Bride to Be in Venezuela Needs Something New, Borrowed, Blue, and Silver in her Shoe
Weddings are steeped in various traditions. As a couple enters their marriage, these traditions are meant to bless them and enforce their commitment to each other. In Venezuela, the traditions are wrapped up in a colorful time surrounded by family and friends.
In many areas of Venezuela, there are actually two wedding ceremonies held. The first one is a civil ceremony that takes place approximately two weeks before the church wedding. While both ceremonies are marked by receptions, the religious ceremony typically has a grander reception than the civil ceremony. This tradition simply reflects how deeply religion is ingrained into the culture of the Venezuelan people.
No preparations for any wedding can take place before the man as his bride’s parents for her hand in marriage. The bride then needs to have something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe. The bridal couple often sneaks away from their own reception, and guests are encouraged to keep eating and drinking even in their absence. Getting out with no one noticing is meant to be a sign of good luck for the couple. The first person to notice that they are gone is also said to be blessed with good luck.
Food is also a big part of the event. Caterers can serve food from Spanish, Africa, Portuguese, Amerindian, Italian, or any other ethnic culture represented in the country. These colorful weddings include dressing the flower girl and ring bearer in outfits that closely match the bride and groom.
Another tradition focuses on 13 coins being exchanged. Some families prefer to use chocolate coins in place of gold coins. These coins are referred to as Aras. They can be presented by the groom or the bride’s father. When presented by the groom, it represents his promise and willingness to love and support his new bride. The father of the bride presenting the coins symbolize the dowry for the bride.
Wedding rings in Venezuela have a variety of decorations, depending on the couple. Usually the husband and the wife wear their rings, which can include a diamond engagement ring for the bride.
The reception is a time for plenty of fun. The custom of la hora loca (the crazy hour) begins with the distribution of special wedding favors. These favors include special masks, wigs, decorated hats, noisemakers, and whistles. Everyone who is in attendance is expected to dance for the full hour. The process is meant to help people mingle and get to know each other, although at times it can appear to be a forced process at times.
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