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?



Image from Martha Stewart Magazine

My mom volunteered to be in charge of the birdcage that we will have at our wedding. You may be wondering why we will have a bridcage at our wedding. Will we have birds or something? Well, no, not exactly.

I have learned through wedding planning that birdcages are symbolic. They once held white doves that the bride and groom release during the ceremony. Now, ever since Victorian times, birdcages are heavily decorated and simply symbolic of a wedding–and prosperity. Perhaps this is why the decorated birdcages often double as a card or money box. I am not quite sure if our will be a card box or will simply act as decoration at the entry way table near the guest book.

This is the picture I showed my mom as inspiration for what I hope our birdcage will look like. Isn’t it amazing! I love it.

While out at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend we picked up a number of little birds to go inside the cage from the gift shop. The birds are all really adorable especially the little goldfinch. The birds are microscopic adding to their cuteness. I can’t wait to see how my mom’s interpretation of this turns out!

Image from the NAE

Barong Tagalog

Image from Filipinas.

When Filipino men get dressed up, they put on the traditional barong.

No…I didn’t say sarong! A barong is a shirt that falls just past the waist, worn untucked, with long sleeves, embroidery, and buttons along the front. It looks like a Western dress shirt at first but then you see it–it is transparent! (Guys do wear an undershirt…don’t worry!!)

It has been worn for the last four hundred years, ever since colonization by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The origins of it are a little bit fuzzy but they say the Spaniards made them wear it to differentiate the natives from the rulers. It was transparent so no weapons could be concealed, contained no pockets to deter thievery, and was untucked to show their savageness. So why in contemporary times do Filipinos wear this style shirt if it was meant to insult? It has been reclaimed by the people! Just as vernacular words do, so does the barong!! It is now the official dress of the Philippines. AND the style of dress for grooms.

When my groom and I went to the Philippines last year he got his very own. This wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do. We went to a marketplace that had a number of stands set up selling barongs. But my man is a bit bigger than the average Filipino. He is pushing 6’1” and at the time pushing 250 lbs. Most of the barongs were small sizes and when they did have his size they wanted to charge almost double saying that it was extra fabric! Yes it technically is more fabric–but really, double? But it is really nice. The embroidery on each is different and he and his friends had a great time picking his out.

So he has his! He could wear his for the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, or our brunch. A direct import from his native land.

Here is a breakdown of the word ‘Barong Tagalog’:

Baro = Dress

Barong = Dress of

Barong Tagalog = Dress of the Tagalog

My Groom Saw My Dress – Vote on my Poll!

Should I keep the dress or cancel it…?

Vote now!


P.S. This is what happened this weekend…

My nieces and I were update my fiance about our adventures in New York City. I was cooking dinner, the two girls and my man were sitting around the kitchen table. For some reason we began showing photos of the weekend on my phone. “Isn’t it funny, the fire hydrants were wrapped up as Hersey’s kisses for Valentine’s Day!?” I was laughing saying telling my fiance about how the 9 year old was crazy about the Dean & Deluca sea salt caramels we bought her. “AND check out the crazy photo of her in pure happiness in the Ana Sui Soho Boutique!” Then I went back to cooking my broccoli and my fiance began looking through the photos on my iPhone with the girls. Chatting, moving to the next image, then …..ekkkk! My fiance announced, “Uh-oh. I think I saw something I wasn’t suppose to!” Then the girls exclaimed “Her wedding dress!” A look of disappointment saddened my face. And I gazed over at my puppy dog looking fiance as he motioned giving back my phone, as if the fun was over and he had been caught! I wasn’t expecting it. The girls weren’t expecting it. And my fiance wasn’t expecting that he would stumble upon the pictures of me trying on my newly purchased wedding dress! We simply forgot they were on there! SHOOT!

The Bouquet Toss: A “To Toss” Wedding Tradition?

I recently was reading the blog Weddings, Yes Please! and it got me thinking. Is the tossing of a bride’s bouquet really as hated as it portrayed these days. In theory, yes, it is not the most empowering for your female attendees.

Image from

You never want anyone at your wedding to feel they as if they should be waiting, and hoping, to one day get married (like you). But what about astrology, numerology, the lottery…aren’t these popular for a reason? Don’t we all sort of like predicting the future? Don’t we always wonder if a random event means something more?

I always have always joined in for the bouquet toss. I have never really minded it, and (somewhat) enjoyed it. Perhaps this is due to the wedding reception being mostly a passive event. Dare I say it? …sometimes they are a bit boring! Even watching the toss is a bit amusing for the crowd. We have the older ladies vexing for the bouquet, the young girls just wanting to join in with the game, and the young women trying their best to steer clear of the bouquet all together.

What’s your stance on the bouquet toss? Antiquated? Lighthearted? Tacky?