Traditional Wedding in the Philippines 2; Post- Ceremony
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Best wishes!
So, after the hustle and bustle of the wedding ceremony, it’s time to celebrate! Family, friends and relatives gather together to celebrate with the new couple. Unlike the recent celebrations, traditional Filipino wedding is tedious and it usually takes two days to celebrate.
THE FIRST DAY; The Day Before the Wedding Ceremony
Guests begin to arrive a day or two before the wedding. Receptions are usually held at the bride’s residence. The groom’s family bring everything needed especially the food and beverages for the festivities. In some ethnic groups, there is a specific number of pigs and cattles to be butchered and served to all the people who could attend the celebration. It is far from the neatly-organized buffets or catered food in the modern wedding receptions. In the old ways, the invitation is extended to anyone who have heard about the event. No need for a formal invitation.The whole village celebrates. All guests are fed and accomodated. Relatives and friends open their homes.
So on the night before the wedding day, there is a festivity; dancing,singing and drinking are held. Single guys and ladies are invited. A makeshift celebration tent is put up where these single girls are seated and the single guys have to pay so they can have the privilege to dance to the single women with the music of their choice. The old folks are also encouraged to attend and show their grooves until they are tired. These activity usually lasts almost overnight and all money raised shall be gifted to the new couple.
Apart from the previous day and night’s gala, guests are once again herded to the proper reception. This time, it is more formal and sponsors especially those who were part of the entourage are seated in their assigned tables. These days, the couple allot a big portion of their budget on the reception to make sure it’s gorgeous and aesthetic. In the olden times however, the makeshift tents used the night before are decorated with more flowers and woven coconut leaves and some other indigenous and natural materials they could find.
In cases where the couples were not able to release a pair of doves at the church after the wedding ceremony, they do it at the reception as the opening activity.
The bride and groom then take the center stage and listen to some messages and and well-wishes. The ceremonial cutting of the cake is also done. Main sponsors and guests feast on the food and beverages prepared while a long buffet is set up nearby for all attendees; more like for the rest of the villagers.
A highlight of this part of the celebration is the couple’s “money dance” or “prosperity dance”. It is when the bride and groom dance to slow music and guests pin notes or money on their clothes. It is their way of helping the couple start the new life. Other presents related to married life are also given. However, none of these are mandatory. All funds collected during the entire celebration are then handed by an elder to the groom then to the bride as a symbol of their new beginning.
Then as the festivity is nearing its end, all single ladies are gathered together and the bride tosses the bouquet. It is said that the person who catches it will likely be the next to get married. It wasn’t done this way originally though. Instead, the bride offers the bouquet to the side altar of the church before an image of the Virgin Mary or at an important relative’s grave.
In addition, a male counterpart of the throwing of the bouquet is becoming famous; the tossing of the garter. All single males are encouraged to participate and whoever catches it shall wear the garter to the girl who caught the bouquet.
After exhausting day, the new Mr. and Mrs. can finally rest after the last of the guests bid their farewells.And yeah, they now have to face an incessant questions of when they are going to have their first child.