Trimmings or traditions: What makes a Filipino wedding by Sabrina Cortez

One of the fondest memories I have of my youth is watching my parents wedding video on VHS tape. It was a simple yet beautiful and traditional church wedding laced with white trimmings, with a pair of white doves. It celebrates all the special moments of my parent’s love. To this day, it holds a special place in my heart.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all feverishly dreamt of our ideal wedding. Or perhaps you’ve already lived it.

From the bride’s beautiful white lace trimmed veil, the sea of supporting family and friends, to the groom’s smile — weddings are one of the greatest hallmarks of love.

Filipino weddings especially are infused with modernity and a touch of traditional Catholic wedding rites.

One thing is for sure: whether done in a church, a beautiful garden scene or an alfresco setting, Filipinos love big weddings and all its trimmings.

But excessive wedding spending and a hefty guest list may be a hazard to lasting love.

Too often we get caught up with the commercial or monetary value behind the planning of a wedding that we forget the traditions and rites that binds it.

This year, I will be part of my first bridal party for my best friend; I find myself entranced by the dramatic floral arrangements, drawn by the alluring reception venues with lakeside views and the grand bridal dresses.

There’s nothing wrong with planning your ideal wedding to celebrate your relationship. Let’s step back and take time to remember that the commercial aesthetic and value is not what makes a wedding. It’s the rite of marriage that we are celebrating after all.

What I love best about traditional Filipino weddings, be it here or abroad, is having the family involved at the heart of the event. From the placing of the cord on the bridal veil, the support of the sponsors, the candles to the climactic moment of the exchange of the rings — it all signifies marriage as a long-term and lasting commitment. Most importantly, it highlights the covenant with God and the special bond between a couple. That is what I believe is what underpins and defines a wedding.

With the increasing number of grand gestures, weddings in the Philippines continue to become more and more personalized. But the fact remains that each Filipino wedding—here and abroad, big and small—is a labor of love.

While wedding coordinators have taken the stress of planning the entire event away from the couple and their families, a Filipino wedding is truly a sight to behold.

From the details of the gowns to the setting of the tables, a Filipino wedding is a wonderful mix of the old and the new, the East and the West.

One of the beautiful things about planning a multicultural ceremony is finding the ways that one culture can be connected to so many others. Even in reimagining old traditions for a modern wedding, I still feel connected to the past. To me, it’s in my DNA to evolve and to mingle our traditions, honoring them while making them new, and making them our own. Traditions will carry over to the wedding reception, and into the family home, which we Filipinos seemingly cannot do without.

To be able to share this special hallmark of my culture, my family and religion with someone else is what I look for in my future wedding someday.

Updated: 06/04/2016 — 21:15:37