Are Virtual Weddings Legal in the Philippines?

Moving your wedding online can be a practical choice especially during this time of pandemic. It actually solves a lot of your concerns like having to stay indoors, not having any guests, and having to wear protective gear all throughout the ceremony. With the wonders of technology now, your best friend who lives in another country can actually witness you say “I do” virtually! But though convenient, there are some legal aspects that come into play if you’re considering an online wedding.

Are Virtual Weddings Legal in the Philippines?

You know it in your heart that your partner is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. So, you quickly set up a virtual wedding for all your friends and family around the world to witness. Can you do so? Definitely! Especially if a spiritual ceremony is important to you. But the question is, is it legally binding? The answer is no.

 

We consulted a lawyer, Atty. Regine Tumlos, to weigh in on this topic. She says:

“The contract of marriage is only entered into by complying with all the requirements and formalities prescribed by law.

For a wedding to be valid, both parties, who must be male and female, should be legally capacitated and must freely give their consent in the presence of a solemnizing officer. These are the essential requisites of a marriage.

The formal requisites of a marriage, on the other hand, are: (1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (2) A valid marriage license unless it falls under certain exceptions; and (3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.

The Family Code also provides that a marriage shall be solemnized publicly in the chambers of the judge or in open court, in the church, chapel or temple, or in the office of the consul-general, consul or vice-consul, as the case may be, and not elsewhere, except in cases of marriages contracted on the point of death or in remote places in accordance with Article 29 of the Family Code, or where both of the parties request the solemnizing officer in writing in which case the marriage may be solemnized at a house or place designated by them in a sworn statement to that effect.”

 

In summary, for a marriage to be legally valid under “The Family Code of The Philippines”, all parties should be physically present in the same location. The internet itself is not a physical place or a legal entity which makes virtual weddings non-binding.

 

Spiritual Ceremonies
We’ve been seeing a number of virtual weddings and they are indeed heartwarming! Especially during this time of uncertainty, any display of love and hope is very much celebrated by everyone. The persistence to get married in itself is a beautiful thing to witness! Though these online spiritual ceremonies are not legally binding, if it gives you and your partner a sense of peace during this time, then go ahead and send that online meeting room number to all of your guests!

This Couple Held a Virtual Blessing After Two Failed Wedding Attempts!

 

Next Steps to Take
When the time comes that all weddings can safely be held inside churches or city halls again, you can work your way through planning your actual wedding, whether civil or religious. The requirements for a civil wedding differs from that of the requirements for a Catholic wedding. Talk to your wedding coordinators so they can help you navigate through wedding planning during this time. While you’re at it, remember to relax and take one step at a time. Your wedding will happen no matter what!

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  1. Good day!
    Just want to ask if its legally allow to get married online if both party was located in different countries. Like for example me and my fiance, I live here in the Philippines and my fiance was in USA, we’re about to plan to gat married but we can’t due to this pandemic.
    I hope you can help me with this concern.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Aily, thanks for your inquiry. Based on the Family Code of the Philippines, both parties should be physically present in front of an officiant to make the ceremony legally binding. Hope this clarifies things for you and your fiancé!

  2. My fiance lives in the Philippines I live in the USA we are considering an online wedding and would like to find out what the requirements are and what we need to do first step thank you

  3. Good evening. My boyfriend is French. And we are planning to get married. But because of the pandemic our plans was postponed. Is there a possibility that we can get married online? Thank yo.

    1. Sorry but we’re not a wedding supplier but a website that writes about weddings. You can check out our website to find suppliers you can inquire with. Thanks!

  4. Me and my fiance wanna get married online. He is in the UK and I am in the philppines because of covid restrictions borders are closed and so it’s not safe to travel.. we would like to know what the requirements are.

      1. Good day! There is one foreign person did online wedding with one filipina and he
        said it’s legal and he said those who saying it’s not legal are just making rant and do not know the law in Philippines knowing he is foreign plus he is telling that his gf is graduated in law. So confusing.

        1. Hi Jessica, thanks for sharing. Based on the Family Code of the Philippines, both parties should be physically present in front of an officiant to make the ceremony legally binding. Please go through the article for reference. Thanks!

          1. Hi Pia. If i and my fiance got married online via zoom..me being here and him being there in the USA, does that mean that im still single here as per my reocrds from the psa?

          2. That is if the wedding is in the Philippines…. but here in the United States some states like Utah have legally recognized online weddings. You and your foreign fiance and the Utah officiant will need to do a 3 way conference via zoom or Skype and you must have applied online in Utah for a marriage license then you say I do and get it signed electronically by each person and take it to the courthouse and boom…. official! So this family code of the Philippines only applies if your getting married in the Philippines. Here in the USA when you have the marriage certificate it is legally binding and even the Philippine government cannot say no!

            Please understand the laws before giving legal advice to others….

            Thank you

          3. Hi Blake, thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree with you that the Family Code only applies to weddings done in the Philippines. That’s why the title of this article says “Are Virtual Weddings Legal in the Philippines”. Do note that we are not generalizing the law since this article discusses Philippine law only. I hope this clarifies things. Have a good day.

    1. Hi John, one reason may be that some couples want to celebrate their wedding date with a spiritual ceremony even if it’s not legally binding. To clarify, when we say virtual weddings, we are referring to ceremonies where the presider is not physically present with the couple, only virtual. This is when the ceremony is not legal.

  5. A former US military officer recently married a Filipina online last August 2020. He now resides in the Philippines. It is my understanding that if a marriage certificate can be legally obtained (California Online Weddings Legal) outside the Philippines, the marriage is deemed valid.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m not familiar with the binding laws in California but if we base it on the Philippine Family Code, any type of virtual wedding is not legally binding because the presider and the couple should be physically present during the ceremony to make it legal. Thanks!

      1. The Philippines is a member of the Hague conference and have entered into force Convention 12 of 5 October 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. These countries will, therefore, accept the Apostille Certificate in place of any further legalisation process. Therefore, a virtual marriage is legal and binding once the Apostille Certificate has been issued by the officiating minister or lawyer to the married couple.

    2. Online weddings are authorized by California Executive Order N-58-20, which states that everyone participating in the wedding must be physically present in California and connected with both audio and video, and the couple must have a marriage license. Contact your County Clerk-Recorder’s Office for the latest information.

  6. Hello, I just want to ask as well about this – All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35 (1), (4), (5) and (6), 3637 and 38. (17a).
    What about if this online marriage is valid in State of Utah. Will this be not considered valid?

    1. Hi Mizzie, thanks for the inquiry! As per the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General, if you are able to provide a Marriage Contract or Certificate issued by US vital records, you may forward this and the other specified requirements to the Philippine Embassy for registration in the PSA records and will be considered valid. Hope this helps!

  7. Hello I’m here in Philippines, but my fiance in korea .
    Can we possible get married online?, thanks
    Looking forward for your response.

  8. Hi. Can spiritual blessings replace the actual church wedding ceremony? Does the church recognize the marriage if the couple only receives a spiritual blessing?

    1. Hi Dre! Thanks for your inquiry. No, the spiritual blessing cannot replace the Church wedding. A priest and two witnesses must be physically present with the couple to make the contract and celebration of matrimony valid.

  9. Hi pia..if we get married online does that mean that my civil status doesnt cgange to married just becoz onlyn wed is not tecognized in the Philippines?Im a filipina and my fiance lives in the US

    1. Hi Jenna! Kindly allow me to respond on Pia’s behalf. Unfortunately, I’m not not very familiar with the binding laws of the USA, but per the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General, if you are able to provide a Marriage Contract or Certificate issued by US vital records, you may forward this and the other specified requirements to the Philippine Embassy for registration in the PSA records.

  10. Hi how about for same sex marriage. It is acknowledged in my boyfriend’s state in US but we know Philippines does not acknowledge it. Do you know the process if this is the given situation?

    1. Hi Kristiane! The Philippines does not give any legal recognition to same-sex marriages. As of 2020, the petition to acknowledge sam-sex marriages in the country was denied by the Philippines’ Supreme Court.

  11. im here in Philippines now my fiancee and I planning to get married online he is in Australia right now.

  12. Im in the Philippines now and my fiancee and i planning to get married online he is in japan right now. Hope you can help me how to process it. Thank u!

    1. Sorry but we’re not a wedding supplier but a website that writes about weddings. You can check out our website to find suppliers you can inquire with. Thanks!

  13. Hi, I just want to ask. Me and my fiancee wants to get married. But the problem is I’m in the Philippines and he’s in US. Is it possible for us to meet in Thailand and have an online marriage since we’re already together physically by then?

    1. Hi! It will depend on the laws of Thailand if they recognize online weddings. But if you mean that you’ll physically get married in Thailand and do a livestream so your guests from other countries can witness your union, then there’s no problem with that. Happy planning!

  14. Hello po, may I know if it’s acceptable by if my fiance and I are both in Taiwan and we will do the online wedding? Thank you

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