Cuban weddings are full of tradition and ritual. Many customs are followed, from pre-wedding celebrations to the actual wedding day.
Cuban wedding traditions are significant to the culture. They are a way of life passed down from generation to generation.
These traditions are what make a Cuban wedding so special and unique.
Here is a look at some of the most famous Cuban wedding traditions and rituals.
20 Cuban Wedding Traditions and Rituals
This list compiles the different Cuban wedding traditions and rituals. There are others, but these are the most popular and famous.
1. The Pre-Wedding Celebration.
The pre-wedding celebration is called the misa de fianza and takes place a few months before the wedding. During this ceremony, the couple exchange rings and share a special dance. The misa de fianza is also when the bride’s parents give their blessing to the marriage.
2. The Wedding Ceremony.
Cuban usually hold their weddings in a church. The bride and groom exchange vows and share a dance. They could have the reception at a different location, such as a banquet hall or the couple’s home.
3. The Wedding Reception.
A Cuban wedding reception is lively and festive, with music, dancing, and plenty of food and drink. The reception usually takes place at a restaurant or banquet hall, and the bride and groom usually make a grand entrance, often accompanied by their parents.
During the reception, guests often dance traditional Cuban dances such as the conga and the rumba. A live band usually provides the music, and it is not uncommon for guests to sing and clap along.
4. The Significance of the Cuban Wedding Ring.
The Cuban wedding ring symbolizes the couple’s eternal love and commitment. It is also a representation of the couple’s new life together. The couple wears their rings on the fourth finger of the left hand, and they exchange rings during the wedding ceremony.
5. The Bride’s Bouquet and Its Symbolism.
The bride’s bouquet is a crucial part of the wedding ceremony. The flowers are usually white, which symbolizes purity and innocence. The bouquet is also a symbol of fertility.
6. The Groom’s Cake.
The groom’s cake is a tradition that is not as common as it once was. The cake is usually dark chocolate ormolu, and the baker decorates the cake with the groom’s initials. The cake is cut by the groom and served to the guests.
7. The Meaning of the Cuban Wedding Cake.
One of the most important traditions at a Cuban wedding is cutting the wedding cake. The cake is usually a white or light-colored sponge cake, and the bakery often decorates it with flowers or other symbols of love at the couple’s request.
The couple cuts the cake together and takes a bite before feeding it to the other. This act symbolizes their commitment to sharing their lives.
8. The Groom’s Outfit and Accessories.
The groom’s boutonniere is not just a decoration but also a significant meaning. In Cuba, the groom wears a boutonniere made of lilies. It is made of lilies because the lily symbolizes purity, innocence, and virtue. Wearing a lily boutonniere is the groom’s way of showing his commitment to his bride.
9. Wedding Ceremonies in Cuba.
Cuba is a country with a rich heritage and diverse culture, and the people reflect this in the wedding ceremonies, which are full of traditions and rituals that the Cuban people have passed down for generations.
One of the most important aspects of a Cuban wedding ceremony is the symbolic meaning behind each ritual. For example, exchanging rings is not just a way to show your love and commitment to each other but also to ward off evil spirits.
10. The Exchange of Rings.
The exchange of rings is a way to show your love and commitment to each other and ward off evil spirits. The rings are usually gold or silver and worn on the left hand’s fourth finger.
11. The Wedding Outfits.
The bride’s dress is usually white, symbolizing purity. Cuban brides often choose dressed adorned with lace, pearls, and beads. The groom typically wears a white shirt, dark trousers, and a Cuban guayabera, a traditional shirt with multiple pockets.
12. The Arras.
The arras is 13 gold coins that are given to the bride by the groom during the ceremony. The 13 coins also represent his promise to provide for her financially. The coins are also a symbol of Christ and his 12 apostles. The 13th coin is placed in the bride’s right shoe to ensure she never goes without.
13. The Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas is a gambling game that Cubans often play at weddings. You play the game with two dice; the object is to roll the dice and get a total of seven. If you roll a seven, you win the pot. Most people play for money, and the winner takes home the jackpot.
The Las Vegas is a popular game at Cuban weddings because it is a way for the guests to gamble and have fun. The game is also a way for the bride and groom to make extra money. Cubans usually play this game during the reception, and the guests can place bets on who will win the game.
14. The Unity Candle.
The bride and groom light a unity candle during the ceremony. It represents their union as one. Many couples save this candle and light it during their anniversary each year.
15. The First Dance.
The first dance is an essential tradition in Cuban weddings. Many families consider it the beginning of the couple’s official relationship. The entire reception stops during the first dance, and everyone watches as the bride and groom dance. It is not until after the first dance that other guests begin dancing.
Some Cuban couples have begun to choreograph their first dance and put in a great deal of practice beforehand. It is no longer the traditional, stiff, slow dance. Instead, it is a modern dance with small skits and references to the past.
16. The Money Dance.
The money dance is a popular tradition in Cuban weddings. During this dance, guests will place money on the bride and groom as they dance. The money is then used to help pay for the wedding expenses.
17. Throwing the Bouquet.
The bride will usually throw her bouquet during the reception. The bouquet is said to bring good luck to the person who catches it.
18. Typical Cuban Wedding Foods.
No Cuban wedding would be complete without a feast of traditional foods. There are plenty of delicious options, from roast pork and black beans to sweet plantains and yuca fritters.
Most weddings will serve roast pork or chicken for the main course. These dishes are usually served with rice, beans, and other side dishes. One of the most popular side dishes is Cuban-style black beans, which are made with onions, garlic, and green peppers.
For dessert, guests can enjoy a variety of traditional Cuban sweets such as flan, cubanitas (sweet rolls), or dulce de leche (a type of caramel).
Of course, no Cuban wedding would be complete without plenty of rum! Whether in a refreshing mojito or Cuba libre, rum is essential to any Cuban celebration.
19. The Party After the Wedding.
After the ceremony and the newlyweds have taken their vows, it is time to celebrate! In Cuba, weddings are not just about tradition. They are also about the party afterward.
The reception is where all the guests can let loose and have fun. The newlyweds will often start the festivities by dancing the first dance together.
The ceremony is usually followed by dinner and then more dancing. The party can go on late into the night and sometimes even into the early morning hours.
20. Wedding Party Dances and Music.
The music is one of the most important aspects of a Cuban wedding reception. Cuban music is lively and upbeat, perfect for dancing.
The most popular genres of music to play at a Cuban wedding are salsa, merengue, and bachata. Guests will often dance together in large groups or circles, which is a great way to get everyone involved in the festivities.
One of the most popular dances at a Cuban wedding is the conga. The conga is a line dance where everyone holds onto each other’s hips and sways to the music. The conga can get wild, so be prepared to let loose and have a good time!
Another popular dance is the rueda de casino. The rueda de casino is a Cuban dance where couples dance in a circle, switching partners. The rueda de casino is a great way to get everyone up and dancing.
Cuban weddings are all about having fun and celebrating the new couple. With the music and dancing, there is no shortage of fun at a Cuban wedding reception.
Other Unique Traditions
In addition to the food, music, and dancing, other unique traditions are often part of Cuban weddings. One of these traditions is the hija de la novia. This tradition is when the bride’s father gives her away to the groom. The bride’s father will usually give her a piece of jewelry or a gift to symbolize this moment.
Another tradition is the lasso ceremony. The lasso ceremony is when the groom ties a lasso around the waist of the bride. This tradition is said to symbolize the groom’s commitment to marriage.