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10 Colombian Wedding Traditions You Should Know

Marriage is an important passage toward achieving a life-long commitment with your partner. More than a physical union, it also bonds you emotionally and spiritually. That said, marriage strengthens all the facets of your relationship.

a picture of a married couple
Knowing Colombian wedding traditions is important, especially if you’re marrying a traditional Colombian woman.

Whether you’re looking for a potential wife in Colombia or ready to tie the knot with your Colombian girlfriend, you should ensure that you’re ready for the celebration of the sanctity of marriage – your wedding.

Since the country’s dominant religion is Catholicism, expect to follow Colombian wedding traditions that are influenced by their religion.

What traditions and rituals should you know? Let’s find out.

Popular Colombian Wedding Traditions

Weddings are one of the most important events in every Colombian family. If you’re planning to marry a Latina, here are some wedding traditions you should expect and follow.

1. La Serenata

On the night before the wedding, the groom will perform la serenata or the bridal serenade. It’s a romantic custom where the groom sings love songs to his bride-to-be in her house and in front of her family and friends.

La serenata is often viewed as the beginning of the wedding procession. It marks the start of the wedding rituals and it is usually followed by a party. Moreover, this wedding tradition is also famous in other Latin countries and even in Italy.

2. Wedding Dress Code

At Colombian weddings, the customary attire for men, including the groom is Guayabera, which is a suit made of cotton or linen. Meanwhile, the bride usually wears a traditional Colombian wedding dress which is a long fancy gown.

Before, most Catholic churches required modest attire. They were strict with the bride’s and bridesmaid’s gowns. For example, they must not wear tube or sleeveless gowns that would show their shoulders.

Nowadays, some churches allow brides to wear what they want, regardless if it’s revealing or not. This is because the country has a tropical, humid climate, so wearing something light and breathable is much preferred.

3. Padrinos and Madrinas

a picture of a married couple with their godparents
It is customary in a Colombian wedding to have godparents or the Padrinos and Madrinas.

In a Colombian wedding, the godparents are called Padrinos and Madrinas. They are the special people in your and your partner’s lives who will guide, support, and mentor you during your marriage, such as aunts, uncles, and best friends.

They play an important role in your wedding because aside from being your sponsors, they will also offer advice as you enter married life. You don’t get to choose your parents, but you can choose your godparents.

You must carefully pick who among the people in your life is worthy to be your second parental figure.

4. Las Arras Matrimoniales

Las arras matrimoniales are the 13 coins typically gifted by your padrinos and madrinas.

The Priest will bless the coins and pass them to the groom who will then pass them to the bride. These coins symbolize the groom’s commitment to providing for his family and the bride’s acceptance represents the trust she gives to the groom.

5. Unity Candle Ceremony

One of the most important Colombian wedding traditions is the candle ceremony. There will be three candles displayed and each one represents the bride, groom, and their marriage.

After exchanging rings, the couple will take the candles that represent them and use them to light the center unity candle. The single flame signifies their oneness and the bond that they now share.

6. Wedding Reception

During the reception, there are fun and exciting traditions in which everyone can take part. For instance, the practice of placing shoes under the bride’s dress.

The single male guests will place their shoes under the dress. The bride will then close her eyes and select one of the shoes and the owner of which she picks is believed to be the next man to get married.

This isn’t proven to be true, but it still creates a thrill, especially for the owner of the shoes.

Another silly wedding game is the belt contest in which all the male guests will gather and measure the length of their belts. The one with the longest belt becomes the winner and although there’s typically no prize for it, the winner is believed to have demonstrated the concept of masculinity.

7. El Baile Del Billete

El Baile Del Billete is a money dance that is performed by the newlyweds during the reception. The guests who wish to dance with the bride or groom will “pin” money on their clothes.

At some weddings, the songs they dance to depend on the amount of money the guest gives. The dance goes both ways, either to help the couple start their new life together or as a wish for good fortune.

8. La Hora Loca

La hora loca or the crazy hour is a party within the party. Just as the party begins to slow down, folks appear to be bored and some leave the party, there will then be entertainers, dancers, drummers, and stilt walkers coming up to pump up the spirit. Suddenly, the party has re-ignited, delighting the guests and bringing out the fun in the reception.

9. La Desaparición

La desaparición or the disappearing act occurs when the newlywed couple quietly sneaks away from the reception before it comes to an end. If they succeed, they will have good luck. The first person who notices their absence is believed to have good luck as well.

This isn’t as common as it once was, but there are still couples who do it because it plays an important role in Colombian marriage culture.

10. La Tornaboda

La tornaboda is an after-party that happens either after the reception or the next day. This is exclusive only to close friends and family of the couple as they use this time to open gifts and intimately celebrate their marriage.

Why Colombian Wedding Customs Matter

Wedding traditions represent one’s culture and values. That is why it’s crucial to follow or at least respect these traditions to preserve time-honored cultural norms.

You can, of course, make some changes since it’s your wedding. However, whether classic or modern weddings, retaining old traditions reinforces values such as faith and integrity.

Are You Ready To Marry Your Colombian Girlfriend?

people cheering for the newlyweds
Colombian wedding traditions are nothing short of interesting.

You can follow these Colombian wedding traditions and have a perfect wedding, but they will be nothing if you’re not with the right bride.

Take your time to get to know your girlfriend and ensure that your wants, needs, and expectations are aligned. Then, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re with the right person and gladly spend the rest of your life with them.

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