Before the pandemic, 431,972 couples tied the knot in 2019. Since 2020, civil weddings have become a popular option for couples who have had to postpone their weddings or go through countless hassles like refunding downpayments.
The first half of 2021 has also seen varying degrees of lockdowns that have caused brides and grooms to stress over changing health protocols and number of guests allowed in churches and reception venues.
Unlike church weddings, civil weddings are small in nature, easier to plan and schedule, and less expensive. Because of health measures mandated by the IATF and Department of Health (DOH), most municipalities and cities around the Philippines are only allowed to accommodate six to 10 people during the ceremony.
According to Bride and Breakfast, when planning a civil wedding, couples have to obtain and do the following:
Decide who will officiate your wedding. Civil weddings may be officiated by city or municipal mayors or judges.
Decide where it will take place. It could be at the City or Municipal Hall but couples can also opt for their preferred venues.
Apply for a marriage license. This is very important! Couples can file an application at the Civil Registrar’s Office in the municipality or city where they live.
In Quezon City, for example, pplicants need to attend Family Planning Seminar (Quezon City Health Department) and Guidance Counseling & Responsible Parenthood (Social Services Development Department) and submit certificate/s before the release of marriage license.
Since COVID-19 is still present and a must to attend seminars and pre-marriage counselings when acquiring a marriage license, some municipalities and cities have opened online seminars. Check whether yours offers this kind of service since some only have face-to-face seminars with minimal slots available.
Pay the necessary fees. Fees differ from city to city. In Quezon City, for example, applicants ned to pay at the City Treasurer’s Office cashier the following fees: marriage License application form–P50; filing fee—P100; marriage license—P100.
The city’s website also features a checklist for couples of marriageble age (18 for male and female): marriage license application form, identification card bearing applicant’s residential address, birth or baptismal certificates of both applicants, community tax certificate (cedula), one ID photo of both applicants.
Pick a date for your wedding. It’s essential that you find a date and book a civil wedding as soon as possible once you obtain the marriage license because it is valid for only four months (120 days).
Have at least two witnesses to accompany you. Make sure that the chosen witnesses are available on the day of your wedding. Choose to have some backups, just in case.
Whether your long-awaited wedding venue is under GCQ or MECQ, make sure all your plans comply with health protocols—and your witnesses and guests should be reminded of these to avoid stress on you wedding day.