Wedding in the Philippines are being influenced by mainly Spanish culture. For the record, Spaniards occupied Philippines for more than 350 years. Until now, most of all Filipinos (Roman Catholic) still practice wedding traditions that we have learned from the Spaniards.
Wedding Dress Tradition
In past decades the bride would wear her best dress. This wedding dress was usually festive in color. For the past hundred years or so, brides have chosen the more modern white Filipino embroidered wedding gown. If they follow the more Spanish culture, they may wear a black silk dress (which are rarely being wear to because in Filipino beliefs, it was likely to be associated with death).
The groom will wear a transparent shirt called a barong over a white t-shirt and black slacks. They always wear the shirt un-tucked. The shirt is embroidered and maid from silky pina or jusi and considered and recorded as a Filipino symbol.
The Wedding Flowers
The bride will carry a bouquet made of orange blossoms, a Spanish wedding tradition. An heirloom rosary may be carried with the bouquet. Some less traditional brides sometimes opt for flowers of many different colors.
The Wedding Sponsors
The sponsors are made up of two groups; the Principal Sponsors are Uncles, Aunt, Tita, Tito and any old relative or friend of bride or groom. These sponsors are considered silent sponsors who are there for the couple in time of need but are silent during the wedding ceremony. The sponsors are called ninongs and ninangs (godparents).
The Secondary Sponsors take part in the ceremony and handle the candle, veil and cord.
The Wedding Ceremony
The Filipino wedding ceremony will more than likely be Catholic. In most cases it will include a Nuptual Mass.
Unlike western cultures, in Filipino wedding customs, the groom walks down the aisle alone or with his parents.
At the beginning of the ceremony the parents of both the bride and groom will light two candles, one on each side of the Unity Candle. These will later be used by the bride and groom to light the Unity Candle to symbolize the union of the two families through the love of the married couple.
The lighting of the Unity Candle is used to invoke the light of Christ in their married life.
Two of the secondary sponsors, usually a man and a woman, will pin a veil to the to the shoulder of the groom and drape it over the bride’s head. The veil is a symbol of their unity and shows that they are “clothed as one”.
Another set of sponsors then will place the lasso (a white silk cord) loosely around the necks of the bride and groom in a figure eight configuration. This symbolizes a lifelong bond and everlasting fidelity between the bride and groom.
Once the sponsors have fastened the veil and draped the cord the groom gives the bride the arrhae (13 coins). The coins have been carried by a coin bearer who comes down the aisle with the ring bearer. These coins have been blessed by the priest and are a sign of his dedication to her well being and that of their future children.
The Wedding Reception
When the bride and groom exit the church, they are greeted good wishes and applause by family and friends.
There will be music and dancing for hours. Spanish music among others will be played the night through.
The bride and groom will dance the “money dance” where guests pin pesos or dollars to the bride or groom in exchange for a dance with them.
Depending on the wishes of the couple, Spanish traditional dances will be performed.
During the reception couples practice the Filipino wedding custom of releasing a pair of white doves to symbolize a loving and harmonious marriage.
Foods being served after the wedding depends on the couple or wedding mottif but because of the Spanish influence on the Philippines, the dishes are likely to be Spanish inspired.
Dishes served may be relleno, morcon, paella, callos, embutido and caldereta.
Other foods might be stewed goat, chicken minced with garlic, boiled ham, stuffed capon, roast pork, and fish.
They will always enjoy many relishes, red peppers, olives and green mango pickles.
Desserts like meringues, backed custard flan, coconut macaroons and the sweetened seed of the nipa plant.
The Wedding Favors
If the bride and groom want to give out favors they are usually something made of palm leaves, jute or sinamay.
Filipino wedding customs make for a beautiful and exciting event.