El Salvadoran Wedding

If you are planning for a wedding, it's good to consider a ceremony that will leave every guest happy, entertained, and satisfied. That can only be possible if you have a traditional wedding, particularly a conventional El Salvadoran wedding.

In this country, a couple can only wed after they have been engaged for some time. Let's have a look at the engagement and the wedding process in detail.

The Engagement

According to the El Salvador tradition, a man and a woman should never be seen in public together unless they are married or engaged. Today, this tradition is only followed strictly in rural areas.

Many single men and women do appear in public in El Salvador's urban areas even though they aren't engaged. Traditionally, the man is required to seek permission from the woman's father to allow them to get married.

When the father gives his consent, the couple becomes engaged. A month before the wedding ceremony, the groom will again ask for permission from the bride's father to take her out of the family's house.

The groom goes with a band to the woman's home. They have to go in the wee hours of the morning. They'll have to come with some gifts to the bride and her family. The neighbors will come out to see the bride and the groom and tell them beautiful things. They will also wish them the best of luck.

The Wedding Dress

A bride can choose to wear a dress or a mantilla veil. If she wants the dress, it must be slim, and she'll put it on then have a bolero jacket over it. Some brides also like dresses with ruffles that look like Flamenco. When a bride wears a black outfit, it will show that she'll be devoted to the groom until death. Since it's the groom's family that buys the dress, the bride needs to test it early to know whether it will fit.

The Religion

Many traditional weddings in El Salvador take place in churches of cathedrals, presided over by priests. That's because many El Salvadorans are Roman Catholics. The receptions also take place in churches or cathedrals.

Usually, the priest will conduct a mass, and the couple and the guests will take communion. Those who don't belong to the Roman Catholic church are free to perform a civil marriage, and they can as well conduct a wedding ceremony. All marriages must get registered, and the certificate of marriage issued. 

Customs and Traditions

As part of the wedding ceremony, the families involved will present 13 coins to the priest to bless. The coins are usually made of gold, and they symbolize the groom's wealth.

After blessing the coins, the priest will pass then to the bride and the groom, who will also pass the coins back and forth to one another. The couple will finally put the coins on a Bible. The priest will then take a big rosary or a rope and wrap it around the couple's shoulder in figure eight as a way of showing that they will get united.

Who's Involved in the Wedding Ceremony?

According to the El Salvadoran tradition, it's the groom's family that's supposed to pay for the wedding. They even buy a wedding dress for the bride. However, things have changed, and the bride's family and friends also contribute to the wedding expenses.

Parents play a vital role in El Salvadoran traditional weddings. They have to take the bride to the wedding venue. Godparents of the bride and the groom are equally important. They ensure the children grow spiritually. They also participate in the wedding ceremony where they have vital roles to play. The children in both the groom's and the bride's families do take part in the wedding ceremony. 

The Food

During the wedding party, a lot of food gets served. You can expect appetizers such as "pasteles," "empanades." The main dish can include paella (beans and rice), chicken and rice ("arroz con pollo"), beef stew ("ropa vieja"), fried bananas (plantains), and pupusas (tamales).

Desserts usually comprise of flan (made from caramelized sugar, vanilla, eggs, and milk). There's also the wedding cake is made from dried fruits, then it gets soaked in rum.

Popular drinks (bebidas) at weddings in El Salvador include sangria (made from soda water, fruits, sugar, brandy, and wine. People also drink wine and some non-alcoholic drinks like sodas. The foods are usually placed at stations so a guest can choose what station has the best foods for him. 

The Dance at the Reception

At the reception, there will be lots of music to entertain the guests. Some of the hits you expect to hear at a wedding in El Salvador include Samba, Flamenco, Mambo, and Merengue.

Some people also hire live bands to entertain their guests. There are lots of fun and games at the reception. And this is the time the guests can interact freely and get to know each other well.

The bride and the groom open the dance floor in what they refer to as the Waltz. After that, everyone is free to join.

At midnight, the newlyweds should identify the couple that will marry next. The bride passes the bridal banquet to the woman expected to marry next, while the groom passes a hat to the man expected to marry that woman. That little ceremony marks the end of the wedding party. The bride and the groom do change their attire after that. However, celebrations can continue until early in the morning.

The traditional El Salvador wedding is full of exciting activities. Once it starts, no one wishes it come to an end. If you can get a good wedding planner, who can follow the traditions and customers the way they are supposed to be, your wedding will be among the best.

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