Our Wedding Legal Requirements Timeline

As an overseas-based couple it is very difficult for us to just go home and secure all the necessary documents and processing that is needed for both our Civil and Church requirements. In this post HERE we have compiled all the necessary documents that we needed to secure our marriage license permit for our church wedding.

Our Pre-Cana booklets from Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City

For a Church-rites wedding in the Philippines, both civil and church requirements are needed. If you are already married civilly, you don’t need to apply for a marriage license and instead just submit your original NSO Marriage Contract.

Below is our summarized timeline when we started our documents processing.

JULY 2016 (5 months before the Wedding)

1st to 2nd week of July 

  • acquired Baptismal Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (B+G)
  • acquired Confirmation Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (B+G)

July 15

  • 1st day of Marriage Preparation Course (Pre-Cana) at Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City (1-7 PM)

AUGUST 2016 (4 months before the Wedding)

1st week of August

  • submitted Baptismal Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (B+G) and Confirmation Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose (B+G) at San Agustin Church

Aug 11

  • online application of NSO Birth Certificate (B+) and NSO CENOMAR (B+G) through E-Census portal

Aug 17

  • delivery of NSO Birth Certificate (B+G) and NSO CENOMAR (B+G)

OCTOBER 2016 (2 months before the Wedding)

1st week of Oct 

  • acquired Marriage Banns permit from San Agustin Church and submitted it to B+G town parishes

Oct 16-30

  • Marriage Banns Announcement (B+G)

NOVEMBER 2016 (1 month before the Wedding)

Nov 11

  • 2nd day of Marriage Preparation Course (Pre-Cana) at Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City (1-7 PM)
  • acquired Certificate of Freedom to Marry from Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City
  • release of Marriage Banns from B+G town’s Parish (Oct 16 to 30, 2016 announcements)

Nov 21

  • filed for Marriage License Application at SJDM City Hall and submission of necessary documents of both couple (original NSO Birth Certificate + original NSO Cenomar + Cedula) ** some City Hall may require further documents, please see the post HERE **

Nov 24

  • submitted Marriage Banns (B+G)
  • Canonical Interview at San Agustin Church, Manila (4PM-5PM)

Nov 26 

  • scheduled our 2nd Pre-Cana seminar to be held at San Agustin Church (every Saturday only, 8AM-12 Noon, Php 1,500 per couple) but we cancelled it because they already accepted our Pre-Cana seminar certificate that we did in Kuwait City Cathedral

Nov 29

  • Family Planning Seminar by the City Health Department at SJDM City as a requirement for the Marriage License application (every Tuesday only, 8AM-12 Noon)
  • submitted the certificate to the City Registrar for the Marriage License application


Dec 13

  • release of the Marriage License (120 days validity anywhere in the Philippines)
  • submitted the Marriage License from SJDM City Hall to San Agustin Church as requirement for a Catholic rites wedding

Dec 23 2016 = GA WEDDING DAY! =)

** Legend: B = Bride, G = Groom

For the complete list of the legal documents that you will need to secure, please check it HERE.

Confused on what to do first? Don’t fret! For a quick timeline on what you’re supposed to start with, please click HERE.

What to have an idea how to obtain a Certificate of Freedom to Marry from your church overseas? Please click HERE.


47 Comments Add yours

  1. April Gabiola says:

    Hello Ms. Aiki,

    I am very thankful for this article. I could relate because my fiancรฉ and I also work overseas. We are planning to get married on January 2018. I am currently on a 45- day leave and I learned from our target church (ST. IGnatius Chapel, Paco Park) that we have to both be in the Philippines at least one month before the wedding for the marriage license application and canonical interview. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… #panic because we plan to be here 2-3 weeks before the wedding. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much.

    1. Hi April. If you check our post, we started our detailing and marriage license application 1 month before our wedding date. During your 45 days leave, if you can, prioritize the given schedule and create your own timeline based on your vacation/availability and needed days set for each requirement.

      Also, if you can, try to submit all the necessary docs that you can while you are both based overseas like baptismal certificates, confirmation certificates, pre-cana seminar certificates (if you are in the same country), marriage banns (because it needs 3 consecutive sundays), etc and ask what are the schedule for the family health seminar in your city hall so you can have an idea when you need to do it. Again, processing for marriage license is 11 days only after when you filed for your application and you’re done with the family health seminar. Happy preps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Jackie says:

    Hello Aiki!

    Your blog is really helpful and I admire your passion in writing plus also doing the wedding preps! I don’t know how you did it! But anyway, my question is, my fiance and I lives here in the US. We were both born in the Philippines and we are now American Citizens with dual citizenship. We got married here in the US civilly, what do we have to do in terms of legal requirements? Do we just present our marriage certificate?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jackie. Thanks for appreciating our blog. It was really difficult especially we’re both based overseas but everything is possible now especially with the help of online resources. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As per your question, you didn’t mention if you plan to have a catholic wedding ceremony or a christian wedding ceremony because the requirements for that would depend on your church. And as for the civil legal requirements, since you both got married in the US even if you have a dual citizenship, it is best to ask the Philippine embassy in the US about the legalities of this marriage ceremony to be done in the Philippines with your Report of Marriage from the US Civil Registry.

      Happy preps ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Mitch says:

    Hi your blog is really helpful same tayo nagwwork din overseas kami ng soon to be hubby ko. Ask ko lang sana kasi may nag advice samin na mag civil marriage muna para wala ng hassle paguwe ng Pinas. No need na daw mag antay ng 10 days for the marriage license. Makakatulong po ba talaga pag mag cicivil wedding muna? Please help nkaka stress po sa mga requirements, yung wedding po is July 2018. Thank you โ˜บ

    1. Hi Mitch. Thanks for the comment. If you’re going to get married overseas where you are based (technically sa Embassy), yung NSO marriage contract na lang need niyo to present sa church sa Pinas for your ceremonial (church) wedding. No idea sino nagsabi sayo na no need for you to wait for 10 days for the marriage license, but I know it’s faster talaga sa Embassy but a little expensive as compared sa Pinas.

      But, remember yung date ng kasal niyo sa Embassy yun na ang official wedding date niyo na mag reflect sa NSO at hindi yung sa kasal niyo sa church sa Pinas. Formality and reception na lang mangyayari sa kasal niyo sa Pinas.

      If you can arrange naman your schedule sa Pinas, kakayanin naman. Kinaya naman namin, may waiting period lang talaga. Listed sa isang post namin yung days and half day seminar sa city hall. Other than that, ok naman process.

  4. angie27 says:

    Hi ms akie ! so thankful sa blog mo . plan din po namin kumuha ng pre cana seminar here in abu dhabi < original baptismal po ba ang kelangan ?

    1. Hi Angie. Thanks for appreciating our blog! For pre cana seminar requirements, valid copy ng baptismal and confirmation certificates with marriage annotation need ng church unless the parish itself would require yung original talaga.

  5. Erwin says:

    Thank you Ms. Aiki for your blog. This will be of great help for us, as we are planning our wedding and we are both an OFW. Questions, filing for Marriage License Application should be submitted personally? Or can we ask someone (any of our relatives) to do it for us? Both of us cannot take a longer than 1 month leave from work.

    1. Hi Erwin. Thanks! As per your question, no. Marriage license application can only be done personally, as well as family planning seminars, pre-cana seminars, canonical interviews etc.

  6. artistahindaw says:

    Question. How much lahat inabot sa pag-aasikaso ng papers and legal documents? Kahit rough estimate lang po during your time ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi. If I remember it correctly inabot ng 8K ++ since kasama na dun yung pamasahe, food allowance, transpo/gas, courier fee since galing pa overseas ang docs namin papunta sa church, dinar ang rate ng pre-cana seminar namin pati certificate of marriage at hindi pesos, allowance sa family representative namin na kumuha ng birth and confirmations certs, fee sa online NSO docs, food + gas during our canonical interview, fee para sa churches namin for the marriage banns etc Better allot talaga since per document or per lakad ng papeles gagastos ka din ng 600-1.5K unless kapitbahay mo lang ang churches at govt offices. What more pa if overseas at galing ng probinsiya at luluwas ng manila.

      1. artistahindaw says:

        Well said! Thank you very much! XOXO

      2. You’re welcome. Happy preps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Sher says:

    Hi Aiki,

    Thanks for this article! ๐Ÿ™‚ By any chance, do you San Agustin’s email address? I would like to inquire regarding precana.

    Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Sher. You’re welcome. I don’t have their email address since they prefer to receive inquiries through phone call.

      1. Sher says:

        Got it. I will give them a call then. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. You’re welcome Sher.

  8. JR Aquino says:

    Hello Ma’am

    OFW po ako s qatar. Ask lng po if representative nyo po ang nagreceive ng PSA/NSO birth and cenomar certificate nyo sa pilipinas. ang alam kopo need ng authorization letter with valid id. Problem ko po expired na valid IDs ko s pinas, passport nlng. Pde po ba kung certified true copy of passport with my company stamp gamitin? also if pde kung ggawa ako ng special power of attorney para sa kapatid ko s pinas na magrreceive ng PSA/NSO documents?

    1. Hi JR. When you order your PSA/NSO birth cert at CENOMAR online, ikaw mismo dapat ang oorder ng sarili mong docs then just address either one of your parents or siblings or kung sino ang relative mo na pwede mag receive basta may valid ID as the recipient kung saan ipapadala yung inorder mo. You will pay it naman online through BDO debit card or credit card kung meron ka. That’s what we did, even sa pagkuha ng NSO marriage contract namin after the wedding. No need to make an SPA since idadaan mo pa yan sa embassy at masyado lang magastos.

  9. Ems says:

    Hi Ms Aiki..

    Thanks for this post. It really helps a lot especially for us as an OFW.
    Both my fiance and I are based here in Singapore. You have mentioned that Family Planning Seminar is a requirement for the Marriage License application. Is it ok to attend the said seminar hre in abroad just like the pre-cana?

    1. Hi Ems. I’m glad the information in our blog has been helping you in your own wedding preps. With regards to your question, no. Please keep in mind that the “Family Planning Seminar” is a compulsory requirement for your Marriage License which is applied from your City Hall in the Philippines meaning that they are the ones who solely conduct it. This is not the same with your Pre-Cana seminar that is given by the church for the church requirements. In this post https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/2016/03/19/wedding-legal-requirements-in-the-philippines/ you will see that there are 2 different requirements that you need to do in order to have both a Civil Rites (under Philippine law) and Church Rites (under Catholic law) wedding.

      1. Ems says:

        Hi Ms Aiki
        Thanks a lot for your prompt response.

      2. Hi Ems. Just ask away if I can be of help. You’re welcome. Happy preps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. xan says:

    I stumbled upon your post because I was trying to find a timeline on how to have a civil wedding. Really happy with your detailed account! Also, as I scrolled down and saw your wedding date… You got married on the same day as my birthday. teehee. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Xan. We’re happy you found the info in our wedding blog helpful. Just take note of the links below the post. If you have questions, just feel free to comment and we’ll try to help as much as we can. I’m glad to hear that! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy preps!

  11. Jessa says:

    Hi Ms Aika, this blog is very useful to me. I am now planning for our wedding this coming May 2018 and my fiance is still in the US. I’m so worried if we can comply the 3 Sundays required by the church. But he will be home 3 weeks before the wedding date. I’m so worried.

    1. Hi Jessa. What do you mean 3 Sundays required by the church? Is it your Pre-Cana seminar or the marriage bans? If it’s the latter, you can do that even if he’s still in US just as long as you complied with all the requirements like baptismal cert, confirmation cert etc which you can see in the post. With Pre-Cana, you both can do that within the day in another Church (check San Agustin Church they offer half day seminars) just as long as you got permission from the church where you’ll be married.

      Don’t worry, just plan out everything carefully. I have listed the Steps by Steps church timeline that we did here https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/2017/10/09/step-by-step-wedding-legal-requirements-process/ and try to match it with your own timeframe.

      You’re welcome and happy preps!

  12. Ceriz says:

    Hi! Your post is amazing. I didn’t know that having a church wedding has a lot of process. I thought you’ll just go to your the parish to register and thats it. Iol. Bookmarking this since I dont know where to start. Thank you so much. Overseas bride too here in Kuwait!

    1. Hi Ceriz. You’re welcome! I hope you’ll find all the information here helpful to your wedding preps. Yes, unfortunately planning a church wedding especially in the Philippines is painstakingly difficult, but thankfully though almost everything can be found online! You just have to know where to search and since you’re an overseas bride, I would highly suggest for you to contact your suppliers directly to know things first hand.

      Glad to hear you’re from Kuwait as well! It’s not everyday that I would get to know overseas brides here who’d check our blog. Hope to connect with you sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. ken says:

    hello po maam, Your post is very helpful po. pero may mga question po kasi ako, bali 1month lang po leave namin balak po namin magpakasal sa pinas church wedding po sept. 15 po dating namin sa pinas oct. 6 po sana namin balak na date, kaso po ang inaalala ko po yung wedding bans at mga seminar sino po magbibigay ng wedding banns maam?, nandito po kami sa dubai ngayon, ano ano po kinailangan na documents para ng overseas parish niyo para sa pre cana at yung Baptismal Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose at Confirmation Certificate with annotation for Marriage Purpose po galing sa pinas po ba tapos pinadala nalang po jan overseas?

  14. Princess Cantillo says:

    Hi Ms. Aiki! Ask ko lang if yung pre cana seminar ba is required na together nyo gagawin? Kasi both ofw kmi ng fiancรฉ ko pero sya ay sea-based at ako naman ay land-based here in UAE. Thank you!

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Princess. As per Pre Cana rules dapat sabay since its a Family Planning seminar. But for OFW cases such as ours, you can try to ask the Catholic church where you are based if they will allow na ikaw lang without your fiance. Varying rules kasi per church.

      If not, better do it in Manila or where you are based sa Pilipinas. There are half day to 1 day Pre-Cana seminars naman like in San Agustin Church granted you have a request letter from the Church where you will be wed.

  15. ANNIE says:

    Hi Aiki! What is the official website to request a copy of the marriage certificate? Can this be done online or does it have to be done in person?

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Annie. The PSA Serbilis (psaserbilis com ph) is the official site where you can request for a copy of your marriage contract online. No, you need to do request for it in person since it can be done online just be sure to fill all the necessary information. Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  16. Maria G says:

    Hello Aiki! Iโ€™m a half Filipino and my fiance is full Filipino. We were both born in Canada, but we would love to get married in the Philippines as san Agustin because it is where my parents got married and most of our family lives in the Philippines. We both were Baptised in the Philippines but confirmed here in Calgary Alberta. Were not even sure if weโ€™re even able to get married in the Philippines because weโ€™re born in Canada. We are so lost with how to go about the documents. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Maria. That’s nice to hear! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Anyway, may I ask what are your nationalities? Are you both Canadian citizens already or is any of you still a Filipino citizen? If someone is still Filipino, is he/she has been staying outside of the Philippines for more than 6 months?Also, are you both Roman Catholic? Were you both baptized and confirmed under Roman Catholic rites both in the Philippines and in Canada? These questions will actually give you an idea on how to proceed with your dream of getting married to San Agustin Church just like your parents. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  17. Annie says:

    Hello, we are both here in New Zealand and we are planning to get married by April 2021. As I read your timeline, you stayed in the Philippines for a month right? Processing of marriage licence, attending seminars and canonical interview and your wedding?

    We arenโ€™t sure if we go home in 1 go or we need to go home twice. Thanks!

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Annie. Congrats in advance! Anyway as per your question, we stayed in the Philippines for 2 months, including our preps, ceremony and honeymoon. We allotted 1 month (Nov) for the processing of the rest of our documents excluding the seminar which we did here in Kuwait and our prenup. Then the other month (Dec) to finalize the details with our supplier, our wedding day and honeymoon included.

      You can try to do the things that is available there like Pre-Cana seminar so you won’t have to do it in Manila and talk directly to your Church if you can submit your docs such as Marriage Bans, Baptismal certificates, Confirmation certificates etc. through your representative so you can tick them off on your list.

  18. Toni says:

    Hi Aiki, this is a good read. Reading it in 2020, but hope you can still share your expert advice. We’re planning to do it the opposite way. We were civil married and planning to have our wedding convalidated in a church here in Kuwait. The first plan was 2016, so we did the prelim requirement which is the baptismal cert, we got it but lost. So came 2019, we wanted to try again and asked our church in the Philippines for the cert since it won’t be valid after 6 months and of course, it was lost. To my surprise, it wasn’t easy to get another certificate issued for marriage and now required CENOMAR, I find it incredulous since we had already submitted our PSA certified civil marriage and we are marrying each other again for a church wedding. I don’t find any wrong or a need for the cenomar because we named ourselves and presented a government-issued document So this had added to delays which I wasn’t expecting. We were only wishing to be blessed by the Catholic sacrament and the plan wasn’t that big, but requirements are quite tedious on baptismal alone. What’s your take on this? And any advice on planning a simple church wedding? Maybe additional info on Kuwait church’s requirement.

  19. Garry & Aiki says:

    Hi Toni. Thanks for appreciating our blog and it was nice to know a kababayan also based here in Kuwait. With regard to your problem, I have always emphasized it with my posts that legal requirements differ depending on the Church where you will be getting married especially if you’re going to do it overseas. By the way, may I ask which of the three Catholic Churches here have you inquired for your wedding?

    As far as I know (since we both serve in Salmiya Parish), the legal requirements posted here https://ourbudgetdreamwedding.com/2016/03/19/wedding-legal-requirements-in-the-philippines/ are the same as in the Philippines except for other additional documents such as Passport and/or Civil ID copies. Since you are already civilly-marrie you are only supposed to submit your recent original PSA Marriage Contract (certified by DFA and/or Philippine Embassy) were not required, but recently the Church here has imposed this additional document as part of the requirements to ensure that the couple listed has no impending irregularities with the Family Code Law of the Philippines since there are cases that submitted PSA Marriage Contract was fake or invalid. I would suggest for you to talk personally to the Parish Priest to discuss your situation by showing your original and certified documents and see if they can waive the required PSA CENOMAR off the list.

    Likewise, with regards to the other documents such as baptismal and confirmation documents that you need to acquire from the Philippines, you can try to ask your relatives to do it for you on your behalf but try to directly communicate with your Churches if you can through calling them on the phone or email to personally inform them that you have unfortunately lost your documents. Talking to them directly would help since they would be assured that you are really in need of the documents with annotation for marriage since as per standard Church rules, they only issue these kinds of documents once, only unless the request has been approved by the Parish. During our time, we were both here in Kuwait when we were gathering our documents from the Philippines, and contacting them directly through landline call and email really helped fast track the process.

    Also, even if you are civily-married, you still need to undergo the Pre-Cana Seminar here. The schedule is usually during the months of June and November at the Kuwait City Cathedral.

    Moreover, if you really want to save on having a Church wedding here in Kuwait, I would advise going for the Kasalang Simbahan for example offered by the Salmiya Parish. All details can be known by talking to the Church admin. When it comes to the reception and other suppliers, there are tons of options here depending on your budget. For photography and graphic design purposes, you can check https://goartproduction.com/

    Hope that helps!

  20. Toni says:

    Wow! Thanks for the detailed advice!! Glad to have stumbled on your blog, to have someone understand my predicament. We are planning to get our marriage convalidated in Ahmadi, Our Lady of Arabia wherein we are parishioners. Now I started communicating with my local church, in fact directly to the parish priest to request consideration. We had submitted our certificate and affidavit but they just wonโ€™t issue the baptismal certificate that easily. My sister was doing the best ways she can since the first one issued last 2016 was lost, and really felt bad for the burden, thus twice because of the present situation. Crossing my fingers that this initial requirement will not take any more longer to acquire, because my husband got his with the same documents presented. Reading from your responses, there a lot more to process and this hinders is to move forward. Thank you so much! God bless!

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Toni. You’re welcome. It’s true that the process of acquiring documents is really tedious but just look at the bright side of things and enjoy your wedding journey. Everything will be okay soon. God bless and happy preps!

  21. Maricel says:

    Hi ms. Aiki
    Ask lang po lang gawa po ng pandemic
    Naresched. Po ang kasal nmin.. Pano po kaya meron na po kaming marriage license pero po yun cenomar po nmin nag expired na po sya .. Ok lang po ba yun ???

    1. Garry & Aiki says:

      Hi Maricel,

      As far as I know, 6 months lang validity ng CENOMAR after the issuance date. You can try to submit the expired document to the Church or Civil where you will get married if they will accept it due to pandemic. But better check with them to be sure kasi if not, you won’t have a choice but to get a new one. You can get one online for a safer and faster transaction.

      Hope that helps and happy preps!

  22. Maricel says:

    Hi ms. Aiki

    Ask lang po lang gawa po ng pandemic
    Naresched. Po ang kasal nmin.. Pano po kaya meron na po kaming marriage license pero po yun cenomar po nmin nag expired na po sya .. Ok lang po ba yun ???

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