How to Decide on Invitation Wording While Honoring Two Cultures?

After pinpointing down what type of style we wanted, we needed to think about what the invitation would actually say. I knew this might be a big deal from the very, very beginning. Frankly, the issue was how do we incorporate both American and Filipino traditions into an invitation that is “us.”

Filipino Wedding Invitation with Entourage Listed, image from Weddingbee

Since the beginning of the engagement, Mr. Pashmina’s mom has had one main question: Who are going to be our sponsors. Sponsors are individuals involved in your lives that will stand up and attest that you two should get married, meaning that you have the support of your friends, family, and the community. Basically saying, as elders, “we support this union.” Typically for a Filipino wedding this information goes on the wedding invitation, in the program, and is incorporated into the ceremony by the sponsor’s participation in the wedding. The list of sponsor can be pretty long. From what I understand, there are typically at least two Principle Sponsors and three Secondary Sponsors.

Mr. Pashmina’s mom was primarily concerned with the sponsors but really the entire entourage is listed on the invitation. I think she was so interested in the sponsors because it is such an elevated position, and it could be pretty much anyone friends or family. I loved that fact that you are acknowledging the entire community of people that support and will participate in the ceremony in such a public way. What a cool thing that can bind people together!

Roughly, this is how honored people get listed on a Filipino invitation:

Wedding Entourage

Principal Sponsors

‘to stand as principal witnesses to our exchange of vows’


‘to assist us in out needs’

Bestmen ___

Maid of Honor ____

Groomsmen ____

(and the rest of wedding party)

(on the next page)

Secondary Sponsors

‘to light the way’ (will help with candle in ceremony)


‘to clothe us as one’ (will help with veil in ceremony)


‘to bind us together’ (will help with cord in ceremony)

Memory Sponsors


(deceased loved ones or those who cannot attend)

But from the get-go I was hesitant about going with a Filipino wedding invitation because it was so long, and I didn’t think my family would understand who sponsors were unless I explained. But I felt very, very guilty about not being excited about incorporating this tradition into our wedding. How fun would it be for all the people to open the invitation and see their name there in print. Who doesn’t like that! And I could easily explain all the sponsors to my family and friends. Maybe not to everyone, but they would still get the jest of it with who is getting married, time, location, etc.

But really, to put it more honestly, both Mr. Pashmina and I really like the modern, non-religious, American wedding invitation wording. This was our main constraint, and what we felt were holding our hands back.

These are our favorite wedding invitation phrases:

“Mr. & Mrs. X
Mr. & Mrs. Z
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children”

“With a joyous heart we request
the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of

“The X Family
The Z Family
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children”
“The X Family & Z Family
joyfully invite you to the marriage of”

“Together with their families
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage”

We both like how short and simple these were. We could then list the time, date, and location and leave it at that. We also like how it incorporated joy, excitement and warmth in the call for marriage, something that we felt sometimes lacked in more formal, traditional invitations.

But is it too nuclear/American just to mention his family/my family on the invite? This is what we grappled with. Should we have one of these American phrases as the first page of the wedding invitation and then have the second page with the wedding entourage on it? Or could this info go onto the wedding program where I could explain the candle, veil, and cord customs; the tradition of sponsors in Filipino weddings; etc. It might be really nice there, I thought.

So that is what we decided.

We were going to have a modern, American wedding invitation because it felt right for us. It was going to be a deviation from Mr. P’s parent’s tradition. We crossed our fingers and hoped that we wouldn’t be insulting anyone. I explained to Mr. Pashmina’s parents that we still were going to have sponsors and they would be listed in the wedding program along with the other people in the bridal entourage.

In the end this is how our cultural balance ended out. We could have done a dual wedding invitation with one side in Tagalog with traditional elements and the other side of the invite in English in the modern, American style. Or the first part announcing the marriage in the American style and the second page with the entourage in this Filipino style. Perhaps this is to our strong sense of individuality ingrained in us, dear America, but we went with what we felt was “us.”

How did you navigate cultural traditions in your wedding? Did you opt for American tradition over your parents’ cultural tradition? Did you have culture-neglect guilt?


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