How to dance at a mexican wedding

The 7 Essential Mexican Wedding Traditions

Mexican wedding reception traditions are some of the most elaborate and fun for guests. From dancing to food and a very meticulous wedding ceremony, guests are sure to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you’ve never been to one of these weddings, here are seven essential Mexican wedding traditions that you’ll experience.

Planning a traditional Mexican wedding? As a wedding photographer in Dallas, I’ve been fortunate to photograph several Mexican weddings and weddings of diverse and mixed cultures. If you have any questions or would like to contact me, I’d be happy to connect.

Updated: 11/16/2021

Table of Contents

7 Essential Mexican Wedding Traditions:

1. Padrinos and Madrinas

Padrinos and madrinas are wedding sponsors. Think of them as your wedding godparents. In fact, the tradition actually has roots in the custom of choosing godparents as mentors for baptisms, confirmations and marriages.

Along with providing advice and guidance, padrinos and madrinas make financial contributions in Mexican weddings. They may pay for the engagement party or items needed for the ceremony, such as:

  • El lazo (lasso)
  • Las arras matrimoniales (coins)
  • The Bible used in the ceremony

It is an honor to be chosen to serve as a madrina or padrino. Typically, these individuals are married couples themselves who have watched the bride or groom grow up. You can have multiple madrinas and padrinos. It’s not uncommon for couples to have two to four sets.

2. El Lazo (Lasso)

The wedding lasso, or el lazo, symbolizes unity; a joining of two lives. In traditional Mexican weddings, unity ceremony is performed after the couple exchanges vows. Then, the madrinas and padrinos place the wedding lasso over the couple’s shoulders in a figure-eight shape, which represents a new beginning in the Bible.

The lasso can be an oversized rosary, a silk cord or a flower garland. It’s typically joined in the middle by a crucifix.

The ceremony is followed by a prayer asking to bless the union. At the end of the ceremony, the lasso is removed and kept as a memento of this special day.

3. Las Arras Matrimoniales (13 Coins)

The lasso can be an oversized rosary, a silk cord or a flower garland. It’s typically joined in the middle by a crucifix.

The ceremony is followed by a prayer asking to bless the union. At the end of the ceremony, the lasso is removed and kept as a memento of this special day.

4. Mariachi

Couples may hire mariachis to sing religious songs and hymns during the ceremony and at the reception. The reception music is more upbeat and festive to celebrate the couple’s big day and get everyone out on the dance floor.

5. La Vibora de la Mar (Sea Snake Dance)

The Sea Snake Dance, or La Vibora de la Mar, is a traditional dance performed by the bride and groom. The couple stands on opposite chairs and joins hands to create an arch. Family and friends pass under the arch while holding hands and dancing.

The couple must not break the snake formation. As the music gets faster, it gets increasingly more difficult for the couple to keep it together. This tradition is so much fun and it really helps to bring everyone together.


Tossing the Groom

The tossing of the groom, also known as el muertito, is when the males get together, lift the groom over their shoulders and toss him into the air several times. Occasionally, they’ll also pass around the groom’s shoes and leave money or gifts inside.

7. Dollar Dance

The dollar dance, also known as the money dance, is a tradition of unknown origins, but it’s practiced in cultures around the world.

At a Mexican wedding, guests will “pay” for a dance with either the bride or groom by pinning dollars to their clothing. This gives them some rare one-on-one time with the couple and an opportunity to wish them good fortune.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do Mexican weddings toss the groom?

Called the “el muertito,” Mexican weddings are unique in the fact that they have a special event where all of the male guests throw the groom into the air.

During this time, the groom’s shoes are removed and guests stuff gifts into his pockets.
Shoes are often passed around for guests to fill with money. While the event is a popular one, there’s very little information on the significance of el muertito.

What can I expect at a Mexican wedding reception?

Mexican wedding receptions are a major event, and if you’re lucky enough to attend, you’re in for a magical night. First, you’ll be in for a major feast with all of your favorite Mexican cuisine, including:
• Meat dishes, such as chiles rellenos and spicy stews
• Spicy rice and salsa
• Mole blanco, or a delicious sauce made from nuts and chili peppers that are blended together
• Dessert table, which is the center of the reception’s décor
• Cookies, candies and chocolates
• Elaborate wedding cakes

However, food isn’t the only thing that you have to look forward to during a reception. You’ll also be dancing the night away. Of course, the Mexican wedding traditions outlined above will also be part of the equation.
You can expect mariachis to play during the reception, and the wedding, too. Hymns and religious songs are common during mass, but they also make their way into the wedding reception.

Most weddings will include an open bar with all of your favorite traditional Mexican beer and alcohol, such as tequila and margaritas. Kids will also be given a non-alcoholic drink, called aguas frescas, which is flavored water.
Of course, adults that prefer non-alcoholic drinks can also request flavored water.
Tequila shots are often passed around during the event, so if you do drink, be prepared to have your own supply of shots.

Aside from food and drink, you can also expect a lot of ornate dances, such as:
• La Vibora de La Mar, which is a bride and groom-centric dance that involves guests running through the arch that the bride and groom form with their hands. As the music gets faster, the dancing speed increases and guests have to work diligently not to break the “snake chain.”
• Dollars are pinned to the attire of guests, where males will pay for dancing with the bride and females pay for a dance with the groom.

Depending on the couple and their preference, the festivities may end for the night and continue the next day. However, many couples also opt for the La Tornaboda, which is a unique event where only special guests are welcome to attend.

What does Arras mean?

In Spanish, the word “arras” means earnest money. During the wedding ceremony, the groom will hold 13 coins in his hands and offer them to the bride. The highly religious symbolism represents Jesus and his apostles.
When the bride accepts the arras, this means that she trusts the groom.

However, the coins can also be 12 gold coins that represent the months of the year and a platinum coin, which is meant for the less fortunate.

The bride and groom will choose a couple to provide the las arras. Typically, the godparents will provide the coins as a gift to the couple. Of course, the coins can also be represented in other ways, such as through jewels.

How long do Mexican weddings last?

Due to the many Mexican wedding reception traditions outlined above, the normal Mexican wedding reception can last up to 2 days. However, the actual wedding ceremony itself lasts around 1 hour.

Mexican wedding traditions are filled with meaning, religious connotations and are beautiful and elegant. While the wedding itself lasts for around one hour, it’s not uncommon for the reception to be an all-day affair – sometimes, a two-day affair.

16 Mexican Wedding Traditions to Know


Mexican weddings tend to be large family affairs, oftentimes even treated as family reunions. Everyone from all sides of the family is invited, along with handfuls of friends, which means guest lists often exceed 200 people. Whether or not you’re related to the couple—if you’re celebrating, eating, and dancing together, then you’re family.

Mexicans are overwhelmingly Catholic, so most Mexican weddings are rooted in faith and take place in a Catholic church. If you’re invited to a Mexican wedding, it’s helpful to gain an understanding of the symbols and customs you’ll see in order to fully appreciate the intricacies of the ceremony and their significance to the couple’s life together.

“Mexican weddings are very festive,” says Father Ryan Zamora Carnecer, the pastor at Divine Providence Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. “Many times there are mariachis that play during the mass, and the church is beautifully decorated with flowers and colorful decorations. At the same time, it’s very faith-based, and there’s a focus on God and our Blessed Mother, Mary, to guide the couple through this journey.”

Meet the Expert

Father Ryan Zamora Carnecer is the pastor at Divine Providence Catholic Church, which is part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. He’s been serving Hispanic communities for over ten years and performed at hundreds of Mexican weddings. 

Read on for the most common traditions you'll see at a Mexican wedding. 

9 Catholic Wedding Traditions You Need to Know

01 of 16

Los Padrinos y Madrinas


Los padrinos y madrinas are chosen by the couple and play a significant part in the wedding. They’re like godparents, and often sponsor portions of the wedding, like purchasing the Bible or other elements of the ceremony, giving the readings during mass, and hosting the bridal party. There are no defined roles and responsibilities for los padrinos y madrinas, and no minimum or limit to how many can be included. It’s an honor and privilege to be asked, and those who are asked are often examples of faith, love, and devotion that the couple would like to emulate in their marriage.

02 of 16


Photo by Addison Jones

Occasionally, the couple will hire mariachis to sing the hymns and religious songs performed during mass, as well as at the reception.

03 of 16

Church Ceremony


Marriage is one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic faith, along with sacraments like baptism, confirmation, and reconciliation. The church is considered the house of God, and it is a place of worship, so Catholics consider it very important to perform this holy sacrament in the church. “The rite of marriage is not just between two individuals, but also God's presence,” says Father Ryan. “It’s their prayer, so that’s why it’s inside the church.” Depending on the couple, certain parts or the entirety of the ceremony might be in Spanish. “Even if a couple primarily speaks English, they may ask that the wedding be performed in Spanish for their parents and grandparents,” says Father Ryan. You’ll often see both parents walking their respective children down the aisle. Mexican culture honors both parents equally, and walking their child down the aisle symbolizes both parents’ consent to the marriage.

04 of 16



Mexican weddings take place within a mass, which is similar to the mass that takes place every Sunday, but with the addition of marriage rituals. Those rituals include the exchange of consent (or vows), and the nuptial blessing, which we’ll get into later.

05 of 16

Kneeling Pillows


At different points throughout the mass, the couple (along with guests in the pews) will kneel to pray. Los padrinos y madrinas will often gift these kneeling pillows to them, typically white and embroidered with lace. The couple will keep the pillows as mementos of their special day.

06 of 16

Exchange of Consent


“The exchange of vows is essential to the marriage rite, where each one exchanges their consent and is followed by a reading from a Bible,” says Father Ryan. After the traditional mass, the pastor performs the Exchange Of Consent, otherwise known as vows. By promising before God and the rest of the church to love each other faithfully for the rest of their lives, the couple forms an unbreakable covenant.

07 of 16

Ring Exchange

Photo by Phil Chester

The couple will exchange rings as a symbol of their love and commitment to one another.

08 of 16

Las Arras Matrimoniales (Marriage Coins)

Getty Images/Edward Olive

The arras are 13 gold coins inside an ornate gold box, and they’re often a gift from los padrinos y madrinas. During the ceremony, the pastor will bless them, and the groom presents these 13 coins to his bride as a gift. This Mexican tradition signifies the groom's commitment to supporting the bride and serves as a representation of Jesus and his 12 apostles to show that their relationship to God is crucial to the success of their marriage. “The coins remind the couple that their treasure is now one, and they will share in all that they have together,” says Father Ryan. “At the same time, it reminds them to help those who have less than them.”

09 of 16

Liturgy of the Eucharist (Communion)


Communion takes place after the vows because receiving the eucharist as their “first meal” together signifies the newlyweds’ reliance on God to sustain and support them during their marriage. “You're not supposed to receive the Holy Communion if you’re not Catholic, so guests can stay in their seats if they’d like, but if you would like to receive a blessing, put your hands over your chest in an X and the priest will bless you when you come up to the altar,” says Father Ryan.

10 of 16

El Lazo (Wedding Lasso)


El lazo is a unity ceremony performed after the exchange of vows using a lasso to join the couple. The lasso could be anything, but it’s typically an oversized rosary or a silk cord. El lazo is placed over the couple by los padrinos y madrinas and signifies their new status as one in the eyes of the Lord. “The lasso is a symbol of their mutual support for each other in carrying their duties and responsibilities as a couple,” says Father Ryan.

11 of 16

The Nuptial Blessing

Photo by Phil Chester 

At the end of the ceremony, the priest will perform the Nuptial Blessing, which is a prayer for the couple that unites them as “one flesh. ” The priest asks God to watch over them and prays that they may be faithful to each other and live a long, happy life together.

12 of 16

Presentation of the Bouquet


It’s common for Mexican couples to present the bridal bouquet to the Virgin Mary after the ceremony and ask for her blessing. “We are praying with Mary to ask for her intercessory prayer that their desires as a couple be heard,” says Father Ryan. A second bouquet is prepared ahead of time for the bride to carry in photos and at the reception.

13 of 16

La Callejoneada (Wedding Parade)


La Callejoneada is a parade that takes place after the wedding ceremony. Led by the upbeat music of mariachis, la callejoneada is very similar to a Second Line that might take place at a wedding in New Orleans. It’s a walking and dancing celebration that takes guests from the ceremony to the reception and gets them in the mood to party all night.  

14 of 16

Wedding Reception

 Photo by Katie Ruther

Mexican wedding receptions are some of the best parties you’ll ever attend. From the never-ending dancing to lively mariachi music, and the incredible food and desserts, it’s a celebration that goes well into the night, and sometimes even into the next day. Traditional Mexican wedding food includes things like tacos, tamales, pork carnitas, chiles rellenos (stuffed poblano peppers), enchiladas mole, and more. Variety is the key here: multiple types of meat, sauces, and salsas will all be options.

Most Mexican weddings will have an open bar, serving everything from traditional Mexican beers and tequila to margaritas. You’ll likely be handed a shot of tequila at some point, at which point you might hear a common Spanish toast: “¡Arriba (up), abajo (down), al centro (to the center), pa' dentro (to the inside)!” Some Mexican weddings will serve aguas frescas for the kids and non-drinkers, which is a sweet, flavored water beverage. Traditional flavors include horchata (rice and cinnamon), tamarind, limon (lime), and sandía (watermelon).

Many Mexican people love sweets, and will likely have a whole table stacked with elaborate displays of cakes, candies, and cookies to choose from. Aside from the traditional wedding cake that the couple will cut together, treats might include traditional Mexican desserts like tres leches cake, flan, polvorones (known as Mexican wedding cookies), buñuelos (fried fritters), and pan dulce (sweet bread).

15 of 16

Special Dances

 Photo by Katie Ruther 

La Vibora de La Mar (the Sea Snake Dance) is a song and dance where the bride and groom stand on chairs opposite one another and form an arch, which guests pass through while holding hands and dancing. The goal is to not break the snake formation, and that gets harder as the music gets faster.

As for the money dance, guests “pay” for a dance with the just-married duo by pinning dollars on their attire. It’s a way to secure some one-on-one time with the newlyweds—which is rare in large Mexican weddings—and to extend best wishes to the happy couple.

16 of 16

La Tornaboda (After Party)


La tornaboda is a smaller get-together held after the larger reception, or sometimes the next day, exclusive to family and close friends. If they get together the next day, they’ll also use this time together to open gifts. While everyone has a chance to celebrate at the big party, but family is at the heart of Mexican culture, so this is a time where those closest to the couple get to enjoy and celebrate the newlyweds in a more intimate and personal way.

10 Surprising Facts About Wedding Traditions and Where They Came From

Mexican wedding! – Ocean of holidays

(Organization and holding of a wedding in the Mexican style in Moscow.)

The fashion for themed weddings came to us not so long ago and one of the most successful concepts is the Mexican wedding or the wedding in the Latin style. Few people have been to Mexico at least once, but everyone is well aware of what kind of land it is and what customs there are. Thanks to the films of Quentin Tarantino and not only, we fell in love with this country and we like incendiary melodies and Spanish dances! This material is about how you can organize a “Mexican” wedding on your own, and if you need help, we are ready to provide support:

  • Wedding packages
  • Organization of themed weddings
  • Organization of the ransom of the bride
  • Show programs for the wedding
  • wedding video
  • Offsite registration of weddings

Mexican wedding is a Catholic wedding ceremony and feast with national songs and dances accompanied by live music. The ceremony is usually held in a church, but it happens that right on the ranch, in a clearing, a low podium is erected that is draped. They put tables on it. All this is decorated with flowers and a ceremony is held right on the ranch. To do this, they invite a clergyman or a local judge who has the right to legalize the marriage.

Mexican wedding invitations are usually traditional. This is a postcard that the parents of the bride and groom send to the guests on their behalf. In Mexico, it is the parents who are the organizers of the wedding.

The wedding ceremony is the most solemn part of the Mexican wedding. First, the groom comes to the altar. The guests are seated in the hall. To the music, the father of the bride brings his daughter to the altar and hands it over to the groom. Rings at the ceremony are brought by the smallest guests of the holiday. You will be surprised, but at a Mexican wedding, the bride and groom see their wedding rings for the first time. To prepare for such an event in Moscow, you need to decorate the venue or rent the hall of a Mexican restaurant.

If you want to do it yourself, then you need to use bright tablecloths and a variety of striped multi-colored textiles. Red, green, orange and yellow colors in different combinations are perfect. If you have old self-woven rugs or striped woven rugs, be sure to use them for decoration. Satin ribbons of bright colors can be tied in any way and hung in all places. Panels, pictures, posters depicting cacti and sandy landscapes will come in handy. Be sure to put several baskets of exotic fruits, lemons and limes on the tables. Wicker items should also be present in the interior: baskets, lamps, dishes on the table, boxes, pieces of furniture. Chili peppers, maracas, guitars, pot-bellied vases and Mayan hieroglyphs. But what's a Mexican party without cacti? For example, from the most ordinary domestic cacti, you can create Christmas trees by decorating them with garlands, ribbons and toys. You can put real cacti instead of flowers in the middle of the festive table, tying them with bright braid. You can buy plush or plastic cacti. Cacti made from balloons look very beautiful and original. You can also buy original cactus candles and light them to create a romantic atmosphere. A sombrero and a poncho are must-haves for a Mexican-inspired party. In Mexico, sombreros are made from straw, plain and velvet fabric, and then painted, embroidered with patterns, decorated with braid. They can be made at home from cardboard, and then you can draw an ornament on them with bright colors. In addition, such a bright detail of the national color of Mexico will perfectly complement your interior. Sombrero can be hung on the walls and under the ceiling, put on coffee tables.

You ask us how to dress for such a Mexican party? The men are wearing sombreros, serapes (national cloaks) and obregos (45 caliber revolvers), and the girls are dressed in long dresses embroidered with flowers.

What to serve and what to treat at a Mexican party? From booze - mezcal and tequila. Fresh juice. For a starter - burritos and chimichangas, rice and beans, as well as tortilla soup. For hot, paella with shrimp and lobsters. A Mexican-style wedding cake is a rum-soaked fruit cake.

At the Mexican wedding, we sing, dance, compete in dexterity and accuracy, horseback riding and shooting, as well as rest and relax to the fullest. Photo and video operator will not interfere with you. Prepare Mexican toasts and say them to the camera. I assure you that you will get an indelible impression, and the pictures of the wedding in the Mexican style will turn out to be bright and memorable. Quiz on Mexican topics. What is a piñata? Who is Amigos? Etc. If you decide on a themed wedding in a similar style, then this is a great opportunity to organize a light game team building for the whole family. Your relatives will be able to show themselves in all their glory! They will not become real Mexicans, but we assure you that during the Mexican wedding, incendiary Latin music will play in the heart of every invited relative!

How can guests be entertained at a Mexican wedding? Scenario of a Mexican wedding.

Be sure to arrange a ceremony with oaths of allegiance and kisses of passion.

Conduct a Mexican quiz. Questions for the Mexican quiz .

Which country has the most Hispanic people. Spain, Portugal, Mexico? - the answer is Mexico.

After what event did Tequila spread? - The Mexican Revolution, the Olympics in Mexico City. Visiting Mexico by the Spanish conquistador Cortes? - After the Olympics in Mexico City.

What delicacy was invented in Mexico - cotton candy, corn flakes, chocolate? - Chocolate. It was presented to the Spanish Conquistador Cortes in 1519.

What is the name of the smallest Chihuahua dog after? - In honor of the Mexican state.

During the reign of Montezuma-2, one day the largest sacrifice in the history of mankind took place. How many people died? 2000, 5000, 12000 people.-Answer 12000 people.

What is tequila made from? Blue agave, cacti, grapes? - Blue agave.

Mexico City has a special free program for tourists. What can be done for free? - Ride the subway, Take a guide, Rent a bike? - Rent a bike.

What do Mexicans call their country? Country of cacti. Yellow country. Country of the Sun.-Answer, the country of the Sun.

The first car in the Mexico City subway is for: Disabled, women, sexual minorities, young children with mothers? - For women and disabled people. (Government protects women from “MACHO” harassment).

Competition for the best performance of a Mexican song. (For this competition, we recommend to prepare. Sing karaoke at home and put on a Mexican dance.) This will be a good gift for young people.

Mexican wedding copycat contest. You invite several couples to the stage and ask them to repeat episodes from famous movies in turn.

Movie episodes:

Dance of John Travolta and Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction.

Salma Hayek and Quentin Tarantino dancing from Dusk Till Dawn.

Dance of Antonio Banderos and Catherine Zeta-Jones from Zorro.

Live and Latin music is preferred.

There are no traditional toasts at a Mexican wedding, but all the guests take turns approaching the microphone and congratulate the newlyweds with a song, a poem and holiday wishes!

During the wedding, you can arrange a master class on making Sambrero or national Mexican dishes.

Mexican wedding guests do not leave empty-handed. Everyone gets a bottle of Mexican wine as a gift. This makes up for the absence of such a tradition as the second day at a Mexican wedding.

If you think that it is difficult to take on such an event on your own, then our professional specialists will help you with the preparation. Order the organization of a themed wedding in Moscow at the Ocean of Holidays holiday agency!

Mexican-style wedding: organization of the celebration


  • 1 Traditions of Mexico
  • 2 Wedding ceremony and venue
  • 3 Image of the bride and groom, clothes for guests
  • 4 Features of Mexican cuisine
  • 5 Dance of the newlyweds

If you want to organize your own wedding as brightly, cheerfully, noisily, with dances and songs, then in order to satisfy all desires, a Mexican-style wedding is suitable. This article will describe suitable outfits for the bride and groom, guests, event decoration and venue.

Traditions of Mexico

When choosing a certain style for a wedding, you should follow all the rules and nuances of the celebration. Mexico is rich in its traditions, including wedding traditions, so it is worth learning a little about them in order to avoid unpleasant situations and in order to bring newness to our traditions. Firstly, one of the interesting facts is that in Mexico, a wedding is originally a celebration of the parents of the young. Therefore, wedding invitations come to guests directly from their parents. We recommend that you borrow this process for your wedding. Invitations for guests should be made bright and original; Mexican symbols are used in decorating, for example, the image of cacti or a sombrero. Guests should immediately understand in what style the wedding will take place.

There is also a tradition in Mexico: young people are dressed in a white ribbon and showered with red beads, which symbolize success and good luck. This ceremony is performed after the couple exchanged marital vows.

Wedding ceremony and venue

In this beautiful country of contrasts, during the wedding of the young, parents are responsible for almost everything: they think what should be the cake, rings, outfits and how much money will be allocated. But the bride and groom also have their pleasant chores. The future husband should take care of the musical accompaniment of the celebration, and the wife should take care of the venue. A Mexican wedding is a heartfelt, fun, family celebration that is usually held outdoors. The venue, the arch for painting, chairs, tables and the path along which the newlyweds will walk - everything should be decorated with flowers and rose petals. Flowers are chosen by the bride. And remember, the brighter the better! Invite a real orchestra as musical accompaniment, or there should simply be “live” music. And also the whole evening is traditionally accompanied by fervent dances. You can decorate a room or a banquet area not only with plants and flower arrangements, but you should hang multi-colored lanterns around the entire perimeter, install candles and light decor. An interesting idea for the holiday would be the installation of a special apparatus, which at a certain moment triggers a mechanism, and it abundantly showers the territory with sweets. This will add a lot of new emotions, laughter and fun.

The image of the bride and groom, clothes for guests

Invited guests can wear clothes according to their own taste, without limiting themselves to either the color or style of the outfit. Bright, rich things in a floral print will be more appropriate at a Mexican-style wedding than ever. The bride and groom should choose more classic and solemn attire. The decoration of the event is the girl's white dress, but if desired, it can be replaced with a pink, peach, coral or red dress of an even cut, or with a corset and a fluffy skirt.

Mexican specialties

Mexico is famous for its diverse national cuisine. Naturally, those who decide to organize a Mexican-style wedding should borrow ideas for a wedding menu from this country. For example, it is customary for them to initially treat each guest with corn tortillas with various fillings. All dishes should be richly sprinkled with various spices, and some even decorated with exotic flowers. There must be a traditional dish on the table - paella with shrimp and lobster, and then everything is a little more standard: baked poultry, vegetable, meat and fruit cuts, vegetable or rice garnish.

Newlyweds dance

Dances at a Mexican-style wedding should be given special attention. Take care of the entertainment program for guests. You can invite a dance group to perform or come up with a lot of exciting dance competitions with the participation of all invited guests. But a special dance is the dance of the newlyweds. It is generally accepted that it should be gentle, touching and romantic, but the Mexicans have their own opinion on this matter. In this country, it is believed that the bride is obliged to dance with absolutely everyone who wants to do it.

Learn more