Whether she is in Oaxaca or Connecticut, a Mexican bride often wants to honour her heritage in the planning of her special day. A true Mexican wedding balances the revelry with reverence. Traditionally, the Mexican wedding is conducted in a Catholic church, which has a conservative, even subdued, atmosphere. The ceremony's rituals and attire are designed to honour the couple's families, as well as to bring good luck for the bride and groom.
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Groom & Male Attendants
Don a bolero and tight trousers, groom. Traditional Mexican wedding attire for the men of the wedding party is generally black high-waisted slacks and a short rounded jacket, called a bolero, with intricate embroidery. The groom's coat should be more lavishly embroidered than those of the groomsmen. While his attire is reminiscent of a matador's, it is black in colour and the embroidery is more sedate. The padded shoulders of the bolero are traditionally adorned with decorative stitchery, as are the upper sleeves. A black patent shoe with a low square heel completes the outfit.
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Ladies of the Wedding Party
Dressed in a miniature variation of the bride's attire, the Mexican flower girl is clad in a white lace confection. The bridesmaids and maid of honour wear slim dresses with a ruffled flounce, like a flamenco dancer's dress. Alternately, modest cotton gowns accented with traditional lace may be worn. While the colours vary in modern times, red is considered to be good luck. No women in the wedding party are to wear pearls, as they portend tears and sorrow for the bridal couple.
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Bridal Gown & Veil
Whether she swathes herself in her grandmother's vintage lace gown or slithers into a modern mermaid silhouette, the Mexican bride keeps in mind her heritage and customs. Traditionally, the gown is made of white silk, lavish with crocheted lace, which is a relic of the Spanish influence on Mexican fashion. As most traditional Mexican weddings are officiated with a Catholic Mass, gowns are not usually strapless, nor do they bear the shoulders while in church. Consequently, a slim white dress with an embroidered bolero is very popular for the Mexican bride. Sometimes the slender cut of the gown is accented with a cascade of silken ruffles near the hem, an homage to the celebrated flamenco dresses. An overlay of intricate lace may be part of a simple sheath gown. Regardless of modernity, a mantilla is the veil of choice. This large square of lush Spanish lace worn during the ceremony covers the bride's hair and comes to a point on her forehead, looking particularly striking over black hair.
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Forget something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. A Mexican bride knows her primary colours will never let her down. While the gown may be white silk or satin, her undergarments are a riot of colour. Before the wedding, the bride sews three ribbons onto her lingerie. The first, yellow, symbolises the blessing of plentiful food. The second is blue, to call forth good financial fortune. The third is a red ribbon to bring the blessing of a passionate marriage.
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Ritualistic necessities abound in the Mexican ceremony. In addition to a family prayer book, usually provided by the bride's grandmother or her madrina (godmother), a few other items will be added to the bride's and groom's attire during the ceremony. First, a long white satin ribbon will be wound around the couple's necks or waists to symbolise their union. Next, a relative will purchase a purse of 13 coins for the groom to present to his bride. These 13 gold coins have been blessed by a priest and represent Christ and his disciples. The groom offers these as a promise of support and trust to his bride, who accepts them as a show of faith in his ability to provide for and protect her.