This was written in collaboration with Atty. Kareen Lucero to ensure the accuracy of every legal element discussed in the article.
Everyone has a dream wedding.
It’s an important milestone you’ve waited for all your life.
Whether it’s a simple civil wedding or an extravagant church wedding, you can’t wait to celebrate this day with your soulmate along with your loved ones.
But preparing for your wedding day is not all beers and skittles. You also need to know how to get married in the Philippines–the legal documents and preparations required to ensure a hassle-free celebration.
If you’re clueless about the things you need to know to get married here in the Philippines, there is no need to fret. We have scoured the internet for the best information that every soon-to-be couple ought to know.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The use of the information contained herein does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the user/reader.
Table of Contents
Watch Video: How To Get a Marriage License in the Philippines
FREE Downloads: Checklist of Requirements for Civil and Church Weddings in the Philippines
Too lazy or busy to read? Download the checklists below to get an overview of the requirements for a civil or church wedding in the Philippines.
For a detailed discussion of each requirement, scroll down to read the in-depth civil and church wedding guides we’ve prepared.
What Is the Legal Age for Marriage in the Philippines?
The legal age for marriage in the Philippines is 18 years old.
Art. 5 of the Family Code of the Philippines5 provides that any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not possessing any impediment to marry under Sec. 37 and 38 of the Family Code may get married.
Who Can Get Married in the Philippines?
If you’re planning to get married in the Philippines, there are a few legal requirements you need to know first, especially if you or your would-be spouse is 25 years old or below. To summarize:
- Marrying parties should be a male and a female, at least 18 years old.
- Parental consent or advice is needed if you or your partner is 25 years old or below.
- You and your partner must not be related by blood (up to the 4th degree) and should be free of legal impediments, such as being in a previous marriage (unless annulled, widowed, or divorced).
Marriages between the following are incestuous and void from the beginning, whether the relationship between the parties is legitimate or illegitimate:
- Between ascendants and descendants of any degree; and
- Between brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half-blood (Art. 37, FC)
The following marriages shall be void from the beginning for reasons of public policy:
- Between collateral blood relatives, whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree;
- Between step-parents and step-children;
- Between parents-in-law and children-in-law;
- Between the adopting parent and the adopted child;
- Between the surviving spouse of the adopting parent and the adopted child;
- Between the surviving spouse of the adopted child and the adopter;
- Between an adopted child and a legitimate child of the adopter;
- Between adopted children of the same adopter; and
- Between parties where one, intending to marry the other, killed that other person’s spouse or his or her spouse. (Art. 38, FC)
After confirming that you are qualified to get married, proceed to the succeeding steps.
Part I. Civil Wedding
A civil wedding in the Philippines (kasal sa huwes) may not give you that royal wedding vibe, but it ticks all the boxes regarding convenience and cost-effectiveness.
Not that a civil wedding should be plain, boring, and second-rate.
With great planning and creativity, you can turn your civil wedding into a great experience you’ll treasure for years.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to plan a civil wedding in the Philippines like a pro, plus tips to make it extra special without breaking the bank.
Why You Should Have a Civil Wedding in the Philippines
If you’re having seconds thoughts about having a civil wedding in the Philippines, let the following reasons do the convincing:
- Civil wedding grants you the legal rights and privileges of marriage.
- A civil wedding doesn’t require a religious affiliation. Therefore, “non-believers”–including atheists and agnostics–won’t need to participate in ceremonies they’re not comfortable with or forced to change their beliefs on paper to get the church wedding done.
- A civil wedding is a more straightforward way to tie the knot, especially for mixed marriages or if you are based abroad. Catholic churches require additional requirements for mixed marriages wherein one party belongs to a different religion. If you live or work overseas, a church wedding in the Philippines also means flying to the country three times to get a license and attend the pre-Cana counseling and interview.
- Planning a civil wedding involves fewer expenses, pressure, and stress so you can focus on what’s truly important. As they always say, some folks spend too much on the wedding and not enough on the marriage. Civil wedding reminds you that the true essence of marriage is working on the marriage itself. Everything else is secondary. As a result, you can enjoy this special day with your partner without worrying about trivial stuff like flowers, dress for the bridesmaids, and whatnot. No wonder civil wedding is popular in the Philippines, with a record 41.6% of marriages contracted through civil rites in 20166.
- Since a civil wedding is a lot cheaper, you can set aside money for your honeymoon or other memorable experiences that matter to you. After all, marriage doesn’t require extravaganza for it to work. As long as your union is made official through a civil wedding, everything else is only done to comply with society’s “standards.”
- If your wife is already visibly pregnant at the time of the wedding, civil marriage can save you from the embarrassment and judgmental glances of your holier-than-thou relatives.
- A civil wedding can be your preparation for a more lavish church wedding. Some couples get married through civil rites while they’re still saving up for their dream fairytale wedding. Others, like doctors Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo
Civil Wedding Requirements: An Overview
Although local civil registrars in the country tend to interpret the guidelines differently when issuing a marriage license, there are basic requirements you need to obtain to have a civil wedding. Make sure you have an original copy and photocopies of the following standard civil wedding requirements:
- PSA Birth Certificate of both marrying parties;
- Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) of both marrying parties;
- Certificate of Attendance in Pre-Marriage Counseling Seminar;
- At least 2 valid IDs of the couple are to be presented on the day of application at the city/municipal hall;
- Marriage license application form;
- Barangay Certification;
- Community Tax Certificate or CEDULA;
- Two pieces of 2 x 2 ID pictures with white background
Additional Civil Wedding Requirements, if 18 – 20
The legal age for marriage in the Philippines is 18.
For applicants between 18 and 20 years old, a notarized affidavit of parental consent to marriage is required. The father, mother, or guardian (in the order of mention) can either personally appear with a valid ID (original and photocopy) or provide a notarized affidavit.
Additional Civil Wedding Requirements, if 21 – 25
Meanwhile, for applicants between 21 and 25 years old, a notarized affidavit of parental advice to marriage is required. The parents or guardian is likewise required to either show up with a valid ID (original and photocopy) or provide a notarized written account expressing that they’re aware of the couple’s intent to marry and any other advice they wish to give.
Forms are usually available at the local civil registrar/city civil registry department, where you’ll apply.
In case the parents refuse to provide notarized parental advice, you may submit a sworn statement telling the reason why they refused, after which the marriage license can only be issued three months after you applied.
Additional Civil Wedding Requirement if Widowed
- Marriage Contract or Report of Marriage to Deceased Spouse issued by the PSA (original with 1 photocopy)
- Death Certificate of the deceased spouse
Additional Civil Wedding Requirements if Annulled
- Certificate of Finality of Annulment from the Court (1 original and 2 photocopies)
- Certificate of Registration from the Local Civil Registrar for registering the annulment papers (1 original and 2 photocopies).
Additional Civil Wedding Requirements if Filipino Got Divorced Abroad
- Marriage Contract or Report of Marriage to the Previous Spouse with Annotation on Divorce issued by the PSA (original with 1 photocopy)
- Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce issued by a Philippine Court and with a Certificate of Finality (original with 1 photocopy)
Additional Civil Wedding Requirements if Foreign Applicant
- Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry (Affidavit or Affirmation of Marital Status for British applicants) from their country’s Embassy or Consular Office in the Philippines with authentication certification from DFA.
- If you’re a US citizen, the Consulate is prohibited by law from certifying your eligibility for marriage in the Philippines. They can only provide an Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry, which can be secured from the US Embassy in Manila by appointment only. If you’re based in Cebu, the US Consular Agency in Lahug, Cebu City, offers notarial services on a walk-in, first-come/first-served basis every day from 8:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.
- Naturalization paper (if naturalized)
- Death Certificate of the deceased spouse (if widowed)
- Divorce decree (if divorced)
- Passport bio page
- Photocopy of the immigration entry stamp in the foreigner’s passport. The photocopied page should show the date of your arrival in the Philippines for the marriage license application.
Civil Wedding Requirements: A More Detailed Discussion
The marriage license is the most important legal document you must secure when preparing for your wedding. After all, you won’t be allowed to have a church or civil wedding without this.
To apply for the license, both parties must go to the local civil registrar of the city, town, or municipality where either one habitually resides.
The marriage license is usually released 2 weeks (10 days) after you apply for it.
Local civil registrars tend to interpret the guidelines differently, so depending on where you’ll be applying, it may take either 10 consecutive days (including weekends) or 10 working days (excluding weekends) before the license is issued to you. However, the law is clear (Article 17 of the Family Code) that the waiting period for the marriage license should be 10 consecutive days.
Any applying party can pick up the marriage license from the local civil registrar. No delivery option is available as of this writing.
Once issued, the marriage license can be used wherever you want to get married in the Philippines.
However, it is only valid within 120 days of issuance and “shall be deemed automatically canceled at the expiration of said period if the contracting parties have not made use of it.”
Below is a more detailed discussion of the basic civil wedding requirements.
a. The Latest Certified True Copy of Your and Your Partner’s PSA Birth Certificates (Original and Photocopy)
You can obtain this from the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly NSO) office or through an online application via PSA Serbilis.
If there is no record of birth, the latest original copy of the baptismal certificate may also be accepted. Foreigners must obtain their birth certificates from their country of origin.
b. Latest Certificate of No Marriage (Cenomar) or Certificate of Singleness (Original and Photocopy)
For couples above 25 years old, the CENOMAR provides proof that neither of you was married before. To secure a copy, please follow the same procedure in ordering a birth certificate. A copy of CENOMAR costs PHP 210 (walk-in) or PHP 430 (online).
c. Certificate of Attendance in Pre-Marriage Counseling, Family Planning, and Responsible Parenthood Seminar
Proceed to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) office of your municipality to secure a schedule for your pre-marriage seminar.
Pre-marriage counseling is usually conducted by the Church or the DSWD for civil marriages. The family planning and responsible parenthood seminar, on the other hand, is held at the health department (specifically the Division of Maternal and Child Health) of your municipal/city hall.
In most areas, family planning and marriage counseling seminars are combined into one program and conducted at the same venue. Check the schedules, as some are conducted daily while others have a specific schedule within the week.
d. At Least 2 Valid IDs of the Couple (Original and Photocopy)
The valid ID should show proof that one or both of you are resident/s of the city/town/municipality where you’re applying for the marriage license. For example, a valid ID must show an address in Manila if you’re applying in Manila.
Here are some examples of valid IDs in the Philippines:
- TIN ID
- Senior Citizen ID
- Postal ID
- Company ID
- School ID with current registration card
e. Marriage License Application Form (Issued by the LCR Office)
f. Barangay Certification (Original and Photocopy)
Most municipalities require couples to obtain this certificate from the barangay where they reside. A barangay official usually requires the couple to participate in a tree-planting activity in exchange for the certificate. A brief interview with the couple may also be included.
g. Community Tax Certificates or Cedula (Original and Photocopy)
You can obtain the CEDULA at the same city/municipal hall where you’ll file the marriage license application.
h. Two Pieces of Recent ID Picture With White Background
Marrying parties must also bring recent 2 x 2 pictures with white backgrounds.
How To Get Married in a Civil Ceremony in the Philippines: 11 Steps
Civil marriage is supposed to be cheaper than a church wedding. However, sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you have to make the wedding look cheap and tacky.
To ensure you’ll get an unforgettable civil wedding in the Philippines without breaking the bank, follow the steps laid out in this guide.
1. Pick a Wedding Date
Both parties must agree on a wedding date before the preparation starts.
While it’s possible in some cases to have a rush wedding in two weeks, it doesn’t consider several unforeseen circumstances that might happen along the way.
For this reason, couples are advised to have at least a one-month preparation period before the wedding day.
Before choosing a date, remember the following:
- If a judge officiates your wedding in your municipal or city hall, your wedding schedule will depend on the judge’s availability. If there are multiple judges, your marriage license will go through a lottery to determine which judge will officiate your wedding. So, in this case, you can only choose when you apply for a marriage license, not when the wedding will occur.
- The CENOMAR and birth certificates, two vital requirements for the marriage license, are usually issued 1-6 days (walk-in) or up to 9 days (online) after application.
- The marriage license is issued 10 days after submitting the requirements and attending the pre-wedding seminar. You must already have the license on the day of your wedding, or the union will not push through.
- If the wedding will happen on a weekday, inform your guests and the entourage ahead of time so they can file their work leaves (if applicable).
- For civil weddings scheduled on weekends, check the availability of the venue and the person officiating the ceremony.
- Municipal halls are usually closed during weekends. Court vacations may happen without prior notice. The mayor or judge, on the other hand, may need a little bit of cajoling to convince him/her to officiate the wedding during weekends.
- The month you choose for your wedding may influence your total wedding expenses. The cost of wedding venues increases every June and December, during which most people assume many weddings take place. Data from PSA refute this, revealing that April, February, and May are the preferred wedding months of Filipinos.
2. Decide on a Budget
Determine early on who will cover the expenses.
In the Philippines, the groom usually shoulders the bulk of the civil wedding cost with the help of his family. This tradition may be interpreted as machismo, especially by outsiders who are used to having the bride’s family pay for the wedding expenses.
Civil wedding cost in the Philippines is relatively cheap. You can do it with a budget as low as PHP 12,000.
This money is just enough to cover the essentials like the pastor who will officiate the wedding (Php 3,500+) and the wedding reception at an ordinary restaurant with food good enough to feed a maximum of 25 people (PHP 8,000).
Take note that in the above example, both the wedding ceremony and the reception are held at the same place to save on rental fees.
The table below shows another example of a civil wedding budget below PHP 40,000 which covers all wedding essentials like cake, souvenirs, dress, and a wedding reception package good for 50 guests. Miscellaneous items like photobooths and audio-visual presentations are either provided by volunteers or scrapped altogether.
|Civil Wedding Expenses||Cost|
|Bag for prizes||PHP 360|
|Tumblers (prize)||PHP 500|
|Wedding rings||PHP 2500|
|Bride’s wedding dress||PHP 350|
|Baby’s shoes||PHP 250|
|Signature frame||PHP 280|
|Wedding cake||PHP 2500|
|Wedding reception||PHP 22060|
|Groom’s suit (dry clean)||PHP 300|
|Groom’s shoes||PHP 370|
|Hair and make-up (bride)||PHP 500|
|Hair and make-up (mother)||PHP 250|
|Bride’s shoes||PHP 350|
|Wedding documents||PHP 3000|
|Son’s clothes||PHP 400|
|Sign pen||PHP 10|
The wedding budget above doesn’t apply to all civil weddings by any stretch of the imagination.
For one, the couple skimped on what others considered necessary, like the wedding dress. You can find a dress that cheap, but don’t expect anything jaw-dropping. The cost of the judge also varies in each city or municipality.
Here are a few more pointers when creating your wedding budget:
- Plan the wedding with your partner to set your priorities right and determine which areas you want to splurge on and which ones to skimp on.
- The wedding reception will take a huge portion of your budget. To save money, have the wedding ceremony and the reception at the same venue.
- Only invite a few close friends and relatives. Civil weddings are supposed to be intimate, which is the reason why it’s cheaper in the first place.
- A judge can officiate your wedding for less than PHP 5,000, while a pastor/minister usually charges PHP 8,000 or more for the same service. However, if you want to get married on the weekend, the municipal hall may not be available, so you must bring the judge to the venue at an additional cost.
- To make your budget planning easier, you can use an online wedding budget calculator or download a free worksheet for Excel. These nifty tools work for both civil and church weddings.
3. Obtain a Marriage License
Couples won’t be allowed to be married anywhere in the Philippines without a marriage license.
How To Get a Marriage License in the Philippines: 5 Steps
Now that you know the basic requirements to bring, here are the steps you need to follow to get the marriage license:
- Together with your would-be spouse, go to your local civil registrar (LCR)/city civil registry department and fill out the marriage license application form.
- Submit the necessary documents (see the list of requirements above) and the duly accomplished application form to the Civil Registry Department. To avoid hassles and long queues, go to the municipal office/city hall in the morning or after lunch.
- Proceed to the Cashier or Treasury Department and pay the application, filing, and marriage license fees. Note that higher fees will be charged from applicants with foreign fiances/fiancees.
- Keep the Original Receipt and wait for up to 10 days before you can claim the marriage license. It must be noted that during the 10-day waiting period, a notice of the impending marriage of the applicants will be publicly posted.
- On the release date, go back to the local civil registrar to claim the marriage license. Once you have the license, you can use it to get married anywhere in the country within 120 days (4 months) from the date of issue.
4. Know How and Where the Civil Ceremony Will Take Place
Civil weddings in the Philippines are usually held at the Mayor’s office or courtrooms inside the municipal hall/city hall.
After issuing the marriage license, the local civil registrar may assign you to someone–either your city mayor or judge–who will officiate the wedding.
If the mayor is unavailable, you will be asked to proceed to the Hall of Justice to secure a schedule with one of the judges. If there are multiple judges, your marriage license will be assigned to a judge through a scheduled raffle process. In some areas where there’s only one judge, there’s no need for your marriage license to be raffled off.
Due to the process involved, you don’t have the liberty to pick your wedding schedule, as the judge’s availability will determine when the ceremony will take place.
How Much Is the Judge Fee for a Civil Wedding in the Philippines?
As of 2021, a judge’s fee costs PHP 700. To secure a schedule at the Hall of Justice of your city or municipal hall, you also need to pay another PHP 300 for the processing fee.
Alternatively, you can find a pastor or minister to officiate the wedding on your chosen date, provided that you’re willing to pay a higher fee.
Some couples are lucky enough to have one of the Supreme Court justices officiate their civil wedding inside the Supreme Court.
There are two ways to make this possible:
- If you know the Supreme Court justice personally or know someone who works under him/her, you can convince the SC justice to officiate your wedding.
- You may try your luck by calling the SC justice’s office or inquiring at the Public Information Office located on the 3rd Floor, New Supreme Court Building Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita, 1000 Manila (Telephone (02) 522-5090; 522-5094/Telefax (02) 526-8129/Email [email protected])
If you want a civil wedding to happen on the weekend, during which the municipal hall/city hall is usually closed, you can find another venue like a garden, public park, or a nature reserve.
The advantage is there will be enough space to accommodate more guests. The downside is the judge may charge more.
Fees may vary, but judges officiating weddings outside their offices usually charge PHP 8,000 (or more), similar to what pastors/ministers charge for their service.
Moreover, holding the civil wedding ceremony outside means your guests no longer have to move from one place to another. The wedding ceremony and the reception can happen at the same venue, saving you a lot of time and money.
5. Send Out Invitations to Your Guests and Witnesses (Optional)
The best part about having a civil wedding is you don’t have to invite the whole barangay to the reception.
Inviting only a few people to your wedding makes the special occasion much more intimate, not to mention budget-friendly.
The following people must be included in the wedding guest list:
- Two witnesses will be present at the civil ceremony to sign the marriage contract/certificate
- The couple’s immediate families
- The couple’s closest friends
Especially if the civil wedding will take place on a weekday, you must send out wedding invitations at least two months in advance so your potential guests/witnesses will be able to file for work leaves.
To cut wedding costs, search for DIY wedding invitation ideas on YouTube/Pinterest or use one of these printable wedding invitation templates.
6. Plan Your Wedding Reception
In any wedding, the reception always takes up the bulk of the wedding expenses. Hence, you should pay extra attention when making your wedding budget (see Step 2).
If you’re short on cash, you can avail of the packages offered by restaurants and let them take care of everything for as low as PHP 10,000 (assuming you have a limited number of guests).
Meanwhile, if you prefer to hold the reception outdoors in a garden or at your residence, catering packages are being offered for as low as PHP 25,000. Some even allow payment installments.
The package covers the food (good for at least 100 people), servers, and basic wedding decorations.
It doesn’t include the cost of transporting your guests from the city/municipal hall to the wedding reception. For this reason, I suggest having the ceremony and reception held in one venue to save time and money.
As for the wedding cake, there are customized creations you can order from your local bakeshop or from a close friend/relative who knows how to bake. Wedding cakes may cost up to PHP 5,000 or more depending on the size and how elaborate the design is.
If you want to impress your guests with add-ons like a host/emcee, live band, souvenirs, and sound system, prepare to stretch your wedding budget a little bit.
There are cheap wedding souvenirs you can buy in Divisoria. You can also consider budget-friendly yet ingenious gifts to impress your guests, like essential oil diffusers or as simple as cupcakes with creative wedding designs.
Souvenirs are tokens of appreciation for the special people who have found time in their busy lives to join you on this special occasion.
7. Write Your Wedding Vows
Wedding vows are sacred promises that couples say to each other during the ring ceremony.
Before the civil wedding, you will be asked to write your wedding vows. The officiant may provide you with a template. You can also search for samples online and find inspiration from them.
There’s no language requirement. You can write in Tagalog, English, or any language you’re comfortable with.
Keep the message short, sweet, and sincere. Writing the wedding vow is your chance to express how invested and committed you are in the relationship.
8. Shop for Wedding Rings
The wedding rings symbolize your promise to be with each other through thick and thin.
There’s no written rule on how much a wedding ring should be. It all boils down to your budget and preference.
While some believe it should be worth at least a month’s salary, other frugal couples are happy to settle with affordable rings sold in malls.
If you haven’t bought wedding rings yet, here are a few tips and reminders:
- Remember, you’re getting married through civil rites. A simple wedding ring without Swarovski crystals will do. You can save the more expensive diamond rings for your dream church wedding (in case you plan to have one).
- Before trooping to jewelry stores, ask your parents and grandparents if they have kept heirloom wedding rings. Pieces of jewelry that have passed on from one generation to the next have sentimental value and allow you to save money for more important aspects of the wedding.
- You can have a wedding ring with any budget. From as low as PHP 500 to PHP 100,000 and up, there’s a ring available for everyone. The larger the main diamond, or the higher the carat of the gold, the more expensive the wedding ring would be.
- Do your research and find inspiration online to know what ring you prefer. If possible, buy a wedding ring from a trusted jeweler, which allows its buyers to watch the rings they’ve ordered being made.
- Ongpin Street in Binondo is known for its low-cost wedding rings. Some stores make rings that may be too old-fashioned for your taste, so shop around. Ongpin wedding rings cost PHP 5,000 and higher, depending on the size and design. Jewelers also offer free cleaning plus free guava candies to boot.
9. Choose Your Wedding Attire
Unlike in church weddings, you don’t have to dress to impress when having a simple civil marriage.
For grooms, polo shirts or your old formal suit should be enough. The bride, meanwhile, can either borrow a wedding gown or buy a ready-made civil wedding dress. You can buy the latter in Divisoria or online shopping sites like Shopee for as low as PHP 1,200.
Again, you don’t have to wear a wedding dress with elaborate designs.
After all, wedding outfits should be the least of your priorities and can be purchased once the rest of the wedding details have been taken care of.
10. Hire a Wedding Photographer (Optional)
While most couples include wedding photography in the miscellaneous or optional wedding expenses, it shouldn’t be that way, considering how precious the event is.
Weddings, whether through a civil union or church rites, are an essential milestone worth capturing in photographs.
In the case of civil weddings, comprehensive photo and video coverage aren’t necessary.
With as little as PHP 3,000 to PHP 5,000, you can avail of basic photo coverage where a photographer will be at the wedding venue and reception to capture special moments.
The package may include a formal photo of the couple plus 100 to 150 high-resolution photos taken at the event.
If you want to pay for cheaper services, look for students or budding photographers who want to expand their portfolios. Tap your existing network to get referrals to these affordable photographers.
11. Enjoy the Civil Wedding Program
On your special day, avoid stressing over the small stuff. Just focus on your partner and treasure every moment.
After all, your civil wedding signifies that you’ve finally found the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
Since this is not a traditional church wedding with hundreds of guests, you don’t need a wedding planner or coordinator to manage every little detail.
If you have a complete wedding package, the program coordinator will handle everything. Otherwise, you can ask for assistance from your close friends and relatives to organize the program while preparing for the event.
Here’s an example of a civil wedding program that eliminates all the trivial stuff usually present in church weddings:
Part I: The wedding ceremony
- Exchange of vows and ring ceremony
- The signing of the marriage contract
- Presentation of the newlyweds
- Bridal kiss
Part II: Welcoming of guests by the emcee/host at the wedding reception
- Acknowledgments of the following: Judge, primary sponsors (if applicable), and parents
- Acknowledgment of the newlyweds
- Pictorials with the VIPs: Judge, primary sponsors (if applicable), parents, and family.
- Pictorials (per table / per group)
Part III: Wedding Traditions
- Serving of food/buffet
- Selection and introduction of well-wishers
- Toast to the bride and groom
- Removal of the garter
- Garter game
- Bouquet toss
- Words from parents
- Speech from the newlyweds
- Closing remarks by the emcee
- Distribution of tokens/souvenirs
As the bride and groom, let your minds off the program and focus on each other.
You’ve prepared well and have been through a lot to get to this point.
A civil wedding celebrates love and commitment regardless of religious beliefs, race, or skin color. Savor every moment.
Congratulations and best wishes!
Part II. Church Wedding
Every Filipina bride dreams of tying the knot in the church and wearing that long, elegant wedding dress.
And because most Filipinos are Catholics, it’s no wonder most prefer to get married in popular churches like Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the like.
Take note that a church wedding in the Philippines is fundamentally not an expensive ceremony. You can get married at a Catholic church with a budget range of PHP 7,000 to PHP 10,000, which already covers the stipend for the officiating priest, choir, floral decoration of the altar, electricity, decoration on the middle aisle with carpet, etc. Neither the bride nor the bridesmaids are required to wear lavish gowns, as the church only requires a formal white dress.
In other words, it’s up to the couples whether to get married in an expensive church like the Manila Cathedral, provide an expensive reception, or choose an expensive destination for their honeymoon.
It’s not the Catholic church but the couples who have made the wedding ceremony an expensive affair in the Philippines.
Now, if you’re one of those lucky few with a budget for a church wedding, there are specific requirements aside from the marriage license that you need to fulfill a few months (i.e., 6 months to at least 2 months) before the wedding date.
This is because the documents listed below have different validity periods, and you must ensure they don’t expire before your scheduled wedding date.
Catholic Church Wedding Requirements: An Overview
Here are the BASIC requirements you need to complete to get married in a Catholic church in the Philippines:
- Marriage License
- Baptismal and Confirmation (“Kumpil”) Certificates
- PSA Birth Certificates
- Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
- Canonical Interview
- Pre-Cana/Marriage Preparation Seminar
- Marriage Banns
- List of Principal Sponsors and Entourage Members
- Wedding Permit (if applicable)
- Confession (if applicable)
- 2 x 2 ID-size pictures
Additional Catholic Church Wedding Requirements if Annulled
For those previously married in a Catholic church, you must also secure an annulment clearance paper from your Archdiocese.
This annulment process declares the previous church wedding null and void. It’s different from the civil rites annulment process that legally changes the status of your previous marriage as invalid.
Additional Catholic Church Wedding Requirements if Mixed Marriage
For “mixed marriages” where the other party is a non-Catholic, you need to get Clearance from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Archbishop’s Office, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila.
To obtain this document, the non-Catholic bride or groom must submit a Letter of Approval from the Pastor of the non-Catholic sect that not only approves the marriage but also declares the person has never been married.
For foreigners, the Legal Capacity to be Married issued by the embassy and Dispensation of Approval from the Parish Priest where the person currently resides is required.
For a complete list of requirements, contact the Archbishop’s Office directly.
Additional Catholic Church Wedding Requirements if Widowed
For widow or widower, bring a copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse and present it to the parish church.
Additional Catholic Church Wedding Requirement if Renewal of Vow
For renewal of vows, present a copy of the Catholic Marriage Contract.
Catholic Church Wedding Requirements: A More Detailed Discussion
a. Marriage License
The document must be valid and not expired. Whether you’re getting married in a church or civil rites, the list of requirements and the procedure for obtaining a marriage license is the same. If you previously married in a civil wedding, you must submit a registered marriage contract instead.
b. Baptismal and Confirmation (“Kumpil”) Certificates (6 Months Validity)
Baptism and confirmation (“kumpil”) are two of the seven sacraments that you need to receive before you can be married in a Catholic church in the Philippines.
You can obtain the certificates from the same parish where you received these sacraments.
The copies that you’ll submit must be original and with an annotation “For marriage purposes only.” Depending on the church, you may be required to submit these upon application or 2 – 3 months before your wedding date.
Some parishes can’t issue these documents instantly as they don’t have digital records of these files yet. Make sure to process these papers as early as possible.
In case you’ve never been confirmed in the parish that has jurisdiction over where you live, and you’re planning to get married in a church outside of it, the latter will require you to obtain a “Certificate of No Record” from your parish. This certificate, which proves you’ve never been confirmed yet, must be annotated with “For marriage purposes only.”
Submit the certificate to the church that will officiate your wedding. As per the current rule, those who have never been confirmed will receive confirmation from the church where the wedding will occur. If you will get married in your parish church, then the “Certificate of No Record” is not necessary.
c. Latest Copy of PSA Birth Certificate and Certificate of No Record of Marriage (CENOMAR)
You can secure these documents either online (recommended for those based abroad) or by going to the PSA (formerly NSO) office.
Most churches accept birth certificates as long as they are within 6 months from the date of issuance.
d. Canonical Interview
This is when you and your partner meet your church’s parish priest (or his assistant).
Request the church coordinator to have the interview scheduled 1 to 2 months before your wedding.
The parish may also send you a list of questions before the interview to give you more time to prepare. During the interview, the priest will explore your decision to get married by asking questions about your family background, how long you have known each other, and so forth.
e. Pre-Cana/Marriage Preparation Seminar
Because marriage is a lifelong commitment, this seminar is provided to help couples learn more about each other, resolve any issues before getting married, and gain insights into their future life together.
Topics may include parenting, sexuality, and family planning, among others. Although most parish churches conduct the seminar every month, you should still ask the church coordinator about the schedules to make sure you won’t miss it.
Some churches also recognize other independent organizations like Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE), Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), and Discovery Weekend Philippines (DW), which provide seminars or retreats for couples. If you attend seminars from any of these, you must submit attendance certificates as proof.
If either you or your partner is currently based abroad, a certificate of attendance from the local parish is enough.
Update: Due to the changes brought about by the pandemic, Pre-Cana or marriage preparation seminars are also now offered online. For more information, please inquire at your church.
f. Marriage Banns
These are written wedding announcements that will be posted on the bulletin boards of the couple’s respective parishes.
To obtain the marriage banns, both the bride and groom must know the specific name of their respective parish priest and the address of their parochial church.
After receiving this information, the wedding church will prepare a letter requesting the marriage banns.
The banns will be posted in the couple’s parishes for three consecutive weeks, which explains why you must complete the wedding requirements at least a month before the event.
Afterward, you can retrieve the letter from the parish office with a reply indicating that no impediments exist and that the wedding can push through. You will then submit this signed letter to the church where the wedding will occur.
g. List of Principal Sponsors and Entourage Members (a.k.a. “Ninongs” and “Ninangs”)
The copy of the wedding invitation along with the official list of entourage members should be submitted to the parish church where you’ll get married a week before your wedding date.
Ask the church for any restrictions or additional requirements before finalizing the list. Some churches only allow a maximum number of principal sponsors, and you may get fined if you go overboard.
The Manila Cathedral, for example, only allows a maximum of eight pairs of sponsors to make sure the wedding ceremony won’t exceed the allotted time.
Note that the names of the principal sponsors are important as they will be included in the marriage license.
h. Wedding or Marriage Permit
Also known as the Certificate of Freedom to Marry, this document may only be required for those abroad.
While CENOMAR is required before you can obtain a marriage license, the Certificate of Freedom to Marry is a requirement of the church itself.
You need to obtain it from the parish where you usually attend. Requirements and fees may vary from one parish to another, so contact your church abroad directly.
Some churches require couples to attend confession days before the wedding. Through this event, they will be forgiven and receive the most out of the sacrament.
j. 2 x 2 ID Size Pictures
You and your future spouse must have several copies as you will need them when applying for a marriage license and when processing other church requirements like Marriage Banns.
k. Other Requirements
- List of songs, if applicable.
- Permits for photographers and videographers, if applicable.
Note: If you have other questions, please get in touch with your city hall or church directly. Know the exact date and time when all the requirements will be released so you can plan your wedding hassle-free.
How To Get Married Secretly in the Philippines
Is secret marriage possible in the Philippines? If secret marriage means the parties contracted marriage without anyone knowing, then secret marriage is not possible and does not apply in the Philippines.
This is because under Art. 17 of the Family Code, the local civil registrar, where the parties are applying for a marriage license, is required to prepare a notice and post the same for ten consecutive days on a bulletin board outside the office located in a conspicuous place within the building and accessible to the general public. The notice contains the applicants’ names, addresses, and other data.
Likewise, during the marriage ceremony, your declaration that you take each other as husband and wife must be witnessed by at least two persons of legal age.
However, if secret marriage means you do not want to let your family and friends know you are getting married, then it might be possible if you live in a big city where no one knows you or each other or even your neighbors.
The Aftermath: How To Get a Marriage Certificate
A marriage certificate is an important document containing details of your marriage, signed by the couple and witnesses or all in attendance.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a marriage certificate “is a document that shows social union or a legal contract between people that creates kinship. Often formalized via a wedding ceremony, such a union may also be called matrimony.”
Fortunately, you can apply for a marriage certificate online and have it delivered anywhere in the Philippines or abroad in a few simple steps.
How To Get a Marriage Certificate in the Philippines: 7 Steps
1. Go to PSA online application website and select Click here to request now.
2. Read the Terms and Conditions and click I Accept.
3. Enter your name and contact details into the “Contact and Delivery Information” form.
In the Delivery address, you can choose the country and address where you want the marriage certificate to be delivered.
Once you’re done, click Next. A box will then appear summarizing all the information you’ve just entered. If everything is accurate, click Confirm.
4. Add a request by clicking the button that corresponds to Marriage Certificate.
5. Enter all the requested information in the designated boxes. If you’re requesting a marriage certificate, you need to provide the following information:
- The number of copies requested
- Husband’s name or wife’s maiden name
- Place and date of marriage
- Purpose of the request
Once you’re done, click Save.
6. Upon completing the online application, you will be issued a Batch Request Number and a corresponding Batch Reference Number.
When paying for all requests in a batch, indicate the Batch Request Number. If you’re only paying for a particular request, specify the Batch Reference Number.
As of this writing, the marriage certificate costs PHP 330 per copy, including government taxes, processing, and delivery. If you’re applying from another country, the cost is USD 20.30 per copy.
You may pay through the following accredited payment channels:
Delivery within the Philippines:
- Credit card.
- BDO Branches, Online Banking (BDO account holders only), and ATM (BDO account holders only).
- Unionbank Branches, Online Banking (Unionbank account holders only), and ATM (Unionbank account holders only).
- Bayad Center.
Delivery to other countries:
- Credit card.
- BDO Remit subsidiary offices and remittance partners abroad offering Kabayan Bills Bayad.
- Foreign correspondent banks.
7. Wait for your marriage certificate to be delivered.
The following are the estimated delivery times according to the delivery address:
- Metro Manila – 3 to 5 working days after payment
- Cities or provinces within the Philippines – 4 to 9 working days after payment
- Other countries: 6 to 8 weeks after payment
If you’re in the Philippines and you want to receive the marriage certificate within 1 to 2 days, you may apply in person at the nearest Census Serbilis Center. For those in other countries, a special courier service offers faster delivery.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the difference between a civil wedding and a church wedding in the Philippines?
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. A priest, pastor, or any religious leader can officiate church weddings, while a city or municipal judge or mayor can officiate civil weddings.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. Church weddings require couples to submit many 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.
e. Civil weddings are also less expensive compared to church weddings.
f. 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.
2. How much does a wedding cost in the Philippines?
Aside from the reception venue and the videography/photography team, a huge chunk of your budget will go to the catering service. There are also several small expenses that you have to consider like the legal documents needed for you to get married, souvenirs, and the glam team, to name a few.
Your wedding will fall under any of these three categories depending on your budget: low-range, mid-range, or high-range.
a. Estimated Cost of Church Wedding in the Philippines
These are the estimated costs of a church wedding (with around 150 guests) in the Philippines:
Groom’s attire – from Php 2,500 to Php 20,000
Legal marriage documents – from Php 3,000 to Php 6,000
Wedding cake – from Php 4,500 to Php 15,000
Wedding dress – from Php 5,000 to Php 50,000
Ceremony – from Php 7,000 to Php 25,000
Music – from Php 7,000 to Php 40,000
Favours and gifts – from Php 7,500 to Php 75,000
Hair, makeup, and beauty – from Php 7,500 to Php 30,000
Flowers – from Php 8,000 to Php 25,000
Entourage attires – from Php 8,000 to Php 22,000
Invitation – from Php 12,750 to Php 27,000
Wedding ring – from Php 15,000 to Php 60,000
Wedding planner – from Php 20,000 to Php 65,000
Honeymoon – from Php 20,000 to Php 50,000
Event photographer and videographer – from Php 35,000 to Php 130,000
Reception and décor – from Php 35,000 to Php 150,000
Catering – from Php 50,000 to Php 185,000
TOTAL COSTS – from Php 247,750 to Php 975,000
b. Estimated Cost of Civil Wedding in the Philippines
If you can’t afford a church wedding (yet), a simple civil wedding is a good alternative. A civil wedding is a popular option for couples who are on a tight budget and usually prefer to spend more on preparations for their life together, like starting a business or buying a house.
These are the estimated costs of a civil wedding (with 100 guests) in the Philippines:
Wedding photos – starts at Php 500
Wedding night hotel accommodation – starts at Php 800
Flowers – start at Php 1,000
Legal marriage documents – starts at Php 1,500
The wedding attire of couple – starts at Php 2,000
Wedding rings – starts at Php 3,500
Reception and catering – starts at Php 25,000
TOTAL COSTS – starts at Php 34,300
3. What is the difference between parental consent and parental advice? Can I use them interchangeably?
The main difference is in the age of the contracting parties to a marriage. It cannot be used interchangeably. If you are below 21 years old but not younger than 18 years old, you need to get parental consent. If you are between the ages of 21 and 25, you need to get parental advice. Both are required in applying for a marriage license.
Another difference is that failure to get parental consent renders the marriage voidable, while failure to get parental advice does not affect the validity of your marriage. Hence, if you fail to get parental consent before marriage, your parents or guardian can file a petition for annulment under Art. 45 (1) of the Family Code. But if, after reaching the age of 21, you have freely cohabited with the other party and both lived together as husband and wife, the defect is cured, and your parents can no longer file for a marriage annulment.
4. How can I get married in the Philippines to a foreigner?
Any person–local or foreigner–who has decided to get married in the Philippines must submit specific requirements. This guide will teach you the procedures and requirements needed to get married in the Philippines to a US citizen or any foreigner.
5. Can a lawyer officiate a wedding in the Philippines?
Yes, a lawyer can officiate a wedding in the Philippines, provided that the lawyer falls in any of the persons authorized by law to officiate a marriage.
Art. 7 of the Family Code provides that the following person can officiate a marriage in the Philippines:
a. Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction. It means that a judge in Quezon City cannot officiate marriage outside of Quezon City.
b. Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of a church or religious sect. Please note that they must be duly authorized to officiate marriage by their church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general. Please note that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect.
c. Any ship captain or airline chief only in cases between passengers or crew members in articulo mortis while the ship is at sea or the plane is in flight, or during stopovers at ports of call. In articulo mortis means at the point of death, a moment before death, or the person is about to die.
d. A military commander of a unit, who is a commissioned officer only in cases between persons in articulo mortis who are within the unit of military operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians.
e. A Consul-general, consul, or vice-consul in cases between Filipino citizens abroad.
All judges are lawyers, and many mayors in the Philippines are lawyers.
6. Can two foreigners get married in the Philippines?
Yes. Under Art. 21 of the Family Code9, two foreigners can get married in the Philippines provided they submit a document called “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” issued by their respective diplomatic or consular officials.
The Certificate is a requirement before a marriage license can be issued by the local civil registrar in the city or municipality in the Philippines where you will contract the marriage. In some countries where such a document is not issued, a substitute document can be submitted called “Affidavit in Lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.”
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 2021-00410, providing that the affidavit can now be notarized in the Philippines by a local Notary Public (no need for notarization at the embassy or consulate).
Please note that before getting married in the Philippines, foreigners should check with the laws of their home countries to see if marriage performed or celebrated abroad is recognized in their home country. Best to contact the respective embassies for details.
7. How can we apply for a marriage license if one or both of us work abroad (with limited vacation leaves)?
As you may already know, the marriage license application requires the personal appearance of both parties. OFWs, immigrants, and interracial couples abroad with limited vacation leaves are in a tricky situation because of two reasons:
a. The marriage license is issued 10 days from the time of application. Most couples unaware of this usually set their wedding dates in advance, with their paid leaves reserved only for the ceremony and the honeymoon.
b. Even if they can schedule a time to go back to the Philippines for the license application (e.g., during special holidays), there are instances when these leaves and the actual wedding date are months apart. It renders the license useless since it only has a 120-day validity period.
If your jobs abroad are preventing both of you from personally applying for a marriage license in the Philippines at the right time, you can try one of the following suggestions:
1. If you can move your vacation leave closer to your wedding date, please do so. By doing this, you will be able to secure the marriage license and use it within the 120-day validity period to get married anywhere in the Philippines. If this isn’t possible, try the next two alternatives.
2. Go to the nearest Philippine Embassy in your host country and have a civil union there. By doing so, you and your partner can be legally married (Consuls are allowed by law to officiate civil weddings abroad) without flying back to the Philippines to apply for a license. After the ceremony, you can tie the knot in a church anytime using your marriage certificate. Alternatively, you can also have a civil wedding abroad and then file a Report of Marriage at the Philippine Embassy so your marital union will be recognized by the Philippines. You can then use the PSA-authenticated Report of Marriage to have a church wedding in the Philippines.
3. If your vacation leave and your actual wedding date are several weeks or a few months apart, you can also try a civil wedding, this time doing it on Philippine soil. For example, let’s assume your wedding date is set in December, and the only time you and your partner can visit the Philippines is during your vacation in June. Assuming again that your vacation in June lasts for only 2 weeks, I recommend applying for the license as soon as you arrive. Then, use that marriage license to have a civil wedding officiated by a mayor or judge in your city/municipality. This way, you can be legally married and proceed with the church wedding later on without needing the license.
Although some places allegedly offer under-the-table negotiations for those who can’t personally apply for the license, I will never recommend it as an alternative.
By having a civil wedding before the church wedding, not only will your union be protected by both the law and the Church, but you’ll also get a workaround for the stringent rules of the marriage license application.
8. Who is exempted from getting a marriage license?
Under the Family Code of the Philippines, there are four instances when a marriage can be allowed despite the absence of a marriage license:
a. When either or both parties are on the verge of dying (marriage in articulo mortis).
In this case, the couple is no longer required to secure a marriage license, and the wedding ceremony can push through wherever they are.
If the marriage occurs inside the plane or ship, the pilot or captain can solemnize the wedding whether they’re in the middle of a flight/voyage or stopovers/ports of call.
The marriage can be between passengers or crew members.
The military commander of a unit can also serve as a solemnizing officer in marriages of articulo mortis between civilians or members of the armed forces within the zone of the military operation. The marriage of articulo mortis will remain valid even if the dying party subsequently survives.
It is the responsibility of the solemnizing officer to state in an affidavit executed before the local civil registrar (or any legal authority that administers oaths) the nature of the marriage.
He/she should also state that the couple is at the legal age and there’s no legal impediment to the said marriage. The officer should then send the original copies of both the affidavit and the marriage contract to the local civil registrar not later than 30 days after the marriage took place.
b. When no means of transportation prevents the couple from personally appearing before the local civil registrar.
Examples are Filipinos who live in poor and remote villages in the provinces.
Solemnizing officers are likewise obliged to state in an affidavit executed before the local civil registrar that the couple’s residence is located in a barrio or barangay with no means of transportation, hence preventing them from securing the marriage license.
The affidavit should also emphasize that the solemnizing officer ascertains that there’s no legal impediment to marriage and both parties are of marrying age.
The affidavit and the marriage contract must be forwarded by the solemnizing officer to the local civil registrar within 30 days after the marriage rites are performed.
c. When the marriage is between Muslims or members of ethnic-cultural communities.
A marriage license is unnecessary as long as the marriage is solemnized according to their rites, customs, or practices.
d. When the couple (man and woman) has lived together as husband and wife for at least five years.
Instead of getting a marriage license, the couple can write in an affidavit the circumstances surrounding their relationship.
On the other hand, the solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that the parties are old enough to get married, and there’s no legal impediment to the marriage.
9. Are live-in partners exempted from marriage license applications?
Yes, unmarried couples in the Philippines who have been living together as husband and wife for at least 5 years may be exempted from marriage license application as long as they meet the following conditions:
a. The man and woman must have been cohabiting as husband and wife for at least 5 years.
b. Both parties must be free from legal impediments preventing them from marrying each other.
c. The absence of a legal impediment between the parties must be presented at the time of marriage.
d. An affidavit stating that the couple has been living together for at least 5 years and is without legal impediments to marrying each other must be executed by both parties.
e. A sworn statement confirming the parties’ qualifications and that he didn’t find a legal impediment to the marriage must be executed by the solemnizing officer.
10. I’m a Catholic, but my partner is not. Can we still get married in a Catholic Church?
Yes. The Catholic church in the Philippines is open to mixed marriages/interfaith marriages/mixed-faith marriages. And contrary to popular belief, non-Catholics aren’t required to get baptized before getting married in a Roman Catholic church.
Couples with different religious beliefs can still get married in a Catholic church, provided that one of them is a Catholic and that they comply with the requirements requested by the church.
These requirements vary depending on religion.
A mixed marriage is one between a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian (e.g., Methodist, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, etc.).
A disparity of cult, on the other hand, is a marriage between a Catholic and non-Christian (e.g., Hindu, Buddhist, etc.). Please ask the church where you’re planning to tie the knot regarding the requirements and guidelines set for these types of marriages.
If you’re a non-Catholic Christian, for example, the church can grant you the freedom to marry by getting a clearance from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office at the Archbishop’s Office, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila. The said clearance can be obtained by submitting a Letter of Approval from the pastor or minister of your non-Catholic sect which will state that you’re qualified to get married and there’s no legal impediment preventing you to do so.
11. If a couple decides to have a civil wedding before a church wedding in the Philippines, is the latter considered a “renewal of vows”?
No. While both the civil wedding and church wedding in the Philippines are legally binding, the Roman Catholic church only considers valid those marriages done in the church.
Also known as Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the church wedding is officiated by a priest who unites the man and woman as one.
Therefore, “renewal of vows” is a ceremony in which couples renew or reaffirm their wedding vows previously made in a Catholic church.
If you previously got married through civil rites and then decide later on to tie the knot in the Catholic church, the latter is not technically considered a “renewal of vows.”
Couples who are civilly married don’t need to get married again in the church. Whether or not they want to have a more lavish church wedding is completely up to them. After all, one record of marriage is enough
12. We were already married in a civil ceremony but want to get married again, this time at a church wedding. How?
Even if you already had a civil marriage, all the requirements of a church wedding, except for CENOMAR and marriage license, will still apply to you.
Instead of the two documents mentioned, you’ll submit your marriage certificate since you already got married in civil rites. Our law dictates that whichever took place first, whether it’s a civil wedding or a church wedding, will determine the couple’s official date of marriage.
If you got married abroad, you have to submit your PSA-registered foreign marriage certificate with English translation, if applicable.
Here’s a quick guide to planning a church wedding even if you’re already married in a civil ceremony:
1. Submit the baptismal and confirmation certificates of both parties at least 3 months before the wedding or upon application (in some churches).
2. Submit your marriage certificate issued by the PSA. You don’t need to submit a marriage license since you’re already married civilly, but it’s best to still check with your respective parishes.
3. Both parties must attend a canonical interview at least two months before the church wedding. You’ll be given an interview schedule after paying the reservation fee when you submit your application.
4. After the canonical interview, you’ll be given a seminar schedule. Both parties have to attend a Pre-Marriage Seminar since it’s one of the requirements to hold a church wedding.
5. During the canonical interview, both parties will be given a form for the wedding banns. These will be brought to the couple’s respective churches and will be returned after announcing them for three consecutive Sundays.
6. Submit your birth certificates. CENOMAR is no longer needed if you’re already married civilly but it’s best to still check with your respective parishes. If one of you is a widow/widower, the Death Certificate of the previous spouse must be submitted.
7. Provide the names of your sponsors (ninongs or ninangs). Most churches have a minimum of 1 pair and a maximum of 12 pairs of sponsors.
8. Finally, your respective parish might require you and your partner to go to confession at least a week before the wedding.
13. If we are already civilly married and then decide to get married in the church, do we need to apply for a marriage license again?
A civil wedding is already considered valid and legally binding.
Therefore, there’s no need for you to apply for a marriage license again should you decide to tie the knot in the church.
Instead, get a Certified True Copy of your marriage contract/certificate from the PSA and submit it to the church two months before the wedding.
For out-of-the-country civil weddings, you may also present a marriage certificate from the country where civil marriage took place.
14. I just got married abroad. Do I need to report my marriage to the Philippine Embassy? Why and how?
You need to report your overseas marriage to the Philippine Embassy if you want your marriage to be recognized in the Philippines, have a record with the PSA, and to be able to change your name on your Philippine passport (for females) before it expires.
Report of marriage must be filed within 12 months from the date of marriage or it will be considered a delayed registration. To report your marriage, simply go to the Philippine Embassy of your current country of residence and submit the following documents (although some embassies might ask for additional requirements):
1. Duly-accomplished Report of Marriage Form (5 copies)
2. Foreign Marriage Certificate (1 original and 5 photocopies)
*If the marriage certificate is not in English, you should get an official English translation.
*If you got married in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, or Middle Eastern countries, the marriage certificate must be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country.
*If you got married in Nepal or India, the marriage certificate must be attested by the country’s Notary Public and the Ministry of External Affairs. It must also be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India in the Philippines.
3. Birth Certificate of both husband and wife (1 original and 5 photocopies)
*For Filipino citizens, Birth Certificate must be PSA-authenticated.
*For foreign nationals, Birth Certificate should have an English translation.
4. Passport data page of both parties (5 photocopies)
*Valid passport during the time of marriage and current valid passport must be included
*If the passport used during the time of marriage is unavailable, you can submit your current passport or valid ID, together with an Affidavit of Non-submission of Document.
*If you got married in US or Canada, submit any of the following documents: green card or permanent resident card, copy of the visa (if the purpose is tourist, leisure or business), and the working permit or job contract (if the applicant is employed during the time of marriage)
*Certificate of Naturalization (If the Filipino citizen acquired foreign citizenship after the marriage)
5. Recent passport-sized photos of both parties (5 pieces each)
6. Negative Certification of Marriage Record (Issued by the PSA)
7. Notarized Affidavit of Delayed Registration of Marriage (If the marriage took place over a year ago)
8. Notarized Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons (If the marriage took place over a year ago)
9. Consular fee of $25
10. If Filipino spouse is previously annulled: Marriage Contract with proper annotation (Issued by the PSA and DFA-authenticated)
11. If Filipino spouse is previously divorced: Copy of Divorce Decree or Certificate (Validated by the Regional Trial Court)
12. If Filipino spouse is widowed: Death Certificate of the previous spouse (Issued by the PSA) or Foreign Death Certificate
13. If foreign spouse is annulled or divorced: Copy of Foreign Decree or Decision
14. If foreign spouse is widowed: Death Certificate of the previous spouse
It must be noted that some Philippine Embassies allow applications to be submitted through a courier service.
15. We just got married. What should we do first after the wedding?
The work doesn’t end once the wedding ceremony’s over. Here’s a short but detailed post-wedding checklist to help you smoothly accomplish every single to-do as newlyweds:
a. Send thank-you notes to family and friends who made sure to be present on your wedding day. Express gratitude for the nice and thoughtful gifts that you have received.
b. Go on your honeymoon. Choose a destination that you both like and fits right within your budget. Take this time to enjoy being married before getting started on the long list of tasks to accomplish as newlyweds.
c. Sort your wedding photos and gifts from guests. Once you have received the official photos from your photographer, choose the ones that you want to include in your wedding album and video. When it comes to sorting gifts, you have to do this as early as possible so you can exchange or return duplicate items.
d. Get your marriage certificate. You can request it online or obtain it from your town or city hall.
e. Update your civil status and change your last name (for females). These are some of the legal documents and valid IDs that you need to update after getting married:
PRC ID & Account
Pag-IBIG ID & Account
SSS or GSIS ID & Account
TIN ID & BIR Tax Information
PhilHealth ID, Account & Dependents’ Information
Life Insurance Account & Beneficiary Information
f. Talk about your finances as a married couple. You can talk about your financial set-up at home, how you will save money together as well as future business ventures and investments.
- Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991). Metro Manila, Philippines.
- People of the Philippines vs. Bustamante, G.R. No. 11598 (Supreme Court of the Philippines 1959).
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Executive Order No. 209: The Family Code of the Philippines (1987). Manila.
- Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). (2021). Memorandum Circular No. 2021-04: Local or Philippine Notarization of Affidavits in lieu of Certificates of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. Quezon City, Philippines.
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Executive Order No. 209: The Family Code of the Philippines (1987). Manila.
- Marriage in the Philippines, 2016. (2018). Retrieved 25 July 2020, from https://psa.gov.ph/content/marriage-philippines-2016
- Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991). Metro Manila, Philippines.
- People of the Philippines vs. Bustamante, G.R. No. 11598 (Supreme Court of the Philippines 1959).
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Executive Order No. 209: The Family Code of the Philippines (1987). Manila.
- Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). (2021). Memorandum Circular No. 2021-04: Local or Philippine Notarization of Affidavits in lieu of Certificates of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. Quezon City, Philippines.