If you are having a wedding (big or small) here in PR why not give it a Puerto Rican flair. It does not matter if your heritage is PR or not. Once you arrive in PR and especially if you are beginning the most important time of your life here, you are an adopted BORIQUA! Here are a few tips on how we can add a little Puerto Rican heritage to your special day.
Except for capias and bride dolls, there are no unusual wedding traditions. But we can always give your wedding a Puerto Rican flavor. When you think of things Puerto Rican you think of; coquí, orchids, tropics, palm trees, seashells, Taínos, guitars, coconuts, rum, pig roast, and amapolas (flowers). We can use these items at the ceremony and reception that remind us of your destination choice Puerto Rico la Isla del Encanto.
*The wedding could be held in a private rented house and backyard area. That is traditional because long ago there were no ballrooms for rent.
*Lights were strung on the trees outside to light the yard for the party - which gives a very simple, romatic and festive feeling. We can also create this affect by having the wedding on the great lawns offered at many venues.
*Wealthy families would serve a large banquet with all traditional foods served. Jibaritos served a lechón (roasted pig), arroz con gandules (rice and chick peas), pasteles (vegetable & meat tamale), empanadas (meat or veggie turnovers) flan, dulce de guava con queso (guava paste and cheese). Serving delicious food and drink is a huge part of the Puerto Rican culture.
*Have the wedding cake made of coconut, rum, or pineapple flavor.
*Cake decorations may include seashells, pineapple motifs, flowers, etc.
*The wedding "brindis" (toast) use to be made using coconut cups because there were no fancy glass goblets or the bride and groom may drink a traditional café con leche (espresso) using coconut cups during the dessert hour.
*Capias for all the guests. The capias were attached to ribbons that hung from the bridal bouquet. At the reception the bride and groom would pin them on the guests. This is a great way for the bride and groom to make contact with each guest. The capias had a piece of “abeto” fern (spiny fern used in weddings) attached to the capia (about 5 inches of fern), and the capia sat in the middle of the fern. The fern lasts a long time. The capias include a piece of folded narrow ribbon printed with the bride and groom’s names on one end, and the date of the wedding on the other. This ribbon can be ordered at bridal shops.
*The bride's bouquet was made using wild flowers of Puerto Rico – mostly amapolas, but also flamboyán flowers, and margaritas (include local greenery and abeto). Puerto Rico has over 50 native orchid species.
*The bouquet may include a fan - in Puerto Rico fans were a traditional part of a woman's attire. Wealthy women had fans in different colors to match their clothing. Or give them as favors, they are useful, colorful and are a lovely gift.
*Bridesmaids may carry a fan and an amapola, the flor maga, which is similar to an amapola, is the official flower of Puerto Rico.
*During the ceremony - in very low volume - play a tape of coquí sounds (small frog who sings coqui when the sun goes down) - that would be very romantic.
*The Doll - At the traditional Puerto Rican reception it is customary for a doll, dressed similar to the bride, to be placed at the head of the main table. The doll can be a Barbie or a larger doll. She wears a wedding dress to match the bride's.
*The bride and groom may choose a danza criolla, a Puerto Rican waltz. La Borinqueña is a waltz. There are many, many beautiful Puerto Rican orchestra pieces for ballroom dancing.
*If you are interested in the Taíno culture use strings of seashell jewelry for the bridal party, to decorate the table or to give as favors.
*Centerpieces - make small palm trees using “abeto” ferns for centerpieces and decorate with seashells.
*Hire a local Puerto Rican folk dance group to entertain during dinner.
*Of course - play Puerto Rican music including salsa, merengue and bomba y plena
*Fresh flowers were used to decorate the church, house, and the yard. Again these were flowers that grew wild including amapolas, margaritas and flamboyán flowers as well as local greenery and palm branches.
*Select a wedding invitation with a tropical theme like ferns, palm trees or sea shells.
*Napkin rings can be made by using sea shells with ferns, fresh flowers and even palm leaves.
*Honeymoon – so many options right here on the island, a ferry ride to Culebra (named #2 most beautiful beach in the world) or Vieques, Old San Juan, Rincon area, El Conquistador in Fajardo the choices are endless.
I hope this helps in adding a little Boriqua flair to your destination wedding and I wish you FELICIDADES Y BENDICIONES!
Here are a few websites where you can purchase some of the items mentioned:
Coconut Cups and Coconut Decor
Variety of Decorative Fans
Decorative Palm Tree Centerpieces
Puerto Rican Folk Music
Tropical Destination Wedding Invitations
Seashell Napkin Rings
The traditional Capia