Spanish wedding traditions not only involve the bride and groom's families, they sometimes include the whole village.
Earlier, once the wedding is fixed the groom is not supposed to see the bride, so it was the job of the bride's father to keep her hidden away from the groom.
Earlier, during the night before the wedding lanterns were used to light the way from the groom's house to the bride's house. Later the groom's family would carry a wedding chest that is filled with gifts for the bride's family.
In a Spanish wedding, the groom makes his entrance to the aisle along with his mother. It is the groom's mother who stands next to him instead of the groomsmen, as the Spanish weddings don't have bridesmaids or groomsmen. The bride is accompanied by her father and he also stands next to her during the ritual. According to traditions, it is to show the bond between the families.
Though the Spanish weddings don't have any bridesmaids and grooms, they have flower girls and ring bearers who are dressed like the miniature versions of the bride and the groom.
Spanish brides prefer orange blossoms for their bridal bouquet. During the ceremony, the bridal bouquet is held by someone else while the bride usually holds the rosary. It is then draped across the bride and groom's hands as a symbol of unity in marriage.
The Spanish couples usually wear their ring on their right hand instead of the left. They usually use matching gold rings as the wedding bands.
After the wedding, the groom would present 13 gold coins, blessed by a priest, to the bride in an ornately decorated box. These coins represent Jesus and his 12 disciples. The groom gives these coins to the bride as a promise to support and always look after his wife and their children.
As they get out of the church they are showered with rice and flower petals. Traditionally loud firecrackers are also burst during this period.
Weddings usually start around 7 pm and the wedding banquet and celebrations last till early morning. During the banquet, the newlyweds will carry a basket with small wedding flavours and go round the tables and distribute them to the guests.
Wedding celebrations are filled with traditional music, dance and merry making.
The single ladies would receive a small pin or corsage from the bride and they will have to wear it upside down. If a girl loses her pin/corsage during the reception then it is believed that she will get married soon.
You won't witness the tossing of the bouquet ceremony in a traditional Spanish wedding. Instead, the bride would hand it over to one of her friends who she wishes to have the same good luck as her.
The traditional custom of slicing the groom's tie for good luck is still practised at many weddings.