VIDEO

Lewiston couple honors American and Kalinga customs with dual wedding

Posted Sept. 01, 2013, at 6:44 p.m.
Joan and Harold Millette Jr. perform a traditional courtship dance from the Philippines, where Joan was born, during their wedding Saturday in Auburn. The couple had an American ceremony, followed by the Philippine celebration.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Joan and Harold Millette Jr. perform a traditional courtship dance from the Philippines, where Joan was born, during their wedding Saturday in Auburn. The couple had an American ceremony, followed by the Philippine celebration.
Francis Gaerlan plays a Philippine flute during a traditional Philippine wedding celebration for his sister, Joan Gaerlan, in Auburn on Saturday.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Francis Gaerlan plays a Philippine flute during a traditional Philippine wedding celebration for his sister, Joan Gaerlan, in Auburn on Saturday.
Harold Millette Jr. shares a laugh with his bride, Joan Gaerlan, after they exchanged rings during the traditional American portion of their wedding in Auburn on Saturday. After the Christian wedding was complete, the couple changed clothes for a traditional Philippine celebration.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Harold Millette Jr. shares a laugh with his bride, Joan Gaerlan, after they exchanged rings during the traditional American portion of their wedding in Auburn on Saturday. After the Christian wedding was complete, the couple changed clothes for a traditional Philippine celebration.
Newlyweds Joan, right, and Harold Millette Jr. perform a traditional Philippine courtship dance with Joan's daughter, Monica Dagan, center, Saturday during their wedding in Auburn.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Newlyweds Joan, right, and Harold Millette Jr. perform a traditional Philippine courtship dance with Joan's daughter, Monica Dagan, center, Saturday during their wedding in Auburn.
Harold Millette Jr. is &quotaccepted" into Joan (Gaerlan) Millette's tribe during the traditional Philippine ceremony at their wedding Saturday in Auburn.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Harold Millette Jr. is "accepted" into Joan (Gaerlan) Millette's tribe during the traditional Philippine ceremony at their wedding Saturday in Auburn.

AUBURN, Maine — Even after Saturday’s “I do’s,” the “I pronounce you” and the kiss, Harold and Joan Millette wanted to be more married.

So, the Lewiston newlyweds walked a rose-petal path up the aisle and disappeared.

When they returned to the backyard ceremony minutes later, the bride’s traditional white dress was replaced by a swirling, multicolored dress referencing the wind, water and spears. The groom’s white shirt and tie was replaced by a vest and a red headband. Instead of dress pants, he wore a colored sash that barely covered his briefs.

The new clothes referenced the bride’s heritage in the Filipino province of Kalinga, where she was born.

The bride’s brother, Francis Gaerlan, led the wedding party with singing, drums and a flute.

“For us to be whole, we had to have an American ceremony and a Kalinga ceremony,” Harold Millette said later, beaming at his new wife.

The couple met several years ago in Bath, where Millette worked as an optician. They dated for three years until he proposed at the jewelry case at JC Penney. It is the second marriage for both Harold, 66, and Joan, 53.

Both said their earlier marriages happened when they were young and foolish. For this marriage, they wanted to be sure that the union was strong.

They also wanted to have fun.

Led by Francis Gaerlan, the couple sang and danced with their family. There were songs for nature and courtship. A Native American friend blessed the couple while gathering the crowd of 75 in a circle.

All held hands.

The ceremony ended with the courtship dance.

Joan danced with her maids while Harold followed, trying to sweep her up in a red, Kalinga blanket.

At times, Harold looked like a bullfighter with a cape.

“I tried to catch her but she just kept getting away,” he said.

Joan smiled.

“I didn’t want to make it too easy,” she said.

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