10 Dominican Wedding Traditions and Rituals

Are you planning a Dominican wedding and looking for the perfect way to incorporate traditional customs?

Look no further. We’ve compiled all of the essential information on Dominican wedding traditions so that you can craft your dream day.

From ceremony rituals to reception festivities, attire guidelines, and cultural influences – this guide will provide an overview of everything you need to know about Dominican weddings.

With these resources, your celebration will surely be full of unique charm and unforgettable moments.

Dominican Wedding Traditions

Dominican Pre-Wedding Traditions

1. The Proposal

In the Dominican Republic, a person proposing marriage would traditionally get down on one knee and present their partner with a gold ring.

This is accompanied by words of love and commitment, often spoken in Spanish.

Many couples exchange gifts such as flowers or chocolates with their engagement rings. As part of the proposal, they may even serenade one another with traditional Dominican music to add to the romance of the moment.

After the proposal has been accepted, many go on to have a pre-wedding celebration.

Dominican bachelor and bachelorette parties are quite popular. They are typically more low-key than other cultures but still involve plenty of fun activities.

A typical Dominican bachelor or bachelorette party might include a group dinner, a night out on the town, or a day spent at the beach with friends.

Beverages such as beer, wine, and rum are also usually present.

Ceremony Traditions

The processional is a time for the bride and groom to make their grand entrance.

It’s usually led by the wedding party, followed by the parents of both families, and finally, the bride is escorted by her father or another family member.

The music chosen for this moment can be traditional Dominican songs or something more modern that reflects the couple’s personality.

2. The Venue 

Dominican weddings typically occur at a venue chosen by the bride and groom’s family.

This could be a church, temple, or even a special location outdoors.

They often feature traditional music, live bands, and colorful decorations.

The festivities may include singing, dancing, feasting, and toasting with traditional Comincan drinks such as aguardiente.

Guests are also encouraged to enjoy themselves by engaging in activities like parades, processions, and other games.

3. Vows

The exchange of vows is a solemn moment where couples pledge their commitment to each other.

Couples often write their own vows as an expression of love and devotion.

4. Unity Rituals

These are used to symbolize two families joining together as one during a wedding ceremony.

A popular unity ritual in Dominican weddings is called “La Arras” which involves exchanging coins between the bride and groom as a sign of trust and loyalty towards each other throughout marriage.

Other unity rituals include sand ceremonies, candle lighting, handfasting, knot tying, wine blending, and tree planting – all of which have meanings that reflect upon two people becoming one through marriage.

Dominican wedding ceremonies are filled with meaningful customs that create lasting memories from the traditional processional to the exchange of vows and unity rituals.

Reception Traditions

5. Music and Dancing

Music is a key element of any Dominican wedding reception.

Traditional music styles like merengue and bachata are popular choices, as they get everyone up on their feet to dance the night away.

Couples often hire live bands or DJs to provide entertainment for their guests, while some opt for a mix of both.

No matter what type of music you choose, make sure it reflects your personality and gets your guests in the mood to celebrate.

A first dance is also a traditional part of Dominican wedding receptions.

Couples typically choose a romantic song to perform a slow, intimate dance as their guests watch.

The couple can also decide to do other dances after the first one, such as salsa or merengue, depending on the type of wedding they want to have.

6. Food and Drink

Food is another important part of any Dominican wedding reception. They are usually celebrated over several days and typically feature an array of traditional foods.

Dishes like sancocho (a hearty stew) and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) are staples at most receptions. 

Also dishes like arroz con leche, pescado con coco and carne asada can be expected to be served.

There may also be desserts such as flan, bizcochos y tres leches cake or dulce de leche ice cream.

Refreshments such as refrescos,  rum-based cocktails like ponche crema, or local beers are also served throughout the evening at a Dominican wedding. 

Make sure there’s plenty of food available so that all your guests can enjoy themselves without going hungry.

7. Gifts

At the night’s end, couples often give out gifts or favors as a token of appreciation for their guests’ attendance.

These can range from small trinkets like candles or picture frames to larger items such as bottles of wine or boxes filled with sweets.

Whatever you decide to give out, make sure it is something that will remind your friends and family members about how much fun they had at your special day.

Dominican newlyweds are traditionally gifted with items such as household items, jewelry, money, and even cars.

Traditional gifts include gold coins, silver cups, and crystal glasses to bring good luck to the couple’s marriage.

While these gifts are typically given by family members or close friends of the couple, other guests may give money or smaller items such as flowers or cakes.

Attire Traditions

When it comes to wedding attire, there are a few traditional elements that should be taken into consideration.

The bride typically wears a white gown with intricate lace detailing, while the groom usually opts for formal suits or tuxedos in shades of black or navy blue.

8. Bride and Groom’s Attire

For the bride, her dress is often one of the most important elements of her big day, and can take months to find just the right one.

Brides may choose from various styles, including ballgowns, A-line dresses, mermaid silhouettes and more.

Accessories such as veils and jewelry also play an important role in completing the look.

The groom must decide between wearing a suit or tuxedo for his special day, depending on how formal he wants his look to be.

He should also consider accessories like cufflinks and pocket squares when putting together his ensemble.

Guests should dress according to the formality level of the event; women should wear dresses or skirts, while men should wear collared shirts and trousers at a minimum but may opt for suits if they wish.

It is always best practice for guests not to outshine either member of the bridal party so as not to detract from their momentous occasion.

Cultural Traditions

In Dominican weddings, pre-wedding celebrations are a big part of the festivities.

Bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties are common traditions that help bring friends and family together to celebrate the couple before their special day.

These events usually involve games, music, food, drinks, and gifts for the bride or groom.

On the wedding day, there is often a “madrina” (godmother) who guides the bride throughout her special day.

This person is typically someone close to her, such as an aunt or mother figure who will be by her side from start to finish helping with any last-minute details or needs she may have on this important day.

9. After the Wedding and the Honeymoon

After all of the wedding festivities have concluded, it is time for one final celebration – a “despedida de soltera” (bridal farewell party).

This event brings together friends and family once again, where they can give gifts to the newly married couple before they depart on their honeymoon.

It is also customary for guests at this gathering to share stories about how happy they are for the couple’s new life together as husband and wife.

Honeymoons are a traditional part of Dominican weddings.

Couples typically take a few weeks off work before or immediately after their wedding to go on their honeymoon.

Popular honeymoon destinations for Dominican couples include staying at home in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Some couples may also travel abroad to experience a different culture and explore new lands together as newlyweds.

10. Dominican Wedding Superstitions

Superstitions are quite common in the Dominican culture, particularly regarding weddings.

One superstition is that a bride should not be able to see herself from head to toe in a mirror before the wedding day.

It is also believed that it is bad luck for the groom to see his bride on the wedding day before the ceremony begins.

Another superstition is that anything borrowed for the wedding must be returned immediately following the ceremony, or it could bring bad luck.

Additionally, certain flowers are believed to bring negative energy and should not be included in bouquets or decorations. 

Lilies and marigolds are said to bring bad luck to a wedding. It is believed that lilies represent the difficulty of life and the fragility of love, while marigolds symbolize misfortune.


Overall, Dominican wedding traditions are a beautiful way to celebrate the union of two people.

From the ceremony and reception customs to attire and cultural elements, there is no shortage of unique ways to honor your heritage during this special time.

Whether you choose one or all of these traditions for your big day, you can be sure that it will be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

No matter what Dominican wedding traditions you decide to include, they will help make your special day even more meaningful.