Hispanic Wedding Traditions?


I’m in need of some advice concerning madrinas and padrinos in weddings. My DH and I aren’t Hispanic so I don’t exactly know what to expect with this tradition.

DH’s brother is getting married in June 2010. His fiancee is Hispanic and they are having an Americanize Hispanic Wedding Mass. My DH and I were chosen as a Padrinos couple. In this tradition the wedding party is made up of married couples who act as the groomsmen and bridesmaids. From what I understand this takes on a spiritual siginificance where we’re supposed to be advisors to them during their marriage. I have no problem with this even though DH and I have only been married 4 months so I’m not sure how much advice we can give in our first year! :wink:

The part I am having a hard time understanding is the financial part. Padrinos are supposed to provide financial support for the wedding according to modern tradition that I’ve researched online. When my future sister-in-law was explaining the tradition to me she started talking about who would pay for what of the wedding. Between her sister and I we’re responsible for flowers, transportation, the fees for the church, and the band in addition to normal bridesmaid expenses such as our dresses, hair, and make up. Is this normal? I’ve been reading where Padrinos are responsible for individual things, but is such a long list normal? :shrug:

DH and I are not in a great position financially as we are just starting out and I just started a new job. Neither of us make a lot and we are trying to pay off DH’s student loans. We also recently went through the miscarriage of our child at 9 weeks last week which required emergency hospitalization and surgery for myself. My health is better now thankfully, but we have no idea how bad the bills are going to be even with our insurance company paying part. I don’t know how to tell my future sister-in-law we can’t commit to paying for so much of their wedding right now.

We didn’t even take a honeymoon when we got married and that was one of our goals to save up to go somewhere this summer before we learned that we were pregnant. We were thinking of Colorado or the Grand Canyon somewhere exciting but close. None of that is an option now since we’re draining our savings account and we need to build it back up because we’re scared the next shoe is going to drop. We’re having a hard first 4 months of marriage with costly repairs to our cars, me trying to find a job in a new city, and the miscarriage so I feel like we need to take care of ourselves too but we can’t. :frowning:

Maybe this is more of me venting that I didn’t sign up for any of this! They are going to Yellowstone for a honeymoon while we’re paying off hospital bills, loans, and hoping the car doesn’t decide to die on us for good! How is it fair to expect us to pay $800 or more for their wedding expenses with all of this on our plate? :mad: My sisters are 700 miles away so I really want to be close to my future sister-in-law because I don’t know anyone besides them here and I know saying something will strain that. My DH and I can’t afford this and apart of me feels like we’re being taken advantage of.

Sorry for venting I’m just not sure what to do because this is a tradition. I don’t want to disrespect the tradition, but I also don’t want to dig my DH and I into debt. :frowning:


Hi, Laurie!

From my understanding, the tradition of padrinos is set long, long before the wedding is being planned. In my family, the padrinos acted as a sort of godparent for a person’s entire life, beginning at birth – making the padrinos and newlyweds a generation apart. To select someone as a padrino and expect them to pay for any part of the wedding as the wedding is being planned seems completely contrary to the custom as I know it.

You and your husband need to have a heart-to-heart about this and come to a common decision. You have several options:
*]Accept the honor being offered and the expenses that come with it.
*]Accept the honor being offered, but make it clear that you cannot take on the expenses.
*]Decline the honor, but promise your lifelong prayers and love.

Whatever option you choose, you need to be able to perform your “duties” with love, and without bitterness or knowing that you’re harming your family.

Make your choice quickly, so your future sister-in-law can deal with her wedding realities.

God bless you. I’ll be praying for you.



I know that hispanic weddings are much more of a family extravaganza than a traditional wedding as we would think about it in the rest of the US. Here we tend to take on the burden all ourselves and and guests typically contribute more than a crock pot. but if their culture is such that the guests contribute more and they all do this all the time I can see how things “all come out in the wash” or over time it all evens out. The problem is that when cultures mix this creates an imballance. If you don’t contribute, not only has this girl been paying for others weddings, she now has to pay for her own. However if you do contribute, you end up as the ones paying twice.

I assume you have been researching this and have determined that this tradition is valid and you are not being taken for a ride. You many wan to discuss with your husband what you would be willing and able to pay and then go back to your brother and explain what you would be willing to contribute and let him know that if this is not acceptable that he may want to consider asking someone else to take on that role.


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