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How to Get Married in the Philippines: A List of All the Wedding Requirements You’ll Need

Just got engaged and about to marry? Congrats! You are about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of your life. However, before you get to the actual wedding, there is some tedious planning ahead of you. Unfortunately, unlike in international movies, getting married here in the Philippines is not as easy as just showing up in a Las Vegas chapel, on a whim, and right there and then be married by an Elvis Presley impersonator. Nope. Here in the Philippines, you have to get a marriage license ahead of your wedding, among other requirements that depend on whether you’re doing a civil wedding or a church wedding.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the steps on how to get a marriage license, the requirements for a church wedding, and the requirements for a civil wedding. But first, let’s cover this quickly — which individuals are allowed to marry in the Philippines anyway?

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Olivia Bauso UnsplashImage: Olivia Bauso via Unsplash

Who Can Get Married in the Philippines?

The Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209) states that, for a Filipino to marry, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Contracting parties must be a male and a female
  • The marrying parties must consent to the union in their own free will, in front of a wedding officiant
  • Parties must be at least 18 years old. For those who are 18-20 years old, a notarized parental consent is required
  • If an individual is 21-25 years old, a notarized parental advice is required
  • Parties should not be blood relatives up to fourth degree
  • Both parties should be legally free to marry. I.e., they should not be presently married unless they are widowed, divorced, or annulled

Moreover, for a marriage to be considered legal, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • Should have the authority of a solemnizing officer (in other words, the wedding officiant like a priest, minister, judge, mayor, or any other legal officiant)
  • The couple should have a valid marriage license
  • There should have been a marriage ceremony where the following people are present: the couple, the officiant, and at least two witnesses who are of legal ages. In the ceremony, the couple should make the vocal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife.

How to Get a Marriage License

Whether you’ve decided to have a civil wedding or a church wedding, this marriage requirements will be needed either way and is one of the most important — a marriage license. To apply for a marriage license, you can head to the local civil registrar at the municipality or city where one of you resides. Take note, though, that once you get your marriage license (which can take about two weeks or more), you must get married within 120 days.

Here are the documents you need to bring to the local civil registrar to apply for your marriage license. Take note that the requirements are for each of you and your partner:

And some additional requirements if you fall under the following categories:

  • If you are aged 18-21 years old: a notarized Parental Consent
  • If you are aged 22-25 years old: a notarized Parental Advice
  • If you were previously married:
    • Death Certificate (if widowed)
    • Judicial Decree of Absolute divorce (if divorced)
    • Judicial Decree of Annulment or Declaration of Nullity of Previous marriage (if annulled)
  • If you are a foreigner: a Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (further requirements for this depends on your embassy)

Requirements for a Catholic Church Wedding

There are different kinds of churches that can marry you and your partner based on your religion, but in this article, we will be covering the requirements for a Catholic church wedding. Aside from taking care of the reservation and booking of your chosen Church venue, here are the requirements you need to prepare:

  • Marriage License (which we discussed earlier how to obtain)
  • New Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates, which you and your partner can get where you were baptized and confirmed. These certificates should have an annotation that indicates they’re “For Marriage Purposes Only.” Take note these certificates are only valid for six months after they’re issued and that these need to be submitted two to three months before the wedding
  • Barangay Certificate for Marriage, which will be required when attending a pre-marriage counseling seminar or, in some cases, for a marriage license as well
  • Wedding or Marriage Permit (or Certificate of Freedom to Marry), which will be issued by your local parishes and will have to be submitted to your church venue
  • Canonical Interview or Pre-Nuptial Investigation by the Priest In-Charge, wherein you and your partner will be called in by the parish for an interview.
  • Certificate of Attendance from the Pre-Marriage Seminar, which you obtain after attending, Your Pre-Marriage Seminar is usually scheduled during your canonical interview.
  • Marriage Ban. The form for this should be provided during your canonical interview. Take those forms to both your local parishes for posting, and then returned to your church venue after three Sundays.
  • A new copy of your Birth Certificate, which you can get online at the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Serbilis website
  • CENOMAR, which you can also get online at the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Serbilis website
  • Confession, which some churches require
  • A list of at least two (2) Principal Sponsors for your wedding

Requirements for a Civil Wedding

Another option for your wedding is to do a civil wedding. Whether it’s for the sake of practicality, such as wanting to stay within a limited budget, or simply a matter of preference (maybe you or your partner are not religious at all), marrying civilly is a completely legitimate and legal option. If this is the route for you, there are a couple of things for you to consider. We’ve already discussed the all-important Marriage License, but there are some other things to account for.

There are fewer requirements needed for a civil wedding, though, and much of these requirements we’ve already covered. Here are the things you need when planning a civil wedding:

  • At least 2 valid IDs of the Couple during Personal Appearance
  • Certificate of Attendance in Pre-Marriage Counseling
  • PSA Birth Certificate
  • CENOMAR
  • Marriage License Application Form
  • Barangay Certificate
  • Community Tax Certificate
  • 1×1 picture
  • If you are aged 18-21 years old: a notarized Parental Consent
  • If you are aged 22-25 years old: a notarized Parental Advice
  • If you are widowed: Death Certificate of the deceased spouse
  • If you are divorced: Judicial Decree of Absolute divorce
  • If you are annulled:
    • Certificate of Registration from Civil Registrar for registration of the Annulment Papers
    • Certificate of Finality of Annulment issued by the Court
  • If you are a foreigner:
    • Passport
    • Copy of your latest Philippine arrival stamp
    • Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry (which can be obtained from your embassy)
    • Naturalization Paper (if naturalized)
    • Divorce Decree (if divorced)
    • Death Certificate of the deceased spouse (if widowed)

Post-Wedding: How to Get a Marriage Certificate

Got married? Congrats! You got through most of the legal wedding stuff that needed to be taken care of. There’s one last document you need to obtain, though. You’ll need your Marriage Certificate, which is proof that a marriage between you and your spouse took place. This is especially important for changing your civil status in legal documents, declaring your marriage for any purpose, and for ladies when changing their last names.

Your wedding officiant should take care of this after your wedding. They will submit copies of your signed marriage contracts to the local civil registry at the municipality or city where the wedding took place. After that, the waiting game begins. It can take a few weeks to a few months before you can get a Certified True Copy of your Marriage Contract. There are two ways you can get a copy:

  • One is through the local civil registry where your marriage contract was submitted. Bring a valid ID for this. You will also be asked to fill out an application form for getting your marriage contract and pay a fee, which varies per local civil registry.
  • The second is through the PSA. You can either visit any PSA Serbilis centers located around the Philippines for this, or you could just apply for it online (the more convenient option, obviously). You can view the PSA Serbilis locations here, or you can request your marriage certificate at PSA Serbilis online here.

And that’s it! These are the requirements you need to prepare when getting ready for the big day and after. The road to your wedding day might be a little stressful, but with some organization, careful planning, and support between you and your partner, everything is going to be just fine. Best of all, know that it’s going to be so, so worth it.

Happy wedding planning!

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