I Googled some Philippine wedding traditions to get some ideas and found some fun flip facts. Crazy Flips….
For the wedding gown, wear a modernized Maria Clara complete with panuelo. (Think Tina Turner in Mad Max.)
The groom, the male entourage and wedding guests should wear a barong tagalog.
(Oddly found Quentin Tarantino in the traditional garb. Apparently he’s obsessed with Filipino indie horror.)
Choose a turn-of-the-century venues for the ceremony and reception.
Use Sampaguita (our National flower) and other local blooms for the bouquet, confetti and decors.
Upon exit at the church or during Grand Entrance at the reception, have the bestman exclaim: “MABUHAY ANG BAGONG KASAL!!!“
Create a Barrio Fiesta atmosphere in the reception.
Serve an all-Filipino buffet with a lecheon (roast pig) as a central part of the handaan.
Dress up the ceiling of the reception hall with banderitas (flags) instead of drapes.
Instead of flowers, use tropical fruits (mango, pineapple, rambutan, atis, etc. ) as table centerpieces.
Hire a rondalla instead of a string quartet.
Instead of champagne, propose a toast with lambanog. (three sheets, lol)
Gather the single ladies and play agawang-panyo or hang several blooms on a pabitin instead of doing the traditional bouquet toss.
Gather the single men to play pukpok-palayok instead of the garter toss.
Unlike western cultures, in Filipino wedding customs, the groom walks down the aisle alone or with his parents.
It was a tradition for the bride to hold an heirloom rosary with the bridal bouquet during the Nuptial Mass. This practice is now being revived by some brides to honor our Catholic heritage and respect the solemn occasion.
Aside from the exchange of rings, the giving of the arrhae (earnest money in the form of 13 pieces of gold or silver coins) is a part of Filipino weddings as the groom’s pledge of his dedication to the welfare of his wife and children (read more about arrhae/wedding coins).
Most Filipino brides prefer a custom-made wedding gown than
having it ready-made or buying off-the-rack.
Traditionally, wedding invitations have an insert/page that includes all the names and roles of each member of the the bridal party.
Aside from the bridesmaids and groomsmen, three additional pairs of wedding attendants stand as secondary sponsors who assist in the [a] wedding candle, [b] veil and [c] cord ceremonies held during the Nuptial Mass.
[a] The candle sponsors light the wedding candles located at each side of couple. The flame from the candles symbolizes God’s presence within the union. The lighting of a unity candle (of Protestant origin) is sometimes integrated as a variation.
[b] Next, the veil sponsors drape and pin the veil (a long white tulle) on the groom’s shoulder and over the bride’s head. This symbolizes the union of two people ‘clothed’ as one.
[c] Finally, the cord sponsors stand up with the cord (a silken rope, a string of flowers or links of coins) in the form of a figure-eight, placing each loop loosely around the neck/shoulder area of the couple. This symbolizes the infinite bond of marriage.
Soon-to-weds do not arrive at the ceremony venue at the same time. The groom is expected to arrive several minutes (an hour even!) prior to the set time of the wedding to receive guests. The bride on the other hand, usually stays in the bridal car and only alights from the vehicle just in time for her bridal march.
As part of the ceremonial dance at the reception, some couples incorporate a ‘money dance’ where guests pin peso (or dollar!) bills on either the bride or groom in return for a chance to dance with them. Do the money dance. It’s a Filipino tradition!
Alay-Itlog kay Sta. Clara
Rain, rain go away!
Although rain showers on the wedding day itself are believed to bring bountiful blessings to a newly married couple, many still prefer a bright and sunny wedding day. But rain is something mere mortals can’t control, so what do Pinoys do? Seek God’s help through the intercession of a Saint by offering eggs. Despite its pagan origins, marrying Catholic Pinoys still troop to the monastery of Sta. Clara in Katipunan Ave. to offer eggs to the patron saint and request the cloistered nuns to pray that their wedding day be rain-free.
Sta. Clara, eggs, rain – what’s the connection? St.Claire has long been considered a patron saint of good weather because her name in Spanish (clara) means clear, like the brightening of sky after a storm. The patroness’ link with eggs came about as her name (clara [de huevo]) is the Spanish for ‘egg white’. That became the basis why the residents of Obando, Bulacan believed in offering eggs at the base of the altar of Sta. Clara to pray for good weather. But we suggest that soon-to-weds consider other offerings (food, fruits or monetary) for even our beloved nuns know too well that an egg too many means cholesterol overload!
Coming ‘clean’ before the ceremony
This is more of a moral obligation than a tradition required by the Church of every marrying Catholic couple. A few days prior the wedding, soon-to-weds are asked to have their final confessions with a priest as single individuals since they will partake in the bread and share the wine (symbolic of the Body and Blood of Christ) during the Nuptial Mass. The confessions serve as a spiritual cleansing for the sins committed prior to the Sacrament of Marriage and a commitment & devotion to one’s lifetime partner.
Wedding Traditions in the Philippines
|Filipinos still adhere to numerous widely-held folk beliefs. Below are just a few that concerns weddings. Some are still practiced to this day.Brides shouldn’t try on her wedding dress before the wedding day or the wedding will not push through. Knives and other sharp and pointed objects are said to be a bad choice for wedding gifts for this will lead to a broken marriage.Giving arinola (chamberpot *read bedpan*) as wedding gift is believed to bring good luck to newlyweds. Altar-bound couples are accident-prone and therefore must avoid long drives or traveling before their wedding day for safety.
The groom who sits ahead of his bride during the wedding ceremony will be a henpecked husband. If it rains during the wedding, it means prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds.
The groom must arrive before the bride at the church to avoid bad luck.
It is considered bad luck for two siblings to marry on the same year.
Breaking something during the reception brings good luck to the newlyweds.
The bride should step on the groom’s foot while walking towards the altar if she wants him to agree to her every whim.
A bride who wears pearls on her wedding will be an unhappy wife experiencing many heartaches and tears. Since these gems are considered ‘tears’ of the oysters.
A bride who wears pearls on her wedding will never become a miserable wife as the pearls will served as a foil for bad luck and and represent the tears she could have shed if she hasn’t worn any on the wedding day.
The more food at the reception, the bountiful the blessings the marriage will receive.
An unmarried woman who follows the footsteps (literally) of the newlyweds will marry soon.
Dropping the wedding ring, the veil or the arras during the ceremony spells unhappiness for the couple.
In early Filipino custom, the groom-to-be threw his spear at the front steps of his intended’s home, a sign that she has been spoken for. These days, a ring suffices as the symbol of engagement.
After the couple has decided to marry, the first order of business is the pamanhikan, where the groom and his parents visit the bride’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Wedding plans are often made at this time, including a discussion of the budget and guest list. Don’t be surprised if the groom-to-be is expected to run some errands or help out around the bride’s house. This tradition is called paninilbihan, where the suitor renders service to his future wife’s family to gain their approval.
The Wedding Outfits
The white wedding dress has become popular in the last hundred years or so with America’s influence in the Philippines. Before that, brides wore their best dress, in a festive color or even stylish black, to celebrate a wedding. Orange blossom bouquets and adornments were a must during the turn of the last century. For men, the barong tagalog is the traditional Filipino formal wear. It is a cool, almost transparent, embroidered shirt, made from silky piña or jusi, two native ecru fabrics. It is worn untucked, over black pants, with a white t-shirt underneath. These days, a Filipino groom might wear the conventional black tux, but Filipino male wedding guests will usually show up in their finest barongs.
In pre-colonial days, a wedding ceremony lasted three days. On the first day, the bride and groom were brought to the house of a priest or babaylan, who joined their hands over a plate of raw rice and blessed the couple. On the third day, the priest pricked the chests of both bride and groom and drew a little blood. Joining their hands, they declared their love for each other three times. The priest then fed them cooked rice from the same plate and gave them a drink of some of their blood mixed with water. Binding their hands and necks with a cord, he declared them married. The majority of Filipino weddings are now Catholic weddings, but some native traditions remain. Most have special “sponsors” who act as witnesses to the marriage. The principal sponsors could be godparents, counselors, a favorite uncle and aunt, even a parent. Secondary sponsors handle special parts of the ceremony, such as the candle, cord and veil ceremonies. Candle sponsors light two candles, which the bride and groom use to light a single candle to symbolize the joining of the two families and to invoke the light of Christ in their married life. Veil sponsors place a white veil over the bride’s head and the groom’s shoulders, a symbol of two people clothed as one. Cord sponsors drape the yugal (a decorative silk cord) in a figure-eight shape–to symbolize everlasting fidelity–over the shoulders of the bride and groom. The groom gives the bride 13 coins, or arras, blessed by the priest, as a sign of his dedication to his wife’s well-being and the welfare of their future children.
The Filipino wedding feast is elaborate. One feast celebrated at the turn of the last century involved these foods: First was served cold vermicelli soup. The soup was followed by meats of unlimited quantity–stewed goat, chicken minced with garlic, boiled ham, stuffed capon, roast pork and several kinds of fish. There were no salads, but plenty of relishes, including red peppers, olives, green mango pickles and crystallized fruits. For dessert, there were meringues, baked custard flan, coconut macaroons and sweetened seeds of the nipa plant.
According to Filipino writer Tetchie Herrera, wedding practices in the Philippines differ from region to region or from one ethnic group to another within the same region.
The Ilocanos, Pangasinenses & Tagalogs
The Filipinos in Luzon such as Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, and Tagalogs share an interesting wedding practice. This is the pinning of peso bills on the bride’s gown and the groom’s suit while the couple dances. A contest is held between the bride’s family and the groom’s family as to who pins the most money on whose clothes, the bride’s or the groom’s.
After the dance, or series of dances, they unpin the money and figure out who won, and loud applause goes to the winner. The money is then combined and given to the couple to spend as they wish.
Many Western practices, however, have been adopted in Filipino weddings. These include the couple cutting the wedding cake and giving each other a bite, letting loose a pair of doves and tossing the wedding bouquet to unmarried women as a way of predicting who the next bride will be. In some instances, the ceremony of the groom removing the bride’s garter from her thigh and tossing this to the bachelors is done to see who the next groom will be.