3 Legal Prerequisites for Getting Married

After all the fanfare of the wedding proposal and bookmarking pegs for your dream wedding, one of the most crucial parts of wedding planning is, of course, complying with the legal documents. It can be quite tricky since most of the documents are time-sensitive, but once you are aware of what you need to accomplish, it will really save you and your fiancé precious time and money in securing these documents!

We know the planning and preparation stage will get you excited more than anything, but we have to reiterate that your wedding documents are essential. (Read: Your dream wedding isn’t gonna happen if you miss even just one requirement.) Here’s a guide from Arbee Panga and Cece Mariano of Kiss the Girl Events to make sure you are legally ready to get married.

 

1. Get copies of your birth certificates. In this day and age, you can secure your NSO-certified birth certificate online. Consider this as your golden ticket to jumpstart your wedding planning, since this will further verify you, your fiancé, and even your parents’ correct names. You wouldn’t want your name to be misspelled on your marriage certificate, right?

 

2. Secure a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR). For those who are not yet civilly wed, you will also need to request for your Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR. As the name implies, the certificate is issued to verify that you or your fiancé hasn’t had any form of marriage previously. Get a hold of this not more than six months before the wedding date. Both you and your fiancé will also need to request a copy of this via the NSO helpline. This document is only valid for six months, so make sure you don’t apply too early!

 

3. Finalize your wedding details then sign. Once everything is finalized (wedding date, ceremony venue, etc.), it’s time to head to the local civil registry of your town or your fiancé’s town to apply for your marriage license. It is the last and most crucial document that you need to process in order for you to make your union state-official. You and your fiancé will need to appear together during the application for this. It is best to inquire with the local government you are under to ensure a stress-free application.

It is important to note that the marriage license is valid only for 120 days (four months) including the date of your wedding, so you have to schedule it properly with you and your fiancé. Government offices are only open during weekdays, so if you’re working, you will need to take a day off to process your marriage license. Make sure you don’t apply too early, but don’t apply too close to the wedding day either because it might not be released in time.

Tip: Come in early. Most cities require Family Planning and pre-wedding seminars for all applicants so it’s best to allot half your day at your City Hall when you apply. Fees for the marriage license varies per city so best to bring extra cash.

You can opt to send a representative to pick up your marriage license–don’t forget to issue an authorization letter with a copy of your valid ID. The lead time for obtaining a marriage license is longer because the names of the couple are posted on a board in the Barangay Hall. During this period, someone may appeal and say that the person on the board has actually been married before.

 

So there you have it, darlings! As long as you get your requirements within the given timeframe, you’re sure to have your dream wedding come true. Best wishes!

 

This list is only for the state or civil requirement to get married. Depending on what type of wedding you will have (Catholic, Christian, Muslim, etc.), there are specific requirements for each religion. Best to talk to the person in charge of your church or congregation to ensure you’re complying with your wedding requirements!

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Kiss The Girl Events
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  1. Is there any legal implication as to the validity of marriage if there are incorrect entries on the birth certificate (e.g. last name and middle name were interchanged).

    1. Hi Hanna, here’s the response from Arbee of Kiss the Girl.

      Yes, there’s a legal implication, most especially if there’s an inconsistency with the names you submitted versus the one in your birth certificate. Best to consult someone from the civil registry for your concern. 🙂

  2. Hi there. How about if my fiancé is British, I’m Filipino and we want to have a non-religious wedding here in the Philippines (i.e. Civil/judge)? What other legal papers do we need aside from the certificate he needs to get from his embassy? Thanks!

    1. Hello Mitchiee,

      Best to inquire with the UK embassy in the Philippines and the Local Civil Register’s office of your home address in the Philippines. Thank you. 🙂

  3. Hi there! My fiancée is from CDO, and we’re getting married in Bukidnon. Can we apply for a Marriage License in CDO or do we need to go to Civil Registry of Bukidnon?

    Thank you. 😀

  4. Hi. my husband and I had a civil wedding here in singapore and we already register our marriage certificate in philippine embassy. do we still need to get our marriage license? thank you.

  5. Hello! I’ve read that you also need cedula and barangay clearance. This only works if you live here right? But the fiance (although he is Filipino) works abroad. How do we solve this? Can he still get cedula and barangay clearance here? Isn’t that not possible? Thank you!

  6. Hi. We got married already under islamic law but we would like to have a civil wedding in the philippines as well. can someone please give me some insights on the process? Thank you.

  7. Hi. My husband and I already had a civil wedding in the US but we want to have a church wedding in the Philippines. We had already registered our marriage in the Philippine Embassy in the US. Are there other legal documents we need to secure for the church wedding in the Philippines? Or do we just simply get the church requirements? Thanks.

  8. Hi. My fiance is in Canada but he is a Filipino. Maybe he can’tbgo home to prepare, so the tasks is up to me. Can I apply for the documents on his behalf?

      1. Hello. Im just starting to planning our wedding and we have the same situation. Ny Fiancé is in Canada but he’s Filipino too. Can I apply on his behalf? Or really need the appearance when it comes to the marriage license? Thank you in advance

        1. Hi! We’re on the same boat 🙂 I inquired about it in our local registrar office and they said we should file it together and wait for 10 working days. We’re aiming to do everything in one month so hopefully schedule will coincide with that.

      2. Hi! Maybe I have overlooked your comment. I stil dont have idea what to do with our legal reqt since we dont have enough time, his arrival is only 5 days before the wedding.

        1. Hi ladies! Is there an fb chat or something you are all part of? My Fiance and I are US citizens, but I’m Filipino, so we’re getting married in the Philippines. I’d like to get your advice or experience on getting the right legal docs and stuff for a Christian wedding. Our wedding is over a year away, but I want to get planning early kc I’m only going to be in the Philippines once this year, then we’ll both be there about 5 days b4 the wedding. Help! lol

    1. Hi Camille, i just want to know how you fixed your dilema about your preparation for your wedding. Because me and my Fiance are both working abroad and we can’t both go home at tha same time. We’re in different countries too. I hope you can help me. Thanks!

  9. Hi, I want to do a destination wedding in the Philippines but was planning to have a court/civil wedding first in the US. Do we need any other legal documents for having a ceremony (not a church wedding) and reception? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Arjay,

      The Marriage license can be applied in the city where you’re from. The Cenomar is requested through PSA (Former NSO) which you can order online. Hope this helps!
      Thanks!

  10. Hi! My fiancè is currently in a different country and is unable to go back home until a week before our wedding. How do I apply for a Marriage License if one of the requirements is a personal appearance by both parties?

    1. Hi Elisha, thanks for your inquiry. It will be best to check with the city hall you plan to apply in. Let them know your situation so they can recommend a solution. Hope everything turns out well!

  11. The wording on “at least 6 months” (for CENOMAR) and “at least 4 months” (for marriage license) is confusing. Isn’t it that those licenses are no longer valid after those time frames? So it should be “no more than 6 months/4 months”

  12. what if the bride and the groom are both abroad and wanted to get married in the philippines they were both filipinos but they inly have 10 days leave. is it possible if the parents are the once getting all the requirements for them.

    1. Hi Maricar, for the birth certificate and CENOMAR, your parents can be the one to request those through the website. However, for the marriage license application, you and your fiance should be the one to apply for it. I suggest that you directly inquire with the city hall where you’ll marry in (if civil wedding) just to be sure you’ll have bases covered. If you’ll have a catholic wedding in the Church, coordinate directly with the Church you plan to marry in. Hope everything goes well for you!

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