Time-Honored Honduran Wedding Traditions You Should Know

An in-depth look at Honduran weddings and the Latin American traditions they commonly include.
Christina Drury
by Christina Drury
Updated Jan 19, 2023

Honduras is a gorgeous, tropical Central American country that has a prideful population that honors its traditions. This is especially true when it comes to Honduras wedding traditions that date back to the 1400s and beyond. Culture plays a large part in the ceremony, with Latin American touches in the decor, food and music. The bulk of the celebration comes during the actual ceremony and the reception, both of which occur on the same day. Weddings are a time for lively celebrations and Hondurans know how to let loose. Here's a look at what you can expect from a traditional big day in Honduras.

A Brief History of Honduran Wedding Traditions

Honduran weddings are deeply rooted in traditions that go back many centuries to when the Spanish settled the Central American countries. Many of the traditions seen at weddings in Honduras mirror those celebrated across much of Latin America. While some couples incorporate modern twists, many stay true to their roots to honor their families and their heritage.

Honduran Prewedding Traditions

Like many countries, the only real pre-wedding tradition for Honduran nuptials is engagement. To celebrate, recently engaged couples will throw a party with their friends and family. This can take place either weeks or months before the actual ceremony. Engagement parties may be simple or elaborate.

Honduran Wedding Attire

Honduran wedding attire doesn't differ widely from most Western wedding wear. Engaged Honduran women will typically wear either a white or gold wedding dress, with a veil for religious ceremonies that pays homage to their Catholic roots. Grooms wear a suit, though for informal ceremonies, they may often go without a jacket. Loved ones at the wedding should dress up, though there are no stringent requirements for attire. Religious ceremonies tend to be more formal than civil nuptials.

Honduran Wedding Ceremony Traditions

There are three different types of wedding ceremonies: civil, religious and free unions. Those of upper-class wealth tend to have religious ceremonies, which are more extravagant, while those of the middle and lower classes commonly have civil unions. Honduras allows both monogamous and polygamous marriages, as long as the groom can afford the multiple brides.

Civil ceremonies are small, and take place prior to the actual wedding day. It's a legal requirement, though for some, it's the only ceremony they will have. This is then followed by a small get-together.

Religious ceremonies tend to follow tradition and take place in a Catholic church. However, today, more couples are opting for other wedding venues that speak to them and their relationship.

Wedding Coins

During the Honduras wedding ceremony, there's a tradition called the las arras matrimoniales, or the wedding coins. This gold coin tradition has been thought to come from Spain and was spread throughout Latin America as the Spanish first put down roots in the region. The coins are gifted to the couple by los padrinos y las madrinas, godparents of sorts who sponsor parts of the wedding ceremony. They also make up the wedding party, as Latin American nuptials don't often involve bridesmaids or groomsmen.

There are 13 coins total; 12 are gold, and the final one is platinum. They are said to have different symbolism. In one tale, they're said to represent the 12 months, where the platinum symbolizes giving back to the less fortunate. Another explanation says the 12 represent the apostles of Jesus, with the platinum meaning to put God first.

The coins are stored in either a drawstring bag, chest or a gold ornate box. It's typically handed from the groom to the bride during the last part of the wedding ceremony, before the couple exchange vows.

Wedding Lasso Tradition

This wedding tradition, also known as el lazo, is symbolic of unity. It involves using a lasso to loop around the bride and groom, placed over their shoulders in a figure eight, to signify the couple's commitment. This is usually a staple in religious Catholic weddings. It could be rope, or a large rosary, which is common. It's purchased and/or provided by the wedding godparents, a special couple the bride and groom see as their role models in marriage. The lasso will remain on the couple until the ceremony is complete.

Honduran Wedding Reception Traditions

In Honduras, getting married is a cause for a huge celebration, or fiesta. It's very lively and since Latin Americans thrive on having their friends and family members nearby, it's also a huge event. Weddings take place at night and it's not uncommon for them to stretch into the wee morning hours beyond 2 and 3 am.

Honduran Wedding Music

Honduran wedding music varies, depending on the couple, but it's definitely Latin American in nature. It may include samba, merengue, flamenco, bachata and cumbia music styles—and it goes without saying, there's a lot of dancing! Most Latin American countries, including Honduras, have a father-daughter dance at the wedding reception.

Honduran Traditional Wedding Food, Drinks, Desserts

Food and drinks served at Honduran weddings tend to represent the culture. There will be at least a single traditional dish as well as a dessert and beverage of the couple's choice. Traditional foods often involve rice and beans, tacos, empanadas, or croquetas. Café con leche is a popular drink, and flan is usually a go-to dessert option.

Alcohol is also a must here, and it usually centers around Pinol, the national drink of Honduras. The wedding cake is much like the one you'd see at a Western wedding, with two or more tiers. They may be elaborate or simple, decorated in themes or just plain white for a traditional touch.

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