Filipino Wedding Traditions and Customs
Traditionally the groom’s family pays for the wedding and the grandparents act as the primary witnesses or sponsors. The bride’s gown is often custom made and both the bride and groom wear white. It is bad luck for the bride to try on her dress before the wedding day and to wear pearl jewelry, which is considered a bad omen. The groom wears a sheer, long-sleeve button-up shirt (barong tagalog) that is worn un-tucked over black pants with a white t-shirt underneath.
As in Spanish weddings, the groom presents his bride with 13 gold pieces as a pledge of his dedication to his wife and the welfare of his children. These are carried in by a coin bearer who walks with the ring bearer. A white cord is draped around the couple’s shoulders as a bond of infinite marriage and veils of white tulle are draped on the bride’s head and groom’s shoulders to symbolize two people clothed as one.
Another tradition that symbolizes the unity of the couple is the lighting of a unity candle by two separate candles held by the bride and groom to represent the joining of the two families and invoke the light of Christ. The bouquet is not tossed and rather offered to a favorite saint, the virgin, or on the grave of a loved one.
Knives and other sharp objects are not considered good gifts because they will lead to a broken marriage. Raindrops are lucky because they bring prosperity and happiness, and when the rice is tossed at the newlyweds it represents the rain. The groom should always arrive before the bride; otherwise it will be bad luck.