Wedding preparation is not as easy as everyone thinks as I’ve already listed down here. A lot of people focus on the happy day itself without realizing all the pain and drama that comes beforehand.
The first step of wedding preparation however is to first secure a date.
It’s harder than it looks, my friends.
Most families in the Philippines take a whopping ONE YEAR to plan their wedding because of the date.
And while I still think that it doesn’t take a monkey to plan a wedding (especially since in previous years, I have planned larger 2,000-people conferences overseas for a quarter of the allotted time), there are still several factors to consider.
For example, there’s not a lot of days available when you can get married.
Let’s do the math.
First, there are 365 days or 52 weeks in a year.
Of course, if you are any normal couple, you would honestly prefer getting married in a weekend because it’s the times when most of your guests will find it convenient to go to. There’s also less traffic in the Philippines on a weekend so you’d want everyone to be on time. That leaves your wedding date to fall on a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday when most of your guests are available. Overall, that’s just around 156 days left.
Now the Philippines only has two seasons — rainy and sunny.
March to May is our summer season while forget June to September where it incessantly rains and typhoons, literally putting a damper to your wedding. You’ve seen how bad typhoons in the Philippines can be. It kinda sucks if you’re in an archipelago encircled everywhere by bodies of water. Photos of massive destruction can be found here.
So after removing June till September, the only remaining perfect months to get married are from November till May.
That’s just only a smaller 6-month window. So half of 156 days, or 78 days left.
Out of the 78 days that are left, you’d then want to pick a date that doesn’t fall on a long holiday.
You see, like normal human beings, Filipinos pack their bags and families and take extra days off on long holidays. Of course, after working very hard, they’d like to take an easy vacation somewhere. Especially with the great offers from CashCashPinoy (See more travel deals here), traveling has now become a commodity and everyone’s flying off somewhere especially on long weekends.
So you’d want to shy away from Holy Week, or Christmas long weekends. Both weekends before and after that. Assume that’s around 18 days more or less, leaving you with only 60 days to choose from.
What’s more, in a season where people get married ALL THE TIME, you have to pick a date where nobody you know is getting married. It’s really rude to pick a date when you know a friend is getting married in. That’s like sabotaging their wedding because guests are forced to pick which weddings they’d go to.
Of course you don’t want that.
That’s why after securing a date, tell EVERYONE so nobody will steal your date anymore.
And to top it off, there’s actually only a limited number of acceptable perfect church and reception venues most Filipino-Chinese families look for. Filipino-Chinese is all about “face” and a child’s wedding is a perfectly acceptable venue to show off without being too obvious about it.
Specifically, if you are Filipino-Chinese, you’d have to worry about additional issues such as finding:
1. The correct “date” — Especially for the Fil-Chi community, one must consult with a feng shui master for the right date and time to get married. This is to increase your luck of a successful marriage, and the feng shui master takes you and your partner’s birthdates and times to compute your compatibility.
A friend of mine for example had to get married at 28 years old, and before 8 o’clock in the weekend, or suffer a lifetime or regret. So by 2am, the entire entourage were already doing their makeup. It was terrible.
This unfortunately is called “kua-dit” (to look at day) in Fookien, and must be followed especially if your grandparents are still alive. Only they can insist on this draconian practice and still get away with it.
2. The perfect venue — As I’ve explained earlier, for the richer Fil-Chis, your children’s wedding is a chance for you to show off. That’s why while ours at 500 people may seem big, others would go above 1,000 guests for a mere 1-day wedding.
A word of warning to the novice, there’s not a lot of venues that can accommodate 800-1,000 guests and seat them comfortably in an air-conditioned room. I’ve been calling wedding venues and while 300-400 pax is reasonable, anything over 450 pax is gigantic for many places. Unfortunately, having guests number 300 people is “too small” for many families. It hints that the family is poor so as not been able to invite that many guests.
So more guests there is. And understandably, there’s only a few places that can accommodate that many people.
It’s a joke amongst us young people. If you get married, you’d have to do it at the the Big 2 for their wedding:
a) Shangri-La EDSA, or
b) Shangri-La Makati.
Because they’re the most expensive hotel, charging more per table and hence show your family more face, and yes, they can handle 1,000 guests. Hahaha!
Unfortunately, the novelty wears off after the first wedding you’ve attended a few hundred weddings at Shangri-La. It came to a point that you’d already correctly guess what type of dishes they’ll serve at a Shangri-La wedding before they even serve it!
If you want to save on costs or want a more Chinese wedding, there’s always Century Park Seafood Restaurant, or Gloria Maris Greenhills. With a lot of little kiddies wanting to get married, you’d have to understand why everyone would have to stand in line to get the wedding venue they want!
3. The nicest Catholic church — If you’re Catholic, you’d want to have that nice church wedding where you slowly walk down the aisle and the choir sings a solemn song. The problem is, there’s not a lot of old-charmed churches to get married in the Philippines in whose dates had not been taken by someone else. Often times, there’s even a wedding going on per 2 hours on a weekend in a popular church!
I’m not Catholic but this is a list of Christian churches people in the Philippines get married in. Not a lot as you can see.
4. It’s a date both your parent/s and future in-laws would like — Everyone has the right time of getting married. For example, with my fiancee’s family, they’d hope that the date is right after my fiancee’s sister gives birth (she’s pregnant now), and the time when their son-in-law is in the country (he travels around). For my mom, the date should be a year after my dad’s passing.
Regardless, pinpointing a date that suits both parties can be difficult especially if one side is indecisive. This time, it’s my side so my mom has yet to sit down with the future in-laws to decide on a date (Big sigh).
So in conclusion, it’s not easy finding a wedding date for a couple wanting to get married here in the Philippines.
I for one have already been engaged for 3 weeks and nary a talk of wedding dates had already been made.
Still, we have to make a choice soon. My fiancee wants a non-hotel wedding and after making a few calls, there are only 2 venues left open on the dates we’re targeting to get married in.
Anyway, I’m praying for a smooth wedding prep.
I for one don’t want to arrange my wedding FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. In my heart, I know you don’t need to take a whole freaking year to arrange everything!
It’s enough to make even the most rational of people go bananas.
Thankfully, from our initial talks, it seems that my future Christian in-laws are quite easy on the preparation. Their only requests is that we have a Christian ceremony, and the wedding should not be early in the morning (following feng shui). And since fiancee doesn’t want a conventional hotel wedding, that frees up several options.
Happy weekend everyone!