La Boda (The Wedding)
The Hispanic wedding or Boda has many special rites and customs. For example, in addition to the Best Man and Maid of Honor, a couple may also have Padrinos de Velación (or de la Iglesia), close family friends (oftentimes an older married couple) who are the “official witnesses” and commit to being counselor and mentor to the newlyweds.
Hispanic elements included in even the most simple wedding rites usually include the Bible, the Arras, the Lazo and Los Cojines.
Blessed and presented to the couple, it is encouragement to build a life based on Christ’s teachings. In Catholic ceremonies, the Rosary is also included to further their devotion to The Blessed Mother Mary.
The Arras (the wedding coins)
The arras are 13 coins (gold or silver) that the groom drops into the cupped hands of his bride. The coins symbolize his commitment to care for her and provide for the economic and material welfare of the home. Her acceptance of the coins symbolizes her trust and confidence in him. Originating In Spain, the number 13 is said to represent Christ and the Twelve Apostles. The coins are usually carried in an ornately decorated silver or gold box or tray that becomes a family heirloom.
The wedding lazo is an extra-long double rosary, or a cord of beads or flowers that is draped in the form of a figure eight – the infinity symbol – on the shoulders of the bride and groom. This beautiful custom, that takes place after the exchange of the wedding vows, is a symbolic binding of the couple and affirms their commitment to remain together side-by-side.
The Cojines (kneeling pillows)
White satin cushions beautifully embroidered with the words, Nuestra Boda are placed on the kneelers of the bride and groom by the corresponding padrinos during the entrance procession.