Albert & Clariza

Entourage Role

Principal Sponsors

The typical Filipino wedding is characterized by the long line-up of ninongs and ninangs or the godparents. Their names appear in the invitation under the heading "principal sponsors." According to Rita Neri's The Essential Wedding Workbook for the Filipina, "ninongs and ninangs are senior men and women, preferably married, who are either family members or close friends of the couple's parents."

Ninongs and ninangs are expected to serve as the couple's second parents or counselors especially when the newlyweds' parents are no longer there to guide them.

According to the Bride's Maids and Co.'s Veil, in the Philippines, the social status of the wedding is dictated by its line-up of principal sponsors. Hence, it is not surprising that prominent personalities are often asked to be a ninong or ninang. Neri adds that it is rare for a Filipino to refuse to be a godparent not only because of the honor that goes with it but because it is considered unlucky to do so.

The law requires at least two wedding sponsors or witnesses. Veil suggests two to four pairs of principal sponsors for small weddings while larger weddings can do with a maximum of six to eight pairs. After a couple has finalized the line-up, they are advised to personally invite their soon-to-be godparents, a phone call or letter just won't do. Principal sponsors are also expected to grace the despedida de soltera.

Best Man

You've wrecked his favorite toy truck when you were kids, you've played endless afternoon basketball games together, you've helped him set up surprise romantic dinners for his girlfriend. Now, your best bud has asked you to be his best man at his wedding. You know this is not a game so you better learn your duties - fast.

Before the Wedding:

Provide moral support to the groom.
Accompany the groom in picking out his barong or tuxedo.
Organize the bachelor’s party.
Emcee the rehearsal dinner or party, if any.
Lead the groomsmen.

On the Wedding Day:

Accompany the groom to breakfast or lunch. Make sure he eats something (grooms may faint at the ceremony, too!).
Help in ushering in the guests.
Accompany the groom to the church.
Keep track of the wedding rings.
Bring a pen and an extra handkerchief.
Escort the maid of honor down the aisle (your easiest duty so far!)
Assist in the signing of the marriage contract.
At the Reception:

Help welcome and assist the guests to their seats.
Toast the newlyweds. Two words for the speech: short and sweet.
Help the groom pack his things for the honeymoon.
If you’re sober enough, you could drive the newlyweds to the airport

Maid of Honor

Your sister/best friend/cousin is getting married and as her long-time confidante, she's asked you to be her maid of honor. You're sure to wear a really special dress, but do you know what your duties are?

The maid or matron of honor (if married) serves as the bride's right-hand (wo)man, her adviser, helper, even slave, if you must. Here are some of the maid of honor's duties:

Before the wedding:

Be the leader of the female entourage members — the bridesmaids and flower girls.
Help the bride in drafting the guest list and addressing the invitations.
Accompany the bride in sourcing out the wedding suppliers.
Inform the guests where the couple has set up their bridal registry.
Host or organize the bridal shower.
Help organize the rehearsal dinner or despedida de soltera. Make sure that the entourage members are in full attendance.

During the wedding day:

Make sure that the bridesmaids and flower girls are properly made up and have their bouquets.
Assist the bride as she prepares in her room.
Make sure that no wedding accessories are left behind before leaving the house or hotel.
Fix the bride’s veil, gown, bouquet and train before and during the ceremony. Carry the bride’s purse, if any.
Assist in the signing of the marriage contract.
At the reception:

Help welcome and assist the guests to their seats.
Collect any gift envelopes.
Make sure the bride eats something at the reception.
Make a speech honoring the couple. (optional)
Help the bride change for the honeymoon and pack her bag.
All throughout the preparations, always be the shoulder to cry on, to present a patient ear and assure the bride with warm hugs and soothing words.


A member of your barkada is taking the plunge, the rest of you are his groomsmen. Consider this one an honor, and with this honor comes great responsibility.

Don’t fret, these aren’t mind-numbing duties:

Before the Wedding:

Help the best man plan the bachelor party, the last night your bud parties with you as a single man. Just make sure the wedding will still push through after this party.
Attend pre-wedding parties like the despedida de soltera and rehearsal dinner.
Gather the rest of your barkada and think up a perfect gift for the groom.
On the Wedding Day:

Help usher guests to their seats.
Assist the best man in his duties.

At the Reception:

Assist in welcoming and ushering in guests.
Participate in the garter throw.
Dance with the bridesmaids or other female guests. (asking them to dance could be your hardest task so far.)
Being a bridesmaid means more than wearing a silky gown and having flowers on your hair. Knowing your duties may come in handy, especially when someone blurts out ala-soft drinks commercial — "Bridesmaid ka lang?"

Bridesmaids are chosen for being the closest and most trustworthy female relatives and girlfriends of the bride. They support the maid of honor and help with the numerous pre-wedding tasks. On the wedding day, they likewise double as usherettes.

To be a good bridesmaid:

Before the Wedding

Offer your help. It would be nicer if you are specific when you volunteer rather than asking, "What can I do?"
Help organize the bridal shower or bachelorette party.
Attend the dress rehearsal (if any).
Help maintain lists such as the gift registry and the RSVP.

On the Wedding Day

Assist the maid or matron of honor in her duties.
Help usher guests and guide them to their assigned seats (if there is such an arrangement).
Make sure wedding accessories such as the veil, pillows, flowers are in order.

At the Reception

Assist in welcoming and ushering in guests.
Go around and invite the guests sign the signature frame or the guest book.
When it’s time for the bouquet toss, please get out there and at least try to catch the bouquet. Do not let the bride throw the bouquet over and over again.
Distribute the give-aways

Cord Ceremony

Most of the ceremonies included in the wedding rites came from the Spanish missionaries centuries ago. The cord ceremony featuring the yugal is another ceremony we inherited from them. The yugal or nuptial tie is usually a silken cord or a strand of flowers or coins which the cord sponsors entwine loosely around the necks of the bride and the groom. The yugal is shaped like the number eight, which is said to symbolize the infinity of the bond of marriage.

Unity Candle Ceremony

Nowadays, more couples are incorporating the unity candle ceremony in the wedding ceremony. What are unity candles? Unity candles symbolize the wedding ceremony's essence: two people becoming one while retaining their own identities. They are visible symbols of couples' commitments to each other.

The couple, each holding a candle, lights a third slightly larger candle. You could also opt to have your parents help in lighting the candle. Couples could blow out the individual flames after or all three candles may remain lit throughout the rest of the ceremony.

Arrhae Ceremony

Sometime after the exchange of vows, the groom presents the arrhae or arras to his bride after it has been blessed by the priest.

The arras, Spanish for "earnest money", is said to come from a Roman custom of breaking gold or silver into equal halves by both parties as a pledge of marriage.

The thirteen coins, said to represent Christ and his 12 apostles, symbolize the groom's unquestionable trust and confidence. By giving arras to his bride, he places all his material wealth into her care. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust unconditionally with total dedication.

It is also said that the custom came from Spain. The arras usually come in ornate boxes or gift trays and represents the bride's dowry as well as good wishes for prosperity. Oftentimes, these coins become part of the family heirloom.

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