Entertainment Love and Romance Learn the Duties of the Padrinos and Madrinas, the Wedding Sponsors Incorporating Sponsors Into a Modern Latino Wedding Share PINTEREST Email Print Sollina Images/Blend Images/Getty Images Love and Romance Relationships Sexuality Divorce Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Nicole Kidder Seattle University Nicole Kidder has more than 20 years of experience writing about cultural traditions and different communities for a variety of publications. our editorial process Nicole Kidder Updated March 11, 2018 Modern Latino couples often have questions on how to incorporate padrinos (godfathers) and madrinas (godmothers) into the wedding festivities. Much like the traditional money dance, the topic of having sponsors pay for certain aspects of the wedding is controversial enough to spark heated debates. The custom is actually rooted in a centuries-old tradition that involves selecting godparents to spiritually mentor a younger person through the holy sacraments of life, including baptism, confirmation, and marriage. The role also requires the person to help pay for the lavish celebrations that usually follow the blessings of these sacred rites. Despite the expense, being chosen as a godparent is a great honor in the Latino community. Wedding Attendants vs. Sponsors The wedding attendants have completely separate roles from the padrinos and madrinas. Like those chosen for the wedding party, the padrinos and madrinas are special people in the lives of the bride and groom, such as cousins, aunts, uncles and best friends. Their purpose is to not only witness the marriage but also to advise the couple through the wedding planning process. As their gift to the couple, the padrinos and madrinas assume responsibility for a specific item, such as the arras, lazo, or rings. Sometimes members of the wedding party take on one of these roles, but sponsors are ideally people who aren't already participating in the wedding. Padrinos de honor may walk in the processional after the parents and before the cross bearer and priest. They may also stand next to the maid of honor and best man during the ceremony, and they are given a seat at the head reception table. All other sponsors sit in the first rows and at prominent tables. Like attendants, padrinos and madrinas should be acknowledged in the wedding program, recognized during the reception toasts, and honored with a thank you gift. Selecting Wedding Sponsors In traditional Latino communities, couples are commonly bombarded with requests from relatives to assist financially with the wedding plans. Although the idea is that the community helps pay for the most expensive items, some couples choose to assign the least costly parts so as not to overburden their loved ones. Others only select hosts for the ceremonial aspects of the marriage. The parents of the bride and groom may assume the responsibility of asking for support, especially if the person is a respected community elder. Couples can also ask their close friends and relatives, either in person or by hosting a small party in their honor. Couples who are uncomfortable asking for money can still pay tribute to the relationships in their lives by requesting their assistance as advisors. If opting to omit sponsors from the celebration, when someone asks, offer a polite thank you and respectfully explain that you are not having padrinos and madrinas, but you look forward to celebrating with them at the wedding. Ceremonial Sponsors The primary sponsors accept responsibility for an aspect of the marriage ceremony. These roles are typically filled by married couples who the groom and bride respect. Padres (priests) often require that the participants are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Title Responsibility Matrimonio Serves as a witness to the wedding and signs the marriage certificate. This is most often a couple who has a strong, lasting marriage or the primary godparents chosen during baptism. As the official hosts of the wedding, this couple assumes the largest financial responsibility. They are also responsible for spiritually guiding the bride and groom through conflicts. Iglesia Vigil sponsor, making church arrangements and paying for the priest and choir Lazo Hosts the lazo unity ritual by purchasing the silk ribbon or double wedding rosary and placing it on the shoulders of the couple during the ceremony to bless and bind the marriage Cojines Buys the prayer pillow that the couple kneels on during the nuptial mass Libro y Rosario Presents the couple with their marriage prayer book and rosary Velacion Oversees the unity candle ceremony by purchasing three candles and lighting the two outside candles as a symbol of their sponsorship of the marriage Arras Sponsors the arras unity ceremony by presenting the couple with 13 gold or silver coins to bestow blessings of prosperity upon the marriage Anillos Pays for the wedding rings Aguacera The los primeros madrina (primary godmother) hosts the bridal shower. Optional Padrinos and Madrinas Couples can also ask sponsors to host traditional elements of the wedding reception and ceremony. Although these secondary positions are optional, they can cover any item that is needed for the celebration, so you can ask as many people as you want. Title Responsibility Joyas Buys the bride's wedding jewelry Ramos Purchases the flowers for the church and reception hall, the bouquets and boutonnieres, and the offering for the Virgin Mary. Fotografia Arranges the photography to preserve the special day Musica Hires the musicians or DJ for the ceremony and reception Pastel Pays for the wedding cake Invitaciones Coordinates the planning and purchase of the wedding invitations Libro de Invitados Buys the guest book and hosts the sign-in at the reception Programas y tarjetas de asiento Works with the bride and groom to plan the seating chart and create the place cards as well as write and print the programs Bebidas Organizes the beverages for the reception Copas y brindis Purchase the toasting glasses for the head table and immediate family Etiquette for Sponsors When invited to be a padrinos or madrinas, it is crucial that you coordinate with the couple to ensure you buy the items they want in the appropriate colors. You can also request an estimate and give the couple the money. 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