Wedding traditions in Spain vary from other cultures, and they are also changing with the times.
Whether you’re planning a Spanish wedding, or you are simply attending one, you might like to have an insight into what you are going to experience.
As part of our wedding traditions of the world series, keep reading to discover the fascinating traditions of a Spanish wedding.
During a Spanish wedding
Like all weddings, Spanish couples go through an intense planning process to create a truly memorable experience for themselves and their guests. Once that the day is ready to go ahead, some traditions are followed, and other contemporary aspects are added to make the day extra special!
Traditionally, Spanish bridal attire will include a lace headdress, which is also known as a mantilla. The mantilla is a lace veil that the mother of the bride will have embroidered, or will have passed down to their daughter. Usually, it is paired with a high comb called a peineta, but the veil can still be worn without the comb.
Additionally, the dress will boast elegant lace in the sleeves, collar, or hem. In the past, the whole dress would be black lace, although this has progressed to brides opting for a white dress and mantilla.
Similar to many cultures around the world, the groom cannot see the dress until the wedding day!
One unique tradition at Spanish weddings is to cut the groom’s tie or the bride’s garter into small pieces to sell to guests. Initially, this tradition was used to raise money for the newlyweds, but now it is just for a little fun.
In many cultures, both engagement and wedding rings are worn on the left hand once a couple is married. In Spanish culture, however, women keep their engagement ring on their left hand, but wear their wedding ring on their right hand.
Family as a focus
Family is a huge focus at Spanish weddings.
One difference that you may notice from a British wedding is there will be no bridesmaids or groomsmen. Instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen, the couple chooses ‘wedding godparents’ which play a big part in their day. Often, the couple will choose their parents.
The chosen wedding godfather will sort and gift the wedding bouquet to the bride, alongside a poem that he has written or found.
Once the couple wed, they keep their surnames, but when a baby is born, it will get two last names, which is the mother’s maiden name and their father’s last name.
After the wedding
After the wedding, it is time for the reception. A Spanish wedding reception typically will consist of an extravagant meal, partying, and drinks!
Make sure you’re hungry!
The Spanish are passionate about food and express this throughout their receptions. Guests at a Spanish wedding can expect to receive a five-course meal (often the national cuisine) and a plethora of drinks!
On top of this, there is, of course, a wedding cake. Differing from other cultures, the wedding cake is closer to a flan or a tart. Typically, the bride and groom will feed each other a slice of cake before distributing it to guests.
Gifts for everyone
Gifts are involved throughout the whole Spanish wedding process.
Often, the bride is gifted 13 gold coins (also known as arras or unity coins), by the groom. This is symbolic gifting and is representative of the couple’s commitment to sharing goods and having a positive future together.
When it comes to choosing a gift for the newly-weds, money is often considered the best option. These days, guests are provided with a bank account to transfer money as a gift via electronic transaction. However, cash or cheques in an envelope are still accepted!
As a thank you, the bride and groom often hand out wedding favours, also known as detalles, to their guests. In the past, women received a small pin and men received a cigar. However, as times are changing, couples are adding more personalised gifts.