Weddings In The Philippines: Civil or Church Wedding?
A New Wedding Tradition
Witness a new wedding tradition being born.
Joking aside, weddings are no laughing matter. From the months of preparation to the lifetime of marriage that follows, it is a very important chapter in the lives of those affected: the bride, the groom, and their families.
In the process of planning my own wedding, I have learned some things about weddings here in the Philippines. And although the basic events are standard for any marriage - ceremony then wedding reception - I have found certain nuances that I find interesting.
#1. Who's Invited?
Filipinos and Chinese-Filipinos (like myself) are known to have close-knit extended families. News travels quickly around this tight yet large circle, and news about a wedding ranks high in the list of gossip-worthy topics (next to premarital pregnancies). This brings us to the question of inviting guests to the wedding.
If we invited all our relatives to our wedding, the guest list could easily reach 500 or more. My father had 5 brothers and 6 sisters, all but 2 married with children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Toss in the relatives from my mother's side and my fiance's relatives from both parents (by the way, his parents have big families, too) and we have ourselves a serious budget problem.
We could of course just not invite some of them, but that I was told would "hurt the feelings" of those uninvited. I suggested just inviting immediate family but was told that that was out of the question. It seems that there's an unwritten rule about it: All relatives MUST be invited to every wedding in the clan.
#2. What? No Church Wedding?
That is the most likely reaction you will get if you opt not to have a church wedding. And then everyone starts wondering if you've converted to Satanism. They give you those odd looks, and the older conservative religious people in the family (no offense) may even attempt to exorcise the devil out of you.
#3. Will You Dance With Me?
I have attended quite a few weddings in my life and I have never been to one where the people danced like in the movies. You know, when the DJ or band plays a cool tune and everyone gets up and lets loose? Here, it seems that people prefer to sit at their table and talk about / size up the bride (if they're a friend of the groom) or talk about / size up the groom (if they're a friend of the bride).
Wedding Thriller Dance
Watch this world-famous wedding reception dance.
#4. Tossing Of The Bouquet
Our version of the "Tossing Of The Bouquet" is probably one of the most pathetic in the world. I don't know how it is in other cities here in the Philippines, but in Cebu where I live it's usually very lame. First, the emcee has to coerce the ladies to join the activity because nobody ever wants to be part of it. And second, when the bride tosses the bouquet, nobody makes any effort to catch it at all. Some even make a subtle movement away from the flower-missile's trajectory. So the bouquet lands where it lands, sometimes on the floor.
And the countdown to my wedding continues...
I got my way and didn't have a church wedding. Instead, we had a civil wedding with immediate family and friends and then, to compromise with Princeton, we had a casual wedding dinner with relatives and close friends. Even though we tried to keep the number of guests to a maximum of 150, we ended up with 200+. But I enjoyed it. I'll write more about it when I get over the post-two-week-honeymoon laziness.