If you’re currently planning an upcoming quinceañera, you may be thinking about who could fill the roles of the padrino and madrina—the “godparents” of the birthday girl.
The padrino and madrina is a long-standing quinceañera tradition. These are two adults who are selected by the birthday girl and her parents to fill a very important role.
They not only help pay for the quinceañera; being asked is also a big honor because it’s like being asked to be part of the family. When they are requested to be the birthday girl’s padrino or madrina, they become a mentor and role model to her for the rest of her life—so the choice is very important.
Let’s learn a little more about padrinos and madrinas.
Parents Should Help Choose
It’s very important for both the birthday girl and her parents to be happy with the choice for the padrino and madrina.
While many parents automatically want to select friends of theirs who can help pay for the event, the people who are selected should also be meaningful for the birthday girl. They will be her mentors for the rest of her life, so it should be people whom she knows wells, loves, trusts, and who love her. They should be responsible, dependable, and nurturing.
They Don’t Have To Be A Couple
Although a married couple is typically chosen to be the padrino and madrina, these days most churches are flexible and allow single padrinos and madrinas who come together in honor of the birthday girl. It’s still wise to ask the church first, though, just to make sure.
They Should Be Personally Asked
When it comes time to ask the padrino and madrina if they will accept their roles, it’s good for the birthday girl herself to ask, either in person or with a phone call.
This adds an extra step of respect that they will truly appreciate. If the parents ask or if the request is sent via an electronic message, it takes away from the importance of it.
Their Opinion Should Be Welcomed
Just as the parents will be giving their opinion about everything involved with a quinceañera, the selected padrino and madrina should have similiar rights to share their opinion—especially if they’re paying for the item that’s being discussed, such as the dress or cake.
Traditionally, They Help Pay For The Event
Generally speaking, the padrino and madrina take care of some of the expenses for the celebration. This can vary widely, as the rules change with every different girl.
Sometimes they will pay for one specific thing, such as the birthday cake, a piece of jewelry, or the dress. Other times, they will entirely pay the expenses for the religious part of the quinceañera, while the parents pay for the party. This includes paying for items such as the Bible, cross, and rings.
Image: Jasko Omerovic Photography
Other times, the padrino and madrina simply contribute money by handing the parents a check.
It all depends, but traditionally, the padrino and madrina are expected to help pay for the celebration in some way.
They Can Match The Court
Just like in a wedding, a quinceañera will often have matching colors and styles for the attire of the involved party members. The damas, chambelanes, birthday girl, and her parents usually match their colors, fabrics, and/or styles.
Because your padrino and madrina are a special part of the event, they are considered to be part of the coordinated party as well, so let them know what the theme or colors are so that they can match if they would like to.
They Should Receive A Small Gift
It’s very nice to give your padrino and madrina a small thank-you gift for their acceptance and generosity. This can be anything, from coffee mugs to flowers to religious items. The birthday girl should put a lot of considerate thought into what they might like, reflecting on how she feels about them and choosing something that will be meaningful.
They Don’t Necessarily Have To Be The Same Faith
Before, we mentioned that churches are becoming more flexible with the padrino and madrina not having to be a married couple. Some churches are also becoming less strict about them having to be members of that specific congregation, and will allow them to participate anyway.
Again, it’s important to check with the church first, but it most likely will be fine.
Hopefully this has been helpful in explaining what exactly the role of padrino and madrina is for a quinceañera birthday girl. It is an honor and a lifelong role for her, so it’s an important decision.