Considering a destination wedding in Spain? Then embracing some of Spain’s beautiful wedding traditions is a must! These time-honored traditions, deeply rooted in the country’s rich cultural heritage, are sure to add a magical touch to your celebration.
In the following guide, I’ll walk you through the most enchanting wedding traditions and customs Spain has to offer. From the alluring fragrance of orange blossoms to the meaningful exchange of coins, each tradition carries its own unique story and significance. These aren’t just rituals – they’re the very heart and soul of a Spanish wedding!
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive into these captivating traditions and discover how they can make your Spanish destination wedding truly unforgettable.
Spain’s most enchanting wedding traditions
As a destination wedding photographer, I’ve experienced the vibrant charm and energy of Spanish weddings firsthand. Let me share some of my favorite traditions and customs that make weddings in Spain so uniquely enchanting!
One aspect of Spanish weddings that always captivates me is the tradition of wedding favors. During the reception, known as the banquete de bodas, guests traditionally present gifts or envelopes with money to the couple. In a gesture of gratitude, the bride and groom reciprocate with unique wedding favors, called detalles. These favors are more than just gifts – they’re cherished mementos of their special day.
When selecting these favors, the couple often takes extra care to choose items that reflect their personal journey and tastes. This thoughtful exchange of gifts adds an extra layer of warmth to the celebrations, making the event even more memorable for everyone involved!
The traditional role of padrinos
In Spain, padrinos take on the roles typically filled by bridesmaids and groomsmen. These important figures are chosen by the wedding couple, although they’re usually the bride’s father and the groom’s mother. They serve as witnesses to the marriage, and often play a key role in planning and organizing the ceremony. The custom of padrinos is definitely one of the most heartwarming wedding traditions you'll find in Spain, and can add a personal touch to your special day.
The family-centered head table
Instead of a typical bridal party, the head table at a traditional Spanish wedding reception seats the bride, the groom, and their parents. This custom symbolizes the coming together of two families, not just two individuals, reflecting the importance of family in Spanish culture. These days, however, it’s also common for other close relatives to join the couple at the head table.
The exchange of 13 coins
A highly symbolic moment in a Spanish wedding is the exchange of 13 coins, known as arras. These coins, typically a gift from the padrinos, are kept in a decorative box and presented during the ceremony. While traditionally, the groom gives the arras to his bride, many modern couples choose to exchange the coins between them.
Either way, this captivating and timeless custom will surely bring a sparkle of enchantment to any Spanish wedding! It’s a beautiful symbol of the couple’s commitment to each other, their mutual trust, and their shared financial prosperity.
Another distinctive aspect of Spanish weddings is the use of orange blossoms in the ceremony. Most brides choose these flowers for their stunning beauty and the deep symbolism they carry in Spanish culture, representing purity, love and happiness. Their pristine white petals also add to the visual theme of the wedding by beautifully complementing the bride’s white dress.
The true charm of orange blossoms, however, lies in their ability to bloom and bear fruit at the same time. In Spain, this unique trait is often seen as a metaphor for a marriage filled with joy and prosperity. In short, by incorporating these sweet-smelling blossoms into your own Spanish wedding, you’ll not only create a romantic and enchanting ambiance - you'll also add a touch of Spain’s cultural symbolism to your ceremony!
Spanish bridal attire
When it comes to Spanish bridal attire, the elegance of lace takes center stage. Traditionally, Spanish brides would wear an exquisite lace headdress known as a mantilla. This delicate black veil, usually a cherished gift from their mother, was typically worn over a high comb called a peineta. Nowadays, it’s more common for brides to style the mantilla directly on their hair for a more contemporary look.
The wedding dress itself often features beautiful lace details, for instance on the collar, sleeves or hem. While historically, these gowns were black, today’s brides tend to prefer white lace dresses, creating a unique blend of tradition and modern fashion.
Spain’s traditional wedding dance
Weddings in Spain are known for their lively celebrations, and the wedding dance is a definite highlight! The Sequidillas Manchegas, a traditional folk dance from La Mancha, is a popular choice at many Spanish weddings. Involving not just the bride and groom but also their parents and grandparents, this cheerful dance represents the start of the couple’s new journey together.
It's also common for the wedding guests to participate in the Sequidillas Manchegas, by paying to dance with the bride. This custom, known as the "money dance", symbolizes good luck and happiness for the couple, while also helping them fund their new life. It's one of the most unique and fun wedding traditions you'll find in Spain!
The Sequidillas Manchegas isn’t the only Spanish wedding dance, however. In different regions of the country, such Andalusia, other dances like the passionate Flamenco might be more popular.
Dried rice or rose petals
After the ceremony, another enchanting custom awaits the newlyweds. As they exit the church or wedding venue, their guests line up to shower them with dried rice or rose petals. This beautiful Spanish tradition symbolizes the guests' wishes for fertility and prosperity for the couple.
Just picture this happy moment – rice or petals cascading down on you and your partner as you celebrate the beginning of your new life together, surrounded by friends and family. I can’t imagine a more captivating and festive ending to your Spanish wedding!
Which of these enchanting wedding traditions from Spain would you incorporate into your own wedding?
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