The wedding is one of the most important rites of passage in people’s lives. Traditionally, it marks the beginning of adulthood. It’s true that things have changed over the years and both men and women started building independently their own lives, so marriage is more of a choice than the need to rely on each other. However, weddings still have that touch of joy and magic that spread throughout life, that moment when all your loved ones are by your side, sharing your happiness. It’s also the moment when all your relatives remember funny (that is embarrassing) stories from your childhood, and share them with your spouse’s family and friends…

Family, food, friends, love, and laughter. Yes, those are secret ingredients in any wedding, but here are some “spices” that turn a regular wedding into a Cuban wedding.

During Cuban wedding receptions, wedding guests take part in the traditional money dance, where each man who dances with the bride pins money to her dress to help with honeymoon expenses.

The dance contest could last a week because everybody dances so well.

Somebody tells a Pepito joke that everybody has heard a million times before, but everybody still laughs.

It is so loud that even the US coast can actually hear the party happening.

Aside from the bouquet toss, single ladies at the party are expected to wear special pins upside down. If the pin is lost, that woman will be next in line to marry.

Wedding favors for the men are typically cigars, and other favors include wedding cookies, Spanish hand fans, or local art such as pottery.

The bride’s name is Maria, her mother’s name is Maria, and the maid of honor is named Maria.