a-pic-4I’ve blogged before about the various settlers in Texas: the Anglos, the Native tribes and the Tejanos, Texans of Mexican or Spanish descent. Today I want to share a scene from my book Her Abundant Joy, which will be released early in 2010. The Tejano Wedding from Her Abundant Joy, third book in my Texas Star of Destiny series, Three Generations, Three Historic Texas Events, 1821-1847.



“The women led Sugar (the bride) out of the house toward the white canopy where the ceremony would be held. Mariel hung back toward the rear of the procession. The priest from a nearby mission church had come and would give his blessing to the couple in this unorthodox open-air ceremony. Since there were still few Anglo churches in Texas, the families felt fortunate to have a man of God present.

To Mariel’s surprise, the two fathers would actually be the ones performing the wedding. Mrs. Quinn had said that this sort of “family” wedding was common on the frontier. Often so far from any town or any church, a wedding consisted of a man and woman declaring that they were husband and wife and writing of their union in a family Bible.

Such a contrast to the formality of marriages and church records in Germany. …

Everyone waited under the canopy, leaving an aisle open for the bride’s procession. Leading it was Erin as flower girl and young Carlos Falconer as the page at her side. Then came the damas or bridesmaids and the chamblanes or other groomsmen all in their wedding finery. At the front of the canopy waited a beaming Emilio with Scully Falconer as padrino and Carson as best man—both in black suits–at his side. …

Finally Sugar on her father’s arm reached Emilio (the groom) who wore a more Spanish-looking suit of brown. The madrino put something in Emilio’s hand that clinked.

In the back of the gathering standing beside Mariel was the man called Ash with his wife Reva who were as close as family to the Quinns.

a-picAsh leaned close to Mariel and murmured, “Emilio will give Sugar those thirteen gold reals later in the ceremony. The coins symbolize that he is trusting her with all his worldly goods.” Mariel nodded and smiled.

The priest began speaking in Latin, often making the sign of the cross and obviously praying for the couple. Then he stepped away, joining the wedding guests. The madrina placed one chain of flowers around both the bride’s and the groom’s necks.

Ash leaned over again. “This is el lazo, which symbolizes the love that has joined these two. They will wear it throughout the ceremony and then Sugar will wear it the rest of the day.”

…Mr. Quinn read out the marriage vows from a small black Book of Common Prayer and the bride and groom exchanged rings. Then Mr. Quinn said, “Emilio, you may kiss your bride.”

Spontaneous applause broke out. Mariel thought it very strange. No one had applauded at her wedding, least of all her. This seemed appropriate here. She joined in. Then after the formal kiss, she watched Emilio give Sugar the thirteen gold coins which Sugar placed in a box that she handed to her brother. Then the newly married couple turned to face the guests.

Mr. Quinn said, “These two have become one for life. Please greet Mr. and Mrs. Emilio Ramirez.” He repeated this in Spanish and there were shouts of joy and more applauding.

 Well, I hope that this gives you some idea of a Tejano wedding in 1846. I found the symbolism—el lazo, the 13 golden coins–especially touching. a-pic-2I have added an image of the traditional wedding cookies that would have been also served. What caught your interest?




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17 thoughts on “TEXAS STAR OF DESTINY by Lyn Cote”

  1. Hi Lyn, what a fascinating excerpt and cultural information. Our daughter just got married so I still am heavily into wedding mode and loved all the details. I liked the chains of flowers. Kind of a “tie the knot” thing.

    Welcome to the Junction today. Enjoy your visit!

  2. I’m so intrigued! It is funny…I knew about these traditions from watching an episode of one of my daughters favorite cartoons on PBS called Maya & Miguel. In the cartoon they host a traditional Tejano wedding. We learned about the coins and cookies, etc. Pretty cool!
    You know what I am most interested in is: Why was she unhappy at her wedding? Why did nobody applaud? I guess I’ll have to wait until 2010 to read the book and find out!
    Thanks for the interesting post!

  3. Hi Lyn, your book sounds fascinating!I found the Tejano wedding to be very interesting! The wedding cookies look a lot like the wedding cookies you can buy in bags. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I really enjoyed portraying this wedding and I loved the symbolism of the el lazo and the coins. Yes, poor Mariel is a woman with an unhappy past. And her present in 1846 TX is troubled –that night history intrudes and breaks up the happy wedding party.

  5. Oh, definitely the part about the two fathers being the ones to marry them. I had no idea that that tradition ever existed. Very interesting excerpt.

  6. Hi Lyn,

    Welcome back to P&P! We’re always glad to have you.

    Wonderful excerpt of your upcoming book. Sure does hook you. I’ll be watching for it. I like how you use actual historical events in your stories. Texas sure has its share. Such a gloried past.

  7. I love wedding traditions. I hadn’t heard of any of these before. you learn something every day! Now I’ll have to get the book to find out why Mariel is unhappy and what historic events are going to intervene. I’m hooked!

  8. Hi, Lyn, It’s nice to “meet” you. I’m of Hispanic
    ancestry and we incorporated several old Spanish
    traditions into our wedding including the 13 coins
    and el lasso. I also had a special bouquet which could be divided into a corsage for me and an arrangement to be placed in the church as an offering to the Blessed Mother.

    Pat Cochran

  9. I just finished reading HerInheritance Forever is was awesome, waiting for Her Abundant Joy. Great post very interesting. Blessings.


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