Understanding Philippine Marriage Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Philippine Marriage Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

Getting married in the Philippines means understanding the Philippine marriage requirements and their embassy’s rules. It has a rich culture and beautiful views, perfect for weddings. 

The process has special legal steps, especially for foreigners or mixed-nationality couples. 

This guide helps you prepare for a smooth and legally recognized wedding, whether it’s in a church or a civil setting.

AspectCivil WeddingChurch Wedding (Catholic)
Initial StepsGather birth certificates, CENOMAR, IDsGather birth certificates, baptismal & confirmation certificates, CENOMAR
Pre-Marriage CounselingRequiredRequired
Application ProcessApply for marriage license at the local civil registrarSchedule a canonical interview, attend Pre-Cana seminar
Waiting Period for License10 days after applicationSame as civil, but church may have additional scheduling
Validity of Marriage License120 days from issuanceSame as civil
Additional RequirementsBarangay Certification, Community Tax CertificateMarriage banns, list of sponsors and entourage, wedding permit (if abroad)
Special ConsiderationsAge-specific requirements (parental consent/advice)Requirements for mixed marriages, widowed, annulled individuals
Foreign NationalsAdditional documents like passport, legal capacity to marrySame as civil, plus church-specific requirements
Time to PlanA few weeks to monthsAt least 6 months
Cultural TraditionsVaries depending on couple’s preferenceSpecific Catholic wedding traditions

What are the Philippine marriage requirements?

Getting married in the Philippines involves fulfilling specific requirements, whether it’s a civil or a church wedding. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Civil Wedding Requirements:

  1. PSA Birth Certificates: Both parties must provide the latest certified true copy of their Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) birth certificates. This is to verify your identity and confirm your age.
  2. Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR): A crucial document that certifies both individuals are single and legally free to marry. It’s obtained from the PSA.
  3. Pre-Marriage Counseling Certificate: Couples must attend a seminar on family planning and responsible parenthood. This is a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license.
  4. Valid IDs and ID Pictures: Both parties must present at least two valid government-issued IDs during the application. Additionally, couples need to provide recent 1×1 and 2×2 ID pictures.
  5. Marriage License Application Form: This form is filled out at the local civil registrar’s office. The marriage license is mandatory for any legal marriage in the Philippines.
  6. Barangay Certification and Community Tax Certificate (Cedula): These documents are obtained from your respective barangays (local government units).
  7. Additional Requirements for Specific Age Groups:
  • Individuals aged 18-20 need a notarized affidavit of parental consent.
  • Those aged 21-25 must have a notarized affidavit of parental advice.

Related: Filipino Wedding Traditions and Customs

Church Wedding Requirements (Catholic):

  1. Marriage License: The same license required for civil weddings is also necessary for church weddings.
  2. Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates: Recent certificates (usually issued within the last six months) with the annotation ‘For Marriage Purposes.’
  3. Canonical Interview: A meeting with the parish priest where the couple plans to get married.
  4. Pre-Cana Seminar: A marriage preparation seminar that discusses various aspects of married life.
  5. Marriage Banns: Public announcements in the respective parishes of the couple, posted for three consecutive weeks.
  6. List of Sponsors and Entourage Members: The names of principal sponsors (Ninongs and Ninangs) are typically required.

For Foreigners:

Foreign nationals planning to marry in the Philippines need to provide additional documents, including a valid passport, a certificate of legal capacity to match (issued by their respective embassy or consular office in the Philippines), and potentially other documents depending on their civil status (like divorce decrees or death certificates of previous spouses).

Understanding and preparing these requirements is essential to ensure a smooth and trouble-free marriage process in the Philippines.

What is the fastest way to get married in the Philippines?

For a Civil Wedding:

To get married quickly in a civil ceremony in the Philippines, start by gathering all your documents early. This includes your birth certificates, CENOMAR, and IDs. Once you have these, complete the marriage license application form to your local civil registrar. 

The sooner you submit your application and conduct the necessary seminars, the quicker you can get married. Remember, the marriage license takes around ten days to be issued after you apply. So, the faster you complete these steps, the sooner you can have your wedding.

For a Church Wedding:

Understanding Philippine Marriage Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

If you want a church wedding, especially a Catholic one, it’s important to start planning early. You need to get your baptismal and confirmation certificates, and these might take some time if the church needs to find your records. Schedule your canonical interview and attend the Pre-Cana seminar as soon as possible. 

Also, talk to your church about the earliest available date for your wedding. Some churches might have long waiting lists, so the earlier you complete your requirements, the better your chances of getting a date that works for you.

Also Check Out: Why Filipino Women Marry Old Foreigners

How long does it take to process a marriage in the Philippines?

Time for a Civil Wedding:

After you apply for a marriage license, there is a 10-day waiting period. This is when the government ensures everything is in order and that both people can legally marry. After this waiting period, the license is issued and is valid for 120 days. 

It would help if you also considered the time needed to attend the pre-marriage counseling, which might vary. So, from start to finish, it can take a few weeks to a couple of months to complete all the steps for a civil marriage.

Time for a Church Wedding:

The timeline can be longer for a church wedding, particularly a Catholic one. You must schedule the canonical interview, attend the Pre-Cana seminar, and wait for the marriage banns to be posted for three weeks in your respective parishes. 

Plus, depending on the church’s schedule, you might have to wait for your chosen wedding date. It’s wise to start planning at least six months before your desired wedding date.

What should be done to prepare for marriage in the Philippines?

Document Preparation:

Make a list of all the documents you need, like birth certificates, CENOMAR, IDs, and baptismal certificates for a church wedding. 

Get these documents ready ahead of time to avoid delays. Keep copies of everything in case you need them.

Cultural Preparations:

Filipino weddings have unique traditions and customs. Learning about these is good, especially if you or your partner are from somewhere other than the Philippines. 

Understanding these traditions will make your wedding more meaningful and special.

Physical and Emotional Preparation:

Getting married is a big step, so being ready in every way is important. Talk with your partner about your plans, like where you will live and how you will handle money. Also, make sure to take care of your health. 

Being physically and emotionally healthy will help you enjoy your wedding day and marriage even more.

Preparing for a wedding in the Philippines takes time and effort, but it’s worth it for a beautiful and memorable start to your married life.


Planning your wedding in the Philippines is fun but needs early planning. Collect all important papers and learn about the steps for a civil or church wedding. 

Every part, like getting a marriage license and attending pre-wedding classes, is important for a great wedding day. Enjoy Filipino traditions to make your wedding special and full of culture. If you’re ready and have all your papers, you can have a wonderful and worry-free wedding day in the Philippines.


What are the basic requirements for a civil wedding in the Philippines?

Birth certificates, CENOMAR, IDs, pre-marriage counseling certificates, and a marriage license application.

Is pre-marriage counseling mandatory in the Philippines?

Yes, pre-marriage counseling is required for both civil and church weddings.

What additional documents do foreigners need to marry in the Philippines?

A valid passport, legal capacity to marry from their embassy, and possibly divorce or death certificates.

How long is the waiting period for a marriage license in the Philippines?

There’s a 10-day waiting period after applying for a marriage license.

Can I have a Catholic church wedding in the Philippines if I am divorced?

A church wedding is possible but requires additional documents like an annulment clearance or proof of the previous marriage’s nullity.

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