(Just a little note though, you may or may not agree on what is written here, but this was our experience, this was how we saw things and our preparation was basically treading on the practical side of everything).
You agreed on the date, and to keep the ball rolling, you should also agree on the place: the church, plus the reception venue.
Even before we become engaged, Lyn and I already agreed on having a simple yet elegant and intimate wedding. We want a small church/chapel, a reception venue near the church and a hotel near to both. Hitting three, not just two, birds with one stone. And we hit them, bull's eye! Why on such goals? Two words: Convenience. Practicality.
The choice of the church all depends on what the couple wants (especially the bride; the groom can only say yes or honey, it's up to you hehehe, joke). Some want it to be grand (the likes of Manila Cathedral) with a long aisle that can echo a very dramatic entrance for the bride. The long walk to the altar may be dreamy and one can float to the ooh's and aah's as she made her entrance, but, what if the church is empty? I mean, what if it's too grand for the number of guests that you had and/or too big for those who actually came to the church ceremony? Knowing how we Pinoys think and do, most of us will only show to the reception venue especially if the venue is faaar from the church. Trust me, the last thing that you would want on your church wedding (and on your wedding pictures) is a huge space of unoccupied seats. We prefer a small wedding, right? So the grandness is out of the picture and we're more than happy to see the smiling faces of people close to us than the mighty architecture or popularity of a certain church.
Some couple would want a church on location (Calaruega, anyone?), most of them are intimate and quite romantic actually AND, well, more expensive. I can say this here that out-of-town weddings (meaning outside of Manila) entail additional costs, let's say, at least 15% more on each wedding supplier that you have (especially if all of them are Manila-based) to cover for the obvious additional costs (some would even asked you to shoulder their accomodation, whoa!). Aside from the more expensive tag, it can also be a possible bottleneck of complications, from the guests accomodations to their transportation to everything! So we just roll our eyes on this as we do not dream of holding our cellphone during the wedding to check on everyone. (That's just one way of saying "we cannot afford this" hehehe).
When you already decided on which church suited you best, call, or better yet, visit the parish office at once to check its availability and ask for their list of wedding requirements. Now, this is getting more exciting. The basic requirements for the couple are:
1. Baptismal Certificate
2. Confirmation Certificate
3. Marriage License (To get this, you need an authenticated NSO-released birth certificate, Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR, also from the NSO and a trip to your neighborhood municipal hall. I'll make a separate post on this)
4. Canonical Interview (with a priest)
6. A certain church document/certification (I forgot how's this being called but it's the one wherein names of the marrying couples will be read and/or posted on the parish church/es where the couple resides).
There are more documents needed for those who came from an annulled marriage, those who'll marry a foreigner, for those who married first in a civil ceremony, and others, but the above are the basic. Depending also on the parish, there maybe more requirements (like a mandatory three-sundays seminar, a list and/or a certain number of principal sponsors, a priest-approved misalette, etc.) so do asked them.
And of course, it's not for free. ho-hum.
A one-hour church ceremony is now ranging from a low of P5,000 to a high of P25,000.00 or even more, depending on the church and "upgrades". So, if you're thinking that getting married will dig a hole on your pocket, well, this is where the digging officially starts. :) I am not going to comment further on this (as I may end up ranting hehe), let's just say, they also need some money for the church maintenance and operational costs. :) The parish office will usually ask for a non-refundable deposit and the balance to be paid before the wedding (in our case, we paid the balance during the canonical interview which was done two weeks before our wedding).
St. Pancratius Chapel.
Our chapel of choice: dome-shaped, small, with an aisle of not more than 15 meters, exquisite surrounding with its outside stonewalls covered by moss and the simple interior can hold about 80-100 guests, located in Paco Park that was once a cemetery where Jose Rizal and GOMBURZA were buried, with a guarded park ground surrounded by trees and flowering plants that can accomodate about 300 seated guests, with at least two hotels nearby, enough parking space and a romantic ambiance when night falls...what more can we ask for? :)
Photos taken by Nice Print Photo(To be continued...)