(I'm picking up from where I left off in part 6)
In three years…
That was what we said when people asked when we were planning to get married. My mother thought three years was too long. We were already in our mid-20s. Other people said the same. My mother, especially, thought that women should get married and start having children before 30. They had to think of their biological clock.
In the days and weeks that followed our Los Banos commitment on July 7, Fiance and I spent much of our free time together. Our romance developed faster than our newsletter, which up to that time was still in the process of coming out with the first issue! We eventually realized that we didn't want to wait that long. We said we'd get married "next year" .
But even this started to feel like forever. We were sure of ourselves anyway. So on August 17, we decided to get married in December of that year. We had four months to prepare.
The first thing we did was to inform both sets of parents and schedule the pamamanhikan, we called Summit Meeting. This was when the guy's parents formally asked the girl's parents for their approval of the marriage. It may include more than just the couple's parents. Uncles and aunties might participate (which I asked not to happen in my case).
During the pamamanhikan, the guy's parents were in effect courting the girl's parents on his behalf. Sometimes it did not go smoothly. There might even be tears. The girl's side might give the guy a hard time or make whatever demands. I had seen this happen when my parents were occasionally asked to join and give moral support in a pamamanhikan, especially in sensitive cases (e.g. the couple had eloped). I tagged along at least three times as a child.
In my case, my parents had no qualms at all concerning my marriage or choice of spouse. "Ikaw naman ang makikisama (you will be the one going to live with him)," as my mother often said. Besides, I had already graduated from the university. I was free to date and get married.
My future in-laws' pamamanhikan was just a matter of formality. It was also their first time to meet my parents. I remember them bringing a kaing (big basket) of sweet lanzones to our house. We served them a dish that my best friend helped prepare. The talks went well. The four parents got along from the start. It helped that they all loved to talk. There was no uneasy silence.
(image from gypsysoul73.blogspot.com)
In the end, the only thing my father asked was to have our wedding on December 14 during the new moon. Fiance and I believed any moon was like another, but we gave him that. We agreed to move our date one week earlier. The earlier the better.
My 1985 planner says "THE BIG DAY" on two dates. Dec 21 was our first choice, "God-willing".
So there, our marriage had our parents' blessings. Meanwhile, we had already started taking care of other things like applying for a marriage license at Quezon City hall (I believe applicants' names were posted publicly in case one was already married) and making to-do lists and schedules. I also started attending cooking lessons at my friend's house. I was eager to learn to cook more than tinola.
We also attended the required family planning seminar also at the city hall (ahh, I can't forget this one because the middle-aged female instructor couldn't stop giggling while talking about the condom. We are all getting married here, come on.), consulted with a doctor for natural family planning options and possible fertility tests (which she did not approve for us), went for marriage counseling with our wedding sponsors, met with the officiating minister, etc… We also went through an engagement handbook together which was a big help in the planning process.
We had four months to prepare and a shoestring budget. We wanted a garden wedding. Could we pull it off?
(To be concluded)