Many couples that choose to marry in Mexico find themselves enamored with the lively and vibrant culture of the country. Bright colors, upbeat music, and plenty of tequila make for celebrations that are hard to replicate in other parts of the world, and couples love to highlight the culture of this beautiful country as they celebrate their marriage.
It’s important to note that this inclusion of culture isn’t a requirement of your destination wedding. However, if you’re moved by the passion and flair of Mexico, there are many ways you can respectfully add the pieces you have found most meaningful to your day.
Photography: Juan Euan
Familiar Mexican Traditions
To embrace the vibrancy of Mexican culture, some couples will choose to incorporate bright colors and traditional Mexican patterns and elements into their wedding décor. Combinations of red, orange, yellow, turquoise, and blue can be used to create gorgeous table tops and eye-catching floral arrangements while colorful, elaborately-cut flags known as papel picados are perfect adornments to dress up a space. Region-specific flowers and greens can also be a beautiful way to instill the country into your aesthetic, with dahlias, orchids, and even cactus all providing unique and defining visuals. Some couples even choose to incorporate the Mexican piñata, which always results in laughter and fun for kids of all ages.
A beautiful and subtle way to celebrate Mexican tradition during your ceremony is to incorporate the Mexican lazo, a decorative ribbon, cord, or floral loop that is placed in a figure eight over the couple by their godparents or other guests of honor. The loop around the couple is meant to symbolize their everlasting union and represents the eternal bond they will share.
The food of the country is probably one of the easiest ways to celebrate the country’s culture, and the options for dishes you could serve your guests is truly endless.
To highlight a few favorites, recreating traditional Mexican street food is a fun and interactive way to enjoy the country’s cuisine. Couples and their guests can move from cart to cart, having their made-to-order tacos or esquites (Mexican corn salad) prepared in front of them before topping off their meal with a fresh-made churro. This works perfectly for rehearsal dinners, casual weddings, or even as a midnight snack after the reception.
Mariachi music is another well-recognized element of Mexican culture and can be incorporated in a number of ways in your day. Some couple choose to cue up the band as they walk up the aisle, signaling the start of the fiesta, while others reserve the boisterous music to play during cocktail hour or as their guests move from location to location. For softer dinner music, a mariachi band can be condensed to a trio of guitars playing traditional Mexican love songs, and then the trumpets can return to kick off the dancing.
Of course, no Mexican wedding would be complete without tequila! As the country’s largest export, the variety of tequila available affords couples the opportunity for tequila-tasting bars or signature cocktails that celebrate the libation.
The Lure of Tulum
The culture of the Tulum area is unique in itself. Mayan-related traditions specific to the Yucatan Peninsula are more earthy, ethnic, and rooted in pre-Hispanic civilization. Incorporating Mayan traditions and foods of the Yucatan will give you a different atmosphere than the more widely-recognized central-Mexican touches your guests may be expecting.
To embrace the spirituality of Tulum, you may consider having a traditional Shaman perform your ceremony. With incense and simple flute and drum music, a Mayan ceremony celebrates the elements – earth, fire, water, and air – and ties the couple to mother earth while celebrating the spiritual aspects of marriage. Just remember – if you want your destination ceremony to be legally binding, be sure to follow these steps for the requirements in Mexico.
Yucatan foods are also quite different from the familiar Mexican favorites. Pork-heavy dishes with plantains, avocados, and banana leaves offer uniquely delicious meal options. The variety of Yucatan foods is as varied as those of central Mexico, and there are plenty of caterers in the Tulum area who specialize in helping couples celebrate Mayan tradition through food.
And lastly, while Mexico is known for its tequila, the Yucatan boasts of xtabentun, a sweet liquor made from fermented honey. There is no better way to compliment your Mayan food choices than with this traditional, earthy drink.
If you’ve fallen in love with the rich and vibrant aspects of Mexican culture, incorporating them in to your wedding celebration is a great way to acknowledge and appreciate their significance. Be purposeful in what you choose to include, and do your research to find the traditions most fitting for you.