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Newlywed shares ways she honored her Filipino culture at her wedding: ‘It was really important to us’

One newlywed is disclosing the ways she incorporated her Filipino culture into her wedding.

On Aug. 19, Kristina Rodulfo (@kristinarodulfo), a Filipino American woman based in New York City, posted a video on TikTok that shared the ways she included updated cultural traditions in her wedding. Rodulfo, whose husband is Australian, wanted to ensure that she acknowledged her heritage.

“First, at our welcome party, we had guests fill gift bags with an assortment of Filipino snacks, like polvorón, Chippy and dried mango,” she says.

Polvorón is a traditional Filipino-style shortbread, Chippy is a Filipino brand of corn chips, and dried mangoes are a staple in the country.

Celebrating Filipino-owned businesses is another way Rodulfo paid homage to her culture.

“At our rehearsal dinner, I wore earrings by a Filipino-owned brand called Mestiza New York, and on the actual wedding, we did the veil and cord ceremony,” she explains. “We used the non-denominational script, and instead of Titos or Titas [uncles or aunts], we had close friends and family act as sponsors.”

The veil and cord ceremony is among the most recognized rituals of a Filipino wedding, and involves participation from the godfathers and godmothers, or ninongs and ninangs, who are chosen specifically by the bride and groom. During the ritual, the couple is draped with a lace veil and white cord.

“The veil and cord is still a tradition that we see today,” Percy Sales, a wedding planner and owner of Percy Sales Events, tells The Knot. “The veil symbolizes oneness and protection for your marriage, while the cord symbolizes eternity and unity.”

In addition to serving drinks infused with calamansi, a lime native to the Philippines, Rodulfo made sure to serve a “full lechón with bao buns” during cocktail hour.

Derived from the Spanish word for “roast suckling pig,” lechón is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Per the Wall Street Journal, it’s possible that the dish, now a staple in the Philippines, was first introduced by Spanish colonizers when they arrived in the country in the 16th century.

Rodulfo then opted for the addition of detachable terno sleeves designed by Niana Collection. Terno sleeves are traditional butterfly sleeves found on the Filipiniana costume, and are distinguished by their flattened, pleated construction, which creates a semicircle above the shoulder.

In recent years, Filipino bridal designers, like Jillian Joy San Juan of Toronto, Ontario, have ushered in a modernized take on traditional Filipino garments that appeals to brides like Rodulfo, who are inclined to connect with their culture by way of a modernized sartorial twist. San Juan, who founded a bridal line with an emphasis on Filipiniana fashion, creates dresses that come with detachable terno sleeves.

“It turned into something bigger,” San Juan told the New York Times. “I was able to find that connection with my heritage and culture and find more of an identity as a Filipino woman.”

Finally, Rodulfo made sure to include popular traditional dances. In the money dance, the guests line up in front of the bride and groom and pin money to their clothing before dancing with them. The Filipino custom, according to The Knot, “represents the financial abundance of the happy couple and helps them build a strong financial future together.”

Rodulfo and her husband then surprised their guests with a performance of the pantomina, a synchronized folk dance native to the Bicol region of the Philippines.

‘Love how you embraced our culture’

Filipino and Filipino American creators, many of whom were also inspired by Rodulfo’s creative ideas, were impressed by the way she wove reminders of their culture into her wedding.

“I’m so excited to get married and incorporate some of these as well,” @nflxwers wrote.

“The pantomina dance unlocked a memory from my elementary school days,” @kireidesune wrote.

“Love how you embraced our culture,” @alyssa.apacible commented, to which Rodulfo replied, “It was really important to us.”

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