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Principal Sponsors in a Wedding: We Answer All the FAQs

Principal Sponsors in a Wedding: We Answer All the FAQs

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Aside from the aesthetics of your wedding, the people who will take part in the biggest day of your life are just as important. These include your principal sponsors and we’re sure you have many questions regarding their participation in your wedding.

In this article, we’ll tackle all questions you have about your ninongs and ninangs, such as how many principal sponsors are needed in a wedding, what are the roles of principal sponsors, what are the requirements for someone to be a principal sponsor and many others.

Let’s not delay things any further and get down to answering your questions!

Why do I need principal sponsors at a wedding?

First, let’s start with the most obvious questions: what’s the role of principal sponsors in a wedding?

Believe it or not, principal sponsors are the only people you legally need at your wedding. They act as witnesses to your marriage and they’re the ones who will sign your marriage certificate.

Of course, aside from the legal aspect, they also act as godparents to you and your partner. That’s why when choosing your principal sponsors, it’s important to pick people whose marriage you admire. You also want to choose people you can easily talk to and ask advice from about married life.

How many principal sponsors at a wedding?

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In a traditional Filipino Catholic wedding, the couple selects several pairs of ninongs and ninangs as an extension of the wedding party. But many couples wonder just how many sponsors you need in a typical wedding in the Philippines.

Usually, churches require at least two wedding sponsors or witnesses. For small weddings, we suggest having two to four pairs of ninongs and ninangs. For larger weddings, you can make do with a maximum of six to eight pairs.

According to an article from Weddings and Debuts, some churches have a limit as to how many principal sponsors you can have at your wedding. You may be fined if you go above the minimum number. To be sure, check in with your local parish to see if they can accommodate special requests and so you can decide in advance just how many pairs of principal sponsors you’ll have in your wedding.

Who are the principal sponsors at a wedding? Can relatives be principal sponsors?

Teachers, godparents, and parents of close family friends are often chosen as the principal sponsors but there’s no stopping you from having your relatives as your ninongs and ninangs. What matters is that you have a close relationship with your chosen principal sponsors and that they’re people you look up to for guidance.

Can your sister be a principal sponsor at your wedding? Well, there’s no hard rule about this and if you know she can give you sound advice about marriage life, we don’t see why not. Just be sure to give her a heads up! She might want to be a bridesmaid or a secondary sponsor instead.

How many principal sponsors are needed at a civil wedding?

The best part about having a civil wedding in the Philippines is that you don’t need to invite your entire family clan, your college friends from way back, or your workmates to the ceremony. However, that doesn’t mean you should have an empty guest list!

In a civil wedding, you need at least two pairs of principal sponsors who will sign the marriage certificate for you. They also act as witnesses to the legality of your marriage.

Are principal sponsors part of the entourage?

Yes, definitely. They’ll walk down the aisle after the rest of your wedding entourage.

The flower girls and ring bearers are typically the first ones to walk down the aisle, followed by the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and then the principal sponsors. While there’s no specific rule about the order of the processional, you might want to check with your church just in case. You can also ask your wedding planner or coordinator to check with them or give you advice on the order.

Can a principal sponsor lead the wine toasting?

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Traditionally, the best man makes the first toast at the wedding reception, followed by the mothers of the bride and groom, and then the maid or matron of honor. But actually, anyone else can lead the wine toasting, including one of your principal sponsors. So if you’re particularly close with a ninong or ninang, you can definitely give them the honor of leading a wine toast.

Do all principal sponsors need to sign the marriage certificate?

Not all principal sponsors have to sign the marriage certificate as it only requires four signatures. However, keep in mind that it’s a legal document so proxies aren’t allowed to sign the certificate on behalf of a principal sponsor who’s absent. That’s why many couples tend to get four to six pairs of principal sponsors in case some can’t make it to the wedding.

What if the principal sponsors at our wedding are proxies? Who signs the contract?

If your chosen principal sponsors can’t make it to your wedding or live abroad, then you’ll have to get another family friend or relative to be their proxy. But who signs the marriage certificate?

If you know ahead of time that ALL of your original sponsors can’t make it to your wedding, it’s best to add the names of at least two proxies to the marriage certificate. If only one or two principal sponsors will be absent at the wedding, having two of your original ninongs or ninangs to sign the certificate will do.

To ensure you don’t have a stressful situation on your wedding day regarding this, ask your principal sponsors to RSVP way ahead in advance, just so you’re absolutely prepared! There are also some parishes that don’t allow proxies, so it’s best to check beforehand.

Do principal sponsors at a wedding get bouquets?

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There’s no rule that says principal sponsors need bouquets at a wedding. Usually, male principal sponsors sport a corsage. Female principal sponsors may either have corsages, handheld bouquets, or floral wristlets. If the church doesn’t have any aircon, you can pair the corsage or bouquet with an abaniko that has similar floral decor.

Do wedding principal sponsors finance the wedding?

Among Latinos, principal sponsors usually help defray the costs of a wedding but for Filipinos, principal sponsors can give gifts either in cash or in-kind to help jumpstart the couple’s married life. Today, the minimum amount that principal sponsors usually give to couples is Php5,000. Of course, they can choose to give more, with some even gifting as much as Php20,000. However, there’s no set minimum or maximum so whatever the principal sponsors can afford to give, the couple should be grateful for the financial assistance.

Do principal sponsors need to be married?

‘Does the principal sponsor have to be married?’ is a common question in various wedding forums. The short answer is: no, principal sponsors don’t need to be married.

However, the primary reason most principal sponsors at a wedding are chosen is that they can offer marriage advice for the couple. If a ninong or ninang is unmarried, they may find it hard to guide couples on their marriage journey.

There’s also this wedding superstition that couples should avoid getting principal sponsors who are widowed or separated because it’s bad luck. But really, that’s just an old wives’ tale belief and it won’t actually affect your married life. Don’t let traditional beliefs affect your choices!

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wedding bouquet

How old should principal sponsors be?

This is the most commonly asked question next to “how many principal sponsors at a wedding?”

As your ninongs and ninangs will be signing your marriage certificate — a legal and binding document — they should at least be of legal age. As long as they’re over 18 years old, it should be fine. But of course, you want your principal sponsors to act as the godparents of your marriage. It can be quite awkward if you get someone younger than you.

Can non-Catholics be principal sponsors at a wedding?

There’s no rule that prohibits non-believers or non-Catholics from being principal sponsors in a Catholic wedding. Of course, your desired Church may be strict against it but they don’t actually have the authority to stop you. The most they can do is discourage you but if you want non-Catholics to be part of your entourage, the decision ultimately depends on you.

Can LGBT community members be principal sponsors at a wedding?

Yes, absolutely. There’s no written rule yet about the Catholic Church banning members of the LGBT community from being principal sponsors at a wedding.

How to thank principal sponsors for a wedding?

In a previous article, we discussed the many wonderful wedding tokens for principal sponsors and where to find them. From traditional gifts such as wine and potted plants to quirky and trendy ones such as ceramic wares and gourmet flavored salts, it’s a long list of various tokens that will suit the theme of any wedding.

If you prefer having your ninongs and ninangs munch on something delectable after your wedding, we also have an article on edible wedding favors that are just simply irresistible.

Bonus tip: Make the gifts extra special with personal handwritten thank you notes from you and your partner.

Yay, you’ve reached the end of the article! It was an exhaustive and long list, but we hope we managed to answer everything that you were once unsure about regarding your principal sponsors.

While questions like “How many principal sponsors in a wedding?” and “Who are the principal sponsors in a wedding?” are easy enough to answer, we know there might be additional details you can’t quite wrap your head around.

If you still have anything to ask, don’t hesitate to comment down below! We are more than happy to answer your question.

Chryss Segovia
Author: Chryss Segovia

Chryss loves ice cream, literature, and East Asian pop culture. She would like to pet your dog.

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