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Respectfully Incorporating Local Wedding Customs into Your Ceremony

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When you are planning your destination wedding, you may be interested in incorporating the cultural wedding customs of your destination. This can be a great way to truly immerse your guests in your wedding location and celebrate in a unique way. 

There are plenty of ways to incorporate local traditions into your ceremony. It is just important to do so with respect. This article will discuss the importance of respecting cultural weddings and customs at your destination wedding, as well as some of the ways you can incorporate traditions into your wedding ceremony. 

cultural weddings

Ceremony Customs

Most countries and cultures have specific wedding traditions that are passed down through generations. Some have religious ties, while others do not. Below are two of the many customs that you might choose to add to your destination wedding ceremony. 

Las Arras

The wedding tradition of Las Arras can be found in several countries. If you are planning a destination wedding in Mexico or Colombia, you might want to look into this custom. Las Arras involves thirteen gold coins that symbolize Jesus and the twelve apostles from Catholic custom. Traditionally, the priest will hand the coins to the groom, who will then hand them to the bride. The custom symbolizes the couple’s shared life and commitment to care for one another.  

Symbols of Unity

Many wedding customs involve specific symbols or an exchange of words that happens during the ceremony. One such Colombian tradition is the Candle Ceremony, which takes place after the exchanging of rings. The married couple lights their own candle, and then uses those candles to light a third one together. This act symbolizes their unity and commitment to each other, as their flames come together. They then leave the church carrying their candle together.  

Traditional Foods

Plenty of wedding customs across the world include very specific traditional foods and drinks. When you are planning your destination wedding, incorporating customary food is a great way to honor local traditions.

local traditions

Jamaican Rum Cakes

If you are planning a Jamaican destination wedding, you may want to think about modeling your wedding cake after the popular Jamaican wedding tradition of black rum cakes. Jamaican wedding cakes are soaked with rum and baked with a blend of aromatic spices and rum-soaked dried fruits. The wedding cake is made to be a showstopper. A black rum wedding cake is a great way to create a centerpiece that honors your destination!


Many wedding customs around the world involve traditional drinks as a part of the celebration. In Jamaica, a black rum wedding cake pairs well with a rum punch or rum shots as part of the toast. The Sunday after a Jamaican wedding ceremony often involves a custom called Tun T’anks, where the wedding party throws an even bigger celebration after attending church in the morning. This could make for a great going-away party before the married couple leaves for their honeymoon. 

Wherever you want to go for your destination wedding, there are bound to be traditional wedding foods and drinks. A Mexican wedding reception often involves an open bar with traditional Mexican beers and tequila drinks, for example. Food and drink are a great way to bring people together, and a great way to celebrate cultural traditions!

Games and Celebration

Often, wedding customs center around fun things to do after the ceremony. This includes music, live entertainment, and fun games to play at the wedding reception. Below are a couple of cultural wedding ideas you can incorporate into your celebration. 


One staple of cultural weddings is music and entertainment. Wherever you go in the world, you are bound to find a popular musical style or event at a wedding reception. A popular Mexican wedding tradition is to hire mariachis who can perform hymns during the wedding ceremony or the reception afterward. Other countries in Central America might opt for a steel drum or reggae band instead. 

Choosing a Shoe

You may be familiar with the wedding tradition of the bride throwing her wedding bouquet, and the person who catches it is the next person to get married. If you are traveling to Colombia for your destination wedding, there is a great way to put a spin on that bouquet-throwing tradition! 

Instead of throwing the bouquet, have your guests or wedding party put one of their shoes underneath the bride’s dress. Then, the bride randomly grabs a shoe from underneath her gown and the owner of the shoe is the next to be married! 

Respecting Tradition

If you are incorporating local traditions into your destination wedding, it is very important to do so in a way that honors the people and culture of those traditions. Cultural appreciation is the goal, not appropriation. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you are respecting the wedding customs of the country you are getting married in. 

Make sure you talk with your wedding planner. In addition to the research you do, your wedding planner can help connect you with artists, bakers, and musicians near your destination wedding venue who will be willing and excited to be a part of your big day. 

wedding tradition

Celebrate Cultural Weddings

At Destify, we want to help celebrate you and your special day. That means helping you put together your dream destination wedding, complete with excursions and dinners, at an affordable price. Our team of wedding exerts is eager to help you implement cultural wedding customs with respect and excitement, wherever you go. 

Our local contacts are a huge asset in getting you connected to local small businesses and artisans who will help you craft your dream wedding. Join us at Destify to incorporate wedding traditions that you will never forget! 

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