Latinx Heritage: Two oversized puppets, called mojigangas standing behind three members of a mariachi band.

14 Ways to Celebrate Latinx Heritage at Your Wedding

Paying Homage with Special Nods
Photo by Lindsey and Yoni

Picture this: You've found the person who has stolen your corazón—and now it's time to plan your wedding day. Luckily, inspiration is all around us, and in practically every corner of the world. From the west coast of Mexico to the northeastern region of Brazil, there are so many unique Latin American wedding traditions couples gravitate toward while planning their weddings. For receptions with hundreds of your favorite people and intimate gatherings alike, Latinx heritage is celebrated through food, faith, fun, and so much more.

Whether you've grown up attending relatives' weddings with these nods to culture and family, or simply want to pay respect to the region in which you're saying, "I do," it's understandable that you'll have plenty of questions (Like, what exactly are wedding arras?). We'll go over some of the countless Latinx wedding traditions, and provide examples from real couples featured on our site.

Before we get started, let's break down what "Latinx heritage" means. "Latinx" is a gender-neutral term used to refer to people of Latin American descent. Depending on their background, individuals might also refer to themselves as Latino or Latina (an abbreviated version of the Spanish word latinoamericano/a), Latin American, or Hispanic. Or, it's most common for Latinx people to specifically identify themselves by their or their family's country of origin (think Mexican, Spanish, and so on).

If you're curious about wedding traditions in Mexico and other Latin American countries, we've hand-selected a few that made certain celebrations even more sentimental and special. That being said, there are 33 countries within these regions, and more than 659 million people with Latinx heritage. Plus, the U.S. is home to more than 60 million Latinx people. So, we did our research and found a wide array of ideas, but this list comprises a handful of the many Latinx wedding traditions out there. And hopefully, one (or more!) of these can inspired your own upcoming festivities.


Supporting Local Latinx Vendors

When Federika said, "I do" to her husband Juliano, it was crucial that she collaborate with local vendors near their venue in Antigua, Guatemala. She's Italian and Venezuelan and he's Brazilian, so it was incredibly important for them to fuse their cultures with Guatemala's existing inspiration. Everything from the placemats to strands of brightly-hued pom-poms were all about highlighting these craftspeople. Not to mention, savory Venezuelan snacks and Brazilian wedding music were just a couple of the cultural references that made up their extravaganza.

The food, figurines, and ceiling decor from this wedding show exactly how you can honor each person's Latinx heritage in a multicultural celebration, while also recognizing the history and culture of the country you're visiting. 

"We worked with a really talented decorator, and she was from Guatemala. When I started looking into Antigua and the culture behind it, the use of vibrant colors and these crafts and things that were locally made was so important. These were traditional birds made by local artisans from wood and were hand-painted in bright oranges, bright reds, bright pinks." - Federika, the bride

Latinx Heritage: Strings of multi-colored pom-poms hanging from the ceiling.
Latinx Heritage: A wooden bird figurine on a reception table at a wedding in Guatemala.

Nodding to Nostalgia

Sometimes, all you need is to create a vibe. The best evidence of that? For Charlene and Xavier, who grew up in the same town in Puerto Rico, their pandemic-style, virtual event was filled with balloons and colorful flowers. While it's not necessarily one of the classic Puerto Rican wedding traditions, the time and care spent on decor brought out their desired aesthetic, which ultimately served as an homage to their home.

Another simple way these two added Puerto Rican wedding traditions was saying their vows in the most authentic way possible. And because they fell in love speaking Spanish, it only felt right to conduct the ceremony in their native language.

“We wanted a specific vibe filled with Puerto Rican nostalgia, we wanted our guests to have a sense of familiarity and worked together along with our host Desiree, and DJ Leslly to make all transitions feel as smooth as possible during the day of the virtual wedding.” — Charlene, the bride

Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom sitting on a green couch with their dog, surrounded by flowers and balloons.

Bringing Las Arras y El Lazo to Your Ceremony

Having las arras de boda, or wedding coins, at your ceremony is one of the most prominent Mexican Catholic wedding traditions, and there are typically 13 to represent Jesus and his 12 apostles. These are gifted by the madrina and padrino (godmother and grandfather) during the ceremony, who also place a lasso (el lazo) across the couple's shoulders. The significance of the wedding lazo is that it represents the couple uniting in God's eyes.

While madrinas y padrinos directly translates to "godmothers and grandfathers," these figures are a major part of your wedding ceremony. It's quite an honor to receive this title, and el padrino and la madrina's role is to gift las arras de boda, drape the el lazo wedding rosary around the couple's shoulders, and serve as witnesses during the ceremony. The wedding arras and lasso are one of the many parts of a Catholic mass, and this Mexican wedding tradition will likely be spoken in Spanish exclusively.

This is one of the Mexican wedding traditions that was incorporated into Melissa and Jesus's Tuscan fête, proving that you can incorporate your Latinx heritage in faraway locales too. 

"We also personalized the ceremony with a musical memoir to my father, who passed away the previous year and we paid tribute to our Mexican heritage by including 'las arras' (exchange of gold coins) and the 'lasso' (the beaded rope) as part ofthe ceremony." - Melissa, bride

Latinx Heritage: A below-the-shoulders view of a bride and groom with a lasso adorned with a cross.
Latinx Heritage: Gold coins and a tiny gold trunk-like container on top of a lace-trimmed cloth.
Latinx Heritage: A lasso or lazo with a cross on it, hanging on a hook on a rock wall.

Wearing a Mantilla Veil

Originally hailing from Spain, la mantilla is a lace veil or shawl that's worn over the bride's head and shoulders. Bride Ashton donned one during their outdoor ceremony in Savannah, Georgia, to pay homage to her husband Andy's Latinx heritage (his family is from Chile). Plus, bride Jessica wore a mantilla veil when she married MLB pitcher Jacob Faria in Newport Beach, California. These veils are worn in black or white, and are now one of the Mexican wedding traditions that reflect the country's Spanish influences. 

Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom embracing near hedging and a pathway in California.
Latinx Heritage: An up-close image of a bride wearing a mantilla veil and holding a bouquet of white flowers.
Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom getting married on the steps of a church with their wedding party looking on.

Walking with Sky-Scraping Mojigangas

A Mexican wedding tradition that uniquely transports you and your guests to the reception? A parade from the church with mojigangas! Essentially, they're large puppets that resemble the wedding couple, and are part of most celebrations that take place in the streets of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. These figures are typically a whopping 15-feet tall and made of paper mache, and the concept was originally brought over from Spain in the 1600s. Back then, and before they became a significant parts of wedding traditions in Mexico, they were very-appropriately called gigantes.

In their post-Mexican wedding bliss, two couples—Nikki and Nick and Wendy and Chico—were accompanied by their mojigangas as they paraded through the streets. 

“They are usually joined by live music (in this case, a mariachi band). They were super fun and served as a guide for everyone to walk from the chapel to the cannery.” - Nikki, the bride

Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom kissing with mojigangas and a mariachi band behind them.
Latinx Heritage: Two oversized puppets, called mojigangas standing behind three members of a mariachi band.
Latinx Heritage: Two oversized puppets, called mojigangas standing behind three members of a mariachi band.

Breaking the Bell, Joining the Family

In Guatemalan weddings, it's common for the mother of the groom to take a white bell (full of things like rice, grains, and flour) and smash it, as a way to welcome her new in-law into family.


Participating in the Peruvian Cake Pull (and More!)

One of the Peruvian wedding traditions involves giving your cake baker an important task: placing ribbons underneath the cake, one of which has a ring attached to it. Traditionally, the single women at the wedding pick a string to pull, and whoever draws the ribbon with the ring is believed to be the next person walking down the aisle.

For their big day, Caroline and José celebrated with nods to the groom's Peruvian heritage: cozy shawls from Lima and cocktails inspired by the country (including Rio de Ginero, a play on words with Rio de Janeiro).

Latinx Heritage: A bar setup with two barrels and a sign with the drink menu at an outdoor reception.
Latinx Heritage: Multicolored shawls from Lima, Peru, in a woven basket.

Incorporating the Country's Architecture

Finding unique ways to highlight your surroundings can serve as another tie-in for your event, whether or not you personally have Latinx heritage to honor on your big day. Meaghan and Fernando selected a 17th century Portuguese palace for their 80-person fête, and a local cake baker brought the venue's colorful accents onto the dessert table.

“Tuk-tuks whisked us off to the dreamy Palacio Marquese de Fronteira adorned in 17th century Portuguese tiles where we were greeted by the stunning tile inspired cake by Tania Sergio of Tbakes.” - Meaghan, the bride

Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom embracing near a tiled outdoor archway in Lisbon, Portugal.
Latinx Heritage: A three-tiered blue and white wedding cake topped with white and pink flowers.

Making Moves with Music

Mariachi is tied to Mexican wedding traditions, but it's not uncommon to hear these musical stylings at other Latin American celebrations. And in the Dominican Republic, guests will need to prepare for the merengue dance. The drums- and brass-heavy music will certainly keep the party going into the early hours of the morning (another classic Latin American wedding tradition!).

There's also reggaeton, which originated in Puerto Rico and blends American hip hop with Latin American and Caribbean music. This style of music was imperative to bride Nane, who was married in Costa Rica and shared in a blog post, "I hired my favorite DJs: the guys from Sad Boys Club. If you don't know them you should, they are the creators of one of the most iconic parties in San José at the moment, and their style mixes a lot of hip-hop with a bit of pop nostalgia and the most important thing for me: reggaeton." Whether you're interested in bringing in Puerto Rican wedding traditions, or love the idea of adding more tunes to your playlist, reggaeton is definitely what you'll need to really get the party started.

PJ and Mark, Kristina and David, and Adriana and Victor were three of the many couples who entertained their guests with a mariachi band. Together, all three prove how you can feature this Mexican wedding tradition day or night, and in the U.S. or internationally. 

"As Victor and I are both Hispanic, we wanted to incorporate our Latin roots by having a mariachi band. Our DJ also made sure to play a blend of salsa, merengue, bachata and American dance music." - Adriana, the bride

Latinx Heritage: A mariachi band performing at a wedding in Mexico.
Latinx Weddings: A bride and groom kissing outdoors with a mariachi band playing behind them.
Latinx Heritage: Two grooms dancing with a mariachi band behind them at their wedding in Puerto Rico.

Making it Rain with El Baile del Billete 

Among the many wedding traditions in Mexico and throughout Latin America, this one is all about generosity. During el baile del billette, or the money dance, guests typically pin money onto the wedding couple. One of the most lively Cuban and Mexican wedding traditions, this is guests' way of "paying" to dance with the wedding couple, so be prepared to hit the dance floor (and don't forget to bring a few dollars)!

There's also the sea snake dance or vibora de la mar, which involves the couple standing on chairs and creating an arch with their arms, which guests walk (or dance!) through. In a Brazilian wedding, it's also common to have a "heel-and-toe dance," during which the bride's gold shoes are placed on the dance floor and filled with money. These Brazilian and Mexican wedding traditions are all about taking over the dance floor and showing your excitement for the happy couple.


Partying with Props for La Hora Loca

If there's one thing that's important at Latinx weddings, it's la hora loca, or the crazy hour. During la hora loca wedding guests are encouraged to continue the fun and keep the party going. Wedding reception party favors, or cotillón, are staples, so items like glow sticks, masks, and more are handed out to make the celebration even more lively. We love how grooms Fernando and Kevin put their own spin on la hora loca with an unforgettable addition: drag queens. And because their wedding fell on Halloween, Ashton and Andy handed out on-theme items like Batman masks and flapper headpieces during their hora loca.

"La hora loca, which is a Dominican tradition, is always one of the best parts of a Dominican wedding. Ours was that much better because our planner was able to find one with drag queens (as we had hoped) that just livened the entire party and got everyone on their feet for the rest of the night.” - Kevin, the groom


Latinx Heritage: Two grooms dancing during their wedding reception with drag queen performers.
Latinx Heritage: Three stacks of Batman masks at a table at a wedding reception in Georgia.
Latinx Heritage: A bride passing to take picture with her mother while dancing during the crazy hour (la hora loca) at their wedding.

Commemorating Your Day with Capias

Of all the Puerto Rican wedding traditions, this serves as a reminder of the couple's big day. Most often, these are personalized favors with ribbons and a tag featuring the couple's names and their wedding date.


Serving Up Sweet and Savory Treats

One throughline among all Latin American countries? An appreciation for food. Gathering your guests for delicious bites throughout your wedding is the perfect way to honor your Latinx heritage or celebrate the country where your venue is located. For example, Javier and Nika sent all of their guests home with cacao from Ecuador for a sentimental party favor—and the gift that truly kept on giving. And for Federika and Juliano's event, they brought out a popular Brazilian wedding dessert: brigadeiros (a delicious combination of sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and chocolate sprinkles).

If you're interested in the culinary wedding traditions in Mexico, a classic Mexican wedding cake is made with pineapples and pecans. And trust us, you can't really go wrong with a tequila cart.

"As with all events, it was very important to honor where our couple had come from, so all of our stationery text doubled in both English and Spanish—we even had fresh cacao all the way from Ecuador to honor Javier's family. Trust me when I say, this made the best hot chocolate anyone has ever had!" - Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events, planner

Latinx Heritage: Tubes of Ecuadorian cacao that served as party favors for a wedding reception.
Latinx Heritage: A cart full of tequila made in Mexico.

Dancing All Night (and Morning) Long

A key Mexican wedding tradition is la tornaboda, which signifies the after-party. It's usually spent with your VIPs, allowing you to spend more time with your closest friends and family. And make sure you have comfy dancing shoes, no matter where your Latinx wedding is—these festivities are known to last through the morning hours!

Latinx Heritage: A bride and groom dancing with professional entertainers at their wedding reception in Guatemala.

Latinx heritage is shared among millions of people all over the globe. And whether you're near or far from where you or your relatives grew up, wedding traditions in Mexico and throughout Latin America help bring your culture and identity into the most important day of your life. From Puerto Rican to Brazilian wedding traditions, you're sure to discover the ideas and activities that feel the most authentic to you and your partner.

"At the end, I really think that the day of your wedding is about incorporating details that represent you as a couple," says Federika. "Not necessarily only your culture—but things that you love."

Now, we have one quick question: Can we score an invite?