Tying the Knot
A quick guide to organizing your dream wedding
BY KARLA TECSON
I t’s no secret that in the Philippines, May to July are some of most popular months to say “I do.” While getting hitched this season poses one benefit, it’s post summer – it also means having to do your preparations right smack at school season and other activities that spell hectic.
Don’t fret – read on as we give you simple tips to throw your dream wedding. From the right number of guests to invite, to choosing the venue, and even down to the tedious task of arranging required documents, these top tips will help you pull off an unforgettable and meaningful celebration of you and your husband’s union.
The moment you say “yes,” to your future husband’s marriage proposal, the work starts, says Kimberly Gutierrez Valdez, an event manager who founded Social Happenings Event Specialist. The events planning company has been organizing weddings and other celebrations for eight years.
After the engagement, Valdez advises to make the announcement to the immediate families and start the planning process. For a stress-free wedding, she recommends to allot six months to one year to plan ahead. Before anything else, she says you and your partner should sit down and discuss the most important thing: The budget.
“You’d want to stick to it as much as possible. However, realistically, you should allot approximately 20 percent more of the budget for unexpected or incremental expenses,” Valdez says. She says the additional budget can cover small expenses while wedding preparations are going on.
A big consideration of the budget, Valdez notes, is the number of guests. “I honestly believe a wedding with a 100 to 150 people is more intimate and memorable. But again, it would all depend on your budget. If you can feed 200 to 1,000 pax then go ahead,” she says.
Other major considerations for the budget include the venue. Some couples opt to get hitched out of town, and with that, transportation costs trail along. While some guests are okay with handling their own travel arrangements and expenses, you might have to provide transportation for some, like your families.
“I suggest you meet halfway – making it more accessible for both parties, and somewhere that wouldn’t create conflict on either side,” Valdez says.
VENUES AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS
Speaking of venues, she recommends keeping it indoors as much as possible, given the unpredictable weather. However, when your wedding ceremony is outside, she cautions to have a plan B – ensure that there’s an indoor venue as an option or a big tent, in case it pours.
Before even diving down to the “fun” details of wedding preparations (gowns, bridal parties, decorations, among others), Valdez says couples should not forget the necessary requirements. “No wedding will happen legally without the proper documents. So please pay attention to this, and keep in mind that most documents require weeks or even a month to accomplish, especially for Catholic church weddings,” she explains.
While documents would depend on the religion and type of wedding – civil or church – there are basic requirements to be accomplished by the couple. According to www.filipiknow.net, here are some of them:
- Marrying parties should be a male and a female, at least 18 years old.
- If you or your partner is 25 years old or below, a parental consent or advice is needed.
- You and your partner must not be related by blood (up to 4th degree) and should be free of legal impediments, such as being in a previous marriage (unless annulled, widowed, or divorced).
Regardless of the type of wedding ceremony, all couples undergo almost the same process in getting married, according to the site:
- Step 1: Marriage license application
- Step 2: Attending of required pre-wedding seminars and counseling.
- Step 3: Release of marriage license.
- Step 4: Marriage ceremony solemnized by an officer registered with the local civil registrar and in the presence of two witnesses of legal age.
- Step 5: Getting your official NSO marriage certificate.
Marriage license is the most important legal document you need to secure when preparing for your wedding, the site says. To apply for the license, both parties must go to the local civil registrar of the city, town or municipality where either the groom or the bride habitually resides. Marriage license is usually released two weeks after you apply for it.
For church weddings, there are specific requirements aside from the marriage license that you need to fulfill a month before your actual wedding, according to the site, such as:
- Baptismal and confirmation certificates
- Copy of NSO birth certificate and Certificate of No Record of Marriage (CENOMAR)
- Pre-Cana/Marriage preparation seminar – topics may include parenting, sexuality, family planning, among others
- Canonical interview – meeting the parish priest (or his assistant) of the church you’re marrying in
- Marriage Banns – written wedding announcements that will posted on the bulletin boards of the couple’s respective parishes.
- List of principal sponsors and entourage members
- Other requirements: ID pictures, list of songs, permits for photographers and videographers
If you have other questions, the site recommends contacting your city hall or church directly.
The wedding theme, music in the reception, type of cuisine, wedding gown, groom’s suit, the entourage’s dresses, and decorations all come down to the budget, as well as the couple’s personal taste, Valdez says. She suggests working with your wedding coordinator to discuss your needs and wants.
When it comes to enlisting the services of an events company, Valdez says you can opt for an all-in package or stand-alone.
“If you’re the type that doesn’t want to be talking to a lot of different people, then the all-in package would work. However, be prepared to adding more to the budget because of all the upgrades while in the middle of the preparations,” she explains.
Stand-alone package, on the other hand, gives your suppliers more budget to give you a more elaborate service. “No matter what you choose, remember that you’ll get what you pay for,” she points out.
Valdez says it’s helpful to search the Internet for reviews of suppliers, or ask families or friends for reliable referrals. She especially highlights two other important aspects in a wedding: Food and documentation.
Because Filipinos love to eat, she personally suggests to her clients that they invest on the food.
“Never make your guests, and even your suppliers, hungry. None of them would be enjoying the day if they are unsatisfied,” she says.
Valdez also reminds not to forget photography and video services. “This big day will only happen once in a lifetime. Get a reliable team to capture each moment in the nicest and most creative way they can,” she notes.
“In general, one of the wedding tips I always give is to be practical and smart. Weddings will only happen once in a lifetime and it will only be for one day. You have the future to think of and invest on together. Having your own home, preparing for a child, and answering to your individual obligations, are just among the things you have to consider after the wedding,” Valdez says.