Cuban weddings are cheerful and populous events. Brides buy fancy wedding gowns, dozens of guests bring costly wedding gifts to help the new family start a life together, wedding receptions are rich and plentiful. Although, as beautiful as a Cuban wedding is, the wedding traditions are very strict. For example, single mothers or divorced people are judged by society. At the same time, family is everything for Cubans, and it is common for extended families to live together in a large household. Let’s dive into the top-5 most typical and curious wedding traditions in Cuba.
Cuban weddings are usually grand
Most weddings in Cuba are big. The couple is supposed to invite all of the relatives and, often, everybody they know, so the wedding guest list typically is up to at least 50-100 guests. Wedding festivities are a great opportunity for people to have fun – eat delicious food, have a few drinks, sing, dance, etc – and Cubans really know how to celebrate.
Brides and grooms are often very young
In Cuba, it is common to get married early – boys at the age of 17-18 and girls – 14-17. Many Cubans are religious and very devoted to old traditions, so it’s typical for maidens to get wed virgins, thus such early marriages. Some families even display the sheets after the wedding night to prove the bride was a virgin.
Bride in white, guests in colorful outfits
Virgin brides traditionally wear white wedding gowns with fancy decorations – lace, best silks, pretty trimmings, etc. Often, the dresses are extremely ornate. Grooms are expected to wear a dress suit with matching shoes and an optional tie. But the wedding guests have a much wider variety of options in their attire, and it is very common to dress in colorful clothes for such a festive occasion.
Newlyweds live with parents
After the wedding, the newlyweds move to either her or his parents’ house to live. Most often, it’s the groom’s home, but it depends on the situation. For example, if the groom has many siblings and the bride is the only child, they usually move with her parents. Cubans traditionally live in big households, a large family together. It’s totally normal when the newlyweds, parents of one of them, and siblings live in the same homestead.
An interesting tradition in Cuba says that when there are several children in the family, the first one who gets married brings the spouse to the household to live with the family, but when the next sibling marries, the first couple has to move out and vacate a place for the new couple. And it’s understandable – newlyweds usually don’t have their own place to live, and after a few years together, a couple might save enough money to buy or rent something.
Cubans strive for nuclear family
In Cuba, it’s important to have a full family. One-parent families are rarer, especially single mothers – society looks down upon them and it’s considered a shame to give birth to a child without a husband. Families of these women even hide them from society to avoid shame. Divorces are also not encouraged. The only single parents who are not judged by other people are widowed men and women.