How to Obtain a Marriage License in the Philippines?
A marriage license is a government document that allows you and your partner to get married anywhere in the Philippines. While you’re generally allowed to marry whoever you want, there are a few people you are legally not allowed to marry. By undergoing the process of getting a marriage license, your local registrar can verify that you’re not marrying:
- A person of the same biological sex (same-sex marriage is still banned in the Philippines)
- Someone younger than 18 years old
- Without parental consent (if you and/or your partner are 18 to 21 years old)
- Without parental advice (if you and/or your partner are 22 to 25 years old)
- A close blood relative (or anyone related to you up to a 4th degree of affinity)
- Someone who is already married
While your wedding planner can help you organize the documents and schedule getting your marriage license, you and your partner will have to personally show up at the local civil registrar in the town or city where either or both of you live. Your wedding planner cannot also pick up the marriage license after 10 days, though either you or your partner can pick it up.
To file for a marriage license, you’ll need:
- Marriage license application form
- Valid IDs (at least one valid ID between you and your partner must prove you are a resident in the city/town where you are applying)
- Community tax certificates (CEDULA)
- PSA Birth Certificate
- Certificate of No Marriage (for those who have never been married)
- Recent ID pictures
If you or your partner is 18 to 21 years old, you will either need notarized affidavit of parental consent and a copy of their valid ID or have your parents personally appear in front of the registrar with their valid ID to give consent.
If either of you are 22 to 25 years old, you will either need notarized affidavit of advice from a parent and a copy of their valid ID or have a parent physically present.
Couples under the age of 24 are required to attend a family-planning seminar. The registrar will advice where and when you can attend this.
All you’ll need to do is submit the list of requirements and then return in 10 days to claim your marriage license. Your license is valid for 120 days, so it’s best to get it up to four months before your wedding day. This license is a requirement for churches if you’re looking to book them.
Who Can Legally Officiate a Wedding?
Only the following may officiate a wedding:
- A minister of any church or religious sector granted the authority to solemnize a marriage
- Municipal and City Mayors
- Judges (only within their jurisdiction)
- Supreme Court Justices
The following can also officiate a wedding, but only in cases where time is of the essence and one of the marrying parties is at the point of dying:
- Military commander
- Airplane pilot
- Captain of a ship
When is the peak wedding season in the Philippines?
Peak wedding season in the Philippines is on January, February, June, and December. These are the months when most couples get married. Not only does it mean that you’ll be racing to reserve venues and vendors with other couples, but it also means that vendors are likely to charge more during peak season because of the high demand.
So, if you really insist on getting married during these months, expect the prices to be higher and, if you can, book at least 12 months in advance to ensure you get the vendor you want. But if you’re willing to be flexible and can schedule your wedding outside of these dates, you’ll find it less difficult to find an available supplier and the costs relatively lower.
Should I hide that it’s a wedding from my vendors if possible?
It’s a given fact that “Wedding Markups” exist. This is the term used when vendors charge more for weddings than they do for other events. For example, Bride.net performed an experiment in Melbourne and Sydney where they called vendors twice. The first time to pose as a bride looking for quotations for her wedding; the second time was as a woman planning her 40th birthday. The result was over half the vendors charged more for the wedding than the birthday even if what they were asking for was the same thing. Vox also came to the same result when they tried a similar experiment.
While there’s no definitive proof that wedding markups exist in the Philippines, you might have noticed how, like the vendors seen in the Vox video, some Filipino vendors are unwilling to post their prices upfront. You might have even heard stories about vendors trying to charge more for weddings.
A friend once told me a story about his buddy who ordered a cake for his wedding claiming it was for a family get-together. When the vendor delivered the cake and discovered it was a wedding, the vendor insisted that there was a different price for weddings and he needed to pay extra. The guy refused, pointing out that the job was done, the cake was delivered, and the contract was signed, and nothing in the contract stated anything about paying more because of the event.
Knowing about the wedding markup, you might be tempted to do the same as the guy and hide the fact that your event is a wedding until the last minute that they find out it’s a wedding. While you might be tempted to do that to save a few thousand, here’s why you shouldn’t.
In a country like the Philippines where divorce is not possible, getting married is a once in a lifetime thing (I know you could get married after being widowed, but the chances of outliving your spouse, finding a second partner and getting married after so long is a huge what-if). If there’s one day where you get to splurge, let it be on your wedding and get the best that you and your partner (and possibly your families) can afford.
There’s also the fact that, to vendors, handling wedding clients are totally different from clients hosting other events like birthdays or corporate events. For example, a florist providing flowers for a business conference has a lot of flexibility and, as long as they provide what was ordered, they get their job done. A birthday celebrant is more particular, but not so much as a bride because they have other birthdays they can celebrate.
But due to a wedding’s once-in-a-lifetime nature, wedding clients can be more demanding and high-maintenance and have more expectations. As such, a florist would have to have longer meetings with the bride regarding her bouquet and every floral décor in the wedding. And though the flowers they would use for other clients are roughly the same, the more time and effort they put on a wedding client inclines them to charge more.
Author: Justine Lubag
Justine loves costumes, puns, horror films, and blue dresses. A literature graduate from the south, she writes online content for a living but is super shy about others reading her fan fiction.