What is a tradional Filipino wedding?

The Bridal Party
The Symbols of Wedding Rites

The Roman Catholic Wedding is the most popular type of wedding in the Philippines. All Catholic weddings are solemnized in a church, normally celebrated by a priest with a full mass that lasts for about an hour or less. It is followed by the picture taking inside the church, and then a simple or festive reception is given. The center of a Filipino wedding is the church wedding and the reception. A successful wedding will always be remembered and associated with the bountiful food that is served during the reception.

The Bridal Party

The bridal party marches down the aisle before the mass. The bridal party is consists of the following:


Bestman is the first one to walk towards the altar and waits for the groom. Usually he is the best or good friend or relative of the bride or the groom.

The Groom

The Groom walks with his parents, approaches the bestman and waits for the bride.

Primary Sponsors

Primary Sponsors (Ninong and Ninang) - can be as many pairs as allowed, also called as Godfathers and Godmothers. They are expected to give support and guidance to the newly married couples.

Secondary Sponsors

The secondary sponsors consist three (3) pairs of male and female who will carry and perform traditional symbols of the marriage ceremony which are the candle, veil and cord.

Flower Girls

The flower girls can be as many or as few as you want, normally 2-3 girls from ages 3-5yrs old

Ring, Coin and Bible bearer

Consist three (3) boys someone old enough not to loose or play the symbols, normally age 4-5yrs old The ring bearer carries the rings tied on a ring pillow. The coin bearer carries the arrhae tied on a pillow. The Bible bearer is optional.

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Bridesmaid and groomsmen can as many or as few as you want, normally 2-3 pairs of young and unmarried friend or relative.

Maid of Honor

The maid of honor is chosen to be someone close to the bride, a unmarried relative or a friend.

Matron of Honor

The matron of honor is optional, someone who is related to the bride, such as her married older sister.

The Bride

The bride traditionally walks with her parents. The bridal march music is played as she walks down the aisle to meet the groom at the altar. The mass will then start once everyone are in their designated places.

The Symbols of the Wedding Rites

The Exchange of Marriage Vows

The priest blesses the rings, the arrhae and the bible and performs the exchange of marriage vows between the couple.

Rings - The circular rings symbolizes their eternal love to each other. The groom presents the ring to the bride as his symbol of love and faithfulness forever and then bride presents the ring to the groom and says the same vows.

Arrhae -13 pieces of coins, loose or chained together, is presented by the groom to the bride as a symbol of his commitment being the head of the family to provide for their welfare. "Arrhae" is from the Spanish word arras, meaning "earnest money".

Bible - the blessed Bible is handed over to the couple to remind them that God's word is a part of their union.

The Marriage Rites

After the marriage vows where the couple swear their love in front of God and man during the mass, the couple will be asked to kneel down to receive the traditional symbols that unites them as one:

The Candle - the lighted candle symbolizes God's presence in their union or marriage. The candle sponsors will each light the wedding candles located at each side of couple.

The Veil - symbolizes union of the two people being clothed as one. A long white fabric (tulle or lace) is draped and pinned on the left side over the bride's veil (head piece) across to the the right shoulder of the groom. The veil is worn over the bride's head to signify "submission" to the groom.

The Cord - symbolizes the bond of marriage, the couple being tied as one to remain as one forever.

The wedding songs are normally sang during the ceremony. And then the mass continues while the couple remains kneeling down. All the marriage rites symbols (candle, veil, cord) will be taken after the communion rites and the couple will be asked to sit and sign the marriage contract. When the mass has ended, the priests announces the new couple and the traditional "kiss the bride" is done. The primary sponsors are then asked to sign the marriage contracts.

The wedding ceremony has ended and picture taking of the bridal party follows. The exit march is done while the relatives, and guests waits outside the church to greet and shower the newly wed couple with more symbols like flower petals, coins and rice, to signify romance, prosperity and abundance.

Laura is wearing a princess-cut wedding gown
by Cita Isip Gowns and Dresses.

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