Most of us have been imagining our wedding even when we were too young to have suitors. Do you get lilies or tulips? Church or garden ceremony? Veil or no veil? With so many varied wedding traditions from each culture and religion, it’s hard pick which ones we want for our own wedding. At the same time, while we dream about the traditional aspect of weddings, we also want to make sure we throw in some unique touches to our weddings based on the latest wedding trends. Filipino weddings have always stuck with traditions, traditions that go way, way back that we sometimes lose the meaning behind it. Knowing a tradition’s back story may help in narrowing down our choices when it’s time to finally tie the knot. Here are some common and not-so-common traditions from all over the world.
Originally, bouquets consisted of bulbs of garlic that were meant to cast out evil spirits and to cover the smell for those guests who didn't bathe for the occasion. Since these are thankfully not much of concern today, garlic was eventually replaced with flowers, which undeniably smelled better. Flower meanings range from innocence to wrath, depending on its kind. In Hawaii, the bride and groom wear leis while newlyweds in India don floral headdresses. In Germany, the bride and the groom were to hold candles that had flowers and ribbons tied around it. Modern weddings consider flowers as a must. Flowers are seen all over the ceremony, from the bride's dress to the table centerpiece. Can you imagine having a flowerless wedding today? Thanks, but no thanks.
How many Rom Coms have we seen where female wedding guests fight over the bouquet once it's tossed by the bride? Too many. It's, of course, believed that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next one to get married. All this is rooted in the belief that the bride was especially lucky on the day of her wedding. Guests would sometimes tear a piece of her dress as a souvenir of good luck to take home. The Bride's tossing of her bouquet grew from her desire to offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent guests from bothering her (and her dress!) during her reception. In the Philippines, female guests tend to be pakipot when it’s time for the bouquet toss. They always somehow manage to disappear at this particular occasion. In some Filipino weddings, the bride and groom went as far as clipping money or other gifts on the bouquet just to encourage female guests to participate in the bouquet toss.
This event has its roots in Holland. When a bride's father did not approve of the husband-to-be, he would not provide her with the necessary money. The bride's friends would then "shower" her with gifts so she would have her dowry and thus marry the man of her choice, just like a true girlfriend should. While dowries are long gone today, the practice of giving gifts to the bride-to-be remains. Common bridal shower gifts today usually consist of items that a woman will need as she becomes a married woman, such as night gowns, lingerie, beauty products, spa treatments and makeup. If you’re not sure what gift to give or if the style will suit your bride, gift cards are essential to make sure you give the perfect gift. Of course, bridal showers also an awesome excuse to party with your best friends before living with your partner for the rest of your life.
THE BRIDAL VEIL
Back in the olden days veils were meant to protect the bride from deadly enchantments, which they were believed to be vulnerable of. In an arranged marriage, there is a threat that the groom, who is perhaps seeing the bride for the first time, won't like what he sees. The veil was then used to cover the bride's face until the actual ceremony. Luckily, arranged marriages are much rare these days and more and more women now have the option weather to wear a veil or to do away with it.
Tossing rice during the bride and grooms walk after the ceremony might not be as cool as it used to be centuries ago. Back then rice, nuts or grains were thrown at the couple. This would supposedly give them a good harvest that season and plenty of children to help with the chores. This tradition continues today with rice or birdseed. However, rice isn't the only option because we can now see flower petals, paper airplanes, bubbles, etc. as an alternative, anything that will make the newlywed's walk down the aisle a picture perfect moment.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE, A SIXPENSE IN YOUR SHOE
It is believed that if the four items that would fit each description (Something old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something blue), were to be carried or worn by the bride, her wedding day would have the best of luck. These items are usually given by loved ones of the bride the night before the wedding. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.
Household items are the top traditional wedding gifts. But as a wedding guest, you’re never sure if the person will really like the gift you gave them, unless it comes from a bridal registry. Even with bridal registries, sometimes the gift you want to give is no longer in the list. If you have been a bride or groom before, you can admit that the best gifts you have received are the gift cards and money gifts given to you, which allowed you to buy or invest for your future together. We all know that feeling of being stuck with gifts we don’t want or need. Giving gift cards as wedding gifts is the perfect gift since essentially you are giving the newlyweds the gift of freedom of choice. However, sometimes we get embarrassed or “jahe” to give gift cards since it seems so impersonal and feels like just giving money away. Latest gift giving trends help you eliminate that feeling by personalizing your gift cards for you with a greeting card and even a recommended gift item to buy using the gift cards. Luckily, the Philippines now has its own personalized online gift giving website, www.gifted.ph , that helps you buy gift cards immediately online, and personalizes these gift cards on your behalf, saving you time to buy gifts and eliminating that “jahe” feeling when giving gift cards.
You may have wondered why the ring finger was chosen as the finger that was to represent love and commitment. Well the answer is actually really simple; it was believed that the fourth finger contained the "Vena Amoris or the "vein of love" that led directly to the heart. In Chinese culture, the thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the pinky represents your children and the ring finger represents your life partner.
Why white? Queen Victoria started the Western world's white wedding dress trend in 1840 as opposed to the royal tradition of wearing silver on your wedding day. Before, brides simply wore the best dress in their closet.
Modern day Filipino weddings have seen a rise in designer gowns, whether it be for the brides or bridesmaids. Accessing top designer gowns may be hard but don't forget that we have a selection of talented Filipino Wedding Couturiers such as: Rosanna Ocampo, Maureen Disini, John Herrera, Zandra Lim and Rajo Laurel. Some very generous wedding guests even give wedding dresses or bridesmaids’ dresses as a gift especially people like your beloved parents, god parents or favorite aunt. Giving dresses as gifts need not be a hassle any more due to websites like Gifted.PH where you can purchase gift cards from a growing list of famous designers.
Honeymoons have a scary past. The honeymoon is from the days when grooms abducted their brides from the neighbors. Through time, those abductions became fun-filled, ritualized enactments of capturing brides. It is said that the word "honeymoon" was created to describe this one month cycle of the moon when they would drink mead, which was a honey sweetened alcoholic brew that has a great effect on a woman's fertility.
Today, the honeymoon is where the couple can finally sit back and relax, maybe open and enjoy all the gifts that they’ve received. This year's top honeymoon spots include Boracay, El Nido and Bohol. It's in places like these that the couple can finally have time alone, the cherry on top their already perfect day. Couples surely appreciate honeymoon related gift cards that they can use during their honeymoon like a dinner date to a top restaurant like Shangri-la Makati Circles Buffet or a romantic cocktail at Museum Café. If the guest, parents or god parents are more generous, hotel accommodations and other activities the couple can do during their trip with travel adventure packages around the Philippines with companies such as Uncharted Philippines. Some people give gift cards for a portion of a vacation for the bride and groom, so that it encourages the newlyweds to do more honeymooning.
Those are just some of the few known wedding day customs. While most of them were probably really important to follow back in the day, a lot of them might not apply in the 21st century. It is important to give respect to old traditions and customs but don't be afraid to experiment a little. Use your imagination and today's advancements into creating a wedding that fits YOU. After all, this day is about you and your partner. The ceremony and all the little things that come with it should be the reflection of the couple.