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10 Popular Filipino Wedding Traditions

September 17, 2021

10 Popular Filipino Wedding Traditions

Filipino weddings are always special. We give much regard to weddings that each celebration never fails to become momentous and memorable.

Since it only (and usually) happens once in a lifetime, Filipinos tend to go all out on weddings. Everyone in the family and the community are usually involved in the preparation especially in far-flung provinces and barrios.


Over the years, us Filipinos have created a tradition and culture that separates us apart from our neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

Here are some of the popular wedding traditions that you should not miss on your own wedding.


Respect is highly emphasized in the Filipino culture and Pamamanhikan is the groom and bride's way of honoring their parents.


During the Pamamanhikan, the family of the groom visits the house of the bride. The groom usually brings Filipino dishes and delicacies. The two parties meet during this occasion and have a chance to plan the upcoming wedding.

This is also the groom and bride's way of asking their parents to bless their upcoming marriage.

Despedida De Soltera

Despedida de Soltera is a Spanish phrase that literally translates to 'farewell to singlehood'. This is also known as a bridal shower for the bride or bachelor / stag party for the groom.


The bridal shower is usually prepared by the friends of the bride days before the wedding. Aside from delicious food, guests also play fun adult games during a bridal shower. This is mostly exclusive for the ladies.

Meanwhile, the stag / bachelor party is an all-male party planned by the best man. This is where the friends of the groom celebrate his "last day of freedom" or "last day of being single" thus signifying that a lot of things will change for the man after marriage.

Sabitan / Sayawan

Sabitan or Sayawan is also known as the money dance. During the wedding reception, the newlyweds perform a ceremonial first dance to the tune of mellow music or love song or their theme song as a couple. While they are dancing, guests pin paper bills on their clothes.


In some provinces, the Sabitan or Sayawan takes place the eve of the wedding day. The event is being hosted. This is where the host usually calls the attention of the relatives and principal sponsors.

The Sabitan or Sayawan is a way of giving financial help to the newlyweds to help them in building their household.

Throwing Of Rice Grains

After the ceremony, the groom and bride would walk off the aisle together as they exit the church. During this time, the guests would gather at the exit while holding bigas or rice grains which they would throw or shower to the newlyweds.


According to popular Filipino superstition, this is a way of giving and wishing luck to the newlyweds. This is also a way to shower the couple with well wishes of happiness and prosperity all the days of their lives as husband and wife. Others, especially the elderly, say that throwing of rice grains to the groom and bride would make both fertile and abundant in order for them to have children in the future.

White Wedding Dress

Filipino brides usually wear a white wedding dress with a veil. It is not worn not just because it is beautiful but because it bears another symbolic meaning as well.


The white wedding dress and veil represents the woman's purity. Even more conservative Filipinos relate the white wedding dress to virginity.

Barong Tagalog

Traditional and some modern Filipino weddings are opportunities to don the national male dress which is the barong tagalog.


It is usually a see-through dress shirt worn by males over a plain white shirt or kamisa de chino. The barong tagalog is made of piƱa fiber or thread made from the pineapple.


Aras is also known as arrhae. It is a light wedding ornament that has 13 coins inside. This is what the coin bearer is holding while marching towards the altar.


During the wedding ceremony, the priest or the officiating minister would ask the groom to put the aras or arrhae on the hands of the bride. This gesture symbolizes prosperity and wealth of the couple as husband and wife.

The 13 coins actually represents prosperity in the lives of the couples for each month of the year while the extra coin is for the additional blessings for the rest of their lives.


A white veil is pinned to the groom and bride in traditional Filipino weddings. The veil is pinned over the shoulder of the groom and over the head of the bride. It is done in this way as it represents the authority of the man over the household with the help of his wife.

The veil also represents the unity of the groom and bride, thus two become one.


Cord or Rope

The cord or rope usually donned over the groom and bride. It is fashioned in the shape of number 8 to represent an infinity sign. The infinity sign is a popular symbol for everlasting love.


Big Receptions

Filipino weddings are not that different from town fiestas when it comes to manner of celebration.

Weddings in the Philippines are opportunities for the neighborhood to employ bayanihan or pagtutulong-tulongan. It is an opportunity to help the families of the couple who will get married.


The preparation for the wedding reception is where the whole neighborhood actually gets busy. Some people offer to help designing the wedding reception venue, while others offer to cook the dishes, while others even offer to help clean up after the wedding.

Wedding receptions in the Philippines are usually fun and enjoyable as it reflects the unity of the Filipino community.

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