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Mexican Wedding Traditions

Attending the wedding of each of my aunts has created some of the fondest memories I have while growing up. Lily and I were both less than ten at the time but we always had so much fun wearing matching dresses, fancy gloves, and getting to be a part of all the fun craziness that came after the wedding ceremony.

Lupita + Lily at our tia Martha's wedding circa 1999-2000

Some of our tias circa 1999-2000 for our tia Martha's wedding

For this reason, we would love to share with you some of our favorite Mexican wedding traditions:

1. Dressing the Bride: This is a special moment for the group of people closest to the bride, whether it be friends or family or both. It brings forth the closeness and companionship that you share. It’s a unique and heartwarming feeling helping the bride get ready and literally seeing them glow from happiness.

Mommy buttoning up our sister, Gaby, for her wedding in April 2021

2. El Baile del Billete

The translation to English being The Dollar Dance, this tradition invites wedding guests to dance with the bride and groom with the condition that they pin a dollar bill to their clothing. Though essentially paying them for a dance (lol), it's seen more as a fun way to help the couple start their lives together. Money can range anywhere from a single dollar to 5’s, 10’s, 20’s, and even 100’s.

Our sister, Susy, opted for a house wedding and got to change out of her dress for the reception

3. La Vibora de la Mar: The Snake of the Sea (idk man, pretty close?) is a more reckless form of a conga line where everyone holds hands to form the chain of people. The catch here is that both the bride and groom stand on a chair and, while using the bride’s veil to form a bridge, the chain of wedding guests go under the bridge and try to tumble the groom or bride. Two or three people will usually hold onto them so that they don’t completely fall on their face. Typically there are two lines of people, those that join just to enjoy the game and those that like to be more…rowdy (for lack of a better word). The rowdy group is usually known for literally throwing people back into the crowd because of how fast they are going (mostly young boys wishing to be at the end of the line precisely for that reason).

The intensity of this was greater since it was inside our house lol

4. El Muertito: A bit of an eye roll because of the symbolism, The Dead Man is when the men basically carry the groom and begin undressing them to prepare them for their “funeral”. The groom is also usually tossed into the air a few times and the men have to catch them without dropping them. At the end, all of the groom's clothes are removed (privately of course) and then the men carry only their clothes since they are “no longer with them”. The bride will then collect the groom's clothes and dress him at the end.

Gaby's new husband being thrown around during el muertito lol

5. El Juego de la Liga: Much like the throwing of the bouquet, where whoever catches the bouquet is the next to “get married”, The Garter Game is where the groom removes the bride’s garter with their mouth (I know, scandalous!) and then tosses it into a group of men. The men, of course, will literally run away from it a few times before someone finally just grabs it.

6. El Caballo Dorado: There are two songs that this band sings that are a MUST at the end of every Mexican wedding and that is “No Rompas Mas” (which is the spanish version of “My Achy Breaky Heart”) and “Payaso de Rodeo”. The former must play before the latter and you better have some stamina for this one. The point is to not only stay on tempo of the song but to also dance all through both songs while also avoiding getting stepped on. It’s exhilarating and hilarious and you should really try this at least once!

Susy and dad sharing a dance

7. Take that centerpiece!: More of an unspoken tradition, it's not uncommon for the wedding guests to take the centerpieces home. For this reason, the centerpiece is usually custom made for wedding guests to take so that there is no loss in them going missing. Mexican mom’s will usually use these as a centerpiece for their table at home (or the bathroom?) for a while. Some wedding guests will even take two!

Photo by Henry Morales

Some honorable mentions that were not included in our list above are: the first dance between the bride and groom, cutting of the cake (and smothering on each other’s faces), the toast, and throwing the bouquet.

You can watch Gaby's highlight video below to see these and other shenanigans:

What unique traditions does your family/culture have at weddings? Let us know in the comments!

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