NEXT UP: The Church Procession
Before walking down the aisle and solemnly swearing, “I do”, a couple should be aware to say, “I did”, in fulfilling to secure and submit all the pertinentrequirements for marriage in this predominantly Catholic country, thePhilippines.
Since marriage is a lifelong and sacred commitment between lovingcouples centered towards God, not to mention that it is among the seven holysacraments, it entails mandatory requisites demanded by the Church. Primary ofwhich are the couple’s respective compliances on the sacraments of baptism andconfirmation. In any way, the Church only desires to certainly ensure that a soon-to-be-wedcouple should be much prepared for the right reasons and thoroughly drawn up toenter into the pledge of holy matrimony.
Below is a list of the comprehensive wedding requirements, specified by the majorityof Philippine Catholic churches. However, since specifications and requisitesmay vary, it is always prudent to verify such with the chosen wedding parish.
Comprehensive PhilippineChurch Wedding Requirements:
1. Certificates of Baptism andConfirmation: Couples should secure authenticated copiesof their baptismal and confirmation certificates, which must carry a validity of six (6) -months upon its issuance prior to the wedding date. These documents, processedunder a minimal fee, must be indicated and annotated for marriage purposes only.If either the groom or bride has a different religion, an official order of dispensationshall be obtained from the ArchdiocesanChancery Office.
· Certificate of Baptism— Thiscertificate shall be secured from the parish where eachwas baptized. It is better ifone remembered, or has noted his/her baptismal date, in order for the church tofacilitate search references inprocuring this document.
· Certificateof Confirmation—This certificate shall be procured from the church where one was confirmed.But, when one received his/her confirmation in school, the church’sadministration office requires a certification letter from the recipient’sschool affirming the acceptance of the act of confirmation.
2. ID Pictures:It is important to rather refer to the parish church about requirements for theexact size and number of ID pictures. Usually, the bride and groom shouldprepare ample copies of 2” × 2” and 1” × 1” ID pictures.
3. Certificates of No Record ofMarriage (CENOMAR) and Birth Certificate:These certificates are wedding prerequisites not only by the church, but alsoin applying for a marriage license. They are obtained from the NationalStatistics Office (NSO) with a processing fee of P415.00 for a CENOMAR print, and P350.00 for an authenticated copy of a birthcertificate. Payments can either be made online or through accredited banks toavoid the long queue at the bureau.
4. Marriage License:This specific license, which mustbe applied as a couple fromthe local civil registry of the current place of residence of either groom orbride, shall be obtained not more than 120 days before the wedding date. Thefollowing are the basic requirements for the application of a marriage license:
· validID’s and 1×1 ID pictures
· birthcertificates of bride and groom
· couple’spersonal appearance at the town or city hall
· weddingseminar certificate
Forcouples married under civil laws and wish to renew their vows with a churchwedding, the applicant couple must submit an authenticated copy of theirmarriage contract with the civil registry numberof the area where their wedding was held.
Forwidows, they must submit a copy of the death certificate of their deceasedspouse.
Fordivorcees, they must submit the Declaration of Nullity certificate annunciatedby the Catholic Memorial Tribunal.
Forforeigners, additional certifications and clearances are requested. One mustsubmit a Freedom to Marry certificate;a Certification of Singularity; and, an Archdiocesan Chancery Office clearance permittingto marry.
5. Wedding Seminar or Pre-Cana Seminar:Pre-marriage seminars,which urge an engaged couple of knowing each other better to resolve any issuesbefore making the holy vow and to guide them towards their married life, areconducted by either relevant organizations or the parish church. Attendance isa must, and a certificate for requirement purposes is given upon completion. However,due to certain problems arising from a couple’s compromising schedules, choiceof seminar program, and limited slots, it is best to refer first to thechurch’s office on the accredited seminars, as well as to book reservations inadvance.
5. Canonical Interview:The parish priest, or his deputy, conducts a canonical interview about theengaged couple’s mutual and willful decision of getting married. This interviewwill be scheduled by the churchcoordinator from one to two months prior to the wedding date.
6. Permission from the Couples’Parish or Marriage Banns: The bride and groom shalleach secure a permit from their respective parochial churches, and submit it to the church office of their chosenceremony venue, which will provide for the marriage banns— written weddingannouncements posted on the bulletin boards of their parishes for three (3)consecutive Sundays. Thereafter, these banns should be returned to the churchwedding venue, disclosing the absence of hindrances and restraints.
7. Confession: Thecouple must fulfill the sacrament of confession aweek before the wedding. This Catholic requirement prepares the forgiven coupleto receive more spiritual graces through their incoming sacrament of marriage. Confessionmust be marked on the couple’s schedule midst the tight and busy week beforethe ceremony.
8. List of Entourage and PrincipalSponsors: A week before the wedding rite, the weddingparish office shall be furnished a copy of the couple’swedding invitation, or a complete list of the entourage, including their principalwedding sponsors, whose names will be listed in the marriage license. However, beforefinalizing the list and to avoid penalties, the couple must refer with the weddingparish regarding the admissible number of principal sponsors and all the otherrestrictions or additional requisites for the entourage.
9. Miscellaneous Requirements: Mostchurches require a permit for the use of a videographer and photographer. Somechurches would like to have a copy for the list of matrimonialsongs to be played. These requirements have been commonly necessary nowadaysfor the proper coordination, flow of ceremonial procedures,and outcome of the wedding rite.
As good Christian followers under the Philippine setting, uncompromising faith andsound time management are the only keys towards strictly accomplishing all thesechurch-wedding requirements— basic, standard and miscellaneous. And, by simplyfollowing these requisites, a couple definitely leaves no room for snitches andcomplications arising at the last minute. After all, a couple’s wedding must becherished forever as the most memorable affair in their romantic life.
NEXT UP: The Church Procession