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A Hispanic wedding reception

Latino wedding receptions are usually colorful, lively affairs where traditions, dance and plenty of good food are essential ingredients!

pinataTraditions at a Hispanic wedding reception

A papier mache figure called a piñata or pinata is filled with candies and favors. It is then hung up and the children beat it with sticks until it breaks, releasing the goodies inside which are then shared amongst the guests. Another version, designed for the adults, is a large cake-shaped piñata with ribbons; guests pull the ribbons to reveal the different gifts that have been hidden inside.

Colombian brides wear a long white wedding dress. During the wedding reception all bachelors put one of their shoes under her dress. The groom then chooses one shoe, and the owner of this shoe will be the one to marry next.

Venezuelan couples typically leave their wedding reception without saying goodbye to their guests. Far from being seen as rude, it is believed to bring good luck to the newly-weds!

Dancing at a Hispanic wedding reception

A Latino wedding reception is family oriented and festive. For the bridal couple's first dance, at the reception guests will form a circle around the couple. Salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, and samba music add a festive flair to a Hispanic wedding reception.

Mariachi bands are very popular at a Mexican wedding, typically consisting of two violins and trumpets, a type of guitar called a vihuela, a Spanish guitar, and a bass. Accordions are popular in the north of Mexico.

money_danceDuring Cuban wedding receptions, wedding guests take part in the traditional money dance, where each man who dances with the new bride must pin money to her dress to help the newlyweds with their honeymoon expenses.

Many Chilean couples hire professional dance groups to entertain their guests by performing the national dance, the cueca.

Food at a Hispanic wedding reception

Some typical dishes at a Latin American wedding are pasteles, Puerto Rican meat patties, or empanadas, Colombian pastries stuffed with meat and vegetables. Spanish tapas make perfect appetizers. Other popular dishes include barbeques, rice and beans, paella, arroz con pollo or chicken with rice, and fried plantains.

In Puerto Rico, a doll dressed in a replica of the bridal gown, is placed on the head table at the reception. It might also be placed on the cake table. Little mementos or favors, called capias are attached to the doll. During the reception, the bride and groom will walk to each person pin a capia on them and thank them for their presence at the wedding. The capias have the couple’s names and wedding date inscribed on them.

charm_cakeOriginally a tradition in Victorian England, in Argentina and Peru charms attached to ribbons are placed between the layers of the wedding cake. Before the cake is cut and served, all the bridesmaids or single women at the reception pull a string. It is believed that the one who pulls out the ribbon with the ring is going to marry within a year.

A typical Puerto Rican wedding cake is decorated with seashells and is often rum, pineapple or coconut flavor.

Mexican wedding cake is usually a fruit cake that has been soaked in rum. Also served are pastelitos de boda, delicious Mexican cookies made of sugar and nuts.

At a wedding reception in Brazil, the guests are given traditional cookies, known as "casadinhos" or "marry well" cookies.

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