Photograph used via Creative Commons license, courtesy Peter J Bellis.
As the maid of honor for my friend Jessie’s upcoming wedding, I have been helping her plan her wedding down to the last detail, and it’s pretty fun.
Here are some tips if you want to have an East LA wedding.
Dress: I only got one word: Broadway! We are lucky ‘cause just over the bridge, and easy to bus it, is Broadway Street in downtown LA. They got about a million bridal shops where they sell every kinda dress, including quinceñera dresses for reasonable prices. I’m talkin’ like less than $300. And there is some GREAT stuff – no need to spend lots of money to look amazing.
Church: If you want to get married in church, you have to start preparing ahead of time and save up some money. For example, if you are Roman Catholic, you have to show proof that you were baptized and attend marriage preparatory classes in order to walk down that aisle. In some churches, you have to pay a fee plus some people choose to tip the clergy staff who facilitate your ceremony and/or give the church a donation. And, if your partner doesn’t follow the same religion you do, then you have to find out what the requirements are for your church.
Transportation: Limos are so quinceñera. If you want to arrive to your wedding in style you gotta get someone to lend you a vintage car or lowrider. These cars have so much more of the East LA vibe and really show how much you love our hood. Everybody’s got an uncle or cousin who knows someone with a vintage car. Maybe, you just gotta pay the owner to drive you on that day, since he may not want to let anyone else drive the car.
Flowers: There’s only one word for flowers, too. The Flower Mart! Also an easy bus ride over the 7th street bridge in downtown LA is the Flower Mart. From 8:00am to 10:00am every morning except Sunday for just $2.00 a person you can go to the flower markets near 9th and San Julian where all the flower shops and florists buy their flowers. You usually have to make two trips, one to check out the selection and order all of the flowers you want, and a second trip a couple days before the wedding to pick-up all of the flowers you ordered. Now these flowers won’t be already arranged into cute bouquets or anything. So if you don’t have a florist in your family to arrange them it’s best to get examples of single flower bouquets that a group of cousins or Tias can just tie up in bunches with a pretty ribbon, real easy. The best flowers for this are irises, calla lilies, gladiolas, gerber daisies, and roses.
Ceremony: At the same bridal shop where you get your dress you can also buy the arras and the lasso. If you’re not Mexican, you may not know about these traditions. The arras are gold coins in a little gold box that the groom hands to the bride during the ceremony to show that he promises to take care of her. After the wedding you can take the gold coins and make them into a bracelet. The lasso is literally a lasso or lariat made out of pearls or crystal beads. During the ceremony the maid of honor and the best man place this lasso around the bride and groom to signify that they are gonna be tied together forever. And it also shows how ranchera we still are.