Weddings in Panamá, Republic of Panamá.
Weddings have always been a big deal for everyone. It is a very special day for every couple that makes a deep commitment in their lives. I think that is universal thinking...
BUT... it´s really amazing what a wedding involves, and, in Panamá, this is very much the case.
Panamanians take very, very seriously the fact that a marriage is a Sacrament; not merely a social issue. Marriage has to be seriously considered, from every possible angle, not leaving anything out.
As in any other place, the planning for a wedding in Panamá takes well over a year. In most cases, a wedding planner is a key to a successful wedding, and in Panamá, this service is becoming more and more solicited.
First, the couple should attend a meeting with the Catholic priest (in Panamá, most of the population is Catholic) and make a deep commitment that the marriage will be by free will, and a long lasting promise, in good and bad. If the couple belongs to a particular neighborhood, a special permit should be gotten from their Parish, to get married in a different neighborhood.
The next step is selecting the couple's wedding Court. That takes several months, as Panamanians have a large social circle. But, usually, the bride chooses her closest friends or siblings, if she has them. She also chooses the wedding guest list, which is difficult. In Panamá, everyone is related one way or another... and, since, people remains friends with their school mates until elderly years, it is difficult to make a selection. (In Panamá, usually same group of students remain together from Kindergarten to 12th grade, without changes.
Selecting the hall is very difficult, as there are so many to chose from, and in almost every case, they are booked way in advance.
The most popular are the "Club Unión" (for members only), the different 5 stars hotels like the Sheraton, Marriott, Miramar Intercontinental, Continental, or "Hotel Panamá", which has big halls for thousands of guests. Its also very popular now to use the brand new hotels and resorts, either inside the city of Panamá, or in the "interior" (countryside), where the most sophisticated resorts are available, places like in Punta Barco, Coronado, Buenaventura, Santa Clara, Boquete or El Valle de Antón. Of course, this is only a very short list, as there are hundreds of them around the country.
Regarding the party itself....THAT´s a different story. Panamanians love to party, and usually, they hire several bands to entertain the guests. It´s very common that parties end with a "carnival" look, with guests wearing Mardi Gras effects and costumes, with music and everyone dancing, even the older ones. Another popular custom is to bring the "murga". This is a very loud and totally joyful band, usually found at Carnival times. Other times, the "Mariachis" are also a good choice... and sometimes, they're ALL at the same party. If the wedding is at night, it usually ends around 3 AM, and guest continue the party somewhere else until way late in the afternoon of the following day.
The dress code is very important... and very formal. Ladies take very good care of what they will wear. Beautiful and expensive dresses can be seen on every one. If the couple decides to celebrate their wedding in the "country".... the dress code is a little more relaxed, with perhaps hats allowed to be used, but everything is in excellent taste.
The buffett usually includes everything that you would get in any stylish place; but desserts make the difference. The most common is the "sopa borracha" or "sopa de gloria". Both are only served at weddings. Other desserts inlclude "tres leches", or different mouses, cheesecakes or similar. The wedding cake is usually reserved just to cut it, and take it back home, to give it to family members.
A wedding in Panamá is a big event, and guests have a tremendous experience and fun.