As I said yesterday, I’m getting married very soon. I’m very excited. Rory and I are having a smallish wedding of around 40 guests, taking place in a historical homestead (inside is a safe bet when you’re in Wellington). By keeping the guest list small, we’ve got money leftover to save, and to take a trip to Fiji!! This’ll be our second trip outside of New Zealand together, and the first time we get to go to a Pacific Island. I’m looking forward to going to a beach with warm water. The sea in New Zealand is always like ice, summer or winter. Anyway, back to the main point at hand.
There are many wedding traditions out there, we crossed off a lot at the beginning. A wedding is personal, and you should definitely make it your own. Don’t include something you don’t want because ‘tradition’ dictates it.
Bouquet toss – nah. Why would I pay for a beautiful bouquet only to throw it into the air. Also our guest list is small, and most ladies there are already married/engaged.
Garter toss – weird. Why must you take it off with your teeth then again throw it across the room?
Coin in the shoe – Sounds uncomfortable.
Bad luck to see the bride – well, we wanted to get photos done before the ceremony so guests aren’t hanging around for ages. So we’re doing a first look photo shoot. Some family members aren’t too pleased, but we’ve been together for over five years and living together for three of those. Rory isn’t going to ditch me just because he saw me before the ceremony.
Now comes the cultural and family traditions we did want to include.
Early on in the wedding planning game, Mum asked me to include some Filipino traditions in the ceremony. She had kept these items safely tucked away since her own wedding to Dad back in ’89 (they’re still in great condition too). She also suggested that I could wear her wedding gloves if I wanted too. Rory and I were happy to include these. We are very close to our families, and also thought it would be quite cool to include different traditions in what would otherwise be a regular secular wedding.
The Filipino traditions we’re including will take place just before the vows and exchange of rings. There are four parts, I’ll summarise what each part means and what it symbolises (due to my own understanding of it, and what mum has told me).
- Lighting of the Unity Candle
For this part, there are three candles. At the beginning of the ceremony, the best man and maid of honour light one candle each. This represents the groom and bride as they are now, separate in their lives. The officiant then explains that the groom and bride use their candles to light the third candle. This represents their love, their unity. We have to work together to keep the flame ablaze, and keep our relationship/love alight.
- Veil Ceremony
The officiant will call on two sponsors (one from each side) to come and pin the veil onto our respective shoulders. The veil clothes us one, we belong to each other and no one else. It’s a symbol of faithfulness.
- Cord Ceremony
Then the officiant calls on two other sponsors to come and place the cord over our shoulders. The cord is in a figure eight shape, to symbolize infinity.
- Coin Ceremony
Then, we pass a little basket of coins back and forth to each other. (I think sometimes, the coins are poured into each others hands, but we thought this way might be better in case we drop some due to nerves on the day). This symbolizes our union when it comes to material things, it also serves as a reminder of mutual support and stewardship in regards to each other, our home and possible future children.
As for Rory’s side, we decided to include a classic European tradition. Something old, something new, something borrowed blue.
The something old is a string of pearls that Rory’s mum is lending me. It used to belong to Rory’s dad’s great aunt who passed a while ago. They’re antique and beautiful, and will go lovely with my dress. The something new is my dress. It’s incredible, and I fell in love with it from my first fitting. Something borrowed will be my mother’s wedding gloves, they’re lacy and delicate. Something blue is incorporated into the colour scheme, and my awesome bouquet (all credit goes to Ems Flowers).
So there you have it. A mix of Filipino and European traditions. It was quite fun to meld these traditions together to make our wedding more personal and special for ourselves and our families.