What’s the difference between a civil wedding and a church wedding?

Basically, a civil wedding is a legal union while a church wedding is a religious ceremony.

They’re equally legally-binding and neither one is a requirement of the other. This means you can do a church wedding even without getting married in civil rites previously. On the other hand, you can choose a civil marriage instead of a church wedding.

Here are the other differences between a civil wedding and a church wedding in the Philippines:

  • A priest, pastor, or any religious leader can officiate church weddings while a city or municipal judge or mayor can officiate civil weddings.
  • It must be noted that although the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize a civil wedding as a sacramental marriage, it recognizes a civil union as a real and legal marriage.
  • For church weddings, couples need to start the planning and preparation at least 4 months before the wedding. Meanwhile, couples only need a few weeks of preparation for a civil wedding.
  • Church weddings require couples to submit a lot of documents and attend seminars, interviews, etc. They are also more expensive since it’s considered a grand celebration of a couple’s union. On the other hand, civil weddings only require couples to submit a marriage license and pick a date.
  • Civil weddings are also less expensive compared to church weddings.
  • When it comes to annulments, there are two options for married couples in the Philippines: religious (church annulments) or civil (court annulments). In 2018, the House of Representatives approved the third and final reading of House Bill 6779 which recognizes church annulments as the same as court annulments. In other words, once a civil or church wedding has been annulled, both parties are free to marry again.

Go back to the main article: How to Get Married in the Philippines – An Ultimate Guide