Yes! We’re finally married! Now, we’re going to give you our Wedding Supplier Reviews for all our suppliers. One supplier review per post to give our detailed and comprehensive reviews for each. Hopefully, we can do it all this month. Anyway, for our first supplier review, check out #OurLoveStoReal‘s ceremony venue — SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH in Intramuros Manila.
- Supplier Rating- 4.5/5
- Mode of Communication: Landline, Personal
- Contact Person: Ms Belen / Ms Nora
I have always dreamed of getting married in this UNESCO heritage church inside the walls of Intramuros. Although I also fancy other old churches like Manila Cathedral, there’s just something about the elegantly lit chandeliers, organs, and the trompe l’oeil ceiling paintings that shouts grandeur that dates back from the 16th-century colonial period. Just like what I said from this previous post (Our Wedding Preps Timeline) HERE, it was a mutual decision between Garry and me to book San Agustin Church (SAC) for our church ceremony.
Although it wasn’t our first option — after getting engaged we immediately called the Transfiguration Church in Caleruega but our chosen time for our date is already booked so we took that as a sign that it’s not meant for us. For our second try, we called San Agustin Church after showing Garry the photo of the altar and everything just fell right into place. We were able to talk to Ms. Belen, one of the church admin staff and she explained to us clearly that in order to have a reservation (they don’t do pencil booking) we need to pay the deposit of Php 10,000 in cash. The total church fee was Php 33,500 which includes standard floral decorations, a stipend for officiating priest, organist, soloist, chandeliers and in-house church coordinators. Video-electricity fee of Php 1,000 will be added later on. Optional fees were the huge Church Door opening at Php 1,000 since if you won’t avail this the bride will have to go through the small opening of the big door with no dramatic entrance and the top-view shot for Php 1,000. That, of course, was challenge #1 for us since Garry and I are both based overseas. Fortunately, we were able to ask my aunt to represent us and pay the deposit for us to complete our reservation on the 1st week of Sept 2015, exactly two weeks after we got engaged.
Breakdown of San Agustin Church Manila Expenses
- Php 33,500 : total cost of Church fees inclusive of flower decor, Priest, Soloist, Chandelier etc.
- Php 1,000 : video electricity fee
- Php 1,000 : optional fee for the opening of big church doors for dramatic entrance
- Php 1,500 : optional fee for top-shot view permission for your P/V
- Php 1,000 : optional fee for use of SAC Museum (only couple + P/V included) for Post-Nup pictorial
- Php 200 : additional fee per head for SAC Museum for Post-Nup pictorial
- Php 3,000 – 5,000 : optional fee for use of the SAC courtyard and ruins for Post-Nup pictorial
As per my aunt, the transaction was smooth and SAC only told them to fill up a form which includes our name (groom & bride), addresses, date of birth, place of birth and desired date & time for marriage. They gave the receipt, list of requirements to be submitted (brochure) and informed my aunt that I/we should at least be able to personally come to submit the documents if we have the time so she can talk to us.
By December 2015, I took my vacation leave and I was able to visit SAC to personally meet with Ms. Belen. They explained to me in detail the list of documents that we needed to comply with a requirement and gave me a good rundown of our possible timeline (deadlines and validity of the certificates). The list can be found HERE (Wedding Legal Requirements) and HERE (Certificate of Freedom to Marry for all overseas-based) which we actually came up with as our quick guide during the wedding preps. Moreover, it should be noted that when Ms. Nora is busy with other clients, Ms. Nora can also be asked regarding wedding requirements since she’s also in charge.
The transaction was smooth and every time I would remember to ask something, SAC was just a call away. Unfortunately, you can only communicate with them through their office landline or you go to their office personally and you also have to pay in cash to settle all the payments. As an overseas couple, it was difficult for us to always have someone to represent us so when it comes for the submission of documents, SAC allows the couples to have the documents delivered to them directly through courier.
Moreover, we did our Pre-Cana in Kuwait but weren’t able to do our Canonical Interview overseas since as per church rules, you will have your Canonical Interview where you will be married. So after submitting all our necessary documents, we had our scheduled and met with the Priest, who we thought was supposed to be our wedding celebrant. The canonical interview that we did last Nov 26 Thursday was okay and not too serious. We just filled out forms about our personal info and were asked to answer things about our point of view regarding abortion, marriage, Catholic teachings, goals etc. Then, we were interviewed by the representative priest and was surprised at first to hear stories about his seminary days instead of things related to married life. But he was really fun to talk to.
It should also be noted that in San Agustin Church, you also need to pay additional fee for the video electricity to be used on the wedding day itself, for the church’s open doors for the bridal march, top view shot for your photo/video teams and other fees if you want your post-nuptial pictorial to be done in the SAC Museum and Courtyard/Ruins.
The Church is also strict with their dress code, although it wasn’t formally written in the brochure since Ms. Nora will inform you and your fiance to be mindful of wearing modest clothes on the day of your wedding — meaning not to show too much skin. This is also your responsibility to inform your guests since like in our case, our readers (Bridesmaids) were told by the in-house church coordinators to cover their chest which was showing a bit of their cleavage.
Even though we’d had a few minor issues during the wedding day itself, the experience was still as surreal and beautiful as we have prayed it would be. God blessed us with a great weather and everyone who is important to us came to celebrate our union.
- The innate church decors and architectural design were simply breathtaking especially when the chandeliers were lit
- The priest assigned during our wedding was really good, especially with the homily. We didn’t get his name since it was our first time to see him (we’ll check our marriage contract later). The priest has a very clear voice, a good command of the language has humor with funny punchlines and he wasn’t boring during the homily which we liked because all of our guests were really complimenting about how great he was. UPDATE: Our officiating priest is Rev. Fr. Geoffrey Eborda Jr., OSA
- We were able to really maximize our extra 15 ++ mins since there’s no wedding after our schedule (we were the last one to get married that day). We were actually lucky to be able to get this extra time without paying since normally, you’ll have to pay an additional Php 5,000-15,000 for the extra time spent depending on the day and season.
- Our wedding started on time, even though we noticed from the raw videos that some Ninongs and Ninangs weren’t able to march probably because they arrived late (hello December traffic).
- We weren’t able to use the SAC Museum and Courtyard since they’re already on holiday and there was no staff available. We tried calling them again to request for special service but we failed and was stuck outside the Church’s premises to do our Post-Nup shoot
- The flower decors in the church during the wedding was already set up for all of the weddings scheduled on that day. Although they gave us an option to have it upgraded, another possible issue would be to let everyone know about it and share the expenses to all the other couples who will be married on our wedding date. The flowers and the arrangement were so simple, we really wished we could’ve added more if we have an extra budget.
- There were too many tourists outside and people going in and out of the church can’t be controlled. Too many photobombers! I remember even seeing 1 Japanese guy with 2 Filipina standing beside the door when I was about to walk in. They knew what was happening but were stubborn to move aside. I even saw our coordinator talk to them twice but when I couldn’t help myself, I said in Tagalog “Excuse me. Ate mag uumpisa na ang kasal ko.“
- One of the church’s female coordinator was so strict during the photo-op (after the ceremony) she was already telling everyone to go and informing us that we need to stop taking photos. I immediately looked at the clock and saw that we still have a few minutes left so I couldn’t help myself but tell her right then and there that we still have time and we paid for it, while still smiling. She looked at me as if irritated and turned her head away.
- If you choose San Agustin Church, DO NOT BE LATE! You know you only have 45 mins for the ceremonial mass and 15 mins allotted for the photo-ops. Unless you paid extra time or have free extra mins okay lang. But better be early than sorry.
- Before you book your time, ask if there is a Mass or Novena after your wedding. Sa SAC kasi exactly 1 hour ang wedding ceremony (45 mins ceremony + 15 mins pictorial). But if may Mass or Novena after your wedding, may free pa na 15 minutes for pictorial! Also in our case since last wedding kami before Christmas, we had 30 minutes free for our wedding ceremony without paying anything instead na 15 minutes.
- Throwing of petals, rice, sugar, salt, coins, petals etc is not allowed inside the Church but can be done outside. Just make sure to ask permission from the Church Coordinators and clean it afterward.
- If you choose San Agustin Church, you already know that it’s an “expensive church” so don’t rant and say pera-perahan lang. Kung puro ka reklamo, be mature enough and report to the Franciscan Order (SA Admin) and CBCP or better yet find another church you feel is inexpensive for you. No one is forcing you to get married in this “expensive” church. It’s your choice, not theirs.
- If you are both based overseas, you can submit your required Church documents through courier (LBC/DHL/FED EX/TNT) to SAC. Just inform Ms. Belen or Ms. Nora ahead of time and be sure that it will be delivered during office hours. This is what we did since we needed to obtain our Certificate of Freedom to Marry here in Kuwait and our Pre-Cana Seminar. We sent all the original documents through DHL directly to SAC instead of sending it to a family member in the PH.
- Be sure to settle all your payments, keep all your records and give all your turn-over items to your Coordinator. All the items to be used during the Ceremony will be turned over by your Coordinator to the assigned Church Coordinator. We placed them all in our “Ceremony Box“.
- Inform your Coordinator as well regarding the parking scheme that they need to know to be able to strategize a good logistics plan since Intramuros is full of tourists. Anyway, your booked Coordinator should be well-versed about the church rules, policies and common scenarios since they are required to take a yearly seminar.
- If you want to upgrade the church’s basic floral styling, you have to talk to the church admins and the rest of the couples who are getting married on that day since the decorations will be placed in the morning even before the first wedding will begin. As per Ms Belen, if this will happen yung upgraded floral decor would be done only by their accredited florists and will be used by ALL the couples who will be married that day. To be fair, mas ok to divide the fees with all the couples so hindi mabigat sa inyo. But that will depend if the other couples would be willing to pay.
- Walang Pencil Booking or wait-list sa San Agustin Church. First-come first served siya as per Ms Belen and Ms Nora. So if you are really decided on getting married sa church, be sure to have your deposit ready (cash only) to secure your preferred date and time. For overseas based, it’s better to call them during their office hours to know if available pa yung date and time na gusto niyo, then ask a family member or close friend to pay for you on your behalf. Just inform them na may pupunta to pay for your slot. That’s what we did kaya first-hand information nakuha namin.
- Before booking any church or wedding supplier for that matter, ASK EVERYTHING that you felt you needed to know. Mas okay na madami kayo alam kesa naman wala kayo pakialam at iasa na lang lahat sa coordinator and others suppliers..then come wedding day you’d feel lost. Tapos kinabukasan you’ll rant and start cursing because of what happened. Remember, your wedding is your responsibility. Your suppliers are just helping you.
San Agustin Church
General Luna St., Intramuros Manila
Ms. Nora or Ms. Belen
8AM-5PM only closed on Mondays
+63 2 5274060