Prior to the wedding, there is usually the traditional period of courtship (panliligaw), followed by the engagement (kasunduan), and then the pamamanhikan. Thus, Filipino wedding ceremonies typically involve many people, and the wedding rituals typically “speak” to the couple personally.
Beyond the usual bridal party, the Filipino wedding involves people who are also significant in the couple’s life: the Principal Sponsors and the Secondary Sponsors. Lighting of the candles usually takes place before the readings.
The candles may also be lit at the beginning of the ceremony. The sharing/exchange of the Wedding Coins / Arrhae takes place immediately after the exchange of rings. The Wedding Coins are blessed, and then the celebrant gives it to the couple to share or pass from one to the other.
The Couple’s Veil is placed over the shoulders of the couple as they kneel side-by-side. This is usually done immediately after the exchange of arrhae and before the General Intercession. The lighting of the pair of candles, one on each side of the couple, is reminiscent of their baptism and symbolizes the presence and guidance of God in their married life.
Later, the couple may decide to light a “unity candle” using these two candles to signify the joining of their families and of the couple’s oneness. In selecting the members of the entourage, the couple usually considers one or several pairs of principal sponsors or godparents (ninong and ninang) to serve as the primary witnesses of the wedding ceremony. Ideally, some of them may be the couple’s baptismal godparents.
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