9 Puerto Rican Wedding Traditions and Rituals

Planning a wedding can be daunting and overwhelming.

But, if you’re looking to add some cultural flair with traditional Puerto Rican customs, then look no further.

From ceremonies to receptions, decorations to favors, and clothing & jewelry traditions – there are so many ways that the heritage of Puerto Rico can be incorporated into your special day.

We’ll take an in-depth look at these unique Puerto Rican wedding traditions from around the island, so you have all the resources needed for planning your perfect celebration.

Puerto Rican Wedding Traditions

Ceremony Traditions

Puerto Rican wedding ceremonies are full of rich traditions that have been passed down through generations. From the pre-ceremony to the actual ceremony, there are many customs that honor the couple and their families.

1. Pre-Ceremony Traditions

Las Arras is a traditional exchange of coins between the bride and groom to symbolize their commitment to each other.

La Misa is a Catholic mass held before the wedding ceremony, while El Lazo is a lasso made of rosary beads placed around them during this time as an additional sign of unity.

2. Wedding Ceremony Traditions

At the end of Puerto Rican weddings, El Beso marks the official union with a kiss between husband and wife.

La Boda de la Virgen involves family members carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary from one side of the church to another to bless their marriage.

Lastly, El Vuelo de las Palomas includes releasing two white doves at conclusion, which signifies peace and love for years ahead.

These customs are integral parts of any Puerto Rican wedding celebration and can be seen as symbols for good luck in life together as newlyweds.

Ceremony traditions are an integral part of a Puerto Rican wedding, from the exchange of coins to the release of doves.

Moving on to reception traditions, we will explore traditional music and dancing, as well as food and drink customs that make for a truly memorable celebration.

3. Reception and Music Traditions

Reception Traditions are an important part of any Puerto Rican wedding. Music and dancing traditions such as La Marcha Nupcial, El Baile de los Novios, and Los Juegos de Boda are all essential components of a traditional reception.

La Marcha Nupcial is the traditional wedding march played as the newlyweds enter into their reception hall for their first dance as husband and wife.

El Baile de los Novios is the traditional first dance between the bride and groom, usually accompanied by live music or a DJ playing popular Latin music genres such as salsa, merengue, bachata, or reggaeton.

Los Juegos de Boda are traditional wedding games played during receptions, such as el baile del cinturón (the belt dance) or el juego de la silla (the chair game).

4. Food & Drink Traditions

These also play an important role in Puerto Rican weddings.

La Cena de Bodas is a multi-course meal served at weddings which typically includes dishes like arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pernil (roast pork), pasteles (meat pies), and ensalada rusa (potato salad).

The centerpiece of most meals is often La Torta Nupcial – a multi-layered cake traditionally served at weddings in Puerto Rico that can be decorated with fresh flowers or fondant decorations in various colors and designs.

Traditional alcoholic beverages served at weddings in Puerto Rico include coquito (coconut eggnog) or pitorro (rum moonshine).

These traditions help to make each celebration unique while honoring long-standing customs that have been passed down through generations of families living on this beautiful island nation.

From the traditional wedding march to the classic Puerto Rican dishes served at receptions, reception traditions are an important part of any Puerto Rican wedding.

Moving on, let’s explore decorations and favors traditions unique to this culture.

5. Decorations & Favors Traditions

Decorations and favors are an important part of any wedding, especially in Puerto Rico.

From flowers to candles to gifts for guests, there are many traditions that couples can incorporate into their special day.

6. Flowers & Candles Traditions

White flowers are often used in bouquets and decorations throughout Puerto Rican weddings to represent purity and innocence.

Candles also play a role in the ceremony as they bring light into dark places and symbolize hope for a bright future for newlyweds.

7. Favors & Gifts Traditions

Guests at a Puerto Rican wedding typically receive small tokens of appreciation such as chocolates, candles, or jewelry.

Couples may also exchange special gifts on their wedding day, like watches or engraved items to commemorate the occasion.

8. Clothing and Jewelry Traditions

Brides usually wear white gowns with lace details, while grooms don black suits with white shirts for formal occasions or lighter colors for more casual events.

Brides may accessorize with veils, tiaras, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, gloves, garters etc., depending on personal preference. The bride’s attire is not complete without her bouquet, which is often used in decorations throughout weddings in Puerto Rico to symbolize purity and innocence.

Candles are lit throughout ceremonies and receptions, too. They bring light into dark places and represent hope for a bright future for newlyweds. 

Grooms may choose to accessorize with ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, suspenders, hats, etc, depending on personal preference. 

Puerto Rican weddings are a celebration of love, beauty, and tradition.

From the flowers and candles to the favors and gifts, decorations and favors traditions add an extra layer of joyousness that will be remembered for years to come. 

9. Gifts

As tokens of appreciation for attending the wedding celebration, guests are given small gifts such as chocolates, candles or jewelry.

Couples also give each other special gifts on their wedding day such as watches or engraved items.

Finally, couples will cut a multi-layered cake traditionally served at weddings in Puerto Rico which can be decorated with fresh flowers or fondant decorations in various colors and designs.

Traditional alcoholic beverages like coquito (coconut eggnog) or pitorro (rum moonshine) may also be served during the reception.

These traditional customs help make any wedding unique, adding a sense of culture and history that will last long after the event has ended.

They provide an opportunity to celebrate not only the union of two people but also their families and cultures.


Puerto Rican wedding traditions are a beautiful way to honor the culture and bring something unique to your special day.

From ceremony traditions like the unity candle to reception traditions such as the cake cutting, decorations & favors that include piñatas and clothing & jewelry that features traditional colors and styles – these customs will make your celebration truly unforgettable.

Whether you’re looking for ways to incorporate Puerto Rican wedding traditions into your nuptials or want to learn more about them, there is no shortage of resources available online.

So don’t be afraid to explore this vibrant culture.