As I fulfilled my Maid of Honor duties this weekend (my little sister is getting married!), I thought it would be a great idea to share with you all some customs and traditions from my patria, Puerto Rico. Today’s topic: Puerto Rican wedding customs and traditions!
So, how are Puerto Rican wedding customs and traditions different from any other? First I shall say that, of course, not every Puerto Rican wedding is the same. Needless to say, not all follow these “customs and traditions” I’m going to write about today. However, it is very likely that all of them have at least one tradition or custom listed on this entry. So, what are some of them!?
Bride’s fam pays for wedding; groom’s fam pays for honeymoon
This is one of the Puerto Rican wedding customs and traditions that may have changed throughout the years. However, it is still somewhat expected for the bride’s family to pay for the whole wedding, while the groom’s family pays for the entire honeymoon. Then, gifts and monies collected by the newlyweds from guests are used to start their new life together. This way, newly weds don’t have to worry about debt from the wedding ceremony and honeymoon.
It is important to note, though, that many newlyweds make more money than their parents now and decide to incur the costs themselves or st least pinch in. Again, this varies from family to family. you would be surprised, though, at how ma parents don’t allow their kids to help, as if it’s a “family pride” thing of sorts. Interesting indeed!
Something borrowed, something new, something blue
Yes, it is one of the most prevalent Puerto Rican wedding customs and traditions, too! as it goes in many pars of the world, the bride wears a borrowed item, a new item, and a blue-colored item for the wedding ceremony and reception. It assumes good luck and a blessing to the union.
The bride’s bouquet
According to Puerto Rican wedding customs, the bride’s bouquet is made of amapolas, flamboyán flowers, and/or margaritas, as they are abundant in the island. Also, Puerto Rico has over 50 native orchid species, so orchids are quite popular as well. This means money saved on an expensive florist (bingo!). This, of course, is one of the many benefits of living in a tropical island, with year-long summers! 😉
The use of “capias” as wedding favors is, to this day, one of the most common Puerto Rican wedding customs. Another interesting fact? They are not only used for weddings, but also for quinceañeros, baptisms, First Communions, etc.
Attached to the capias are ribbons, which include the name of the newlyweds and the wedding date. These are usually saved by guests for many years in their homes. For example, my mom’s living room (and bedroom, actually!) in Puerto Rico is full of capias from different weddings and birthdays attended throughout the years. They are placed on shelves alongside family photos.
Puerto Rican wedding customs during the reception include a live band or DJ playing Latin music, Puerto Rican food such as pernil and arroz con gandules being served, and the personal giving of the capias or wedding favors to the guests personally by the newlyweds.
The first dance
Typically, a Puerto Rican waltz ó “danza criolla” is chosen. Youtube “La Borinqueña” for an example of how they sound like. Very beautiful and authentic 🙂 Such danza is used for the father & bride dance (if she is Boricua) and/or the newlyweds’ first dance.
The Doll is one of those Puerto Rican wedding customs that is a long-standing tradition, yet slowly dying. It involves placing a bride-look alike doll either on the main reception table or as cake topper. The exact reason for this is debated, but assumes good luck, as charms are usually placed around the doll and then given to guests as gifts, thanking them for their presence.
Another related Puerto Rican wedding tradition is to dress the Doll with a long skirt, place it on the guest gifts’ table. Then, the capias are attached to the doll’s skirt for the newlyweds to give to the guests later in the evening.
It is very uncommon not to find all types of Puerto Rican food on a Puerto Rican wedding. In fact, even if a gringo is marrying a Puerto Rican girl (or vice-versa), there will be at least both American and Puerto Rican dishes. A Puerto Rican getting married and not offering at least one traditional Boricua dish during the reception is basically a travesty.
Hope you enjoyed this short introduction to Puerto Rican wedding customs and traditions! It will be interesting to see how many of these hold true on my sister’s wedding in September and which other ones I was unaware of take place. This will be my very first wedding (that I can actually remember), so it will be interesting and very special 🙂
Do you know of any other Puerto Rican wedding customs? Share them!
What are some wedding customs and traditions in your home country?