Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to be a Professional Abay

“Marriage requires a person to prepare 4 types of "Rings": Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring, Suffering, Enduring”
- Fr. Leo Acierto, C.P. in one of his homilies

I've been privileged to see four of my friends tie the knot last year and they dragged me into the wedding preparations which I did (of course) because I love `em. And they now call me a professional abay and because of this I have acquired several gowns of different shapes and colors. Seems quite funny, but I always find pleasure in seeing my friends start forever by walking down the aisle (ay romantic!).

When I was a kid, my Mom, Ate and I thought of opening a wedding shop. My Mom taught us how to organize activities (events), do craft work (giveaways), negotiate with suppliers and the most important of all, people skills. Our dream didn’t push through since my Ate left for the US to take her MBA. That was in the 80s, and today I believe I’ve lived through that dream.

Planning a wedding is no easy feat. I’ve been through different types of weddings, from budget to bongga. Hired bands, the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, wrestled with printers, photographers, exporters and designers. The brides would wake me up before my wake-up time, call when I’m about to sleep, SMS in the wee hours of the morning, discuss tela, beadwork, tiaras, seating arrangement, bridal cars, lay-out… get the picture? And I did it for free. But, all in all, everything was successful and so far all of them are still on honeymoon stage and my best friend is giving birth in May.

But what does it take to get married today? I don’t know! But, the best advice I’ve read and heard so far are the following:
  • Mom and Dad – Make sure he comes from a good family with the same values you were brought up with.
  • Momma Jackie (Mom of a British groom) – It’s not finding the one, but finding the right one.
  • Ate Rose – Ask God if He is the one.
  • Fr. Manny – Always pray, God will provide you the person you need (take note: not you want, but need).
  • Sheri & Bob Stritof – If you are questioning why you should get married, don’t do it.

For some insane reason my friends keep asking me about wedding requirements. So, how does one prepare to wed? Parishes/churches require the following from couples:

  • Baptismal certificate with annotation “free to marry” or “for marriage purpose”.
  • Confirmation certificate
  • Publication of wedding banns
  • Marriage license (this comes with other requirements from the city hall like your birth certificate, attendance in the seminar etc.)
  • Canonical interview
  • Spiritual preparation or attendance of pre-cana seminar.
  • Confession prior to the wedding day

There are additional requirements for those marrying a foreigner, divorced or divorcee, widow or widower, and non-Catholic/non-Christians in case of mixed marriages.

Because of this wedding planning hobby of mine I always get asked, “So kelan ka?” And I just always roll my eyes and say, “Madaliin ba ako? God hasn’t Willed it yet.” Some of my friends would say, “She has to be tied up to a chair and forced to do the deed.” Yeah, yeah, but seriously, I think getting married is serious business (and a daunting task) and something that would just come when it is the right time. For the meantime, I believe all singletons out there should be make the most of their time by being of service. Aside from being able to help others, you’ll gain new friends and manage to keep away from food binges since you’re busy. (And one tip: just disappear from the hall when it’s time for the garter toss and bouquet throwing haha).

*Abay - part of the wedding entourage

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