Custom Wedding Coins: An Ancient Tradition

Custom Wedding Coins: An Ancient Tradition

Custom wedding coins are an ancient wedding tradition that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Coins add an extra romantic and spiritual aspect to the ceremony. The Origin of...

Rick Cundiff


Custom wedding coins are an ancient wedding tradition that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Custom challenge coins add an extra romantic and spiritual aspect to the ceremony.

Wedding customs throughout history have varied by nation, culture, religion, and other factors. Weddings may be as simple as a brief courthouse ceremony, or as elaborate as a celebration that lasts for days or weeks. No matter what marks the start of a couple's life together, custom wedding coins can honor the event and serve as treasured keepsakes for decades to come.

The Origin of Custom Wedding Coins

The tradition of wedding coins, also known as unity coins, dates back to ancient Rome. Roman custom included the bride and groom breaking gold or silver into two equal pieces, to signify their intent to marry. It was more often an arrangement between families than a love match, including a signed contract between the families of the bride and groom.

Las Arras Matrimoniales

The custom evolved over the centuries. As practiced today in some Hispanic, Latino and Filipino cultures, the custom is known as “las arras matrimoniales.”

While no one knows exactly when the tradition began, historians generally agree it began around th 11th century. Traditional las arras matrimoniales at a wedding today involves 13 gold or silver coins placed inside a decorated box. With the tradition especially popular in Catholic wedding ceremonies, many say the number of coins represent Jesus and his 12 apostles. Others say the ceremony represents the 12 months of the year, plus one coin to represent supporting the poor.

Some say the original purpose of the coins was a dowry, especially in the era of arranged marriages. Not everyone today agrees with that description, and most agree that today's coins serve a purely ceremonial purpose. And while the custom is popular in Catholic ceremonies, it can be incorporated into other religious or secular ceremonies as well. However the bride and groom want to do so is up to them.

Another common explanation indicates the coins represent each month of the year, plus a little more to give to the poor.

The Custom of Presenting the Coins

The custom wedding coins are typically presented to the officiant by a designated coin bearer. After the officiant blesses the coins, the groom presents them to the bride. The coins and their ornate box or pouch represent the groom’s promise to provide for the family, and the bride’s acceptance represents her vow to honor their blessings. For both, it is a symbol of their pledge to share life together.

Coin Styles

Just like the weddings themselves, wedding coins can be simple or ornate. Plain gold or silver coins are common, but they can be engraved with a symbol of the couple’s commitment, the wedding date or anything else they may wish. The coins can become family heirlooms, and it’s common for family members such as godparents to pass them down to the bride and groom as well.  A good coin provider can craft coins in virtually any shape or size desired. It's easy to celebrate the new couple in whatever style is most apprropriate for their traditions and customs.

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