[shot at Liloan Parola, Liloan, Cebu Philippines]

Traditionally, wedding expenses are paid for by the groom’s family in the Philippine setting, unlike in some western cultures. But more and more couples are giving their share from their hard-earned savings. Other couples even shoulder the entire wedding expenses themselves. It normally follows that whoever foots the bill has the final say on the size of the wedding; he or she also has the ‘majority stake’ on guestlist.

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It was a tradition for the bride to hold an heirloom rosary with the bridal bouquet during the Nuptial Mass. This practice is now being revived by some brides to honor our Catholic heritage and respect the solemn occasion.

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 Instead of a bouquet toss, some Filipina brides opt to offer the flowers to a favorite Saint or to the image of Virgin Mary at the church. Some even go out of their way to offer the bouquet at the grave of a lost loved one.

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 Using rice grains as confetti are discouraged in most churches in keeping with the austere times.

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 Some Catholic churches don’t allow Sunday weddings.

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 A Catholic Filipino wedding ceremony is held with a full Mass that runs about a hour.

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 Aside from the exchange of rings, the giving of the arrhae (earnest money in the form of 13 pieces of gold or silver coins) is a part of Filipino weddings as the groom’s pledge of his dedication to the welfare of his wife and children.

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 The arrhae/arras is carried by a coin bearer who marches with the ring bearer during the processional and recessional.

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 If the couple intends to write their own wedding vows instead of reading the standard vows provided by the church, they should inform the officiating priest and ask for his approval.

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 Most Filipino brides prefer a custom-made wedding gown than
having it ready-made or buying off-the-rack.

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The most popular month for weddings in the Philippines is December (until early January) rather than June.
UPDATE: On August 2006, the National Statistics Office announce that for four consecutive years, MAY, the month of flowers and fiestas, was consistently the peak month for getting married here in the country.

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 Filipino bridegrooms also walk down the aisle, either alone or with his parents.

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 The proximity of the ceremony and reception venues is a major consideration for guests’ convenience, taking into account the Manila traffic and parking concerns.

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Traditionally, wedding invitations have an insert/page that includes all the names and roles of each member of the the bridal party.

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 Reception cards are not so popular in the Philippines since it is usually expected that a wedding invitation covers both the ceremony and the reception.

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Aside from the bridesmaids and groomsmen, three additional pairs of wedding attendants stand as secondary sponsors who assist in the [a] wedding candle, [b] veil and [c] cord ceremonies held during the Nuptial Mass.

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The candle sponsors light the wedding candles located at each side of couple. The flame from the candles symbolizes God’s presence within the union. The lighting of a unity candle (of Protestant origin) is sometimes integrated as a variation.

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Next, the veil sponsors drape and pin the veil (a long white tulle) on the groom’s shoulder and over the bride’s head. This symbolizes the union of two people ‘clothed’ as one.

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Finally, the cord sponsors stand up with the cord (a silken rope, a string of flowers or links of coins) in the form of a figure-eight, placing each loop loosely around the neck/shoulder area of the couple. This symbolizes the infinite bond of marriage.

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The veil and cord ceremonies have the marrying couple ‘tied-up’ together while kneeling for almost half the time during the nuptial Mass (it isn’t as hard as it sounds, really).

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 Soon-to-weds do not arrive at the ceremony venue at the same time. The groom is expected to arrive several minutes (an hour even!) prior to the set time of the wedding to receive guests. The bride on the other hand, usually stays in the bridal car and only alights from the vehicle just in time for her bridal march.

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 As part of the ceremonial dance at the reception, some couples incorporate a ‘money dance’ where guests pin peso (or dollar!) bills on either the bride or groom in return for a chance to dance with them.

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 Newlyweds release a pair of white doves during the reception to signify a peaceful and harmonious marital relationship.Catchers find themselves going home with a new feathered pet.

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