When I think of all the Mexican weddings I’ve attended in my life there’s always certain parts that we as Mexicanos have to include in the ceremony – the lazos that bind the newlyweds, the arras – a gift to the bride from the groom, the dollar dance, the mariachis and the padrinos! Lots and lots of padrinos!
There’s something about our culture that has no problem asking the padrinos to help pay for the wedding. I’ve seen invitations that had a couple of pages of padrinos – for the dress, the cake, the salon, the flowers, invitations, and on and on and on.
But overall our weddings are pretty standard. The beautiful bride in a white dress, all her damas in matching colors and the groomsmen in tuxedos.
Nearly four years ago I got the idea to make wedding favors that had a Mexican theme. To me what is more Mexican then Loteria, Luchadores, Dia de los Muertos and La Virgen de Guadalupe?
Yeah I make favors with all those themes and a few others. They are small matchboxes with La Calavera or La Sirena on the cover and then surrounded by the most vibrant glitters I can find. They pop with color like a serape, talavera, or a pinata. The colors are endless from blues and greens, to magenta and purple, gold and silver!
I bought my first set of Mexican matchboxes in 2010. The boxes were on my desk for an entire year. I would pick them up and turn them over in my hand and I kept telling myself I should be able to make something with them. About the same time I ordered some Day of the Dead graphics online and knew somehow the pictures and the boxes would come together.
An entire year went by before I made my first Dia de los Muertos matchbox favors. Within weeks of putting them online they started selling. At first by the dozens, then by the hundreds.
But over the years rarely have my customers been Mexicanos. When I’ve shown my wedding favors to Hispanic friends they’re shocked that anyone would include calaveras, catrina or luchadores in any part of their wedding. They always ask, “why would someone give these away at their wedding? Why?”
The customers have always been Americanos who wanted to add some fun and color to their weddings. Their weddings have a Mexican theme or they’re traveling to Cabo or the Yucatan for a destination wedding. The matchboxes are very popular with same-sex couples who are finally getting the opportunity to celebrate their own marriages.
Over time I’ve made tens of thousands of wedding favors and sold them all over the world. From Australia to Canada, from Italy to Indonesia, couples have given the tiny treats to their guests filled with matches, Mexican chicle or candies. Others have added milagros, jewelry and gambling money. They’ve been sold in gift shops and festivals in New York City, Europe and Australia.
In the last year I’ve finally noticed that more of my customers are Hispanic. Some want to pay tribute to parents who migrated from south of the border, others are marrying someone from Mexico and they want just a touch of the culture as part of the ceremony. One couple ordered Loteria favors because the groom remembered playing the game as a young child and he told me the favors brought him such wonderful memories of his childhood.