The following are Church Requirements for a Catholic wedding in the Philippines:
1. Baptismal Certificate (6 months validity): You must request this from the Church where you were baptized. Ask the parish administrator to indicate that this is for marriage purposes. This certificate must have validity of 6 months from your wedding date. For example: if your wedding is December 30, the earliest date indicated in this certificate must be June 30 of the same year. It would help if you have your baptismal date for the church’s search reference.
2. Confirmation Certificate (6 months validity): You must request this from the Church where you were confirmed. If you were confirmed in school such as me, I requested the school to prepare a letter addressed to the Church stating I was confirmed on this date and in that same Church. Once you have the letter, you can proceed to the Church’s administration office and make the request. Same as number 1, you must indicate this is for marriage purposes and must have a validity of 6 months from your wedding date. You also might pay a processing fee.
3. Birth Certificate and Certificate of No Record of Marriage (CENOMAR): These certificates must be obtained from NSO (National Statistics Office) via NSO. Payments are P315.00 per copy for birth certificate and P415.00 per copy for CENOMAR. You can pay either through accredited banks or online. Click here for more information on payments. You will need this for the wedding church and for the marriage license application.
4. ID Pictures: Usually 2×2 and 1×1 for bride and groom. Refer to your church’s request for exact number and size.
5. Pre-Cana Seminar / Wedding Seminar: Marriage is a lifelong commitment the couple makes to each other. As part of the Catholic Church’s requirement, this aims to encourage engaged couples to learn more about each other in various aspects of their lives. The talks covered under the seminar would help the couple resolve some issues they may have prior to getting married. The seminar also gives guidance for the couple in their future life together. There are different organizations worldwide that conduct pre-wedding seminars. Most parish churches administer a seminar every month while other organizations have every weekend. Here are some suggestions where you can attend the seminar. You may have to book your reservation at least 4-6 months in advance due to limited slots.
a. Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM): Proceed to their schedule of cana seminars and reserve 1 slot for 1 couple. Price is P4,000.00 This is a first come first serve arrangement. Click CEFAM for more details. This is a two day live-out seminar, held on Saturday and Sunday.
b. Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE): This is a 3 day live-in seminar conducted by married couples and a Catholic priest. You can contact them through: firstname.lastname@example.org or 09178811151. Click here for more details.
c. Discovery Weekend Philippines (DW): This is also a a 3 day live-in program conducted by married couples under the Discovery Weekend Foundation Philippines. Click here for more details.
To be certain, please contact the office of the wedding Church you selected to ensure that these seminars are acceptable under their requirements.
6. Marriage Banns (posted on 3 consecutive Sundays): The banns are written wedding announcements posted in the couple’s respective parishes. The bride and groom must contact their parochial church to obtain the name of their parish priest and the address of the church. These information must be given to your wedding Church. They will prepare a letter requesting for the marriage banns. The banns are usually posted on 3 consecutive Sundays in the couple’s parishes. After posting, you can retrieve the letter from the parish office with a reply stating that no impediments were made. Submit the reply letters to your wedding Church.
7. Canonical Interview: The couple must meet the parish priest of the wedding church 1 month before the wedding. My husband and I met the parish priest on a weekday and he asked questions about our family background, how long we have known each other, if we were raised Catholics, and if we were truly certain of our decision. Hopefully at this point of the preparation process, the couple is almost certain that they will be married to each other and that this is a mutual decision they voluntarily made out of love.
8. Confession: The couple must attend confession prior to the wedding. The Catholic Church teaches us that marriage is a sacrament. For the couple to receive the most out of the sacrament and the supernatural grace we receive from marriage, they must attend confession days before the wedding. After confession, the couple is forgiven of their sins and they are now ready to receive even more grace through marriage. In my experience, my husband and I went to confession 2 days prior to our wedding day given that our big day was out of town. You may need to plot this in your calendar as you are expected to be busy during the week of your wedding.
9. List of entourage and Principal Sponsors: You may opt to give the parish office a copy of your wedding invitation with an entourage list. The names of the Principal Sponsors are very important as these will be listed in your marriage license.
10. Marriage License: This must be applied as a couple and must have a validity of 3 months.
a. 1×1 ID picture and valid ID
b. Birth Certificate
c. Personal appearance in your Municipal / City Hall
d. Certificate of single capacity to marry (if foreigner)
e. Certificate of wedding seminar
11. List of songs, if necessary
12. Church permit for photographer and videographer, if necessary
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