Here in the Philippines, planning your wedding is synonymous to throwing a party for a barangay. Kidding! But there are a lot of things that can influence the planning process, and most of them can be external factors. We just want you to know that we feel you! Here are just some of them.
1. The pressure of a big wedding.
It is very uncommon for a wedding to have a less-than-100 guest list here in the Philippines. In a culture that puts a big focus on family (by that I mean 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins), we consider a 180 guest list intimate. When tying the knot, family, friends, workmates, acquaintances from kindergarten (obviously I’m being overly dramatic) need to be invited. There is a high chance that people will feel bad or as we fondly refer to as tampo when they don’t make the cut, making it very hard for the couple to trim down the final list. Yup, I know you can totally relate!
2. The additional guests of the parents that you don’t even know.
Usually, parents are allotted some guests for the wedding–I mean you would want them to enjoy too right? But a wedding in the Philippines has a unique characteristic that parents may even have just as much, or even more guests than the couple (LOL)! For parents, the wedding of their child is an event they have been waiting for all their lives. To a certain degree, I feel that in our culture, it has become a way to celebrate not only the couple but also who the parents are. When it’s the parents paying for the wedding, there’s a higher chance that their guest list also increases. At the very least, when couples are paying, the likely scenario will be that parents will offer to pay for their extra guests.
3. The ever-grand gown.
Of course, this one is mostly for the bride. Just to be clear, grand dresses are gorgeous. But some brides have really been drawn to wearing simpler silhouettes, or a more modern and minimalist approach to design. And I for one have been a big, big fan of these understated yet elegant looks. However, tradition here would most likely push the bride to wear something big and flashy! The more beads and bling the better, the longer the train the better, the bigger the ball gown the better. Ces’t la vie, sweetheart! (Again, LOL!)
4. Making everyone happy.
As I said earlier, family plays a big part in Filipino weddings. And when I say big, I mean they usually have a say on most of the details, from planning to execution. Whether it be parents or other relatives, they give their opinions on how a wedding should be, how it should look, or what it should have. Don’t get me wrong, it is also good to hear other people’s suggestions because there will be times that they will be totally right. But today, couples often find themselves in a bind trying to say yes to everyone’s requests.
5. The grueling task of asking your entourage for favors or assigning them responsibilities.
Being part of the entourage is special. I always almost shed a tear when I’m asked to be a bridesmaid. But I hate to admit that most people think the entourage’s task is to just to be in the #weddingsquad on the big day. Look good, take some snaps with the couple, and walk down the aisle. Yes, these are certainly great perks of being among the chosen ones. But couples seem to forget that they too can ask their entourage to help out during the planning and on the day of. Couples, out of shyness (hiya), often forego the privilege of asking them to pick up something or assign them to distribute wedding souvenirs.
6. Saying no to people asking to be invited.
Have you ever run into someone and they seem to have assumed they were invited to your wedding? Awkward, right? So in that situation what would you do? A. Just go with the flow and add them to the guest list–it’s a trap you have no way out of. Or B., Smile and divert the conversation to something else. No matter what the answer is, I think couples would just find it plain hard to say “no” flat out.
7. Getting people to RSVP.
Did I just hear you sigh? This one is self-explanatory. That’s why you have a coordinator who can follow up. Don’t worry, I feel your frustration.
After going through that list and having you worked up and say “YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH!”, what’s my point? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So most of these things you will really just have to go through as a couple. But let me just also add in a few things to help you get by.
Breathe. At the end of the day, the most important thing about getting married is actually the fact that you are marrying the love of your life. Everything else is secondary.
Just like in life, you win some and you lose some. For things that you can sort out in a friendly manner with people, we still would suggest going the humble route. You don’t want to start your marriage with a lot of burnt bridges .
If you want things to change, then you have to actively let people know (in a nice way) your side. Don’t let shyness get the better of you. You’ll be surprised how good communication actually lets you get what you want.
Wedding planning is never, I repeat, NEVER easy or perfect. When you hit a bump on the road, ask yourself if it is really worth the tears. More often than not, the problem resolves itself after a while!