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Our Church Wedding Preparation in Naga City (Part 2)

The wedding was divine and perfect. I remember being emotional. It’s insane. We cried a lot. But those were happy tears.

Of course, my wife and I are not going to lie. Going thru the process of wedding preparation can be very stressful. And as a matter of fact, the stress level increases as the big day approaches. It was holistically exhausting and I was an inch close to hiring a coordinator but we stuck with our original plan. Nevertheless, being hands-on to our wedding preparation became one of the most fulfilling experiences we had in our lives.

As I recall, we were constantly dealing with endless details, arguments and choices. There was even a moment where my ex-fiancé turned into a funny and emotional “bridezilla”. Those were the good times - the memorable highlights of our preparation. But with constant dialogue and guidance from both sides of our families, we were able to settle differences. Well, drama in every wedding is inevitable.

It’s a good thing that our friends and families supported what we wanted for our wedding. And if you are planning to marry soon, there is no harm to involve them. In fact, in our case, most of them offered help. And of course, no matter how big or small their contribution and whether it is given in any form, you must not forget to say thank you.

When I wrote the part 1 of our preparation, we still have to get our marriage license and attend the required interviews and seminars. Now, allow me to share how we successfully completed these requirements… Together.

Click Here to Read Part 1

The Canonical Interview/ Prenuptial Interview:
Usually, this occurs a month before the wedding date. In the Immaculate Concepcion Parish, this is scheduled every Thursday morning at around 8 to 9am. And they will only allow the prenup interview when all necessary papers are submitted. To prepare for this interview, a pamphlet that contains the “Basic Things that Need to be Memorized and Understood by Every Catholic” will be given. Also, try to reflect about your relationship with your spouse.

Both couple will be interviewed separately. Challenging questions will be asked. However, there is no need to be anxious, you just have to honest.

The Pre-Cana Seminars:
The Pre-cana course is a prerequisite for couples who are to be married in a catholic church. It is derived from the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed one of his amazing miracles – turning water into wine.

These courses vary in every parish but in the Immaculate Concepcion Church, we were asked to attend 3 consecutive Saturdays every afternoon around 2pm to 5pm. It is a cool gathering of couples who plan to get married in church. You’ll be inspired by their love stories. And if you like sharing, this kind of seminar won’t bore you. You will even learn a thing or two on how to spice up your relationship under God’s grace.

Publication of Wedding Banns:
Banns are the public announcement in a parish church of an impending marriage between 2 persons. Publication of Banns in our own respective parishes are quite different. One parish announces it during the mass for 3 consecutive Sundays while the other one just posts it in a bulletin board. All you need to do is to sign up a form, give 2x2 photos and pay Php150.00. After attending the interviews and seminars, you are also required to submit a List of Principal Sponsors and Officiating priests. All marrying couples are required to submit the names and addresses of their Ninongs and Ninangs. The complete name and the license number/s of the priest/s should be submitted as well. Also, it is much appreciated by the parish if these are encoded and neatly forwarded. While we were having our weekly seminars, we simultaneously started to apply for our Marriage Licence. The city civil registry is the office responsible for issuing marriage licenses. This is located in far left side of the Naga city hall main building.

The following are the requirements and fees needed:

  1. Personal appearance, 18 years old and above& a resident of Naga City.
    • Pre-marriage counselling certificate – attend seminar, conducted every Wednesday at POPCPM office(City Hall compound, beside City health Office) 8:00-12:00 (for 18-24 years old only)
    • Birth Certificate of contracting parties duly certified by the civil registrar or from NSO (Original NSO or Certified copy & 1 photocopy)
    • If contracting parties are 18-20 years old – father is required to appear before the civil registrar to sign the consent. Bring ID/ Barangay Certificate.
    • If contracting parties are 21- 24 years of Age, both parents are required to appear before the civil registrar to sign the advice. Bring ID/ Barangay Certificate.
    • Applicants are required to bring their Ids with 2 photocopies and Barangay certificates with Xerox copy.
    • 2 copies of 1x1 pictures of both applicants
    • If widow/widower – submit death certificate of spouse (certified copy and Xerox)
    • If annulled – submit annotated COM from NSO (Original and Xerox), Decree of Nullity (2 certified copies)
    • Certificate of No Marriage from NSO (CENOMAR) (Original and Xerox).

  2. Foreigner
    • Legal Capacity to contract Marriage/ CNI from the embassy in Manila (Original and Xerox)
    • Certificate of No Marriage from NSO(CENOMAR) (Original and Xerox)
    • 2 xerox copies of passport & stamped page of arrival in the Philippines.
    • If annulled or divorced – submit court decree (Original & 2 photocopies)
    • If widow/ widower – death certificate of spouse (Original & 2 photocopies)
    • Note: 10 days of publication in the City Civil Registrar office and the license is valid for 120 days.

  3. Fees
    • Application Fee - Php.500.00
    • Marriage license Fee - Php.200.00
    • Legal Capacity Registration - Php.400.00

  4. For applicants 18-24 years old:
    • If the father cannot appear before the civil registrar to sign the Consent, the mother/ guardian should execute an affidavit stating the reason.
    • If both parents are working abroad and cannot appear before the civil registrar to sign the advice, the guardian will execute an affidavit stating he/she was authorized by the parents to sign on their behalf.
    • Applicants whose parents are residing in other city/ Municipality and cannot personally appear before the civil registrar to sign the advice/ consent may seek the assistance of the civil registry office where they reside. The consent/advice should be signed by the parents and the civil registrar.
    • Please present the death certificate if parent/s is/are deceased.

After applying for the marriage licence, we were advised to take the sacrament of Confession before the wedding in preparation for a worthy reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the Eucharist.

Once all requirements are submitted, an endorsement from the Immaculate Concepcion Parish will be released. We forwarded this endorsement to the place where we both want to be married – The Basilica Minore Shrine. Upon receipt, we are now allowed to pay for the church services. The following are the current rates:

Basilica Venue Fee - Php. 10,000.00
(Celebrant stipend is included)
Decorator share - Php. 500.00
Electricity share - Php. 500.00

If ever you have no florist or choir for the wedding ceremony, the Basilica Minore office will offer supplier options.

The Basilica Minore office strictly reminds every couple of the following:

  • Misalet (Marriage Rite) must be in Basilica Format
  • Unity Candles (1 set/ 7 pieces)
  • Photo and videographer must be accredited by the Basilica/ Archdiocese of Caceres
  • Rehearsal scheduled after full payment of Venue Fee
  • Full payment of the venue require endorsement from the Immaculate Concepcion Parish
  • Additional fee of Php. 2000.00 for 6:00pm schedule.

To further prepare ourselves and avoid any potential dilemmas, we took note of the following concerns:

Wedding coordinators:
Each couple is assigned to have a church wedding coordinator who will help in the preparation and process of the liturgical celebration.

Rehearsals, Misalets and Lectors:
Rehearsals should be under the supervision of these coordinators. The Misalets will be given ahead of time for review and approval. On the other hand, lectors will be provided by the couple.

Dress code:
There must be sober, decent and appropriate attire for brides and their entourage. This policy rules out the backless dresses, and styles (sleeveless, spaghetti straps and tube style) which can go against decency. If it is not allowed, the parish has the right to request not to walk on the aisles, attend the mass at the back of the church and receive Holy Communion.

The ring bearers and flower girls must be 8 years old and above so that they can walk in the aisles within themselves. All members of the entourage must be catholic and when it comes to the principal sponsors, it is encouraged to have a maximum of 5 pairs.

Marriage contract:
The contract is being prepared upon submission of marriage license and the bride and groom must carefully review all the details because the parish will not be liable for any charges incurred for incorrect or false information. This contract will be submitted at the city civil registrar after the wedding. We finished submitting the requirements a week before the wedding but we were still busy working at other wedding concerns like the entourage dress and suits, church decorations, wedding programs, reception arrangements and many more. It was a very big event that me and my wife managed together.

It took us more than a year to prepare for the wedding. We wanted it to be special not only for us but to everyone we love. It was our dream wedding. And I must say that the entire wedding preparation experience was like going through a challenging quest. The beauty of it is that I was not having the journey on my own. I was taking each step side by side with the love of my life.