Have you been wondering about the wedding traditions of Puerto Rico? Maybe you are attempting to blend history and culture into your wedding and need some inspiration?
Or are you curious and want to know more? No matter the reason that brought you here, we have the answers for you!
Learning about the wedding traditions of the Caribbean island can be tricky, especially if you have never attended a Puerto Rican wedding.
The mainly Catholic country tends to follow a Catholic timeline when it comes to weddings, but there are some Latin cultures in there, and ones that Puerto Ricans have created themselves.
This can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when there are so many conflicting voices online talking about Puerto Rican weddings. Frustrated and stressed, you wonder if you will ever know what Puerto Rican wedding traditions are.
Puerto Rican wedding traditions can add a unique touch to your special day, whether you are of Puerto Rican descent or just appreciate their culture. Incorporating some of these traditions can make your wedding even more memorable and meaningful. So why not consider adding a few to your own wedding?
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to see 13 wonderful Puerto Rican wedding traditions you will love! We have a detailed list below for you to check out, so let’s dive in now!
1. Lots Of Food
First up, we have food, the center of any Puerto Rican wedding! It is traditional for heaps of local and cultural dishes to be served. Even if the wedding is between a Puerto Rican and someone of another culture or heritage, Puerto Rican food will be served, and a wide variety of it too!
Here’s a brief list of the most popular Puerto Rican foods at a wedding.
- Arroz con gandules
- Carne guisada
- Pollo guisado
- Pollo al horno
- Rellenos de papa
2. A Celebration That Lasts All Night
Next, we have a tradition that is common across Latin cultures. The wedding reception will last all night! This part of the wedding is considered an all-night dance party, where guests will mingle, drink, and make memories.
You can expect Purto Rican wedding receptions to continue past midnight, with music playing a vital role. Pop, classics, and traditional Latin music are often played. There might also be a group of folk dancers performing at the wedding, depending on the budget.
3. Capias (Ribbons As Wedding Favors)
Latin cultures like Cuban and Puerto Rican take extra care with the favors they give to wedding guests. A Puerto Rican tradition is for newlyweds to give capias to their wedding guests.
These are narrow strips of ribbon with the names of the bride and groom on one end and the wedding date on the other end. This is a sweet memento for the guests to cherish and one that separates Puerto Rican weddings from other cultures.
These ribbons are attached to the bridal bouquet with each ribbon having a piece of fern or abeto attached to it. The ribbon will then sit in the middle of the fern.
As part of the reception, the happy couple will cut each strip of ribbon individually and pin them to the guests. Not only is this an intimate way for the guests to receive their favors, but it provides them with an opportunity to speak to the newlyweds.
4. Bouquets Of Wildflowers And Fans
Poppies or amapola are the traditional flower that is often used in Puerto Rican weddings. The vibrant and beautiful flowers make them the perfect addition to a bridal bouquet!
They are often paired with margaritas, flamboyan, and any of the flowers native to Puerto Rico. There are over fifty, so the bride has plenty of choices!
Typically, bridesmaids and the maid of honor also carry Amapola flowers in their bouquets. These are either real flowers or artificial ones made from silk.
The wedding bouquets might also feature a fan. Fans are a traditional part of Puerto Rican attire for women. Wealthier women would have several fans that would match all of their outfits.
While this tradition is fairly dated now, many brides still choose to carry a fan in their bouquet.
5. Cafe Con Leche (Espresso) Served To The Newlyweds
Cafe con leche, otherwise known as espresso, is served to the bride and groom during the wedding. This was traditionally served in coconut cups, which some newlyweds still opt for.
Or, you can choose another cup or mug if you prefer. There are lots of variations here, especially for those that don’t like coffee!
A weaker coffee might be served instead of a strong espresso, it is all down to the preference of the couple!
6. Danza Criolla
Danza Criolla is a Puerto Rican waltz that many couples choose to dance as their first dance. This could also be a La Borniquena, another well-known waltz. The dance is often accompanied by Puerto Rican orchestra pieces made for ballroom dancing.
7. Doll On The Main Table
This tradition might sound a little unusual but trust us on this! A doll is placed at the head of the main table. This could be any doll that the couple has chosen, there are lots to choose from.
The only stipulation here is that the doll is wearing a wedding dress that matches the bride’s dress. The doll is given to the guests sometimes covered in charms. Sometimes the doll is also used as a cake topper.
There is a lot of debate about the purpose of the doll, but it is generally viewed as a symbol of gratitude and fortune.
Sometimes another doll will be at the wedding on the table where guests place their gifts. Here the doll will be wearing a long skirt with capias attached to it.
8. Coqui (Sounds Of A Tiny Frog)
While this isn’t part of every Puerto Rican wedding, it is one we wanted to include. Couples will opt to play coqui in the background while their wedding ceremony takes place. Coqui is the sound of a tiny tree frog native to Puerto Rico.
The sound is played to lift the romantic mood of the day!
9. El Lazo (Wedding Lasso)
After the vows have been exchanged, a lasso is wrapped around the couple. The lasso is usually a silk cord, silver rope, or rosary that is wrapped around the newlyweds. Wrapping a lasso around the couple represents the commitment and unity they are entering.
The lasso is sometimes referred to as a unity lace due to its purpose. Padrinos, the sponsors of the wedding, are in charge of wrapping the wedding lasso around the couple.
10. Tropical Decor
Puerto Rican weddings use lots of their national flora in their venues. This creates a bright and vibrant space for the wedding. It is common to find abeto and palm branches as part of the decorations, along with some of the 50 orchids native to Puerto Rico.
Centerpieces usually feature small palm trees and abeto ferns with seashells scattered to help emphasize the tropical theme. \
11. Las Arras (Gold Coins)
This tradition involves 13 gold coins, symbolizing Jesus and His twelve apostles. The coins also represent the husband’s promise to provide and care for the wife during marriage.
As part of the ceremony, the priest will bless the coins before handing them to the groom. Once the vows are exchanged, the groom gives the coins to the bride. The bride keeps the coins for the rest of their life.
Not only do we see this tradition in Puerto Rican weddings, but other cultures like Mexican.
12. Wedding Cake Flavors
Next, we have wedding cakes. Traditional Puerto Rican wedding cakes feature one of three flavors, pineapple, coconut, or rum.
The design of the cake tends to match the flavor, pineapple themed wedding cakes are hugely popular! There might also be seashells on the exterior of the cake.
13. Who Pays For The Wedding?
Finally, it is tradition for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding. The groom’s family will then pay for the couple’s honeymoon.
This tradition has changed lately, with the couples paying for the wedding themselves, especially if the couple makes more than their parents.
Related post: What to Wear with a Purple Dress to Wedding
And there you have it,13 wonderful Puerto Rica wedding traditions you will love! Whether you were looking to learn more about traditional weddings or gain some inspiration, we hope you found what you are looking for today!
Serena & Dominic are a married couple and parents to 3 wonderful children. They plan weddings, run multiple small businesses, and curate wedding events.
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