For Church weddings in the Philippines, lots of restrictions have been put in place to ensure the solemnity of the wedding vows. Although rules differ between Churches even if some are under one Diocese or Sect, their restrictions would still vary depending on its current administration.
Below are some of the most common questions about restrictions when someone wants to get married in a Catholic rite.
1. CAN WE DO THE WEDDING CEREMONY OUTSIDE THE CHURCH LIKE BEACH OR GARDEN?
Unfortunately the answer is No. This is in accordance to the Catholic Church Canon Law which states that marriage ceremonies done under the rite should follow the Canonical Form which includes rituals and readings headed by a Priest inside a Catholic Church. Useful information can be found HERE.
2. CAN A CATHOLIC MARRY A NON-CATHOLIC UNDER A CATHOLIC CHURCH RITE?
The answer would be Yes, given that both parties follow the Catholic Church rules and requirements such as submitting the necessary documents and getting an approval from the Archdiocesan Chancery Office. Be warned that additional documents are needed to complete the process which also includes personal interview with the Bishop, who has the authority to approve of “mixed marriages”.
3. ARE LOVE SONGS ALLOWED TO BE PLAYED DURING THE BRIDAL MARCH?
Churches have their own list of approved songs to be played during the ceremony which includes the bridal march. If worst case scenario that your desired Church won’t approve of your wedding music list, don’t fret because you can always make an appeal for your songs to be approved through a formal request and be sure to state all the reasons of its importance to you as a couple and pray that it will be granted.
In our case for example in San Agustin Church, which is known to be too strict, we were able to request our preferred songs but the list were formally submitted using the Music Planner Form prior to the wedding for approval. This is typically done whether an outside band will play for the wedding or its the Church’s in-house soloist or choir.
Also, if you have a band who will play for your wedding, it is highly advisable to be sure that they have previous experience with your chosen church so they are aware of the Church regulations regarding approval of music lists, use of Church electricity and equipment etc.
4. IS THERE A DRESS CODE IMPLEMENTED BY THE CHURCH DURING THE WEDDING CEREMONY?
Modesty is a way to show respect to any religious gathering which includes wedding ceremonies. This is something that is highly encouraged for people who will be participating in any religious and formal event. When attending a Catholic rite ceremony in the Philippines, appropriate dress code is strongly emphasized to show respect which usually includes any form of clothing that is not sexually provocative that covers women’s chest showing the cleavage, thighs, underarm etc.
During our wedding, we made sure that people would be guided properly regarding our dress code so we made a visual file which includes reminders and images — Wedding Guest Dress Code Do’s and Don’ts that we sent to our entourage and guests weeks before the event.
5. CAN WE ADD EXTRA PAIRS OF PRINCIPAL SPONSORS (NINONG AND NINANG)?
Having more than 2 sets of Ninong and Ninang is common for Filipino weddings probably due to family traditions, culture and/or personal preference. Although there is a standard max of 4 pairs, majority of Catholic Churches allow for couples to have more given that they will pay an extra charge.
In our case with San Agustin Church, our fee already included 2 pairs for our Ninong and Ninang. But because we have additional 6 pairs in mind, we paid the extra pairs for Php 400 each (the rate may have changed so better check with them). We exactly don’t know why we need to pay extra, since even in the marriage contract, the front page only has 4 lines for the Ninong and Ninang’s signature and the rest of our Principal Sponsors signed at the back. Probably due to extra chairs that they need to prepare? Haha.
6. CAN WE PERSONALIZE OR DIY THE DETAILS OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY?
You are more than welcome to DIY the details of your wedding ceremony such as adding more flower accents to the basic decoration, make a copy of your own ceremony guide, add more decorations, etc. But before you do this make sure you get permission from the Church to be reminded regarding other restrictions.
Also, it has to be noted that when it comes to the wedding ceremony itself, you cannot simply add a new set of “wedding entourage role” such as a pair under Secondary Sponsor to carry the Sand if you plan to do a Sand ceremony thing etc. The Catholic Church also limits the roles to the usual ones and adding more would need approval from the Church.
If you insist in doing other rituals for your wedding, you can however do it during your reception.
So before proceeding with any reservations or plans, it is highly advisable to always inquire directly to your desired Church to know all of the possible wedding rules and restrictions if there is any because not all Churches have the same rules and regulations.