Proposal & Wedding Customs In The Philippines

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

So, you have decided to tie the knot with a Filipina. You may want to take some of her traditions into account when planning the proposal and ceremony. Here is a list of customs, from old to modern, to consider while preparing for your big day.

Ask Her Father’s Permission Before You Propose

In almost all cultures across the world it is tradition to ask the father for their daughters hand in marriage. However, recent years in the United States has made this more of a polite gesture than a necessity. In the Philippines, however, this custom is taken very seriously. If at all possible, get her father’s permission, even if you have already talked to her about getting married prior to visiting the Philippines. Before you stick a ring on her finger, and especially before you announce the engagement online or to the family, you need to get approval from her father. In the event her father is no longer living you would ask the man that is looked at as the leader of the family. This will probably be a grandfather or a brother.

“Before this purchase you should do a little digging. A traditional engagement ring in the Philippines is a simple gold band. Many women in the Philippines don't like diamonds."

Choosing an Engagement Ring

Before this purchase you should do a little digging. A traditional engagement ring in the Philippines is a simple gold band. Many women in the Philippines don't like diamonds. However, there are a few modern women in the cities that love them. It would be best to first find out if she likes diamonds and if she prefers white or yellow gold. If she likes diamonds, then you would just shop for a ring like you would in the US, similar to picking out a ring for an American girl, So good luck. If she doesn't like diamonds, you just saved a lot of money. She will be excited with a simple wedding band with a design engraved into it. A lot of the rings in the Philippines are machined and cannot be resized. So make sure you get her size right. Consider bringing her to a jewelry store in the mall to casually look at rings and try them on. Make a mental note of the rings she likes and her size, then come back later to get the one she wanted. In the Philippines, for a plain band, you can look to spend ₱5000 - ₱10000 which is approximately $100 - $200 in the US.

Choosing a Location To Pop The Question

Filipino women love romance, so give her the best proposal ever. The location needs to show that you put thought and consideration into it. You could even go the extra mile and find a specific location that means something to the family. Make sure you have her entire family in attendance. This one is a must, if you don't she will probably make you ask her again in front of them. When I proposed to my wife, I set up a family picnic at Century Tree, which is extremely significant to the locals. There are many different ways to do it, but just make sure you put thought into it and don't just propose in the spur of the moment

Wedding Customs

Getting married in the US is easier for the visa process (explained in more detail in the article "Applying for a K-1 Visa", but you might want to surprise her with some of her traditions in the ceremony or reception. Most weddings in the Philippines are pretty much the same as a western wedding, but some women still like to mix in some older traditions. Here are a few of the most popular.

The Candles

At the beginning of the ceremony it is customary for one person from each side of the family to light a candle to symbolize God’s presence at the union.  Sometimes there will be a third candle called a "unity candle," which is a custom adopted from the US.

13 Coins and Arras

During the ceremony the groom will give the bride 13 coins. 12 of them are a symbol of his dedication to lead and provide for her all 12 months out of every year. The extra coin represents a blessing over the union.

Money Dance

This is by far my favorite wedding custom. It is a dance during the reception where guests pin money onto the bride and groom while dancing with them. It might seem a little weird, but you will have a load of fun, and its more money for the honeymoon.

The Bouquet

Instead of tossing the bouquet, it is customarily laid at a picture or grave of a lost family member. If she is Catholic, it is common for them to place it before a picture or statue of Mary or her favorite saint.

Wedding Cord or Wedding Lasso

This stems from Catholic tradition. It is a cord normally made from satin or silk that represents rosary beads. It is traditionally placed in a figure-eight shape over the heads of the bride and groom after their wedding vows to symbolize the everlasting unity of marriage.

The Veil

A large veil would be placed over the bride and groom's head to bond them together for eternity

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