|So Asian, right? Especially with his eyes closed.|
Mike may actually look more more Asian than I do, but, in fact, it's my side of the family (well, half) that lives for karaoke, is skilled at making chicken adobo, and has adorably button-like noses. Filipinos have a lot of very unique and beautiful wedding traditions -- about which I'm still learning --and I'm excited to incorporate them into our ceremony.
The most recognizable and important of these is the use of sponsors. These come in many proverbial shapes and sizes, but any true Filipino wedding wouldn't be legitimate without them. Just to make things extra complicated, there is, in fact, a hierarchy to these, starting with the:
Principal Sponsors* (in tagolog, ninang and ninong): This can be as few as two people or as many as dozens, depending on the size of the bridal party and who the bride and groom would like to be included. Generally your principal sponsors will be people who have influenced you throughout your life; godparents are a very common choice. In the Philippines, they are the official witnesses to the marriage, while stateside their participation is symbolic of the continued wisdom and guidance they'll share with the newly married duo. For our wedding, they will be chosen solely on their ability to fold a fitted sheet into a square.
After the principal sponsors come the Secondary Sponsors, of which there are four specific types, give or take. They are:
Coin Sponsors: This role at our wedding will be played by my ever-so-charming nephew Camden (Mike's nephew Chase will act as the ring bearer). In Filipino tradition, the groom presents his bride wedding coins, known as arras, as a symbol that he will always provide for her. Rather than using coins, I've come up with a few of my own suggestions for gifts. Namely this. Or maybe this.
Veil Sponsors: During the ceremony, two or more people will place what's known as a couples' veil over the bride and groom. This is mean to signify purity. Heh. But it's also meant to convey that the duo is "clothed as one." Mike and I are currently arguing over who should design said veil. He's making a very good case for Rag & Bone, but my heart says Prada.
Cord Sponsors: Similar to the veil, a special cord is looped over the couple in a figure-8 shape (like the infinity symbol) to signify the couples' eternal bond. Yes there is a rope involved, but no, this is NOT the same as bondage. Don't make that mistake. Let's just leave it at that.
Candle Sponsors: OK, so technically these sponsors light a candle that is supposed to signify the light of Christ. But we are, shall we say, areligious?, so we're gonna go ahead and call this a unity candle. Cool? Cool.
We're also adding Book Sponsors, who will be reading as-yet-to-be-chosen passages during the ceremony. We reserved this spot for our siblings once-removed: my brother-in-law Joe and Mike's sister-in-law Laurie. Hi guys!
This is pretty much the bare bones description of everything. We're working with our officiant as well as my family to craft the words that go along with these lovely traditions. I'm quite excited to see it all come to fruition.
*For more on Filipino traditions, check out My Barong.