As a foreigner with a Filipina Fiancee and you have chosen Philippines as your wedding venue then you have made a wise choice because marrying in the Philippines is a very good idea indeed. Aside from the hospitality traits of the people, you will also enjoy a lavish and grand celebration even on a small budget, you will meet the entire community of your partner, plus you will find plenty of honeymoon places among the Philippines’ thousands of beautiful islands. However, you must also learn the wedding customs, rituals, traditions, and even the superstitious beliefs which comes along with the Filipino wedding, albeit the fact that you have to process plenty of legal documents, permits, and proofs as to your sincere intention of getting married to a Kabayan.
Rituals Before The Wedding
Marriage Proposal – The guy must ask the girl for marriage. Without the words “Will You Marry Me”, marriage won’t happen. A Filipina won’t show her eagerness to get married, it shows the conservative side which is typical among the Filipina ladies.
The Engagement Ring – The guy must prepare the engagement ring during the proposal, the most special part of the event. The ring symbolizes the man’s intention to marry the lady.
Meet The Folks – Traditionally, the groom’s family will go to the bride’s house with some sort of gifts. This is quite an awkward scenario wherein the folks will try to get to know each other, plan the big event, and decide on the date of the wedding.
Serve the Soon -to be -In-Laws – It is an old tradition that the future groom will serve, or do some simple errands for the in laws (although this is no longer practiced except in some rural areas)
Bachelorette Party – this is a send-off party for the lady about to get married and is attended by close friends and relatives. It’s like saying goodbye to spinsterhood. (nowadays, the groom has a stag party too)
Superstitious Beliefs (Folklore)
1. Brides shouldn’t try on her wedding dress before the wedding day or it will not push through.
2. The groom must arrive at the church before the bride to avoid bad luck.
3. Soon-to-weds are said to be accident-prone especially as their altar date draws near; thus, they must avoid traveling and taking long drives before their wedding day.
4. The groom who sits down before his bride does during the wedding ceremony will be‘under-the –saya’(henpecked husband).
5. A downpour during the wedding brings prosperity and marital bliss!
6. If the flame dies out on one of the wedding candles, it means the spouse, on whose side the unlit candle belongs to will die ahead of the other. Dropping the wedding ring, the veil or a coin in the arrhae during the ceremony spells unhappiness for the couple.
7. The bride should ‘accidentally’ step on the groom’s foot while walking towards the altar if she wants him to agree with her every whim.
- The Bride- wedding dress is made of white, specially made for the bride)
- The Groom -traditional Barong Tagalog is the outfit for the groom (nowadays men prefer the suit or tuxedo)
- Priest or any authorized person – the person who will conduct or officiate the ceremony
- The Parents of the Groom and Bride– must be present and take charge with guests, the father’s bride will hand-over his daughter to the groom who is waiting at the altar.
- Maid of Honor – the right hand woman of the Bride
- Bridesmaid – she is a sister, or a very close friend; her friendship and support of the marriage is meaningful.
- Best Man – relative, best friend or brother of the groom, righ hand of the groom.
- Groom’s Men – they help the groom accomplish his tasks
- Flower Girls – little girls to carry flower baskets and throw flowers on the isles when the bride comes
- Ring Bearer- usually a small boy to carry the wedding ring to the altar (nowadays, pets are also in)
- Coin Bearer – a boy or girl carrying the arrhae (coins)
- Wedding Sponsors-matron sponsor, secondary sponsors – to assist during the ceremony
- GodMothers and Godfathers- act as witnesses, and also sign the marriage contract
During the ceremony
The ceremony usually takes an hour. It starts upon the arrival of the bride who comes last to the wedding venue while the groom and the guests are patiently waiting. During the ceremony, a traditional Filipino wedding is not complete without the buoquet and flowers, lighting of the candle, exchange of the arrhaes, putting of veil, putting of wedding cord, wedding ring, and ultimately the wedding kiss. The marriage ceremony usually happens in the church, or otherwise can be done anywhere, depending on the approved venue. The traditional color is always white for the bride, and barong tagalog for the groom.
After The Ceremony
It is a customary ritual to release a pair of dove after the ceremony. Then people would throw rice to the newly weds as a symbol of goodluck. After the ceremony there is a reception party for the guests. In rural areas the reception usually is at the bride’s place where everybody gather and wish the new couple a long and happy marriage life. People from nearby and far away places would come, and the party can go on all night coupled with hard drinks and dance. A good sound system is required during the party. A grand Cake cutting ceremony is the main highlight at the reception. Then there goes the tossing of buoquet by the bride to all single ladies who gather around, everyone aiming to catch the most coveted prize. It is believed that whoever catches the buoquet will be married next (superstitious belief applied to all single ladies). Then there’s the garter tossed by the groom, whoever catches it will put the garter on the bride’s thigh… the fun, the party have just started.
During the wedding dance it is a tradition that guests would pin money bills to the clothes of the bride and groom, it is called the Money dance. People would pin paper bills to the couple as a wedding gift. Usually, people would pin the money bill to their kin (whether it is groom or bride). The more relatives you have, the more chances of getting money bills, or vice versa. The usual food at banquets are non-veg such as pork and beef menus and lots of sweets. Colas, beer, and other hard drinks are always available. The usual Filipino guests will be at around 300 to a thousand, even the uninvited are present, plus their children, relatives of relatives to the 3rd degree, neighbors, and others would come out of sheer curiosity. Expect plenty of people during the wedding. Just like the saying goes… if you marry a Filipino you marry the entire barrio or community. Expect the unexpected when it comes to a Filipino wedding, and also ensure that there is plenty of food and drinks reserved for the late comers and gate crashers, as Filipinos are fun-loving and love to party till whole night through.
So, if you’re a foreigner and planning to get hitched in the Philippines, ensure that you know all the customs and traditions to make your bride happy. Make sure that you play by her rules, learn to say Yes to all her whims, and be rest assured that everything will go on smoothly. This is the Filipino way of saying “I Do”.
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