In the Philippines, the pamamanhikan is still a relevant pre-wedding tradition. More often than not, brides consider it to be quite a nerve-wracking experience. Being introduced as the girlfriend is one thing, but it's an entirely different ballgame when you are introduced as the future bride. To spare you from hyperventilating and to avoid awkward silences, here are some things you should remember when your families come together to discuss your wedding.
Be mindful of the traditional roots of the pamamanhikan
Pamamanhikan is a practice rooted in our pre-colonial past. It is like a turn-over ritual in which the groom clearly expresses his intentions and plans for the bride, which is why it is often held at the bride's home. Moreover, it allows the families of the bride and the groom to discuss the particulars of the wedding. No matter how casual or comfortable you may be with your future in-laws, the meeting should be treated with utmost respect. Remember that your fiancé has to make a personal appearance to formally ask for permission or announce your engagement--this is something you have to do together.
Manage your expectations
While you expect your families to be thrilled about the news, don't rule out the possibility that either family may still need to get used to the idea of you two getting married. At worst, there might be at least one family member who'll be hostile towards the engagement. If that happens, make an effort to reach out, but take your time so your attempt won't be contrived. Don't force anything when you start discussing specific matters about your wedding, and simply let things fall into place. Just relax and go with flow. Whatever concerns you have about the wedding, especially about the preparations, will surely come up.
Steer clear of financial discussions unless the folks ask
Financial matters are usually delicate to discuss in such meetings, and it could start awkward exchanges early on. Remember, the pamamanhikan isn't all about division of expenses. Don't expect your folks or future in-laws to volunteer to shoulder some of your wedding expenses, so avoid being the first to bring up the topic. If they offer to help you out with the wedding, then good for you; if they don't volunteer, don't hold it against them.
Be open to suggestions and advice
Keep in mind that you are speaking with people who have already gone through their own weddings. Your folks' or future in-laws' suggestions might not necessarily agree with your taste, but don't shoot down ideas immediately. Yes, it is your wedding, but tell them you'll consider their advice. Listen to them, especially if they offer advice on married life. Doing so will only help you learn, and more importantly, help you secure a good communication line with your parents and in-laws.
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