Sunday, July 15, 2007

Plate or pile?

Filipinos love to eat. Ok, that was an understatement.

Filipinos live to eat, is more like it.

For most of the people in this country, there is no such thing as a restrictive diet unless you are allergic to some type of food or if your life depended on it. Filipinos love it when there's a lot of food to go around, even asking for doggie-bags (which really won't be for their dogs -- hehe) during family celebrations. Think of them as having "to-go" food instead of dining in. You'll see this type of behavior in most Filipino celebrations -- birthdays, baptisms, family reunions, Christmas parties, and of course, weddings. More food, much better.

And that is why, some wedding guests get disappointed when they attend weddings that have plated portions instead of allowing them to choose the food they food like to eat from a buffet table. Also, this appeases most palates since plated foods are usually just one kind unless you have instructed your restaurant, caterer or hotel to provide carnivores and herbivores the option to choose meat or fish.

Caterers know that Filipinos love food variety so most of the menu they offer consist of chicken/poultry, fish/seafood/shellfish, pork, beef, vegetables, dessert and bottomless drinks to go with the almost bottomless food and tummies. :-) I do suggest that you go with variety rather than an expensive plated menu to appease most of your guests. Well, that might exclude me since I'm easy to please. Hehe.

When I was planning my own wedding, I wanted to hold my reception at the Manila Hotel's Champagne Room since the room already provides a beautiful set-up. I already had a plated menu in mind but when I stumbled upon a caterer who offered good food (and value and variety), I chose to go with the latter. My venue was a simple hall and my caterer just provided me with beautiful flowers for the reception. I'm glad I made that decision because my guests were raving about the food. It didn't bother me that my reception set-up wasn't as spectacular as I imagined it to be at the Champagne room but at least my guests' stomachs didn't go home wanting.

Whatever your preference may be, just make sure your guests enjoy whatever food you intend to have. And make sure you and your groom get to eat too!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wedding traditions and superstitions

Today is July 7, 2007. Some say it's the luckiest day of the year. Some say it's a great day to open a business, to travel, to give birth, to get married. Others say it's just a date with the same numbers.

Almost, if not all countries have their own superstitious beliefs -- and that includes Filipinos here in our native land or around the world as passed on by relatives who've chosen to dwell in other countries but have kept their "Filipino-ness" in tact.

Superstitions abound all around the world which mostly consist of old wives' tales, stories of good/bad luck or a need to explain the unexplainable. In the Philippines (in Tagalog), they're called "Pamahiin" -- some beliefs passed on from generation to generation and Filipinos have a pamahiin for every stage or milestone in their lives, beginning from while a child is still in the womb until their death. Marriages/weddings are not spared from these beliefs, which by the way have no real scientific basis and yet there are still a lot of people who choose to follow them to ensure the success of a wedding/union. Some have even passed on these superstitions as traditions which should be revered.

From Western countries, common traditions and superstitions that have been practiced even in the Philippines are: wearing something old/new/borrowed/blue (forgetting that there should be a sixpence in the wedding shoe), carrying the bride while crossing the threshold, throwing the bouquet and garter, cutting a wedding cake, showering the bride and groom with grains/rice/confetti during the recessional, to name a few.

Some popular wedding superstitions still practiced by some Filipinos include:

A bride should not try on her wedding dress before the wedding day or her wedding will not push through.

Now I don't know about other brides but I would like to know if my dress would fit perfectly on my wedding day instead of not being able to close zippers or having safety pins holding my dress together while i walk down the aisle. I believe this superstition comes from the fear that wearing your bridal gown prior to the actual wedding day means you are preempting the actual event, thereby jinxing it. Some brides choose to play it safe and fit their wedding gowns but not together with the wedding veil. For the record, I wore my wedding gown and my wedding pushed through. On their wedding day, some brides make sure that their grooms don't see them before they march down the aisle because again, this is considered bad luck. I really just consider this spoiling the surprise when he finally sees you in the wedding dress that cost him an arm and a leg -- and that's what really makes him cry. Haha.

In other Eastern countries, the groom only sees his bride on the day of the wedding and the face of the bride is covered to protect her from evil spirits, thereby keeping her pure for her husband. This also prevents the groom from seeing his bride who actually looks like an evil spirit. :-P

Soon-to-weds are believed to be more prone to accidents as their wedding day approaches and are therefore advised not to travel or drive long distances.

I think a wedding planner must have thought of this in order for you to hire one. :-) Also, it might have been thought of by well-meaning old folks to spare the soon-to-weds from possible accidents, thereby canceling the wedding. My, my, what would they do with their gowns if your wedding got canceled?

Prosperity and marital bliss are sure to pour in when the rain does on your wedding!

Now, this one, I think was concocted to make the bride feel better when it rains on her wedding day after all the preparations she went through to make everything a success. I guess Mother Nature has a way of telling you that not even the best wedding planner can stop the rain from falling. But let me ask you, what does the cycle of evaporation and condensation have to do with marital bliss? Weird connection, I tell you.

A bride shouldn't wear pearls on her wedding day because it brings tears to her marriage.

I think we inherited this belief from Mexican traditions who think of pearls as "oyster tears" and wearing them on your wedding day counts the tears you will have during your marriage. Yes, I say, blame it on the poor oysters which are eaten on the honeymoon night as they are said to increase the newlyweds' libido. Go figure what the oysters are more known for.

If the flame on your wedding candle dies out first during the ceremony, you will die ahead of your spouse.

I think this just means the electric fan was too strong on that side of the room which blew out the candle. :-D

Siblings shouldn't get married in the same year. In the Philippines, this is called "sukob." This means that the second sibling to announce their plans of getting married in the same year will have bad luck throughout their marriage.

Since it's a tradition for Eastern countries that the groom's family pay for the wedding, I suspect this was a ploy to reduce the groom's family expenses for the year. Now, what did I say about keeping it simple and sweet?

And if you are aspiring to be a bride, you can either sing while you cook or laugh out loud "tawa ng tawa, gustong mag-asawa" ("laugh with glee, a bride you'll soon be").

Traditions or not, I think it's best to leave everything to the One who will bless this marriage. No force of nature, no circumstance, no third party can crush a marriage filled with faith, hope and true love unless they allow them to. Most of the time, traditions and superstitions prevent us from making our own choices and when you talk about weddings or marriage, right choices are what we should make. In recent years, couples have discarded the bouquet and garter toss, have opted for cupcakes instead of a big cake you can cut, the doves have been replaced by butterflies, the white dress is not so white anymore.

Slowly but surely, we are letting go of these superstitions that we have realized have no real bearing on our marriages. Thank goodness for that!