Filipino Wedding Traditions For Couples Getting Married Online

May 15, 2024
5 min

This article is a guest post contributed by Sinta & Co, a jewelry company passionate about helping Filipinos express their heritage and culture on their wedding day.

Traditional weddings in Filipino culture are grand celebrations of love and community marked with many intricate ceremonies. These days, more and more couples are choosing to get married online through services like Courtly, opting for the ease and convenience of having a virtual ceremony. The good news is you no longer have to choose exclusively between sentimental traditions and present needs. You can have the best of both worlds!

Whether you are planning a virtual wedding, an intimate elopement, or a courthouse wedding, you can still incorporate meaningful details that honor your Filipino heritage.

Here are simple ways to weave in wedding traditions from the Philippines when you tie the knot, wherever you and your partner are in the world.

Start your online wedding with a “Mano Po” blessing

Parents witnessed the Courtly-officiated online wedding between Lady Denily & Hergie Bacyadan.

In Filipino culture, “Mano Po” is a gesture of respect and also a request for an elder’s blessing. It typically happens at family reunions, even the most casual ones, as a greeting to the Lolas and Lolos (grandparents), Ninongs and Ninangs (godparents), and even Titos and Titas (aunts and uncles).

Pagmamano is done by approaching the elder and saying “Mano po” or “Pa-bless po.” Then when they offer their hand (usually the right one), you take it (with your right one too) and bow slightly to tap the back of their hand to your forehead.

If you’re fortunate enough to have your online wedding with your parents as your witnesses, you can start the ceremony with pagmamano. In Filipino wedding tradition, this is done after the walk together down the aisle, so it’s a simple yet meaningful way that you can start your Filipino online wedding.

Wear a Filipino wedding dress or Barong Tagalog

Your wedding bands can reflect the beauty of Filipino culture & tradition. Photo from Sinta & Co.

There are many styles of traditional formalwear from the Philippines, also known as Filipiniana, that you can choose to glitz up your special day.

The Barong Tagalog, a formal garment traditionally woven with natural fibers like pineapple and hand-embroidered with fine details, is a classic choice saved for the most formal events in the Philippines. It is also becoming increasingly popular with diaspora Filipinos who proudly represent their heritage. Because of renewed interest, Filipino designers across the world now offer Filipiniana in modern styles, including genderfluid options! Explore different kinds of Filipiniana, from the extravagant traje de mestiza to the sleek terno gown, to find your perfect match.

If you and your partner are calling in from different parts of the world for the online wedding, coordinating your attire in some way can help you feel more connected. Filipino jewelry is an intimate way you can match with your partner and honor your ancestral roots. You could wear capiz shell earrings to remember your childhood in Cebu or even gold wedding bands carefully handcrafted by artisans to last you more than a lifetime.

Simplify the Filipino candle, coins, cord, and veil ceremony

The Arras (wedding coins) and Unity Veil are staples of a traditional Filipino wedding ceremony. Photo by Ariana del Mundo for Sinta & Co.

A traditional wedding ceremony in the Philippines has many cultural influences: Indigenous, Spanish, American, Chinese, and more. It can also vary per region. For a more personalized ceremony, you can research further on special traditions that your ancestors might have kept.

The unity candle, coins, cord, and veil ceremony — widely practiced in Filipino weddings — is rooted in the Christian faith. However, these wedding rites can also be adapted for non-denominational and LGBTQ+ weddings to signify a couple’s union.

Choose one or two rites that resonate most with you. At the start of your online wedding, you can light the unity candle as a sign of your flaming devotion to each other. Then, drape and pin a unity veil on your and your partner’s shoulders to symbolize how you two are covered by love and face this world as one.

You can get a detailed guide to the Filipino ceremony including sample scripts and ceremony processions from Sinta & Co., an online Filipino wedding boutique, then adapt them for your online wedding.

Write your vows with Filipino words, lyrics, or poetry

“Mahal kita” (Tagalog), “gihigugma tika” (Cebuano), “ay-ayaten ka” (Ilocano) — there are over a hundred languages in the Philippines. Some of them have distinct ways of saying “I love you”. Filipinos in the diaspora are relearning their family’s native tongue to connect with their roots and identity, so incorporating words from your ancestral language can be a powerful, intimate, and simple way to honor your roots during your virtual marriage ceremony.

Filipino poetry and lyrics are also classic sources of inspiration you can pull from to pen the most romantic vows your partner deserves. Philippine literature has a rich tradition in love poems, like “balak” which is Cebuano poetry sometimes written to woo. For your vows, you can write in a simple line or two drawing from the heart and your ancestral language.

Celebrate with Filipino food after your online wedding

A virtual wedding ceremony goes by in a blink, so keep the party going with a Filipino feast! You can keep it to your special party of two or invite loved ones to join you. There’s nothing more Filipino than connecting over a plate of well-cooked food and a table with good company.

The Filipino dishes you serve can also be symbolic, just as the unity cord and veil welcome good things for your marriage. Serve lechon (roast suckling pig) for abundance; kakanin (rice cakes) for a bond that sticks; and pancit (noodles) for a long life. You can include a mix of traditional Filipino foods into your wedding menu, as well as some unique fusion desserts

The possibilities are endless and your guests are sure to appreciate it. Don’t forget to send them off with baon (takeaway)!


An online wedding can be both practical and sentimental. The key is to find elements from Filipino culture that are meaningful to you. Simple details, from Filipiniana-inspired attire to traditional wedding rites, can add a layer of significance to the ceremony.

Filipino wedding traditions honor your ancestors but they should also be adapted to your current needs. Because at the end of the day, these traditions are meant to celebrate you and your partner’s love story.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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