs sometimes vary from area to area.

Traditionally, the groom gives a watch to the bride's father when his proposal is accepted.

Though some brides still uphold custom by embroidering their groom's wedding shirt, today's Spanish brides generally choose white wedding dresses for themselves rather than the black lace or silk gowns that were once popular. No matter what color the dress, lacey mantillas secured with combs often complete the ensemble. In Andalucia (Andalusia), a few brides wear a frilled, flamenco style dress in homage to the distinctive regional dance.

Flower selections vary from region to region. In Seville (Sevilla), where richly-scented orange trees abound, brides wear orange blossom wreaths or carry generous bouquets to represent the promise and fulfillment of the orange tree. Brides in Andalusia prefer pink and white rose garlands, while Castillian brides wear white flowers.

Because dining late is a Mediterranean custom, wedding ceremonies often aren't scheduled until evening. According to tradition, the bride's father escorts his daughter to the church after having ensured that the groom has not seen her the night before the ceremony. The groom's mother walks down the aisle with her son.

Spanish wedding ceremonies are marked by an exchange of 13 gold coins in a special purse or box. Details of this custom vary from source to source, but even today it is readily possible to buy reproduction coins to honor the tradition. Whether gold or imitation, these coins are blessed by the officiating priest. They are said to represent Jesus Christ and his apostles, so they not only have a religious connotation but also a practical one since they represent a dowry, a pledge of the new groom's willingness to support his wife.

The bride and bridegroom exchange wedding rings as well. These are worn on the ring fingers of their right hands.

As they emerge from the church, the newlyweds are often greeted with firecrackers. Once the reception begins, the festivities continue into the night with dining and dancing. The wedding dance is called "sequidillas manchegas." Guests who dance with the bride, traditionally give her money, but pieces of the groom's tie and/or the bride's garter may also be auctioned off for good luck.

Though the Spanish bride throws her bouquet to whomever will be next to marry, she also hands out pins with a flower motif to unmarried ladies who attach them to their clothing upside down. The hope is the pins will be lost during the dancing, and therefore indicate the lady will soon marry. Other favors for wedding guests are cigars for the gentlemen and something nicely scented for the ladies.

Area delicacies are always on the reception menu. Paella, a delicious seafood and rice stew, is popular along the coast while sangria, a red wine punch, is found at most Spanish gatherings. The wedding sponge cake is rich with fruit and almonds.

Whatever your heritage, consider adopting a custom or two from the rich culture of Spanish weddings.


10:55 17.03.2009

RAUL is so great PLus, how did the origins of weddings in spain begin?

10:51 13.03.2009

This is very interseting information enlarge

03:13 10.07.2008

The food at a Spanish wedding depends on the region, although you can usually expect some sort of seafood as the appetizer or as part of the food served at the coctail hour before the reception.  Tapas are usually present at the coctail which receives the guests before the bride and groom arrive at the reception. At the reception, there is usually meat or fish as a main course (in the north, both can be served as two seperate main courses).  A very spanish tradition is to have someone cutting jamon serrano (cured spanish ham) and serving it to guests. Typical spanish dishes range anywhere from paellas to rack of lamb, so there aren't any restrictions for what to serve at a traditional spanish event. The wedding cake is traditionally set on a spiral stand and is made with a fruit filling, although lately people are starting to try different designs and flavors for the cakes.  Drinks are usually served in abundance, and wine is always present, along with a cigar and cognac at the end of the meal.  (A very elegant ides is to have a "veneciador" serving spanish fino to the guests.) The wedding is usually paid by both families equally, or even the couple themselves will pay for it.  The ceremony usually starts later in the evening, (around 6) so that the reception starts around 8., but really the starting time depends on what the couple prefers.  The celebration lasts the whole day (and night sometimes too).  The couple will usually stay for the duration of the celebration and won't leave for the honeymoon until a day or two after the wedding.  (By the way, the honeymoon is usually paid for by the families, and sometimes by the couple as well). I hope this helps!

08:32 28.05.2008

im doing my homework and i need to know what food are traditional at a Spanish wedding or any Spanish celebration? can you help please???

13:17 13.05.2008

i still need to know that stuff so if u could get back to me soon please

09:44 09.05.2008

Hi i need to find out who pays for the reception and or Honeymoon, how long the reception and or honeymoon last? and what is included, I need to know if it is customary to take a honeymoon? i also need to know the estimated cost for the honeymoon or reception? If you could please email the awnsers to my qestions at

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