Celebrate Filipino wedding traditions at Brooklake

Brooklake is surrounded by some of the largest Filipino communities in New Jersey.

The five-star culinary and banquet team at Brooklake wholeheartedly embraces the vibrant tapestry of cultural diversity. We hold deep respect for the unique traditions and rituals of the Filipino community, ensuring that these special elements are celebrated to enhance and personalize your event. Filipinos, are from the major islands of the Philippines (originally a part of Asia,) a group of 7,641 small islands in the Asiatic Mediterranean:

  • Luzon (Manila is the capital)
  • Visayas
  • Mindanao

The Filipino society includes almost 100 cultural and distinctive linguistic groups. Their wedding traditions may have many variances. Brooklake is centrally located in Morris County and serves towns with the largest Filipino communities in New Jersey: Jersey City, Bergenfield, Piscataway, Edison, Belleville, and Woodbridge.


The initial contact of the courtship for Filipinos is known as the Harana. It includes serenading and playing an instrument. It takes place by the suitor outside the window of the intended. The Harana consists of three stages: Panawagan (Calling out or Announcement), Pagtatapat (Proposal), Panagutan (Response) and the Pamaalam (Farewell).

If the offer is accepted, the courtship then includes poetry and sending flowers by the suitor. After the courtship of the couple, the Pamanhikan, or the formal asking of the woman’s hand from her parents in marriage, may be held in a banquet hall. This meeting may be held at a lunch or dinner. The wedding is announced at this event by visiting family elders or persons of importance in their lives. This is also an opportunity for both sets of parents to meet and invite any influential relatives or friends to witness the announcement. (Extended family and respect for elders are an important component of the Filipino culture.) Brooklake offers a magical setting, either indoors or outdoors, for this occasion.


Arrangements for the wedding are made at the home of the bride’s parents with both sets of parents present. The conversation, called “the Bulungan,” is held in a whispered tone to avoid misfortune and dispel evil spirits. Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the wedding.

Filipinos may be primarily Roman Catholic or belong to evangelical churches.

A Filipino bride will wear a white embroidered dress that has not been used before. It is a superstition that she should not dress too early, and that she step into her dress at just the right moment. Also, it is believed that wearing pearls on her wedding day will bring the bride heartache and tears as a wife.

The groom will wear a barong Tagalog, a long-sleeved collarless tunic made of pineapple fibers worn over a white shirt. It is worn with cultural pride.

Like Latin cultures, several sets of godparents or sponsors play a role in the wedding. The roles are called ninong (male) and ninang (female.) These people may offer financial sponsorship for specific aspects of the wedding, and/or may play specific roles during the liturgy of the Eucharist during the ceremony.

Roles of the sponsors:

  • The veil (Yugal) sponsors pin a large veil on the bride’s head and drape the veil over the groom’s shoulders signifying protection and unity.
  • The cord sponsors wind a white silk cord or rosary around their shoulders signifying the lifelong bond of marriage.
  • The candle sponsors light candles to show the presence of Jesus Christ in the lives of the couple.

After a prayer, and before they rise, the veil and lasso are removed by the same people who placed them.

Following the homily by the priest, the arras (earnest money) sponsors pass 13 coins to the groom, who passes them to the priest and are blessed. The number 13 represents Jesus and his 12 disciples. The priest then returns them to the groom, who gives them to the bride. When the groom passes the coins, it is to show his willingness to bestow his worldly goods on her and represent their common ownership of everything. The bride passes them to her Maid of Honor for temporary safekeeping.

A typical Roman Catholic wedding is a full mass and lasts approximately two hours.

When the couple leaves the church after the ceremony, they are showered with rice confetti to bring them prosperity, and the hope of bounty and plenty in their marriage.

Are you in search of a location for your wedding? Brooklake is the ultimate place for all cultures for an event to remember. See what Brooklake has to offer as a wedding banquet hall in Northern NJ.

Wedding Reception

During the wedding reception, a friendly competition unfolds between the two families and their respective guests, each vying to contribute the most monetary gifts. The bride may offer the groom’s side drinks for money, and the groom may solicit money from the bride’s side. The couple may sit at a table adorned with rice cakes. Someone may act as a cheerful moderator to auction off these treats to raise funds.

The couple’s first dance (“money dance”) may also help the couple financially. Guests are invited to pin money on the couple’s clothing while they dance, or give it to one of the bridal attendants who will place it in a bridal bag and present it to the bride. The total amount collected is announced. The beautiful dance floor of Brooklake is large enough to accommodate this activity with style and grace.

When the best man offers his toast, he will exclaim “Mabuhay!” (meaning “live” or “cheers”.) Guests will respond three times after he offers this chant. The number three represents the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)

As a symbol of perfect sharing, the couple will commence the reception by dining from a shared plate, underscoring their unity and togetherness. Working with our Event Specialist you may create a menu inspired by your culture at Brooklake. Traditional Filipino menus include lechon (roasted baby pig), meats marinated in adobo, and a stir-fried rice noodle dish (pancit), rice, eggplant, and jackfruit served in various ways.

To symbolize a peaceful and harmonious wedding journey, the couple will release two white doves as a representation of love, unity, and the wish for a tranquil and long-lasting relationship.

Although the wedding reception may be held at Brooklake, Filipino celebrations may continue for days after at either the bride or the groom’s home.

Some Filipino wedding folklore include:

  • It is considered bad luck if two siblings marry in the same year.
  • If it rains during the wedding, there will be prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds.
  • If the wedding ring, arras, or veil are dropped during the ceremony it will spell unhappiness for the couple.
  • A flame extinguished on one of the wedding candles means the one on the unlit side will die first.
  • Breaking something during the reception brings good luck to the newlyweds.
  • Knives and other sharp and pointed objects are said to be a bad choice for wedding gifts, for this will lead to a broken marriage.

Family and religious traditions add many memorable layers of fun-filled events to ensure the couple starts their married life with the love of those around them. Brooklake serves this purpose well for this Asian population as a wedding venue in NJ!

Contact a Brooklake event specialist to discuss the details of your wedding!

By Published On: December 22nd, 2023