Ceremonial Arras Coin Sets
History of the Arras
The custom of the wedding coins originated in Spain. The madrina de arras holds thirteen gold coins (arras) which are given to the bride by the groom, signifying he will take care of and support her. Usually presented in beautifully ornate boxes or gift trays, they represents the brides dowry and hold wonderful wishes for prosperity. These wedding arras coins become a part of the family heirloom after the wedding.
Groom's Pledge to the Bride
The groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins as a symbol of his unquestionable trust and confidence. The symbolism is usually explained by the officiant. The groom recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges his ability to support and care for her. Acceptance by the bride means she gives her groom trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and faithfulness.
Why 13 Arras Coins?
The number 13 represents Christ and his 12 apostles.
Using the Arras Coins in the Ceremony
The coins are presented to the priest by a friend or relative, which is usually the person who purchased the arras coins for the wedding couple. The priest then blesses the coins and hands them to the bride. She then places them in the groom's cupped hands at the beginning of the ceremony. Then coins are placed on a tray and handed to an assistant, to be held until later in the ceremony. Near the end of the ceremony the box and coins are given to the priest who places the coins in the box and hands them to the groom.
The groom will then pour the coins into the brides cupped hands and places the box on top. This represents his giving her control as his mistress of all his worldly goods. Sometimes their hands are tied with a ribbon for this portion of the ceremony.
Wording on the Coins
These tokens generally have the words "Recurdo Matrimonial" which translates as "Wedding Souvenir" or "Marriage Memory".
The use of the arras coins is a Latin American tradition for Hispanic and Filipino weddings, for Cinderella Weddings, Fairytale Weddings, Sweet 16 celebrations, Debutante Balls, Quinceaneras, and Bat Mitzvahs.