One great thing about attending a wedding in another country is that you get to experience how different cultures celebrate weddings differently and discover what different traditions they have – here are some of the most popular Colombian Wedding Traditions!
COLOMBIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS
So, what traditions to expect at a Colombian wedding? You’ll find there are some rather unique but fascinating differences between Western weddings and Colombian weddings. Note that Colombia is a very Catholic country and so weddings here are very traditional – always being held in Churches.
What To Wear At A Colombian Wedding?
Colombian Wedding Tradition 1: The Guayabera
The typical dress for males at a Colombian wedding is to wear Guayabera, which is a white suit made completely out of cotton/linen. The Guayabera is a plain but stylish outfit and even the Groom will be dressed in this white shirt and pants. This is because Colombia enjoys hot temperatures and so light fabrics and colours are recommended so you can relax and enjoy the day without getting too hot in a stuffy suit!
Even if you are not Colombian, if you are a male attending a Colombian wedding it is recommended that you also dress in a Guayabera to look and feel Colombian (fedora and cigar are optional!).
The Guayabera shirts can be purchased from many stores in Colombia, alternatively you can purchase one online.
Female guests usually wear long dresses. They can be any colour except white.
What about Bridesmaids/Maid of Honour and The Best Man?
Colombian Wedding Tradition 2: The Godfather & Godmother
Forget bridesmaids, Maid of Honour and the Best Man. Enter the Godmother and Godfather. But I’m not talking about Marlon Brando here. The Godfather and the Godmother in essence, take the place of the bridesmaids, Maid of Honour and the Best Man. They are there to provide support and advice to the Bride and Groom throughout the day.
Like in Western weddings, there will be Flower Girls and Page Boys present, and the venue will be covered in flowers.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 3: Coins for the Bride
One of the most famous Colombian wedding traditions is ‘Las Arras’ (the gold coins). The Priest blesses 13 gold coins that symbolise Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. The Priest passes the coins to the Groom, who then presents these coins to the Bride. These coins represent the Groom’s willingness to take care of his wife and provide for the family. The arras are covered in a piece of lace which will later be turned into the Christening hat of the couple’s first child.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 4: The Candle Ceremony
After the Bride and Groom exchange rings they do the Candle Ceremony. The Bride and Groom light separate candles, and they then use these candles to light another candle together and extinguish their original ones. This is to symbolise the bond they now share together, and that they have become one. They then leave the church holding the lit candle.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 5: Shoes Under the Bride’s Dress
In addition to throwing the bouquet like is common in many countries, a typical Colombian wedding tradition is for all the single male guests to hide their shoes underneath the Bride’s dress. The bride picks one shoe, and it is believed that whoever owns the shoe will be the next man to get married.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 6: Placing a Coin in the Bride’s Shoe
Another popular Colombian wedding tradition involves the Bride placing a coin in her shoe during the wedding. This symbolises her wish to never be in a situation where she and her husband will be without the basic necessities in life.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 7: Dancing Time
After the Ceremony and the cutting of the cake (which is always black fruit cake soaked in red wine) there are no speeches like there are in Western weddings. Instead, Colombians will usually drink some shots of aguardiente (anise flavoured Colombian liquor) and then head straight to the dance floor. Latinos are always ready for dancing – it’s in their blood, and Colombians will never shy away from the dance floor so get ready to pull off some dance moves!
Traditional styles of music loved by Colombians of all different generations will be played, usually entering around regueton, vallenato and merengue. If you are unfamiliar with Colombian music, some popular Colombian regueton artists include Maluma, J Balvin, Piso 21 and Feid. Listen to some of their music beforehand and you’ll be ready to smash the dance floor! Shakira is also from Colombia so you’re bound to hear one of her songs at some point during the night!
Colombian Wedding Tradition 8: La hora loca
It’s after midnight and the music stops. But just as you think the wedding is coming to a close a group of drummers and salsa dancers take over the dance floor. This is “La Hora Loca” (The Crazy Hour). Despite the name, this part of the celebration lasts much longer than just one hour, and each Wedding has their own theme for la hora loca!
Colombian Wedding Tradition 9: Asado the Following Day
The day following the Wedding Ceremony is usually dedicated to the national dish of ‘Asado’ (beef, plantain and potatoes), where the guests get together one more time for more food and gathering and wish the newlyweds well again.
Colombian Wedding Tradition 10: The Serenata
Another Colombian wedding tradition is the Serenata. This tradition takes place before the wedding and involves the Groom surprising the Bride and serenading her with a romantic song. The Serenata is generally performed with a band in front of family and friends and followed by a party. This wedding tradition isn’t popular only in Colombia, but in other Hispanic countries and even in Italy.
Weddings Traditions in Colombia that are similar to those in Western Countries:
Colombia also has several wedding traditions that are the same as in Western countries. For example:
- the male proposes with a ring and asks the Father of the Bride for the blessing to marry his daughter.
- after the couple is engaged they will hold an Engagement party, as well as have bachelor/bachelorette parties before the wedding.
- the night before the wedding the couple sleep in separate rooms as it is bad luck for the couple to see each other before the ceremony.
- the Bride and Groom will get ready with their families, and the Bride will wear a white dress.
If you’ll be heading to Colombia for the wedding you’ll most likely want to travel around Colombia for a bit after the wedding! Colombia is a fantastic country and there are so many great places to visit. Make sure Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park are on your itinerary! If you’ll be combining your trip to Colombia with a larger trip around Latin America, here you’ll find all the best places to visit in South America!