It has been a year and a half since I proposed a promise of forever to my beautiful fiancé. We were beside a sea shore under the night sky, lit by a bonfire and surrounded by our family. I remember feeling so nervous when I went down on my knee and offered her our engagement ring. Then suddenly, I was consumed with love and happiness when she finally said the magic word – Yes.
We weren’t planning to have a wedding that soon because we know that weddings, probably, are the biggest production event that most couples will ever experience in a particular stage of their lives. Since it is an anticipated event, beyond the romance and sweet stuff that goes along with it, there are serious matters that need to be looked into and “hard” decisions are to be weighed carefully before signing the marriage contract. However, we started to talk about getting married a few days after the proposal and we planned to get married this year.
That time, the first thing that we both asked, “What is the first step when you want to get married?” Is it best to look for a wedding coordinator first or organize a traditional pamamanhikan? We followed the latter and decided not to hire any coordinator during the preparation because we believe that we have enough time. Both of us are Roman Catholics, so when we had our pamamanhikan last January here in Naga, our parents as well as other family members were happy and excited to guide and assist us.
I asked my fiancé where she wants to have the wedding ceremony and she immediately responded that she wanted to have it in the historical Basilica Shrine. We went there and were instructed to go to the Immaculate Concepcion Church to ask for the requirements. We were asked to submit the following:
- Endorsement letter from Basilica
- Permission from the Priest of the bride (only for non parishioners)
- Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates for both parties (make sure that it is issued for marriage purposes)
- Marriage license (This is only valid for 120 days)
- Photocopy of Birth certificates for both parties
- 1 pc of 2x2 coloured pictures
Since the marriage license has expiration, we both decided to complete other requirements first and have the papers processed at least 4 months before the wedding. While waiting, we tried to complete the basic requirements and at the same time talk to different kinds of suppliers for the wedding.
To get the endorsement from Basilica, engaged couples should reserve a schedule on Basilica’s calendar of activities and must present the baptismal, birth and confirmation certificates as well as the permission from the priest of the bride. As much as possible, if you want to get marry soon, prioritize to check and update these personal documents. On the other hand, we haven’t experienced getting our marriage license but I am willing to share it in the future posts. However, we are lucky to be allowed to submit the requirements and set the dates of our Pre-nuptial interview, Pre-Cana Seminar and the Result of publication of Banns 5 months before our wedding. Please take note that these requirements must be submitted personally by the couple, then, a questionnaire written in both English and Bicol should be accomplished.
Finally, both parties will sign a contract and agreements for marriage.
Also, we haven’t had our interview and seminars yet but any couple who has submitted the requirements and finished answering the questionnaire must memorize a pamphlet, which contains prayers and other important things that we must know by heart. I’m pretty sure that whatever we learn from this pamphlet will be asked during the pre-nuptial interview. By the way, this interview happens every Thursday at 9 o'clock in the morning. Afterwards, the succeeding 3 consecutive Saturdays will be allotted for the Pre-Cana Seminar. According to the parish office secretary, the processing fee, which amounts to Php 2,770, will be paid after the couple underwent and submitted all the necessary requirements. When it comes to other parishes, the basic requirements are the same. There are just some slight differences when it comes to the processing fees.
In special cases, there are additional requirements needed and they are the following:
- Original copy of Marriage Contract (for those civilly married)
- Death Certificate (for widows and widowers)
- Dispensation in case of mixed marriage
- Legal capacity to marry (for non Filipinos)
- Affidavit of Cohabitation (for marriage validation)
Right now, we are preparing to get our marriage license and constantly juggling other stuff for the wedding ceremony as well as for the reception. Honestly, the preparation is quite tough but we believe that with the help of God’s grace, we are sure that we are guided well. We know that we will still be encountering difficult situations that will most likely lead us to make more hard decisions but we are optimistic and more excited than anxious actually. I will still share more of our experiences before our wedding and hopefully the information in this post somehow helps if you are also planning to marry the love of your life as well here in Naga.