Congratulations! You’re engaged and now the wedding planning begins. If you’re like me, then you take pride in your Latin roots and would like some aspects of it to be reflected in your celebration. If your fiancé is non-Latino you may find yourself discussing your cultural differences and how you’d like your backgrounds honored on your wedding day. This is a wonderful way to add a touch of tradition and while you don’t have to go ALL out, there are various ways you can pay your respects to your ancestors. Get inspired by these creative ways to show off your Latino roots on your big day!
If you decide to have an engagement shoot, play around with fun ways to show off your cultural background. This could be the style of the outfit you choose to wear, the colors in your attire, the props you hold during the shoot, or the location. Afterwards you can use the photos as part of your save the dates that you mail out to family and friends. In my case, I had my engagement shoot on an alpaca farm, which not only showcased our love of nature, but it was an ode to my half Peruvian roots. Needless to say, our family and friends loved the thought and creativity we’d put into them.
Beach Destination Wedding
Ever dream of having your wedding in your parents’ or abuelos’ native country? Then why not consider a destination wedding! Get married on the beaches of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, or another location of choice is a great way to pay ode to your roots. You’ll feel closer to your ancestors and your guests are guaranteed to never forget it. Besides, we could all use an excuse to take a vacation, amiright?
Catholic Wedding Ceremony
If you grew up in a Catholic household then you know it’s a big deal to get married in a church. Even if you don’t consider yourself religious, granting your abuela her final wish that you wed in the church is a simple yet traditional idea. If your family is Mexican, for example, you may even want to include el lazo used in some Catholic wedding ceremonies. El lazo, which is entwined around the husband and wife to form a figure eight-shape, symbolizes a lifetime of unity between spouses.
The Wedding Dress
Finding the dress you wear to walk down the aisle is a once in a lifetime experience. If you want to add some Latin flair to your gown there are many designers that can create a form-fitting mermaid cut or have signature ruffles, lace or bows. Or why not repurpose your mother or abuela’s wedding dress? Not only is the gesture sweet, but it will give your wedding that traditional feel you’re going for.
One of the best ways to honor your roots is to include it in one of your wedding cocktails. Whether your family’s native country’s cocktail of choice is the Pisco Sour, Caipirinha, or Mojitos, it’s sure to be a hit with your guests. If you’d like to offer non-alcoholic beverages, why not provide sodas native to some Latino countries such as Colombiana, Inca Cola, Jarritos, or Guaraná? They can even be serve as delicious mixer options paired with some liquor at the open bar.
Most people look forward to filling up on appetizers during cocktail hour. Give your appetizers a Latin flair by adding tapas, fajitas, mini tacos, or plantains on the menu. If you want to take it a step further, having latino-centric entrees that serve arroz con pollo, arroz morro, pernil, maduros, (the possibilities are endless!) is sure to impress your guests and challenge their taste buds.
If there’s one thing Latinos are known for (other than our food), it’s our music. From salsa, merengue, bachata, samba, cumbia, there are so many to choose from to share in your DJ or band playlist. If you’d like to celebrate your country’s native salsa, taking some lessons with your fiancé and then performing the choreography as your first dance may be a fun way to start off your new life as husband and wife. If your fiancé is a little shy about putting on a show, you can always choose a Spanish song to walk into the reception, which is normally only seconds long. Make sure your DJ has plenty of Latin beats on the playlist or hire a band that’s well versed in Latin music. Rest assured no one will remain seated at your reception once they hear the beat drop.
A Latino-inspired wedding cake is another unique and sweet way to introduce your non-latino guests to native sweet treats. Have your baker make you a Dominican cake or have a dessert table complete with churros, alfajores, dulce de leche, tres leches, arroz con leche, flan, and other pastelitos. Your friends and family won’t be able to resist it!