Getting married is a life-changing decision. Because it marks another chapter in the life of a person, a wedding entails a lot of preparation, including consultations with family and other loved ones, and every small detail of this important event. Couples who are not ready yet for a church wedding often times opt for a civil wedding first, where a judge or a mayor declares them husband and wife in the eyes of the law.
There are several requirements for civil wedding in the Philippines, which some couples prefer over a church wedding because it is cheaper and more convenient to hold.
Requirements for Civil Wedding in the Philippines
If you want to get first before the court or at the town or city hall, there are some requirements that you and your partner will have to prepare. These are mostly documents that are needed for a civil wedding in the Philippines, and can easily be obtained if you are diligent and patient in going mostly to government offices.
Here is the checklist of the requirements for civil weddings in the Philippines:
- Baptismal or Birth Certificates
- Community Tax Certificates
- Certificate of Attendance to Pre-Marriage Counseling Seminar
- Letter of Intent to Marry
- Marriage License
- Application Form
- Photos of Bride & Groom
Baptismal or Birth Certificates
Among the basic documents needed for civil weddings in the Philippines are the birth or baptismal certificates. Technically, all Filipino citizens who were born in the Philippines have birth certificates, stating a person’s complete name, parents’ names, and other details of his or her birth. Despite the importance of this document, however, it is often lost, misplaced or destroyed because of various reasons.
If you are planning to hold a civil wedding and you do not have a birth certificate, there is no need to fret. Getting a certified true copy of birth certificates is very easy nowadays, thanks to modern technology. All you have to do is go to the website of the National Statistics Office, www.e-census.com.ph and request copies of your birth certificate there. These documents can also be delivered straight to your home for a reasonable fee.
Another option for Roman Catholics is to submit a baptismal certificate instead. You may get your baptismal certificate from the office of the parish church where you were baptized.
Community Tax Certificates
Another document required for civil weddings in the Philippines is the community tax certificate, or more popularly known as cedula. As the name suggests, this document is obtained from local residents who pay taxes and who are above 18 years old. The community tax certificate can easily be requested from barangay or municipal halls. The groom or the bride just has to present a valid identification card, accomplish an application form, pay the required amount and then wait for the community tax certificate to be issued.
Certificate of Attendance to Pre-Marriage Counseling Seminar
This certificate is also a prerequisite for civil weddings in the Philippines. Couples who plan on getting married before a court or before town mayors need to attend a pre-marriage counseling seminar, usually facilitated by social welfare and health offices in the municipalities. Schedules of the seminars differ per municipality, so it is best to inquire first about them in appropriate offices. These seminars usually take six hours, and both the bride and the groom need to attend these together. The certificates of attendance will be issued right after the conduct of the seminar. Couples are advised to attend the pre-marriage counseling seminar at least a month before their wedding dates.
Letter of Intent to Marry
A letter expressing the bride and groom’s intention to marry each other is also among the requirements for civil wedding in the Philippines. The letter should be addressed to the local judge or the city or municipal mayor, depending on whom will solemnize the marriage. This document should list the names of both parties who would like to get married. The letter should also be signed by both parties.
It is also advisable that the couple states their planned wedding date on the letter of intent to marry. There is no assurance, however, that this date will be approved, and the judge or the mayor has the prerogative over the final wedding date. Sometimes, the judge even raffles off the wedding date if there are many couples who want to get married on that date.
One of the major requirements for civil wedding in the Philippines is the marriage license. This document must be requested by both the bride and the groom from the local civil registry of the city, town or municipality of their permanent address. Couples should expect 10 working days to process applications for a marriage license.
Certain documents must also be produced for the application for a marriage license. A birth certificate or baptismal certificate, certificate of attendance in a pre-marriage counseling seminar, community tax certificate, barangay clearance, 2 1 x 1 photos and an application form all need to be submitted.
These are just some of the requirements for civil wedding in the Philippines. Aside from these documents, the couple also needs to submit identification card photos. Additional requirements also need to be submitted by special cases; for instance, foreigners who will marry Philippine citizens need to submit a copy of their passports, and a certificate of legal capacity to marry from their respective consular offices and embassies.
It is of utmost importance to prepare these documentary requirements way ahead of the wedding date, to ensure that the couple can leave happily ever after, without any hassle.