Madrina for Mariana

So today I got married.

Just kidding.  I did say that this weekend I’d add a new line to my wedding resume.  But no one guessed that I was eloping. Wouldn’t that have been funny?  Well, except for my family and friends, I suppose.

No, I was not a bride this weekend.  I was a madrina.  The madrina de lazo, to be precise.  Roughly translated… the godmother of the lasso.

I have been in weddings.  And I’m a godmother to several people.  So why not put those together?

Seriously, though, I was very honored when Mariana and Ben asked me to be the godmother of the lasso at their wedding.  Why me, you might ask?  Not to mention … what the heck is a godmother of the lasso?

Well, this calls for a little story.

Three years ago, Mariana was my workstudy student at Aquinas.  But she was much more than that.  She became a dear friend.


During her time at Aquinas, she was asked to be in a photo shoot for a few promo shots for the college. And as she posed with Ben, a fellow Aquinas student, my friend Lauri (the director of communications at the time) and I noticed that they were both just so darn cute together…

They started dating soon after.

(Oh, and their picture still graces the wall outside the Admissions office.)

They dated for a few months before breaking up. Mariana ended up leaving Aquinas shortly after that, and our lives were so busy we didn’t hear much from each other.  I’d see her or her mom in passing, and we exchanged phone calls or texts every once and awhile– always saying “We have to do lunch sometime!”

One day last year, I received word that Ben was injured and was in kidney failure.  His prognosis was dire.

I didn’t know if Mariana was still in touch with him, but they had remained friends after the break-up, and I knew she would want to know that Ben was in critical condition.   So I texted her.

Life went on, Ben got better, and I didn’t think anything of that text.  I saw Mariana a few months later, but it was just in passing and we didn’t really get a chance to catch up. (“we have to do lunch sometime!”…)

The next time I heard from her… she was engaged to Ben.


Thank goodness for deathbeds and text messages, eh?

So in honor of me “lassoing” them, I got to lasso them today.  Um, something gets lost in translation. But you get the drift.  Rightly or wrongly, Ben and Mariana both say that I’m the reason they got back together (I like to think the Holy Spirit had something to do with it instead, but I’ll take some of the credit).  And so they asked me to be the madrina de lazo.

If you have ever been to a Hispanic wedding, you’ve probably seen the custom of the lazo.  A lazo (sometimes made of flowers, or rope, or rosary beads) is placed around the bride and groom after the vows.  Mariana and Ben used the same lazo Mariana’s sister used at her wedding, which is the same one their mother and their grandmother used at their weddings.


It was like a double rosary – two large loops were hooked together with a crucifix at the end.  After the vows and the exchange of coins (another Hispanic tradition), I stepped forward and put one loop over Ben’s head and one over Mariana’s.  I think there is supposed to be a special prayer, but Father didn’t have it on hand, and so he led the congregation in a Hail Mary in Spanish, which was perfect.  (Then I removed the lasso and returned to my seat.  I think it’s tradition to keep it on, but they had to walk around too much for that.)


I don’t think I’ve seen a bride and groom smile so much in my life.  The two of them already smile all the time… but today?  They were giddy.  I’m pretty sure I whacked Ben in the nose when I was putting the lasso over his head, but he wouldn’t have noticed if I would have knocked them both over.

The happy couple:


And Mariana with her madrina de lazo: 


Another line on my wedding resume complete.  I honestly thought I’d be cantoring at a wedding before I’d be a madrina.  Who knows what’s next?


4 thoughts on “Madrina for Mariana

  1. Amy says:

    I have seen this beautifully symbolic tradition at a wedding in which I was the maid of honor. The madrina is a little different concept in the Hispanic culture than godparents in ours, it seems…a lifelong connection. Baptismal godparents often sponsor (as godparents) in subsequent sacraments (First Confession, First Communion, Confirmation…) In the case of my friend, her madrina (not sure of the plural, because I think both her godparents) placed the lazzo around them.

    • joanallegretti says:

      We could learn something from their understanding of the lifelong connection, couldn’t we?

      It varies — sometimes it’s the same people and sometimes there are new “godparents” for different occasions. For example, there also could be a padrino or marina of the coins, too, but Mariana and Ben just exchanged them. I’ve even heard of weddings that had a padrino of the reception, a padrino of the cake, etc…

      • Amy says:

        Yes, my friend did all of those things you mention! I started to write about it, but couldn’t remember all the details, and my point was just related to the sacraments. Which, I guess, compartmentalizes Faith and Life, and I didn’t mean that. But so often people in our culture choose godparents for the sake of the ceremony, and maybe some birthday gifts on down the way. These Hispanic traditions seem to illustrate a stronger sense of the responsibility of godparents for their godchildren, that godparents are not just something you have at Baptism & then they are done, but that godparents truly assist the parents in raising the child.

        To illustrate, I am madrina to one of their sons. I was the one who held him during the Baptism, not his mother. In a significant way, they see me as another mother to him.

        Anyway, yes, different people do/see it differently, but I was so intrigued with the very catechetical nature of these traditions (small “t”) in that they more clearly express the role of the godparents.

        (Oh, and thanks for the word for the masculine! Totally blanked on that one!)

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