During wedding planning, you and your fiancé may find yourselves caught up in all the things you have to do. You’ll start attending wedding fairs on weekends, go on oculars, fill your Pinterest boards with color schemes, and basically get drawn to anything wedding related. But aside from the long list of to-dos, the engagement season, in my opinion, is one of the best seasons to be in! Families meeting, social circles merging, and priorities shifting, the whole experience is just so exciting!
I remember when I got engaged, my fiancé and I talked about how we wanted our engagement to be like. We both agreed that we wanted it to be very meaningful, savoring every moment no matter how taxing or traditional our tasks would be. So when it came to choosing and building our relationships with our ninongs and ninangs, we made sure that we took the time and effort to meet all of them personally, share a meal or a cup of coffee, and just be present with them before the wedding day. I’m so happy that we did because up to this day, we can say that the few hours we spent with each ninong and ninang taught us priceless lessons about love and life that not even Google could teach. So if you’re looking at having the same kind of experience with your own principal sponsors, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your time with them.
I’m sure you can relate when I say that your ninongs and ninangs for your wedding are usually a relative from either side of the family or a friend of your parents. These are people you don’t regularly see, or sometimes haven’t even met in your life. We experienced this when choosing our principal sponsors, and by imagining the awkwardness that may happen during the wedding day, we decided to reach out and introduce ourselves as a couple. It was a good way for us to formally and respectfully ask them to be our principal sponsors instead of just sending them an informal text message. It was also a wonderful time for us to build rapport with them, sharing our story and listening to theirs. When our wedding day came, my husband and I didn’t worry at all about our ninongs and ninangs because we were sure that they were at ease.
This was my favorite part of the whole experience! You see, we had a diverse set of principal sponsors. Some had been married for 10 years, and some for more than 30 years. We have a ninang who is a widow, and another who is in her second marriage already. Some are very well-off and some are financially challenged because of hospital bills. But no matter what situation they were in during the time we met them, when we asked them to tell us about their love story, their faces lit up! It was as if they were telling us a story that just happened a day before! After hearing all their stories, my fiancé and I became more confident that this thing called love and marriage could really be done. Love within marriage can last as long as you work hard for it.
It moved me how easy it was for our ninongs and ninangs to tell us about their mistakes in their own marriages. Maybe it was because the forgiveness and compassion they learned along the way was always greater than the shortcomings. Yes there was regret, but they moved forward with their marriage, trusting that the love that they have for each other outweighed any mistake. The personal experiences that they shared with us still continue to help us now that we are already married. It made us more aware of the things to avoid and what to never miss out on to make our marriage stronger.
We learned so much from all the stories they shared with us during our visits, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and they did! Gestures of married couples change through time and it’s in how they treat each other where you’ll learn the deepest lessons about marriage. It’s in the way they laugh at each other, how they briefly hold hands unknowingly, how they glance at each other, or how they serve one another. We learned that love seeps through even the tiniest of habits, gestures, and routines, and we are grateful that we got to see it just by spending a little time with them.
At the end of your visit, request your ninong or ninang to give you a short blessing to send you off. It may be a prayer, a hopeful message, or a promise to keep you in their thoughts. This way, you are always reminded that someone else is rooting for you. But it doesn’t stop there, now that you’ve established a foundation for a good relationship, try your best to follow through even after your wedding day. Go out for dinner, get a cup of coffee together, or visit them in their house every once in a while to keep the relationship going. Your principal sponsors aren’t simply a witness to your union, they’re also there to guide you as you walk through this new period of life together.