Wedding traditions in Spain

Bride and groom dancing

Today we are looking at traditional Spanish weddings; a culture so vast and charming that we have simply fallen in love!

Our, “Wedding Traditions around the World” series is intended for all to enjoy, as the wedding traditions from the different countries are absolutely fascinating!

Whether you are a bi-cultural couple willing to tie the knot in a fantastic English venue, someone who has been invited to attend a bi-cultural wedding as a guest, or simply looking for a wedding theme that is meaningful to you and your other half, this blog post is for you!

For example, if you and your fiancé have travelled extensively in Spain, and love its culture and food, or are planning a honeymoon in Spain – why not introduce certain elements that remind your guests of your shared history and passion?

Wedding traditions in Spain

The bridal dress

Royal weddingA traditional Spanish bridal dress includes a lace headdress called a mantilla, which the mother of the bride will have embroidered for or bequeathed to her daughter. The mantilla is a lace veil that is usually worn over a high comb, itself named peineta. Sometimes the mantilla can be worn without a peineta, directly on the hair, or with a very small peineta.

In addition to the mantilla, the bridal dress would have typically included lace details, such as a lace collar, sleeves, or hem. Traditionally, both the mantilla and the wedding dress were made out of black lace. Nowadays, this practice has been practically lost, and most brides who wear mantilla will opt for a white version, worn over a white lace dress.

Spain’s very own celebrity fairytale wedding was that of King Philip IV to beautiful Letizia Ortiz in 2004. At her wedding, Ortiz opted for a wonderful mantilla that trailed behind her dress.

Usually, Spanish weddings do not include bridesmaids or groomsmen – therefore, the couple stand at the altar on their own during their ceremony. The groom’s mother accompanies him down the aisle; and he is not to have seen his bride’s dress until that day – at all!


Although there are no bridesmaids or groomsmen, the so-called wedding godparents play a very important role. These will be a man and a woman, chosen among the couple’s closest friends or relatives. One of the responsibilities of the godfather (a sort of Best Man equivalent) is to be in charge of the wedding bouquet, and gift it to the bride on the day of the wedding, alongside a poem written by himself or borrowed.

Flowers are a very important part of a Spanish wedding, and the couple will have spent months preparing this aspect. Traditionally Spanish brides tend to favour orange blossom, as its whiteness symbolises purity and matches her bridal dress. What a better place to decorate with orange blossoms, we wonder, than our exclusive Victorian Orangery?

A traditional wedding custom in Spain used to be that the groom would gift his bride 13 coins, known as arras (unity coins). This symbolised his commitment to take care of her. Nowadays it is customary for the couple to simply exchange the arras among themselves, a symbol of their commitment to each other. Usually these coins are carried by a young girl, dressed for the occasion, a “flower girl” of sorts.

The wedding reception

As there are no bridesmaids or groomsmen, the head table at the wedding reception will be set for 6 people: the newlyweds and their respective parents. Another difference with other Western weddings is that there are no speeches; so if you are a guest, don’t worry! There are no speeches coming, they haven’t just forgotten!

The reception will typically consist of a dinner, followed by a long night of partying and dancing! During the reception, the bride and groom will pay a visit to each of the tables, carrying a basket with wedding favours to give away! Usually the men are given cigars and the women something nice, like flowers or candy.

During the reception it is customary for the groom’s friends to cut up his tie into pieces, and then auction it among the guests for good luck.

Are you attending a Spanish wedding?

Prepare yourself for a wedding steeped in tradition – full of wonderfully emotional moments, elegant décor, millenary rites, a lot of fun and good food!

Planning a Spanish wedding in an English venue?

The mixture of Southern European details and the imposing backdrop of an English Venue is perfect for a contemporary wedding. At Country House Weddings, we will help you to make sure each detail of your big day is successful. Incorporating traditions of your national heritage is a wonderful idea, and some of our couples have already done so throughout the years. These bicultural weddings have a magnificent charm that we will never forget.

If you or your fiancé are of Spanish heritage, why not decorate your venue with a Spanish-inspired theme and create the perfect setting for your traditional fairytale Spanish wedding? Make your dreams come true!

Photo by Globovisión

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