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A Deep Dive into the Culture of Colombian Weddings


Weddings in Colombia are vibrant, festive occasions that are deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of cultural traditions and customs that reflect the country’s diverse heritage. This celebration is not just a union of two people but a festive amalgamation of family, food, music, and dance, each element showcasing the warmth and spirit of Colombian culture.

The Significance of Family

Family is at the core of Colombian society, and this is vividly reflected in their wedding traditions. Colombian weddings are typically large affairs, often with hundreds of guests. This is not merely a reflection of wide social circles but underscores the importance of community and familial bonds. Invitations are extended to distant relatives and family friends, emphasizing that the union extends beyond the couple to connect entire communities.

Pre-Wedding Rituals

The excitement of a Colombian wedding begins long before the actual day. One of the most charming pre-wedding rituals is “La Serenata.” This event involves the groom, accompanied by a band of musicians, serenading his bride-to-be beneath her window on the eve of their wedding.

It’s a heartfelt and romantic gesture that highlights the importance of music and romanticism in Colombian culture. The bride reacts from her balcony or window, and it’s followed by a celebration involving both families, setting the stage for the festivities that follow.

The Wedding Ceremony

Most Colombian weddings are rooted in the Catholic tradition, given the country’s strong religious background. The ceremony is typically held in a church, with many unique and symbolic rituals. One of the most significant is “Las Arras,” where the groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins, blessed by the priest. These coins symbolize Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles, representing the groom’s commitment to financially support his wife and their future family.


Another distinctive aspect is the use of a “lazo,” a decorative rope or ribbon. This is draped around the couple (when you have chosen one of the colombian women for marriage) in the shape of an eight during the ceremony to symbolize their eternal bond. This tradition is a beautiful testament to the couple’s commitment to each other.

The Reception: A Feast of Music and Dance

After the ceremony, the reception is where the real celebration begins, and it truly captures the festive spirit of a Colombian wedding. Music and dance are integral parts of Colombian culture, and weddings are the perfect showcase for this vibrancy. Cumbia, Vallenato, and Salsa music fill the air, with everyone from the youngest to the oldest guests joining the dance floor. The joyous sounds of traditional instruments, such as the accordion, guacharaca, and caja vallenata, create an atmosphere of unbridled joy.

Food is another central element of the reception. Guests are treated to a lavish feast that includes traditional dishes like:

  • “lechona” (roast pig),
  • “arepas” (corn cakes),
  • and “empanadas” (stuffed pastries).

These dishes are not just delicious but also carry cultural significance, each recipe has been passed down through generations, reflecting Colombia’s diverse regional culinary traditions.

La Hora Loca

One of the highlights of Colombian wedding receptions is “La Hora Loca,” or “The Crazy Hour.” At this point in the evening, the atmosphere shifts to an even higher gear. Masks, glow sticks, props, and sometimes even entertainers like samba dancers or fire breathers join the fray, transforming the celebration into a carnival-like spectacle.


This tradition is a nod to Colombia’s love for festivals and celebrations, infusing the wedding with an unforgettable burst of energy and fun.


A Colombian wedding is a beautiful mosaic of traditions, blending the spiritual with the celebratory, the modern with the traditional. Each wedding is a unique celebration of love, family, and community, showcasing the enduring spirit and cultural richness of Colombia. For those attending a Colombian wedding for the first time, they can expect a heartfelt, vibrant, and profoundly communal experience, filled with moments that resonate with the joy and warmth of Colombian culture.