A traditional Filipino wedding is like a long procession. The entourage is made up of the groom. the candle bearer, bible bearer, coin, bearer, ring bearer, the bride’s and groom’s parents, the officiating minister and the many pairs of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Then there’s also the numerous principal sponsors (or the Witnesses) and the secondary sponsors- veil, cord, candle. Then there are the flower girls with their escorts and the maid of honor. Then finally, the bride. The bridal march may have already played twice or thrice before the actual bride shows up.
The reason for this crowded entourage is because Filipino couples feel the need to include relatives and friends in their wedding. The result: a long long entourage.
But here’s a common complaint I’ve read in forums, half of the people in the entourage don’t really care about the couple. They just want to wear something nice and be part of a wedding. A lot of bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t know their responsibilities. Secondary sponsors also don’t know the essence of what they’re about to do. Some principal sponsors don’t even know the couple personally. They’re just some influential person that can help the couple through finances or connections.
I don’t want our wedding to be like that. I’m praying for a meaningful celebration of our love. I don’t want a grand party or a long procession where half of the people don’t care about us. So, Mr. P and I limited our guest list to our closest friends and family members. We also did away with a traditional entourage.
We won’t have bridesmaids and groomsmen because Mr. P and I are doing all the planning. Our wedding plans is a secret and those who are invited will only know 2-3 weeks prior. By that time, there’s nothing left for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to do. We hired an on-the-day coordinator so really, what else they can do? However, I will ask my sisters and a few female friends to act as ushers before the ceremony. They can’t be ushers if I make them as my bridesmaids.
We won’t have the secondary sponsors- candle, veil and cord. Mr. P and I are Christians but we just don’t see the point of this ritual. Other cultures don’t have these things, too. What we want is for the Pastor to spend time praying for us.
Because we won’t have secondary sponsors, we won’t need all the different bearers some weddings have. I’ll just ask my brother to serve as a the ring bearer. He’s 19 years old and he’s really big. He’s not the usual ring bearer but he’s my baby brother and I’d want him to carry the rings while my other brother will drive me to the venue.
We’ll have flower girls just because I love my 5-year old niece and Mr. P has a niece too. My niece likes dressing up and we still have to convince her to allow us to get married. She’s adamant in saying Mr. P and I can’t get married. She’s like that with my other sisters and brothers so she’s not really singling us out. She has this thinking that people will leave our house once they get married.
Mr. P will ask his brother to be his best man while one of my sisters will be my maid of honor. They have two tasks on our wedding day: They’re in charge of receiving communication from our guests and suppliers. They’re also in charge of overseeing our relatives and friends. We do need these two so we can’t do away without them.
As for principal sponsors, we’ll only have 2 pairs. One pair is my aunt and my uncle. Another pair is a family friend. We chose them because they truly care for us. Their marriages are also inspiring. I believe that couples should choose sponsors who can guide them and pray for them as they start their own journey. Guidance and prayers are more valuable than money or any material gifts that people can give.
If I count my entourage, there’d only be 16 people in all – our parents (4), sponsors (4), flower girls (2), ring bearer (1), the minister (1), bestman (1), maid of honor (1), groom (1) and bride (1) . Honestly though, I could still reduce that number to just 2- Mr. P and me. But we don’t want to take away the experience from our parents so we’re just doing a compromise.
I’m pretty sure some people would ask where are the bridesmaids and other usual characters in a wedding entourage. I’m writing this now so I can just direct them here and find all the explanations they need.
Our entourage is comparatively small and simple but I know that all the people there truly care for us.