For engaged couples, there’s one important tradition that they’re looking forward to either with excitement or nervousness – the pamamanhikan. It’s a big tradition that’s looked forward to not just by the couple, but by their entire families.
Nope, not just the parents of the bride and groom. The ENTIRE families. Here in the Philippines, you know that families can be huge.
What is the Pamamanhikan?
Basically, it’s a gathering hosted by the bride’s family and attended by the groom’s family. The family of the groom comes bearing gifts and favors. Sometimes, the groom be will perform tasks for the family of the bride as part of another tradition – the paninilbihan.
In the past, the pamamanhikan is the formal occasion when the man formally asks the woman’s hand in marriage in front of her parents, grandparents and the rest of her family. This was the time when women are expected to be shy. They can’t even be left alone with another man unless they’re related by blood.
Of course, things have changed nowadays. Women are now more independent and can be expected to make decisions on their own – even on the man they choose to marry. The pamamanhikan is more of a formality. It’s when both families discuss details about the upcoming wedding – from the budget to the entourage.
It does sound like a fun and momentous event. However, we’ve heard of nightmare stories wherein families butted heads and ended up shouting at each other. Plates have been thrown, and some weddings have been called off.
Some Tips for a Successful Pamamanhikan
Just recently, G Cube Design and Build’s President and Principal Architect Mariethel Garing got engaged to Engr. John Paulo Matabang. They just had a successful pamamanhikan and they share these tips to other engaged couples:
- Make sure that everybody knows everyone.
This tradition can be very awkward especially when it’s the first time for some to meet. You can take out this awkwardness by making sure that everybody knows everyone. At the very least, make sure that the parents of both the groom and bride know each other. If you haven’t done so already, meet the parents before the pamamanhikan!
If a physical meeting is not possible, you can introduce them online. At the very least, make sure that they know important details about each other. It’s a good way to ensure that conversations will be started.
- Set a date and time that’s comfortable for everyone.
We know that couples are very busy with wedding preps. Now’s not the time to force your schedule on everyone. Plan ahead so you can set a date and time that’s comfortable for everyone.
- Know what the other party loves.
What are their favorite dishes? What do they want to receive as gifts? Set a positive tone by serving and gifting things that they love.
- Just bring the closest family members.
You don’t have to bring everyone. Just bring the family members closest to you. This will help keep things more organized.
- Have a plan to present.
The main problem with the old way of doing pamamanhikan is they use the event to decide and come up with a plan for the wedding. This is when conflicts arise. Modern couples are expected to decide on their own. If you already have a wedding plan, it’s just a matter of presenting it to your families out of respect to them. Of course, you should also listen to their opinions. But at the end of the day, it’s your wedding.
- Be respectful.
Make sure that you set the tone by being respectful to everyone. Greet everyone properly. Make them feel respected and welcome. Make them feel that you’re thankful for their presence.
- Don’t bring up the issue of money.
Don’t say upfront who’s going to pay for what for the wedding. If someone volunteers to pay for something, then good! If you really need to talk about finances, do so in private.
- Have fun!
You’re planning for a wedding! That alone should be reason enough to have fun!
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