Drop the words "Filipiniana-themed wedding" and instantly, images straight from the classic Noli Me Tangere come to mind. Historic churches in Intramuros, quaint banderitas and a luscious buffet spread of lechon, pansit and a colorful assortment of kakanin capture the quintessential "Pinoy" celebration.
We Filipinos, after all, are known around the world for our unique and heartwarming brand of merrymaking… which is why couples to this day, do opt to celebrate their marriage in true Filipino fashion. Whether the theme is evident in the abaca giveaways or the bamboo centerpieces, the rondalla that serenades the guests or the traditional kundimans, couples today can have an authentically Pinoy touch to their weddings in more ways than one.
The trick is to remember that while "Filipino" does include all the superficial detailing that goes into wedding planning—the gown, the souvenirs, the food—it reaches far deeper than that. A Filipino wedding… regardless of its décor or its faithfulness to the traditions of old, becomes truly Filipino when it is planned with the same fun, fervor, passion and love for family that goes into our multi-faceted culture.
PICK A THEME:
Choosing Filipiniana as your wedding’s basic theme is only a starting point. Think of it as a basic, all-around theme that you’ve got to narrow down. Remember that the more specialized and specific your theme is, the more personal the feel of your wedding will be.
Period-centric. The Filipiniana look has evolved as a consequence of our country’s colorful history. A Turn of the Century wedding, for example, would have you drawing inspiration from icons from Rizal’s time—a Maria Clara inspired wedding gown patterned out of embroidered piña, capiz shell lamps in an outdoor garden reception, are just a few images based on that period. A Pinoy Pop wedding on the other hand could leave you with images of a sorbetero stand at the reception, a fun, acapella, Ryan Cayabyab-style arrangement for your songs or even kitschy candies such as Orange Sweets, Tarzan gum and Choc-nut scattered all over your guests’ tables.
Province-centric. You could opt to base your wedding on your province’s traditions. If you’re running out of unique menu ideas, think about the fare your region’s known for. Bicolanos, for example, can give away pili rolls, while Batangueños could wrap some barako beans as wedding souvenirs. Even hors d’oeuvres can be inspired by what province you come from—those from Laguna can serve kesong puti snacks.
Invitations Say It All: Invitations primarily supply your guests with the who’s what’s and where’s of your wedding. Apart from that, they clue those in attendance about what to expect on the day itself—a formal 300-guest sit-down dinner scenario, or an intimate no-holds-barred garden party? Your invites are a great way to seal the Filipiniana stamp on your wedding. They’re the perfect venue to tell everyone who’s invited that your theme is "going local!"
Handmade or recycled paper is usually associated with the Filipiniana theme. Mix these neutral, natural colors up with a bright graphic, or a splash of color to liven up the look.
Accessorize with textured materials such as weaves (banig), raffia or twine, shells, sand or even dried flowers.
Dig up your archives for old photographs of your church and turn your invitations, save-the-date cards or even thank you notes into vintage-looking postcards with the church as the background.
Personalize your invitations with the type of language you use. Deep, Balagtas-type Tagalog for true blue Manileños, or idiosyncratic Taglish for a quirky twist.
Dress the Part: The piece de resistance at any Filipiniana wedding is the execution of the bridal gown. Traditional brides can subscribe to the customary terno using jusi or pinya, while more contemporary brides can opt for sleeker, more modern cuts using materials such as abel iloco. Rifle through your grandparents’ old wedding photos for inspiration, or brave your mom’s baul for undiscovered finds, and keep in mind that thinking out of the box will usually reward you with the most individual, most personal looks.
Fuse Filipino flowers such as sampaguita into your bouquet or weave sinamay into your entourage’s floral arrangements for flowers that go well with the outfits.
Have your shoe take on a streamlined bakya form.
The Church Ceremony: Filipinos have a marked way of celebrating weddings—from the veil, cord and candle traditions to the picture taking with both sides of the family. Hearing mass in Filipino in an old, historic church, writing your vows in your dialect and even listening to Filipino-arranged songs during the ceremony make for a very "Pinoy" ambience. Decorating the church accordingly will keep your theme cohesive as well:
1. leaving abanikos in the pews for guests to fan themselves during mass
2. covering the aisle in sinamay and scattering sampaguita and ilang-ilang
3. using a traditional banig for the bride to walk on
4. raffia twine embellished with pearls for the cord
5. using a kalesa or stylized jeepney as the couple’s transportation
Pinoys are famous for the parties they throw, from the annual fiestas each province celebrates to the games everyone remembers from childhood, from the impressive spread of kare-kare and pansit to everyone’s favorite halo-halo and sapin-sapin. The way you carry out your Filipiniana reception depends mainly on the type of Pinoy atmosphere you want for your wedding. Traditionalists will love a Father Blanco’s Garden-type outdoor reception, while pop culturists can go crazy with ideas such as a layered puto wedding cake or a dirty ice cream vendor positioned right by the dessert. Go Barrio Fiesta with your party with clay pots as chafing dishes, centerpieces made out of fresh, local fruits in bilaos or mini bahay kubo replicas. Have your guests serenaded with your favorite harana, or remind them of summers spent in the province with banana leaf placemats or bao used as placecard holders, capiz for napkin rings or even tuba instead of wine! Even the traditional bouquet toss and garter throw can adapt to games you used to play as children—bato-bato pick, pabitin or even pukpok palayok! Wax nostalgic by leaving your guests with gifts like framed, old Peso bills, jeepney magnets, or native delicacies wrapped in pretty abaca or sinamay packages.
***Source: Manila Bulletin Online
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