Spanish Phrases to Know

  • Hola: hello
  • (If you’re a woman) Encantada (or if you’re a man) Encantado: Nice to meet you
  • ¡España es hermosa! Spain is beautiful!
  • ¡Salud!  Cheers!
  • ¡Vivan los novios!  Here’s to the happy couple!
  • ¡Que se besen!  ¡Que se besen! (chanted repeatedly)  A kiss! A kiss! (until the couple kisses)
  • Fiesta: party  
  • Las arras: the 13 unity coins exchanged during the Catholic wedding ceremony representing the couple’s commitment to sharing the goods they have together.
  • Padrinos: the father of the bride (Timothy) and the mother of the groom (Carmen) who accompany us (and sometimes act as witnesses who sign, but Sarah and Gustavo will have their best man and maid of honor sign)
  • Recena: the “midnight” snack that will be served around 3am, serving to refuel dancing feet and soak up all that tasty alcohol you’ll be drinking
  • Luna de miel: honeymoon

Spanish Things to Know

  • Typically, Spanish weddings don’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen; there’s no best man or maid of honor. 
  • In Spain, women wear their engagement ring on the ring finger of their left hand, and the wedding ring is worn on the right hand ring finger. 
  • These days for Spanish wedding gifts, bank deposits or straight-up cash are much more common than the outdated norm of wedding registries and presents.
  • It is tradition that the newlyweds give a short speech thanking their guests for coming.  No other guests give speeches during Spanish receptions. 
  • Ladies, Spanish tradition says that at evening weddings, it is customary to wear a long dress. Casual-dress at Spanish weddings is unheard of, so don’t be afraid to dress up as much as you like and wear your best dress.  As we are throwing an internationally welcoming celebration, we will let you in with a short dress (but be prepared to make up for it on the dance floor with your moves! 😉
  • We recommend to wear heels safe for walking on grass (during the cocktail), and to bring a pair of flats for dancing your feet off without pain!
  • Come hungry! The pre-dinner apéritif and finger foods are abundant and delicious. Be prepared for a lot of beer, wine, appetizers, and jamón. Afterwards, the banquet follows tradition; much like an average Spanish family dinner, the meal is served late (around 9:30pm) and is an opportunity to socialize. It’s an enjoyable affair that could last two or three hours.
  • Spanish weddings always end very, very late.  Be prepared to dance til the wee hours of the night, or at least until the bar closes at 4:30am! Don’t worry if you get hungry again by then.  We will feed you a tasty savory snack or recena around 3am to keep your dancing shoes going!
  • Beware the open bar!  Spanish weddings are a marathon, not a sprint.  Pace yourself. 😉
  • Get ready to dance! Often at Spanish weddings, the bride and groom are picked up on the shoulders of friends and danced around at some point in the evening. 
  • After getting married in Spain, newlyweds who register locally are given a Libro de Familia (Family Book), where their children’s birth will be recorded. It is a document certifying that the couple has married.
  • Paella: rice dish that originated in the east coast of Spain, near Valencia. The dish is said to be a perfect union between 2 cultures from Spain: the Romans, for the pan and the Arabs, that brought rice.  There is an old story of how the Moorish kings’ servants created rice dishes by mixing the left-overs from royal banquets in large pots to take home. The term paella refers to the pan that it is cooked in. Sarah and Gustavo will throw a paella party on Sunday 1-4pm by the pool. Don’t miss it! We hope they won’t cook it with the leftovers from the night before.  😉
  • Tapas: small plates of food to be eaten with wine or alcohol in a social environment.  Tapa literally means “a cover” or “a lid” – and is a common facet to many tapas origin stories. According to some, tapas began at a farmers’ bar in Seville where the bartenders would serve beer with a saucer on top to keep the flies out. Then they realized that they could use the saucer to serve a little ham, olives or cheese, which made customers come back, thanks to the bar’s apparent generosity. Another claims that some sneaky tavern keepers discovered that, if they covered cheap wine with a plate of strong cheese, their guests, in a state of olfactory confusion, wouldn’t notice how bad the beverage was.
  • Be sure to try out tapas on your upcoming trip to Spain!

American things to know

  • An average American wedding lasts 5-6 hours, start to finish. Sarah and Gustavo’s wedding will last almost 24 hours, 6pm til 4pm the following day (including a morning siesta on Sunday to recover before the paella party). Get plenty of rest Saturday and be ready to dance til late! Plan to nap 6am til 12 and join us for the paella party from 1-4pm Sunday at the Monastery poolside!
  • Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It is customary for the bride to carry or wear items which fit with each one of these categories for good luck. Sarah will indeed check this list off. 
  • Typically, American weddings have a handful of bridesmaids and groomsmen making up the bridal party, including a best man, maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer. Sarah and Gustavo will have a maid of honor (Angela) and best man (Manuel “Lolo”).
  • Clinking of the glass with your utensil during the dinner = the Spanish version of shouting “Que se besen!”  It encourages the newlywed couple to kiss each other!
  • It is American tradition that many speeches are given often during the dinner. Sarah and Gustavo have no arranged speech by guests, and invite anyone who wants to give a speech to speak up!
  • In the US, women wear their engagement ring and the wedding ring side by side on the ring finger of their left hand. (Sarah doesn’t know if she will opt for the Spanish or American approach yet! Well… when in Spain, as they say, ….)
  • In American wedding culture, the groom carries the bride across the threshold upon returning home after the wedding to symbolize protecting her from evil that she may encounter in their new home together. (Hope Gustavo remembers this one 😉
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