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Church or Civil Wedding?

wedding vows

Wedding Vows

Okay, so the guy has already proposed, perhaps on bended knee, and the girl has gleefully accepted. Perhaps, the man has already brought his entire family to the woman’s home for the traditional pamamanhikan. Everyone from both parties has already set a wedding date. Now lies the big question of whether the bride and groom would opt for the Church or Civil Wedding.

Philippine Marriage License

Before the couple decides on whether they want to have a Church or Civil Wedding, they must first obtain a Philippine Marriage License from the municipal hall. This may be secured by presenting the bride and the groom’s Birth Certificates authenticated by NSO, a written Parents Consent (if between 18-21 years old) or a Parent’s Advice (if between 22-25 years old), and Certificate of Attendance in a Pre-Marital counseling and Family Planning Seminar.

Church Wedding

Church Wedding

A Church Wedding requires longer preparation time. Several months before the wedding, you have to inquire and make reservations with the local parish you wish to be married in.

Aside from the marriage license, the bride and the groom will have to submit to the parish copies of their Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates. One month before the wedding date, the Bride and Groom are scheduled for a Canonical Interview conducted by the parish priest or his assistant. A schedule will also be provided for the bride and groom to attend a Pre-marriage seminar. It is also during the Canonical Interview that the couple will be provided with Wedding Banns for posting to the bride and groom’s respective parishes. One week before the wedding date, the couple should submit to the parish the list of their ninongs and ninangs. Church policy usually requires at least 1 sponsor, and ideally, a maximum of 6 sponsors.

Civil Wedding

The Family Code of the Philippines recognizes the authority of any incumbent member of the judiciary to solemnize marriages within his court’s jurisdiction. There are also cases wherein Mayors solemnize a civil wedding. The bride and groom should present their individual Birth, Barangay and Community Tax Certificates. The bride and groom are expected to comply with the dress code, that is, a white long-sleeved shirt or barong and dark pants for the groom, and the bride, a white dress with head crown.

Church versus Civil

Being a predominantly Christian Country, most would opt for a traditional church wedding. Most brides dream of having a Church Wedding. A bride is often envisioned to be wearing a long, white gown, her glowing face covered in veil as she marches in the aisle towards her groom. A bride is truly at her most beautiful on her wedding day.

Not everyone, however, could afford the lavish celebration that usually accompanies a church wedding. Those on the tight budget opt for the more practical civil wedding, where the celebration need not be extravagant.

There had been discussions on which of these two is more recognized in the Philippines. Perhaps the difference between the two lies in this: A civil wedding pronounces the union of the bride and groom before legal authorities, and is therefore recognized by the law. A church wedding is also a legal contract; But more than that, it is celebrated according to the teachings of the church, with God in the center of the ceremony.