Gone are the days when Filipino weddings included old school traditions such as pinning billson the bride’s dress in exchange for a dance and releasing a pair of doves from a papier-mâché bell as a sign of eternal love. Most of these traditions have gone stale, and Filipino weddings have evolved throughout the years.
Whether you’re a foreign guest or a Manileño invited to your 100th ceremony, here are 8 maincharacteristics of the typicalPinoy wedding. See how many you can spot in the next one you’ll attend.
8. There’s a pictorial frenzy or as our grandparents like to call it, “kodakan!”
As if a hired team of photographers and photo booths isn’t enough, there’s always that one eager guest who brings long nose lenses and tripods to document his own extensive album, which will be Photoshopped and posted on Facebook the next day. The couple could’ve saved a lot of money by ditching the official photographer. Aside from photographers screaming, “O wacky naman!” every other click, you’re also sure to spot guests documenting every detail of the wedding—group photos, emo moments,artsy shots of the shoes, windows, flowers, lamps, and most importantly, #selfies.
How to deal: Don’t bother whipping out your camera. Chances are, your face will get tagged in dozens of photos on Instagram and Facebook as soon as you get home.
7. It’s peppered with gimmicks.
If you find your tummy grumbling at 8:00 p.m. because they haven’t served dinner yet, that’s normal. When you attend a Pinoy wedding reception, expect to go through a lot of seremonyas, such as cheesy dance numbers,Josh Grobansong renditions, entourage photo shoots, repetitive speeches, games,and multiple video presentations strategically programmed before dinner is served.
How to deal: Eat a heavy meal before the wedding. As soon as you arrive at the reception, run straight to the cocktail area (if they have one) before other starving guests beat you to it. Also stash candy in your purse or pocket for emergencies.
6. Superstition and religion take over
I’ve met many brides who told me that if it weren’t for all the superstitious beliefs, family traditions, and ever-changing religious requirements, their wedding would’ve been a breeze to organize. Imagine having to change months of expensive preparation when new editions of pamahiin are suddenly shoved to your face.
How to deal: Dear bride and groom, if, in the depths of your soul you do not embrace those superstitious beliefs and old wives’ tales, don’t let anyone blackmail you into following them.
5. There’s always a long queue.
Whether it’s at the buffet table, hotel registration, photo booth, or bathroom, we Filipinos always seem to find ourselves at long, congested lines, even if many of us don’t have the discipline for it. Name one wedding you attended where you didn’t catch someone cutting in line. It’s so tempting to scream,“Bawal sumingit!”
How to deal: Avoid the long queues by going at off-peak moments. Hit the bathroom before dinner or while a performer is singing his third ballad. Find the photo booth before the others do.
The dress code clearly said formal, but you spot a relative in jeans and a white polo. The men were required to come in coat and tie, but you see a dozen guys in barong Tagalog. The couple requested early on that you give monetary gifts because they’re moving out of the country, yet you see guests bringing wrapped glass sets from SM Department Store. There’s always a pasaway in every event.
How to deal: Check on everyone a week or two before the wedding. Ask your guests what they’re planning to wear and see if you can help them borrow a formal dress or coat if they don’t have one. Casually discuss reception details with your friends and relatives when you bump into them before the wedding.
3. Filipino time.
The invitation says 2:00 p.m., but guests usually arrive from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m, even if they’re just two blocks away from the venue. Many even read between the lines: “The invite says 2:30 p.m., but I’m sure they mean 3:00!” The worst kinds of guests go for the all-time low: they skip the church ceremony and head straight to the reception—just in time for the buffet.
How to deal: Announce that the wedding starts one hour early. The 30-minute rule rarely works.
2. The Maria Clara effect.
How ironic that single girls wear dresses with a neckline and backline that would make any priest do the sign of the cross, but when it comes to the part where the bride tosses the bouquet, they suddenly wilt like a makahiya plant. What is it about bouquet tossing that makes Pinays suddenly rush to the bathroom, hide under the tables, and makepakipot?Kudos to wedding organizers who have worked their way around this dilemma. The names of the single girls are called out with a megaphoneand they have to join a game where the goal is to eliminate themselves from the bouquet and garter toss.
How to deal: In other countries, bouquet tossing is one of the most fun parts of the wedding, where single ladiesdo a Beyoncé and gamely put their hands up. Pinoy brides and grooms should try attaching a P50,000 gift check to the bouquet and watch the pakipot mentality disappear.
1. Nuclear invites.
In this country, small weddings translate to 150 guests. The ninongs and ninangs must be “big time”—politicians, celebrities, or rich businessmen whose main purpose is to hand the newlyweds a hefty envelope. There are tables of extended relatives and friends that were invited “kase nakakahiya” or“magtatampo pag ‘di inimbita.” The guest list is often brimming with extra names that the bride and groom will probably never ever see again after the wedding.
How to deal: Get married in a venue that requires a plane ticket or long drive out of town. Only people who truly love you will go.