Puerto Vallarta to Philadelphia: A Tale of Two Weddings

Cathedrals of Puerto Vallarta (left) and Philadelphia (right)

Cathedrals of Puerto Vallarta (left) and Philadelphia (right)

It’s been a busy start to the Holiday Season for my girlfriend and I as we were invited to back-to-back weddings – one in Puerto Vallarta, where we live, and the other in Philadelphia, where I’m from. Both were absolutely beautiful events, alike in many ways yet unique in traditions and customs. Reflecting back on the ceremonies (through the haze of champagne and tequila) offers some interesting insights into a tradition both Mexicans and Americans hold as holy.

It’s important to note that both weddings were Catholic, a faith to which I do not belong, so each ceremony was both foreign and intriguing to someone who has not spent much time in a cathedral. And what cathedrals they were! Our Mexican friends were married in Puerto Vallarta’s beloved Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – one of the cities most prominent symbols, and our American friends were married in The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul – one of the oldest and most architecturally impressive buildings in Philadelphia. Both cathedrals were breathtaking and, in truth, distracting as I couldn’t help but allow my eyes to wander during the ceremonies.

The Mexican ceremony was, naturally, in Spanish; however, the American ceremony was just as foreign as both included many call-and-response verses, which most attendees knew by heart. Both traditions also included Communion, which I found interesting as it broke up the flow of the wedding. The Spanish Priest seemed much more traditional and stern; however, only at the American wedding did we actually have to kneel.

Unique to the Mexican wedding, I found the tradition of El Lazo (The Lasso) to be quite interesting and beautiful. The Lasso is a double-looped Rosary, in this case made of clear crystals and adorned with a dangling cross, which is placed around the heads of the bride and groom during the ceremony. I’m told that el lazo symbolizes unity and “should bind the couple together everyday as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives.” It was a powerful and beautiful image to see our two friends kneel before the priest, bound literally by a crystal lasso as they spiritually bound their love.

The best man and the maid of honor placing the lasso

Although much different in style, music played a significant part in both ceremonies. Throughout the American wedding, a single female soloist sang several songs, which were lovely; however, it was the music of the Mexican wedding that stands out in memory. A full-piece mariachi band, brilliantly dressed in traditional garb, assembled to the side of the altar where they brought the ceremony to life through various songs of faith and love. I’m told that not all Mexican weddings have a mariachi band but that it is common in weddings of the higher Mexican society, which makes sense – between the grandeur of the cathedral, the austerity of the old priest, the resounding music of the mariachis, and the gorgeous appearance of both the bride and groom, the occasion was certainly fit for royalty.

Having not been to many weddings in general, it was a pleasure to attend two weddings in two countries in the same week. Witnessing four friends commit their love to each other in such impressive settings was unforgettable, however, now being able to juxtapose the most sacred event of these two cultures, I must say that if you ever have a chance to attend a wedding at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta, don’t pass it up!

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

Category : Blog &Only in Mexico &PV Livin

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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico

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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico

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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico


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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico

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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico

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Category : Blog &Only in Mexico

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