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Wedding Party in Costilla, New Mexico

This wedding party photo was taken in what is now Costilla, New Mexico, or Garcia, Colorado. The time period is late 1800s or early 1900. The adobe buildings in the background tell us that the picture was taken in one of the courtyards of the Costilla Villages, of which there were many close together. See the map of the Plaza de los Manzanares

Photographer is unknown.

Weddings were occasions of festivity, and served to break the monotony of village life. A wedding was a very formal affair. The first step was the pedimento, or the ceremony of asking for the girl's hand. ·when a young man fell in love and wished to marry a certain girl, he would tell his parents, who, if they approved, would go to her parents to ask for her hand. Sometimes the ''asking" was done by letter, and in either case the young man must wait eight or ten days for an answer. lf it were in the affirmative, the banns were read the following three days and arrangements were made for the wedding.

Plaza de los Manzanares and surroundings crop.png

The next step is the prendario, whic:h took place the day before the wedding. On this occasion the

groom and his parents and relatives were invited to the bride's home to a fiesta, or banquet, which usually was followed by a dance. The object of the ceremony, however, was to present the bride and groom to the respective families. Gifts were presented to the bride by the relatives of both, and the groom also presented her with a new trunk which contained the donas, or trousseau. Hedid not give her an engagement ring, but on this occasion he gave her as much jewelry as he could afford.


The wedding itself took place in the church. The padrino, or best man, gaye the bride away, and the madrina, or bride's maid accompanied the groom to the altar.  After the ceremony, the newlyweds returned to the girl's home for the dinner. A dance at night followed, to which the bride wore her wedding gown for awhile so that those that had not been invited to the wedding but who could attend the dance without an invitation, might see her.


When the wedding dance was ended, the bride ancl groom, their families, the guests, and the musicians returned to the bride's home, where refreshments were served. Then followed the entrega, or the ceremony of returning the wedded couple to their parents once more. It is presumably the padrinos who are returning them, but it is the entregador, or poet of the village, who sings the admonishing verses called entrega de novios, in which the wedded couple are reminded of the sacredness of marriage and thie responsibilities and duties to each other.

Published bl-monthly by The State Historical Society of Colorado


Vol. XIX

Denver, Colorado, September, 1942

Pioneer Life in the San Luis Valley


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