Filipino weddings are known for being big and festive. It is a grand time for a large group of people to gather around and celebrate this wonderful union of two people families into one! Just like any other wedding though, there are certain rules that you should follow. If you've been invited as a guest to a Filipino wedding, you should definitely take the time to read this article so you won’t offend anyone (or worse, make a fool out of yourself!).
1. RSVP ahead of time
Secure your reply weeks before the wedding! It will definitely be convenient for the bride and groom so they can also decide on the final number of guests and the seating arrangements at the wedding!
2. Don’t bring uninvited guests
It is more than likely that there’s a fixed number of guests at the wedding, and the worst thing you could possibly do is bring someone with you without letting them know about it. If you really want to bring someone, ask the bride or groom weeks before so they can include your friend on the list!
3. Despedida de Soltera
Also known as the famous Bachelorette Party, it has become part of the Filipino tradition to organize this type of event to highlight the bride’s last few days of being a “single woman.” This event may also serve as a formal introduction to both sides of the family! So if you happen to be one of the bridesmaids, you should take part and contribute in any way you can to make this event more lively and entertaining!
4. Ceremonial Sponsor Duties
If you’re one of the sponsors, you should take this responsibility seriously as you will be assigned a role to the wedding ceremony, such as lighting of the candles or attaching the veil and cord to the couple!
5. Maid of Honor Duties
Being a maid of honor is not an easy job! If you’re the maid of honor, it is basically your task to organize the entourage for the wedding ceremony, assist all of the bride’s needs before and during the wedding. You are also given the task to assist in welcoming the guests at the wedding reception!
6. Follow the Dress Code
Men can wear suits but the usual patriotic approach to a formal wedding event is by wearing the Philippine National costume, otherwise known as Barong Tagalog! The bride can also wear the traditional gown which is called the Filipiniana, but everything must depend on the wedding theme. Women can wear any modern or semi-formal dresses with an appropriate length and color.
7. Follow the flow of the ceremony
Keep in mind that it is important to respect the sequence of the wedding and to actually arrive on time or even half an hour before the wedding ceremony!
8. Don’t just show up at the reception
Don’t be like one of those people who only went for the food and pulled a no-show at the ceremony! Politely arrive at the given time, attend the mass and then follow everyone at the wedding reception!
9. Buy a wedding gift
It is necessary for you to purchase a wedding gift even if you cannot come to the wedding! You can basically choose whatever you think is appropriate as a wedding gift, but don’t include knives or other sharp objects for they are considered as bad luck for marriage. Common Filipino gifts include kitchenwares, glasswares and jewelries. Remember to double check to see if they have a registry!
10. Giving monetary gift (Money Dance)
If you cannot decide what gift to give the bride and groom on their wedding, you can always opt to give them money instead. As the newlyweds perform the “Money Dance” in front of everyone, you can pin any amount of money to the bride’s gown and the groom’s Barong Tagalog or suit!
11. Follow the seating plan
Know where you’ll be seated and try not to switch places with anyone to avoid confusion!
12. Mingle with other guests
If you are seated with a crowd that you don’t know at all, do not be snobby and standoffish! Filipinos are naturally friendly, so take this time encourage new friendship between you and the people around your table!
13. Greet family members
Filipinos have an abnormally large number of family members. That is why it is considered quite a norm to introduce yourself and socialize with the aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives of the bride and groom- especially at the wedding reception!
14. Bouquet Toss for Women
Even if you’re not one of the bridesmaids, as long as you are a single lady at the party, you are obligated to join in the traditional bouquet toss! Just don’t be too aggressive :)
15. Garter Toss for Men
Again, all the single gentlemen present at the wedding reception are sort of obligated to participate in this traditional garter toss!
16. Participate in group pictures
Who doesn't love taking pictures? Any wedding would not be complete without the usual selfies and sometimes overly-staged yet fun wedding photographs. Participate and snap away!
17. Don’t be in a hurry to go home
This is pretty much self-explanatory. Stay for a while and enjoy the program that the bride and groom have prepared for their guests! Filipino wedding after parties are never dull, so have a drink (or five) and partake in this joyous event!