Philippine Wedding Traditions

This is an article that was submitted to our site that explains Philippine wedding traditions. Explore interesting facts like why throwing rice is discouraged, why the groom presents his wife with 13 coins, and what is the most popular month for Filipino weddings.

Philippine Wedding Traditions

Philippine Wedding Traditions - Picture of Lover's Bridge

Traditionally, wedding expenses are paid for by the grooms family in the Philippine setting unlike in some western cultures. But more and more couples give 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 how big will the wedding will be and has the 'majority stake' on the guest list.

The bride, holding an heirloom rosary with the bridal bouquet during the nuptial mass, was a practiced tradition. It is now being revived by some brides to honor our Catholic heritage and respect the solemn occasion.

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

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

Marrying couples have a few pairs of ninongs & ninangs (godparents) to stand as principal sponsors/witnesses in the ceremony, much like the practice observed during a child's baptism.

Most Catholic churches don't allow a Sunday wedding.

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

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.

The arrhae (or thirteen coins) is carried by a coin bearer who marches with the ring bearer during the processional and recessional.

If the couple intends to have their own wedding vows rather than read the standard vows provided by the church, they should inform the officiating priest and ask for his approval.

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

The most popular month for weddings in the Philippines is December (until early January) and not June.

Filipino grooms also walk down the aisle. Solo or with his parents.

Proximity of the ceremony and reception venues is a major consideration for guests' convenience taking into account the Manila traffic and parking concerns. (read more about our wedding traffic tips).

Wedding invitations usually have an insert/page that includes all the names and roles of each in the bridal party.

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.

Aside from the bridesmaids and groomsmen, additional three pairs of wedding attendants stand as secondary sponsors who facilitate in the wedding candle, veil and cord ceremonies held during the nuptial mass.

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

Next, the veil sponsors will 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.

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

The veil and cord ceremonies have the marrying couple 'tied-up' together while kneeling for almost half the time during the nuptial mass. But don't fret, it isn't as hard as it sounds.

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

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 and in return they get a chance to dance with them.

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.

About the authors:

John & Bennette Rana own which is an internet-based resource site on Philippine/Filipino weddings. Visit for more information on Philippine wedding customs, legal marriage requirements, local wedding-related businesses and more.