Filipino Wedding Decor for a Nontraditional Wedding

September 2, 2018

Filipino wedding decor
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Filipino Wedding Decor for a Nontraditional Wedding

As a proud Filipino American, I love looking for ways to incorporate Filipino culture and heritage into my everyday American life. So how did that play out for my wedding – an event that is typically filled with tradition and culture – and what did I learn from it?

For the past couple of months, I had been thinking a lot about how I could include Filipino traditions into my wedding. I researched the most popular traditions and found several unique customs that you would find in a traditional Filipino wedding.

All of these traditions would have been great if most of our wedding party and guests were from Filipino backgrounds and were familiar with those traditions and customs. In that context it would make more sense.

However, since my fiancé was not Filipino, and I did not feel very connected to the wedding traditions I read about, it didn’t make sense to include those.

“Instead of the traditional Filipino customs, I opted for a more nontraditional wedding.”

Instead of the traditional Filipino customs, I opted for a more nontraditional wedding. I came up with a mix of ideas from the backgrounds that we felt were most important to the both of us: celebrating with our faith traditions, celebrating the love of family and friends, celebrating life and thirst for adventure and travel, and of course our love for each other.

Here is what I came up with:

non traditional Filipino wedding
Photo by Jackie Batch Photography

Catholic Wedding

Since we are both Catholic, it was more important to us to celebrate with Catholic traditions than any special cultural customs. Actually, celebrating a wedding with a Catholic Mass is not far off from most Filipino weddings – see popular Filipino wedding traditions – however, we didn’t choose a Catholic nuptial mass because it was Filipino but because it was important to us as Catholics.

catholic wedding
Photo by Jackie Batch Photography

Travel Decor from Abroad

We both love to travel and learn about new cultures. Why not include inspiration from all those times abroad in our reception? Check out our decor below. Can you spot the Philippine weavings I purchase from a market in Baguio? How about the Philippines jeepney?

“We both love to travel and learn about new cultures”

Not sure what a Jeepney is? Check out “How to Ride a Jeepney in the Philippines Like a Local”

Philippines wedding decor nontraditional wedding Philippine jeepeny

budget wedding decor - love is a journey

At each table, the centerpieces had a table marker sign with a destination that we had either traveled to in the past, or a destination that we wanted to visit. And of course, I had to include the Philippines as one of the signs.

Like the centerpieces? I made them for less than $8 total. Check out my money saving tips post for other ideas like this.

Filipino wedding decor

Celebrating Family and Friends

In the Philippines and in many other countries, family is super important. I wanted to make sure I took the time to be with the ones I loved and cared about during my special day.

“Family is super important”

Photo by Jackie Batch Photography

Trilingual Signage

My fiancé lived abroad in both the Dominican Republic and Honduras and speaks Spanish as a second language. Living abroad in the Philippines (as many of you know about me already), I learned to speak Tagalog (or at least I tried very hard). So this trilingual welcome sign made by my friend Rachel was perfect for us.

Mabuhay – The Filipino word for “welcome”

Filipino wedding decor
Photo by Jackie Batch Photography


traditional or non traditional Wedding? a filipino american perspective

Here is my take on having a cultural wedding. Whether you are Filipino or come from another cultural background, your wedding is a personal statement and witness of your love to your significant other. If having cultural elements inserted into the ceremony is important to you and your soon-to-be spouse, by all means go for it. But if the cultural traditions of your family’s heritage do not resonate with you, don’t let that distract you or make you feel obligated to do that. The important thing is to be yourself and include what you deem to be the most important.

“Your wedding is a personal statement and witness of your love”

I found my way to include a bit of the Philippines in subtle yet meaningful ways, and I loved the way it turned out!


What kinds of cultural elements and decor have you incorporated into your own wedding? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

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More about Deborah

Filipino American with a passion for making a difference. Writer. Blogger. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Keep me updated on Filipino American Stories, lifestyle, and travel!

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