When you attend Latino weddings, you will definitely see a number of differences these weddings have when you compare them to traditional American weddings. You will often find that these Hispanic weddings have quite a number of old fashioned traditions that date back to hundreds of years still being used during the ceremony and even during the reception. Some of these traditions and customs include the choice of where to marry, the decorations and colors that are to be used at the wedding, who walks down the aisle with the bride and the groom, who is part of the wedding party and even what colors the bride and the groom should wear. Some wedding shirts are worn at times instead the normal tuxedo shirt and jacket.
You will also find that most Latino weddings you attend, if not all of them, start off with the wedding mass that is officiated by a Catholic priest. The ceremony often involves a few age old symbolisms like the giving of the arras or thirteen coins, the ate el nudo or the tying of the knot, the presence of the padrinos and madrinas during the wedding or godfathers and godmothers and the wearing of the traditional mantilla as the bridal veil. Other symbols are also used as gifts given to the couple.
After the mass, you will find that the receptions of these Latino weddings are both a feast for the palate and a feast for the other senses. Latin food is always abundant and you will often find appetizers like empanadas, pasteles and tapas as part of the menu. Arroz con pollo or chicken with rice, paella, ropa vieja or beef stew and rice and beans are often part of the main course. Dessert often comes in the form of plantains that are prepared a number of ways, custards and small cakes soaked in rum and loaded with nuts and dried fruits. Music is often provided by a Latin band or a Mariachi band and dancing, eating and drinking lasts until the wee hours of the morning.
The family of the bride and groom are the ones that get there early to setup and they are the last ones to leave after they clean up the place. One thing to remember about Latinos is that everyone will pitch in to help out with funding or the labor. Aunts, uncles and cousins will stay late as well to make sure all wedding props are put away.