Marriages take many forms in the Philippines: a church wedding in white for Christians; a civil ceremony or registry marriages by a judge, mayor, or minister, weddings in ethnic cultural communities, and the new phenomenon of “mass weddings” on special occasions.
Although a civil marriage performed by a justice of the peace is legitimate, most brides and grooms in the Philippines prefer a church wedding as the same is sanctioned by the Catholic Church. The preparations called for in this kind of a wedding, assuming all the prerequisites of the law have been complied with, are the following:
1. Wedding announcements. The wedding announcement is formally made by the parents of the bride or her guardian who is done by hosting a family dinner with a few close friends invited. This is different from the announcement made by the church called “pagtatawag” made for several days on before or after the celebration of a mass.
2. Despedida de Soltera more commonly known in the West as the bridal shower or shower party can be literally translated as goodbye to spinsterhood.” This is a party given in honor of the bride-to- be by her girl friends. Here, she is given appropriate gifts, often things she would need to start housekeeping with. Traditionally, this serves as an instrument for imparting to her some knowledge about marriage, but today the real motive is usually overlooked and the party becomes an event for teasing the bride-to-be. The groom on the other hand, may be occupied in looking for a house where the couple will stay after marriage while some are treated by their male friends in a “stag” party.
3. Date and Time of the wedding. More often than not, parents have a direct say in the setting of the date, and in this particular aspect of preparation certain superstitious beliefs are often taken into serious consideration. For example, the marriage should take place on a day before the full moon; a day when the moon is waning in considered unlucky. As much as possible getting married in the month of August should be avoided, the numeral stroke of the chosen day should not end downwards, etc. etc. However, nowadays, the Whole matter is left to the couple, especially if the parents of both participants are college-educated. When the date of the wedding is set, the time and place will likewise be agreed upon.
4. The wedding Entourage. Generally, the preparation of the Wedding ensemble is left entirely in the hands of the bride-to-be but usually representatives from the family of both bride and groom are accommodated to avoid offending the family and assure the couple of the whole family’s attendance.