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Ecuadorian Wedding

A Typical Ecuadorian Wedding Experience

Ecuador’s small size, tropical weather, indigenous culture and friendly people make it the perfect wedding destination. There are so many options available in this distinct region.

You can opt to have the wedding on the coast, popularly known as “La Costa” with an array of beautiful beaches. Or if you are jungle oriented, you can have the “El Oriente” or what you know as Amazon, the largest jungle in the world.

The Latin country also offers the “La Sierra”; a mountainous region in the Andes Mountain range running the entire country, north to south. Ecuador also offers an additional choice for you in the Galapagos Islands, an exotic region known for wildlife and natural beauty.

Below is a breakdown of a typical Ecuadorian wedding.

Traditions and Customs

The traditional Inca marriage customs are very unique from what is essentially practised today. First of all, the Inca women used to marry at the age of 16 while men at 20. It was acceptable for men from a higher class to take more than one wife. Trial marriages were also quite normal in the Inca Empire.

A typical Inca traditional wedding, between two Incas, would last 2 days at least. The first ceremony at the groom’s family house and the second at the bride’s. During these ceremonies, both parties were taught by family members their duties as husband and wife. The dressing is typical in these traditional Inca wedding settings.

After the ceremony, they get bonded as man and wife by being washed by holy water for blessing. Then people celebrate with food, beverages, alcohol and soup.

But this traditional wedding practice is slowly fading, especially the washing part. The bride and groom may, however, visit both their families before holding a church wedding in the end.

What to Wear as a Bride and Groom  

There is no special attire for the bride and groom. Ecuador has somewhat adopted western style white dress for the bride and a suit for the groom. This is common in a church wedding. In a wedding where you invite the judge to your venue, it’s common for the couple to have informal attires especially the groom. One factor that stays constant however, is a bright long dress for the bride. It is very uncommon for the bride to wed in a pair of jeans or trousers.

What to Purchase for the Wedding that an American Wedding does not have?

This is where it might get tricky. It’s not more of what to purchase but what you must-have in the first place before having the wedding. But these requirements generally apply anywhere that is not the home country for both or one party. For natives however, it is straight and simple. Here is a list of legal requirements;

  • If you are not an Ecuador resident, you need to obtain a 90-day tourist visa or special 180-day visa extension
  • Marriage has to be approved by the Ecuadorian Civil Authority prior to a church wedding if applicable.
  • Both parties have to present that they are free to marry in accordance with the laws of both your countries of residence.
  • You have to reside in Ecuador for at least 75 days before getting married

Documents required

  • Entry stamp by the Ecuadorian Bureau of Immigration to prove your 75 days stay.
  • Certification of nationality and marital status
  • Documents to prove termination of a previous marriage is applicable
  • An adult witness with a copy and an original ID present

We, however, advise you to contact the Ecuadorian embassy for more information on the same.

For the paying part, much of the wedding expenses cover the entertainment part. You have to book venues, food and drinks expenses. It would be better for you to organize catering services from the local community restaurants.

Music is another area that may incur some additional costs. A traditional folk singer and a band come at an additional expense.

Who Pays for What?

Since the beginning of the millennium, Ecuador adopted the US dollar for currency. So, you may want to have with you a considerable amount for the preparations and other costs that may come up. However, there are plenty of ATMs available in local banks where you can make a currency change.

If your wedding location is in the outskirts, chances are, the areas won’t accept credit cards. Cash is highly recommended. And with that in mind, small bills will be good to go since not many places have bills bigger than $20.

Now, when it comes to the costs, an Ecuadorian wedding is definitely less expensive than an American. Sometimes, as cheap as half the price of an American wedding. Still, the cost varies, depending on the expenses and honeymoon. But definitely less than an American wedding.

It is normal for both families to save up for the wedding event expenses, the groom’s family is however responsible for much of the wedding costs.

Religious Ceremonies 

The main religion in Ecuador is Roman Catholicism. Hence it is more likely that you will have your wedding in front of a priest if you choose a church wedding. A civil wedding is also an option for couples. It takes place at a civil registry. On the other hand, you can choose to have a judge come to your venue. It will cost you more.

The traditional Inca wedding is reserved for natives, mostly from lower social economic backgrounds and who want to explore the option. This choice involves two ceremonies at the groom’s then at the bride’s followed by a ceremony to bind the couples by washing and a celebration.

Meals 

In an Ecuadorian wedding setting, more food equals more celebration. Food is the proper way to celebrate in this part of the world. So be sure to cater for the plenty.

Plenty of local delicacies depending on the community. To give you a gist on the type of food offered, first, you have a bowl of soup (soup is a thing here, close to alcohol). Then a plate of meat and potatoes with heavenly spices. And as if that is not enough, the third plate with chicken steak is offered. No one is expected to finish. It’s common to have to-go baggies. Then at the end of it all is the wedding cake. By the time you are done with the third plate, you are too bloated and too tired to consummate your marriage.

The food varieties may, however, vary depending on the region. The Serranos (people from the mountainous region) may favor maize and potatoes while the Costenos (people from the coastal region) may favor rice, beans and bananas

Music

To have a full Ecuadorian tropical experience, you could hire a local folk singer who sings a mix of Quechua and Spanish languages and sometimes with pre-Colombian instruments. You may need a band for the procession party that might go on in till mid-night. Dancing is must here, it doesn’t matter if you have two left feet, and you just go with the rhythm and hope you aren’t inventing new moves. It’s also common to have a DJ and a good sound system as you continue to dance celebrate the best time of your lives.

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