Congratulations on your engagement!
Now that you have found the one, you want to give her the sun, the moon and that dream wedding she had been fantasizing since childhood.
Getting married in the Philippines may look overwhelming for someone who is not familiar with the process but it is pretty simple. Just make sure to bring a pen, a fan, an umbrella and a little bit of patience than usual.
First, you can only legally marry in the Philippines if you are at least 18 years old and you do not have any legal impediments such as a previous marriage unless that marriage is already annulled, divorced or you are a widow.
The Philippines do not allow same sex marriage either.
You and your partner need to gather several documents before you can proceed with your dream wedding:
Affidavit of Parental Consent
Affidavit of Parental Advice
Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) or Certificate of Singleness
Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)
Certificate of Attendance in a pre-marriage counselling, family planning, and responsible parenthood seminar
- Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates
Community Tax Certificate or CEDULA is issued in the Barangay or Municipal hall where your fiancé resides.
Barangay Clearance is issued in the Barangay hall
At least 2 valid IDs.
Recent 1 x 1 photo (colored or black and white).
Marriage license application form you can get this from your Barangay hall or Municipal hall.
Original birth certificates issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) can be requested online and paid thru in person or online thru Banco De Oro and Union Bank in the Philippines. Credit card payments are also accepted for those abroad.
Birth certificates may be delivered right at your doorsteps in 3-5 working days for Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. Other areas in the Philippines and abroad would take a few more days or weeks.
Get your birth certificate through e-Census.
If you need to get your Australian birth certificate, visit Australia.gov.au. It will direct you to a list or registries per state and regional governments.
You need a passport to travel to the Philippines and it will also serve as your ID for various transactions you might be doing while you are here.
You need to present a letter of consent from the father, mother, surviving parent or guardian if you and/or your partner is between ages 18-21 years old.
If you or your partner is between ages of 22 – 25 years old, you need a notarised written parental advice to show that your parents/guardian know of your intent to marry.
This document is issued from NSO through e-Census. It is simply proof that you have not been married to anyone before.
This document is similar to the Australian equivalent of CENOMAR. You can get it by dropping by the Australian Embassy in Manila
Australian Embassy Manila
Level 23-Tower 2 RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Telephone: +63 2 757 8100
Facsimile: +63 2 757 8344
Only CNIs issued by the Australian Embassy in Manila that is no more than 6 months prior to the date of marriage will be considered valid to undergo a legal form of marriage in the Philippines.
You can apply for CNI in person or lodge your application by mail/courier addressed to the Consular Section.
CNI is not a requirement under Australian law.
These seminars are necessary before you get married. There is no use pushing the date for your attendance in these unless you want to attend to all of them the day before you get married.
Besides, if you are so wrapped up with the wedding itself, these seminars would really help put perspective on what marriage, family and parenting really means.
Pre-marriage counselling is conducted by the Church or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Family planning and responsible parenthood seminars are conducted by the health department of your municipal/city hall.
Be sure to check the seminars schedules available.
These documents are necessary if you are planning to have a Church wedding.
You can request a copy of your confirmation certificate in the church where you were you had the sacrament. The copy should be annotated “for marriage purposes only.”
It costs a minimal amount, and you may have to wait for a few days to get it back.
If you have not received the sacraments, check if there is a Baptism or Confirmation schedule available before your wedding date.
There are churches in Manila that regularly hold the sacrament of confirmation for individuals who have not received it yet.
Also, note that church offices are closed on Mondays.
Other additional documents
For those who had been married before, obtain a Certificate of Finality of Annulment or Divorce from the court and Certificate of Registration from the Local Civil Registrar.
If widowed, acquire a copy of the Death Certificate of deceased spouse.
Check our Wedding Document Checklist
Getting a Marriage License
Most of the documents listed above are required to get a marriage license. Go to your fiancés Barangay or Municipal Hall with the both of your:
✔ Birth certificates (1 original and 2 photocopies of your)
✔ Parent’s consent/advice
✔ CENOMAR (1 original and 1 photocopy)
✔ Certificates of Attendance (pre marriage seminars)
✔ CEDULA (1 original and 2 photocopies)
✔ Barangay Certification or Barangay Clearance (1 original and 1 photocopy)
✔ At least 2 valid IDs
Australian nationals need to submit
✔ Passport (2 photocopies)
✔ IDs (2 photocopies)
✔ Latest date of arrival (2 photocopies)
✔ Certificate of No Impediment (1 original and 1 photocopy)
Again, if you had been married before, bring documents that would prove you are already free to marry again.
Attach all the documents above, complete the marriage license application form, and submit to the officer in charge.
Do not forget to your claim slip and come back approximately after 10 days.
The marriage licence is only valid for 120 days.
Having a Church Wedding
Having a Church wedding is usually grand, elegant and most certainly not cheap.
Although there is a huge difference in booking big historical Cathedral Churches versus the small, lesser-known ones.
Also, you need to book popular churches at least a month before the wedding, some venues would even be fully booked a year before the wedding date.
If you plan to marry in a church then visit your chosen church carrying the following documents:
✔ Marriage license
✔ Baptismal and confirmation certificates
✔ Certified NSO birth certificate
✔ Certificate of No Record of Marriage
✔ Certificate of No Impediment
✔ List of principal sponsors and entourage members
✔ ID pictures
✔ List of songs (if applicable)
✔ Permits for photographers and videographers (if applicable)
You would also need to undergo
✔ Pre-Cana/Marriage preparation seminar
✔ Canonical interview
Your chosen church will also give you a letter requesting for marriage banns. You need to submit the banns to your respective parish so they can post your names in the bulletin board announcing your marriage for three consecutive weeks.
After that, you may retrieve the letter from your parish office with a statement coming from them that you do not have any impediments and that the wedding can push through.
Having a Civil Wedding
A civil wedding can be an alternative if you are looking for convenience. It is often faster and more affordable as well.
An RT court judge or the city Mayor conducts civil weddings.
You will need to bring:
✔ Marriage license
✔ Birth and/or Baptismal Certificate
✔ 1 ID photo for each applicant
✔ Certificate of Attendance (pre-marriage seminars)
✔ Letter of Intent to Marry
✔ Photocopy of passport showing identification details
✔ Photocopy of passport showing date of arrival
In addition, documents showing that you are free to remarry are also needed.
Bring all these documents to the Civil Registrar’s office to apply and pay for appropriate fees. Make sure you are dealing with legitimate staff of the Civil Registrar’s office.
Proceed to the Mayor’s office and submit your Marriage License and Letter Of Intent to Marry.
Wait for the confirmation of your suggested wedding dates. Civil marriages are usually conducted in the city hall court unless allowed to hold it in a different venue.
Have at least two people to stand as witness to your union. If one of you is below 18, a parent or guardian’s presence is required.
On your wedding day, pay the filing fee so that your marriage contract will be forwarded to the local civil registrar.
You can request your marriage certificate form NSO through e-Census in 1-2 months after your wedding.
Aside from the legalities and all the preparation details, you might want to know some Filipino wedding traditions to woo your fiancée’s family too.
“Pamamanhikan” is an old tradition in the Philippines that is still observe in the country although it may not be as strictly followed as it was before.
After the engagement, the groom and the groom’s family meets with his fiancée and her family in the latter’s house. This is done to formalise the marriage proposal.
If bride’s family agrees to accept the marriage proposal then both families proceed to talk about the wedding details.
Usually, the groom and his family are the ones who bring food over to the bride’s house during a pamamanhikan.
Weddings are a happy occasion but the preparations involve may be stressful at times. Make it a point to experience every step together and treat it as your pre married life exercise.
Enjoy every step, laugh at every experience and savour each moment. This is just the beginning of your life together.
Stay happily in love with each other.
Special thanks to VisaExpat.com for the main image.