By KC M. Abalos
The recipe for the perfect wedding—warm weather, a lovely sunset, and really good food—where to find these?
According to a study by the Department of Tourism, within the period of 2007 and 2008, there was a 14% growth rate for foreign nationals choosing to get married here in the Philippines. And based on the increase of the total number of inbound visitors for January and February 2011, which reached 668,625 and showing a 17.88% growth compared to the arrivals for the same period in 2010, the industry of “destination weddings” becomes even more promising.
The popularity of destination weddings has risen globally, totally in keeping with the rise of travelling in general. There is a growing number of couples worldwide who wish to have a unique celebration of their union in some exotic destination. These, along with the number of young Filipino professionals who work abroad, fall in love, and who come home just to get married, make destination weddings a blossoming aspect of the travel industry that the Philippine government really has to take seriously.
The DOT is aware of the potential of this opportunity and has since been active in “assisting the private sector of the tourism industry in marketing tour packages and/or in collaborating with international travel companies for the promotion of the Philippines as a perfect wedding and romantic honeymoon destination in the Asia-Pacific.”
The DOT has taken steps in marketing various Philippine destinations as venues or locales for pre-nuptial shoots, wedding proper, reception, and honeymoon sites. Each purpose interconnected with each other but at the same time demands a different approach in terms of promotion and advertising. This is where the private sector comes in, meaning the travel and wedding industry has been vigilant in this regard.
The Philippine Tour Operators Association, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and the Philippine Association of Wedding Planners all work together in ensuring that the Philippines enjoys its generous share of the market. With travel exhibits crossing over to wedding expos and vice versa, these industry organizations are making certain that the Philippines remains a viable option for couples who are searching for where they will hold their ideal wedding.
The DOT cites the Kasal Pilipinas as an example. Kasal Pilipinas is a registered business in San Francisco, USA, which held a wedding forum and exhibit in the area, making it possible for the Filipino community to keep in touch with the latest trends in the industry.
Wedding shows also abound. Handled by Themes and Motifs, the biggest is the Wedding Expo which is on its 18th year. This June 18 & 19, the Wedding Summit will also commence just in time to usher in the bridal month.
Engaged couples who are in the throes of panic due to overwhelming planning can be assured that their day will be perfect because they can easily choose and hire professional suppliers who can deliver the best services.
A note about the rise in professionalism in the Philippine wedding industry needs to be mentioned at this point. From events coordination to flower arranging, cake artistry to creative photo and video coverage, the staggering quantity of choices is insurance enough for quality services. Brides can now join online forums, compare prices, and discuss with other brides whom they will hire to get their money’s worth.
Planet Philippines lists down the top 10 reasons why you should marry in the Philippines. These are based on the unique and wonderful things that make the country stand out.
1. Fabulous food – With the Filipinos’ ability to absorb culinary tastes from far-off lands, engaged couples can choose to feed their guests with a wide array of flavors. From original Filipino dishes to food that is closer to your hearts and tummies, ask and it shall be sautéed, broiled, and delivered.
2. Bells a-ringing – With over thousands of beautiful churches (and not just Catholic ones, mind you), there is no other place in the world where the sacrament of matrimony is taken as seriously as here.
3. Beaches galore – Is it a beach, blanket, bingo beginning you’re wishing for? We have 7, 100 beautiful islands with all kinds of beaches—sandy or stony, white or black, even pink ones to choose from!
4. Flowery speech – A country known for its diverse variety of flora (and fauna), we warn that bees bothering your walk down the aisle is a strong possibility because of the amount of blossoms you can splurge on.
5. Animal love – Speaking of fauna, our four-footed or winged pals have always been welcome guests in a Filipino wedding. Doves kissing, butterflies flitting, and cows delivering a bride to her groom is not unheard of.
6. Honeymoon check! – Where else can you hold a wedding ceremony and then move on to your honeymoon that is only a banca or a tricycle ride away?
7. For a song – The Pinoy’s love for music is equal only for their love of food. Book a band or a DJ. Hire a string quartet or an entire choir. Ask them to sing you a kundiman (traditional Filipino love song) or an Iron Maiden cover and they will indulge.
8. Monique Lhuillier, et al – US-based top bridal gown designer Monique Lhuillier is Pinay and even if you can’t afford her, rest assured her other Filipino colleagues can sew, bead, and dress you to your liking.
9. Quirky indulgence – If your tastes tend to lean on the quirkier side, our islands are ready to pander to them. Hot air balloons, skydiving, zip lining, and other adventures are readily available.
10. Tradition to a T – Offer eggs for a sunny wedding day. Throw rice onto the newly married couple for luck. Make sure ceremonial candles don’t get blown out by the wind. This weird country has a hundred and one wedding traditions and beliefs that will ensure wedded bliss.
Thousands of church bells are ready to ring for anyone who wants to get married in the Philippines. From the windy hills of Tagaytay to the white sandy beaches of Boracay, the country’s varied topography would fit anyone’s idea of an exotic destination.