Haggin Oaks, Sacramento, California

When Theresa and Phia planned their wedding ceremony, they wanted to honor Theresa’s Filipino heritage by including the traditional ceremonies of “veil, cord and coin.”

These ceremonies are actually derived from the rites introduced in the early 18th century by the Spanish missionaries. And as you might guess, they are often included in Hispanic wedding ceremonies as well.

Before I give a brief explanation of these traditions, let me refresh your memory about the purpose of “sponsors” in the wedding. (I’ve spoken of sponsors in the past; you can read about Kyle and Ethyl’s wedding sponsors here.)


Just as in baptism, when god-parents are chosen to act as role models for the newly baptized individual, Filipino tradition calls for principle sponsors to serve in this manner when a couple is to be married. As wedding sponsors, they commit themselves to be a source of encouragement and guidance throughout the lives of the married couple.

Secondary sponsors are often called upon to participate in the ceremony during the veil, cord and candle lighting rituals.

Filipino Wedding Tradition

(The veil and cord were handmade by Theresa’s mother.)


The veil sponsors drape a ceremonial veil on the top of the bride’s head and onto the shoulder of the groom, which is a symbol of two people being clothed as one. This represents a wish for good health and protection during their married life. It also symbolizes the uniting of two families into one.


The cord sponsors loosely drape the yugal, a silken cord sewn or fastened in the middle to create a “figure eight,” around the necks of the couple. The cord symbolizes the lifelong bond or ties between the bride and groom, and represents an everlasting promise of fidelity.


Another strongly held Filipino tradition is the exchange of coins. The groom is handed coins (usually 13), which he trickles into the cupped hands of his bride as a symbol of his promise for a life of faithfulness and prosperity.

He might then say, “Please accept these coins as a symbol of my dedication to your well-being and the welfare of our future family.”

And the bride responds, “I accept these coins as a sign of your dedication to my well-being and the welfare of our future family.”

Filipino Traditions

Unity Candle

Some couples call on another pair of secondary sponsors by including them in the candle lighting ceremony. These sponsors come forward and light the individual tapers of the Bride and Groom, after which the Bride and Groom light the Unity – or Marriage – Candle together.

(There was a breeze during today’s candle lighting ceremony, and Mother Nature did not allow the candles to remain lit. Fortunately, this portion of the ceremony includes these words: “May your light as a couple continue to shine brightly for one another, not only in times of stillness and calm, but also during times of wind or challenge. Let the inner light of your love be as an eternal flame.”)

Congratulations to the newlyweds, Theresa and Phia! Together may you enjoy many years of good health, fidelity, prosperity and, especially, great love!

Wedding ceremony at Haggin Oaks, Sacramento, California

Ceremony venue: Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, Sacramento, CA