Saturday, January 07, 2006


I still haven't really been to a Filipino wedding, but there was one held on campus today, so I kinda crashed it. Apparently, it was just some neighborhood Pentecostals who had rented the building. I wasn't really certain if the wedding was happening today or not. We heard some people rehearsing wedding songs this morning, and then we did see a lot of people dressed up in barongs and nice dresses. I wandered over to the tabernacle and watched through the back window along with several of the students. The processional was, um, proceeding. I think the sponsors were being seated when I arrived. I'm not sure how many sponsors there were--maybe 15 or 20 couples. There were also 8 or 9 attendants on each side. As the sponsors and attendants walked down the aisle, there were two girls at a microphone on the platform reading a piece of paper stating who each person was. They seemed to be giving stage directions, so I thought maybe this was still the rehearsal. I asked one of the students, and he said, "No, this is the wedding."

Another reason that I thought this might be the rehearsal was that, besides the wedding party and sponsors, there were probably fewer than 2 dozen people in attendance. Yes, the number of people actually participating in the wedding far outnumbered the rest of the crowd. There were also very few decorations, except on the car.

Most of the processional went as I expected, including some traditional Western classical pieces. Before the bride came down the aisle, though, there was a dance number by one of the bridesmaids and a young man on an oriental carpet spread in the aisle at the front of the tabernacle. Then, during the bride's procession, someone was singing a song. I was kind of in and out, so I didn't really catch all the details of the ceremony. From time to time, though, I heard snippets that were very familiar to me from American weddings. When it came time for the preacher to wax eloquent, all of the wedding party went to their seats in the front and sat down. What a wonderful idea!

Glenbert told me that usually each of the sponsor couples will give 100 pesos to the presider. In a big wedding, he mentioned, that can mean an extra 4-5,000 pesos. We also discussed who pays for weddings. I still don't have all the breakdown on this, but as far as I can tell, the groom and his family basically shoulder all of the financial responsibilities. I would guess the sponsors probably help in some way, but I'm not really sure to what extent.

I saw that they had a traditional Western ring ceremony. Glenbert said they sometimes light a unity candle, but I'm not sure if they did that today. I think the bride and groom signed their marriage license and it was read by the presider, but I was really too far away to determine most of the rest of what was going on. I actually left before the end of the wedding, so I will have to wait for an occasion where I'm actually invited, before I can study it in more depth.

Just a couple of side notes. Glenbert and I were talking about bachelor parties. He said he'd seen them in movies. He noted that they sometimes rented a girl to dance; he asked if I had done that for mine. :) He also asked if we really have wedding crashers in the US. I don't know about the movies these kids are seeing (shakes head in disbelief). I guess we were actually crashing this one.

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