Your wedding day is an open invitation to celebrate your love story and culture. There are many beautiful ways to pay homage to your heritage, from traditions to music to food. For instance, Latin American wedding traditions, such as el lazo and las arras, allow you to honor your roots while creating an inclusive environment for your guests.

In addition to bringing your community together, you can host an authentic celebration that reflects you and your partner. This post will cover:

  • Common Latin American wedding traditions
  • Cultural elements in ceremonies and receptions
  • Latin songs to add to your playlist
  • Cuisine to consider for your wedding menu
  • Tips for planning a Latino-based wedding

At DJ Franco Events, we’ve had the opportunity to support many couples with their Latin American weddings through coordination, entertainment, and more. Join us as we explore popular traditions and tips to infuse your special day with meaning!

Houston Wedding Venue

An Overview of Latin American Wedding Traditions

If you don’t know where to begin, allow us to highlight some common practices to consider for your festivities.

La Serenata: Also known as a serenade, this is a pre-wedding custom where a groom sings to their beloved below their window. In some cases, loved ones perform alongside them. This event typically occurs the evening before the big day.

La Pedida: La pedida means proposal, and it’s a tradition where the groom’s family proposes to the bride’s family at the wedding ceremony. This gesture may have different nuanced meanings depending on the cultural influence. For instance, in Mexican culture, the proposal is an opportunity for families to discuss future wedding plans. In Peruvian culture, the proposal kicks off the first festivity of the celebration.

Las Arras: A translation for earnest money, las arras includes exchanging 13 coins between the couple. The offering symbolizes a commitment to provide and take care of each other.

El Lazo: The wedding lasso is a unity custom, physically bringing the couple together with a rope or a rosary. The officiant typically places the lasso over the couple’s shoulders as a figure-eight to represent the Bible’s early beginnings and recognize their union under God.

Note: In some ceremonies, the godparents, los padrinos and madrinas, wrap the rope around the couple.

El Baile de la Víbora: The snake dance is a reception festivity where the newlyweds create an arch with their arms while guests pass under, like a river. This dance symbolizes the rollercoaster of life and how their loved ones will always support them.

La Hora Loca: The crazy hour occurs at the end of the night to reenergize the crowds through music, costumes, performances, and more. It’s a beautiful reminder to celebrate life to the fullest.
Thinking about incorporating any of these elements into your special event? Our wedding planning team is all ears. Share your ideas with us today!

A Traditional Ceremony

Now that we’ve explored some Latin American wedding traditions, let’s discuss ways you can express your culture through your ceremony.

Wedding Venues and Officiant

Your event space is more than a pretty backdrop. It’s the setting for the biggest fiesta of your life. Catholic churches are a popular wedding option because of their religious roots in Latin America. However, many modern couples may select alternative locations, like outdoor gardens or estates. Set aside time to explore your favorite destinations with your fiancé(e).

As for the officiant, consider hiring a Catholic priest to lead your ceremony. They will likely oversee the vows, ring exchange, ceremonial rituals, and blessings.

Ceremony Traditions and Communion

The wedding ceremony includes several practices, such as:

  • La pedida, the proposal
  • Las arras, the exchange of coins
  • El lazo, the wedding lasso

You can also include mass and communion. It’s important to note that guests can only receive communion if they’re Catholic. Otherwise, they may remain in their seats or receive another blessing from the priest.

Vows are another key ceremonial event, where couples share their promises followed by a passage from the Bible.

After the ceremony, you can march to your reception in a wedding parade, la callejoneada. Many newlyweds hire mariachi bands to excite everyone for the next phase of festivities.

Latin American Wedding Reception

After completing the formalities, it’s time to party, starting with your music. We love helping couples customize their wedding playlists so everyone stays on the dance floor all night long!

Latino Wedding Music

Here are some popular genres that our couples love:

  • Salsa
  • Bossa nova
  • Latin pop
  • Reggaeton
  • Mariachi
  • Samba
  • Mariachi
  • Tango

And much more!

If you’re looking for some crowd favorites, you can never go wrong with:

  • Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony
  • Bailando by Enrique Iglesias ft. Gente De Zona
  • Escándalo by La Sonora Dinamita
  • Mi Cucú by La Sonora Dinamita

Need help personalizing your playlist? We’ve got you covered. With your input, we’ll curate a tracklist that tells your story and sets the stage for a memorable experience. Check out our entertainment services here!

Custom Wedding Menu and Signature Drinks

Like your music, you can offer a taste of your culture through your food. Latin dishes are diverse, featuring flavors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Cook up some inspiration with these delectable ideas:

  • Arroz con Pollo: The ingredients include chicken, rice, garlic, cumin, tomato, oregano, chili pepper, and a hint of lime.
  • Tamales: A staple in Mexican culture, tamales contain your choice of meat (shredded beef, chicken, or pork) wrapped in corn masa and steamed in corn husks.
  • Lechona: A roasted pig stuffed with peas, rice, spices, onions, and herbs.

You can balance the savory flavors with traditional desserts like:

  • Natilla Cubana: A creamy custard dressed in cinnamon.
  • Dulce de Leche: A caramel sauce to go with your main dessert. It pairs well with cookies and ice cream.
  • Flan: A custard dessert topped with caramel.
  • Tres Leches: A sponge cake featuring three types of milk. This treat is typical for celebrations such as birthdays and weddings.

As for signature beverages, consider offering classic margaritas, horchatas, watermelon agua frescas, and palomas. If you’re hiring a bartender, brainstorm a delicious drink menu with them.

Latin American Reception Traditions

El baile de la víbora, the snake dance, occurs before the cake cutting. Ask your MC to announce the dance and play music that gets progressively faster. Let your Latin wedding music set the tone for this tradition as your loved ones join in.

While we discuss dancing, you can break a move on the dance floor with merengue, bachata, and salsa. Consider incorporating these classic variations into your first dance or wedding party performance.

Before the night draws to an end, invite your guests to participate in a final hoorah for la hora loca. La hora loca may include noise-makers, props, confetti, exciting lighting designs, performers, and more.

Lucky for you, we have a diverse range of enhancements, from photo booths to karaoke, to end your festivities with a bang. Take a peek at our luxury enhancements here!

6 Tips for Planning a Latin American Wedding

Embrace your cultural traditions. Everything from your love story to your heritage is unique. Take this opportunity to carefully plan a celebration that resonates with you and your partner.

Communicate your vision with your vendors. If you want to weave your culture into your event, let your creative partners know and ask them for their professional input. They likely have experience planning weddings just like yours.

Get your loved ones involved. Just because it’s your big day doesn’t mean you have to plan everything alone. Ask for support from family and friends. If you have any questions about customs, you can gain insight from them.

Host a bilingual experience. Language is a great way to bridge the gap between generations and cultures. You can hire bilingual vendors to ease your guests into the festivities.

Hire a Latin DJ or band. A professional wedding DJ can connect with your loved ones, transform the atmosphere, and blend diverse beats and melodies into your soundscape.

Add personal touches. Consider honoring family members by showcasing pictures of them at your reception. You can also include a custom monogram, a photo booth, or an audio guestbook.

Whether you want one or all of these elements, we can help elevate your romantic occasion with our luxury enhancement services.

Plan an Exceptional Latin American Wedding

Whether you include staple dishes, signature drinks, or a full itinerary of traditions, you can expect a celebration that you will remember fondly for years. Plus, you can pass your favorite customs down to the next generation so they can celebrate in style.

A recap of Latin American wedding traditions:

  • La serenata
  • La pedida
  • Las arras
  • El lazo
  • La callejoneada
  • El baile de la víbora
  • La hora loca

As you plan for your upcoming wedding, we encourage you to embrace your heritage and infuse your event with cultural traditions that speak to you and your partner. If you need help honoring your roots, consider booking DJ Franco Events today!

We look forward to supporting your once-in-a-lifetime experience.


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