October 01, 2007 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain 2,240 views

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In a Spanish wedding ceremony, the groom gives the bride 13 coins, called arras, to symbolize financial unity and that he now trusts her to carry his credit card without buying too many shoes. It’s clearly a descendant of the traditional dowry.

The jeweler that sold us our wedding rings threw in the arras for free. They are beautiful. Ours are from the Monarchs of Spain collection. I had no idea how hard it was to photograph gold coins. These are the best of several dozen attempts.

Gold Arras 1

I think I’ve got them more or less organized chronologically.

Gold Arras 2

Space invaders!

Gold Arras 3

Trying to capture beautiful gold color.

Gold Arras 4

Click on this image to see the notes of all the kings and queens represented.

I’ll give you one guess and three choices to why there are 13 of them:

  1. One for each state when the groom’s country was founded.
  2. The day of the month of the wedding.
  3. Jesus and the apostles.

The idea is that they are used in the ceremony and then kept as a family heirloom, possibly to be used by offspring on their wedding day.

  • Betsy

    The dowry is the parents of the bride’s way of convincing the prospective groom that it’ll be worth it overall for him to take over care and feeding of their daughter. I think that livestock used to be pretty common but I imagine a tidy sum of money would work too. Are the 13 coins spendable currency? not that anyone would want to do that.

    I vote for Jesus and his peeps.

  • Yes, dowry goes the other way. But it’s the same financial responsibility transfer kind of idea.

    A friend offered to lend us the ones she used in her wedding, and they were actually 100 peseta pieces, obviously only worth collector’s dough these days, but spendable in their time.

    Ours have no fixed euro value, and I don’t think they’d fit in a vending machine. They’re a little misshapen.

    Did my mother just say “peeps”?

  • Melissa

    I’m trying to find the exact wording for the arras ceremony. My fiance is Peruvian and our reverend has agreed to perform the ceremony. However, he has never done the ceremony before. I’d like to have both a Spanish and English version of the ceremony itself. Translating isn’t a problem. If you can help, please do. Everyone else I’ve talked to tells me to “google” it and I’m not having any luck finding the exact wording.
    Thank you for your time 🙂

  • The whole ceremony is kind of a blur, and I certainly don’t remember the exact wording.

    But, after a bit of googling, I found this pdf that might help, in both languages:

    Bendiga Señor, estos hijos tuyos y antificalos en tu amor. Haz que estas arras sean un sí­mbolo de fidelidad y de ayuda mutua. Tu palabra dice que “las riquezas son recompensa de la humildad y del temor del Señor”. Te pedimos que nunca olviden de las palabras del Señor Jesucristo, quien dijo ‘Hay más dicha en dar que en recibir.’ Ayudales a siempre usar sus recursos en servicio a su familia, la Iglesia, y la comunidad. Esto te lo pedimos en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.

    Bless and sanctify your children in your love. May these arras be a symbol of their mutual fidelity and help. Your word says that wealth is “the reward of humility and the fear of the Lord”. We pray that they never forget the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Help them use their resources in service to their family, the Church, and the community. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Hope that helps. Congratulations y buena suerte con la boda!