Sunday, February 26, 2012

Challenges of a Non-Traditional wedding

rise up to the challenge!

One of the challenges of staging a non-traditional wedding is to explain to the oldies the kind of ceremony that we'll be having. 

Being from a long line of catholics, we are all used to how a wedding should and shouldn't be. And garden weddings are only associated with the Christian faith and not Catholicism.

That plus the fact that both our parents have provincial roots. My parents are still living in the province and eventhough they spent almost half of their lives in Manila and are almost always here, the nakagisnan (what they were used to) is not easily shaken off. 

As for my fiance's parents, they grew up and is living in Manila. My father-in-law even worked abroad for more than 20+ years, and yet even they questioned our choice.

There were a lot of whys. More than that, the "then it's not a Catholic wedding" cropped up one too many times. 

So how do we explain something that we, ourselves haven't personally experienced. 

We did try.. Initially. But eventually, we just let everyone keep their opinions and just let them experience it on the BIG day. 

What I've realized, is that this is a first for all of us. We just have to trust on our own decisions and hoped everyone will do the same.


photo credits :

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birth Certificate / CENOMAR online application : how to request online

welcome to the real world!
After dropping by the municipal hall last week, I was able to finally sit down and request for our CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage record) online. Most of the government agencies are not even centralized much less computerized and I thank God that NSO is not one of them.

It's very easy and hassle free. Since we both have certified true copies of our birth certificate, we only requested for the CENOMAR. (For the rest of marriage license requirements, read my post about marriage license application

The fees are:
  •  Php 315.00 - per copy of birth/marriage/death certificate
  •  Php 415.00 - per copy of CENOMAR

I'm not sure if it's much cheaper to request it personally at the NSO located at East Avenue. Me? I'll rather have it this way rather than save a few pesos but would have to endure long lines, smog, heat and hunger put together. I just don't think it's worth it.

To go about it, simply log on to Their website is very user-friendly and is very easy to navigate.

It's broken down to 3 easy steps which are:

  1. Apply online - this is where we filled out all the necessary information that will appear on the document such as our names, birthdate, etc. This is also the part where we had to indicate where the document will be shipped. 
  2. Payment - once the online application is completed, a request reference number will be issued. A printed copy of the request is needed upon payment. If a printer is unavailable, the data is also emailed for future printing. 
  3. Delivery  - upon payment, the documents will be delivered. The timeframe is as such: 
    1. 3-5 working days - for those living in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
    2. 4-9 working days - for those who lives in other cities or provinces within the Philippines.
    3. 6-8 weeks - for those abroad. Request to expedite the delivery can be done for an extra cost.

With so many other things to think about, having the government requirements out of the way without having to go out of the house is such a great help.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

saving on the wedding gown

pic courtesy of Christine Luci-Bautista
Wedding gown is the most expensive dress that a woman would ever buy and wear. Unless, of course, if it's a gift whereas, you're one of the lucky few.

The word "expensive" is relative here. It really depends on how far you're willing to go as far as this area is concerned.

From the get-go, I already told myself that I won't splurge on the gown since I'll just be wearing it for a few hours. Believe it or not, but my budget for my dress was only 5-8k. That is my benchmark. At the most, I'm willing to go up to 10k but no more than that.

I know that finding the perfect dress with this budget will be a challenge. Since we've been planning for the wedding for almost two years, I was able to come up with some ideas to save on THE wedding dress.

  1. Scour Divisoria - Divisoria is the haven for everything budget-friendly, including wedding stuff. Unlike before, most of Divisoria's shopping buildings such as 168, 199 and Tutuban now houses shops for weddings. Gowns, Barongs, and entourage dresses abound by the color, design and material. Most of the shops also have their own seamstress who can be paid to sew a personal design.
  2. Scour Malls - Some department store like Rustan's in Glorietta have a bridal section. Since my idea of a gown leans on the formal, evening stlye, I was also able to try on a lot of dresses off-the-rack that would pass off as a wedding gown. Recommendations would be Rustans, Landmark, SM dept. store (megamall) and Robinsons Galleria, Crosssings and The Ramp.
  3. Boutiques - while on the mall, I also dropped by some boutiques that carry evening wear to have a look.
  4. Have it sewn - poring through tons of magazines and websites, I finally found the dress that I wanted. I planned on having it sewn by a seamstress since I want to incorporate various accents from different designs.

In the end, there's really no need to break the bank to look like a princess on the big day. All it takes is some creativity and a whole lot of research.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Marriage License application in the Philippines (how-to)

Hall of Requirements!
We dropped by the City Hall to inquire about the requirements for getting a marriage license.

For other soon-to-be brides, the marriage license is needed in order to be allowed to get married in the Philippines. This is obtained from the Local Civil Registrar of the municipality or city where either you or your fiance habitually reside. It is only valid for 120 days so process it within this timeframe so that it won't expire before the big day.

Before we can fill out the actual marriage license application form we first need to comply to pre-requisite requirements. They are:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Residence Certificate (sedula)
  • CENOMAR (Certificate of no Marriage record)
  • Attend the marriage counselling seminar

For those 18-20yo, written consent should be given by either of the persons below (following the order.) The said person giving the written consent should personally appear before the Municipal Civil Registrar.

  • Father
  • Mother
  • Surviving parent/guardian or 
  • Person having legal charge of them  

If you or your fiance is between the ages of 21-25yo, parental or guardian advice should be sought. Whoever gives the advice should also appear personally before the Municipal Civil Registrar. In the case that advice can't be obtained or is unfavorable, the application will have to be published. The Marriage License will only be issued after 3months of completing the publication.

Once the necessary requirements are completed, the application form may already be filled out.

The next step is to pay the fees and wait for 10 days (it didn't say whether it's calendar or working days) for the marriage license to be released.

This is what we found to be wierd. There is a Marriage fee of P350 while the actual Marriage License fee is only P2. We can't understand why we have to pay for a Marriage fee when we're not having a civil wedding and the mayor won't be officiating. Any clarity regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, a point to note is that if you and your fiance have lived together as husband and wife for atleast 5years, a marriage license is no longer needed. This is provided that both of you are above 25yo and unmarried. In this case, an affidavit made before a person authorized by law to solemnize a marriage would suffice. 

Getting the necessary forms are just some of the nitty-gritty parts of planning for a wedding. It's not as fun as the food tasting but is really important.


photo credits:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Church hunting

pic courtesy of eric suarez
If celebrating your wedding in a church is a non-negotiable thing, the next best course of action is to find the best church for you and your fiance.

This really depends on your priorities. For us, (in the initial stages of our planning, when we're still thinking of getting married in the church) we're more particular of the reception rather than the ceremony location. Because of this, we chose to look for a venue first since it was much harder to find, given our wants. Once we're set on the venue, we went church hopping.

Some things that we considered were:
  1. How much are we willing to pay? Church fee ranges from the reasonable to the absurd. You have to figure out how much is reasonable for you and your fiance. Believe it or not, our set chuch budget was only 10K. We can't find any reason why we have to pay more than this. 
  2. How does it feel in person? Does it convey the same impact as it does on pictures?
  3. If we can get the most out of our payment. We wanted to make sure that we don't have to pay any add-ons as much as possible. The most that we can get on a reasonably priced package, the better. It should at least include:
    1. The officiating priest's fee.
    2. Flowers for decoration
    3. Candles
    4. Red Carpet
    5. Electricity
    6. Choir
    7. Church attendants 

  1. What were their requirements? This includes the pre-cana seminar, baptismal certificate, wedding banns to name a few. 
  2. What were their restrictions? - (Click here for some examples.) Me and my fiance talked and decided whether we're both ammenable to it or not. 

Our goal here was not to come up with a picture perfect wedding. What we wanted was to inject as much of our personalities to it. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Peso-saving tips for dealing with your entourage

pic courtesy of dane garcia
Entourage (ento) are dictated by tradition. We really thought it was necessary until we found out that some opted to not have any.

If you're like us who will take your wedding outside then you can opt to only have the  God parents walk and do without the rest.

You can also do this in a church ceremony, by the way. It's really up to you. However, if you wanted to have the whole shebang, here are some tips on how to save your hard-earned peso.

  1. Get only 1 pair of secondary sponsors instead of the usual three - let the same pair light the candle, don you the veil and put the cord around you.
  2. Lower down the number of bridesmaids and flower girls (FG) that you'll get - in Philippine weddings, they don't usually do anything except be an added accent on your event.
  3. Set an age limit to your flower girls - FGs are the hardest to trim (in my experience) since there are a lot of friends and relatives who will volunteer their kids. You may set an age cap to filter those that you'll get. For example, only 5-8yo. 
  4. Ask your ento to pay for their own patahi (having the dress sewn by a seamstress or coutourier). Buy the cloth per yard at Divisoria, Taytay or Baclaran and distribute it to your ento together with your dress design. 
  5. Request your ento to split the bill of the Hair and Make Up Artist (HMU) - most HMU lower down their cost as the number of heads to be serviced increases. The price will usually be higher if you're just going to get them for the bride and the mother of the bride (MOB.) Another perk is that you and your ento will have a unified look.
  6. Use alternative bouquets - bouquets don't necessarily have to be flowers. Be creative. Refer to your theme for inspiration. A friend of mine used maracas to compliment their music theme.
  7. Source alternatives for the flower baskets of the FGs - like the bouquet, this can be much cheaper if done differently. You may try a long baton-like stick with a ribbon of your motif tied at the end for example.
  8. DIY your boutonniere - find a design that your fiance would like. (He'll thank you for not letting him wear flowers :D) Make sure that it's something that you'll find easy to make. Use inexpensive materials such as beads or buttons for example. 

With a little bit of creativity, flair and patience, a fabulous but very budget-friendly wedding can be done.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Restaurants as venues

pic courtesy of eric suarez
Since the reception will eat up almost half of our wedding budget, we found it imperative to figure out our peso power in this area.

What we realized is that we'll be able to shave a big chunk of our expenses if we book a restaurant instead. This means that we don't have to pay for a:

  1. Venue - This is because most restaurants will only charge you for the food. The venue comes for free. 
  2. Venue stylist/designer - This is because restaurants are already pre-designed. What we just need are add-on decors to personalize the place.

If you also want to follow this path, I've listed some steps on how to go about it. Please read on.

  1. Search your chosen area for possible restaurants to book.
  2. Schedule an occular. 
  3. Sample their food - Since they are primarily restaurants, they don't usually offer food tastings as opposed to caterers. You may ask them if they do or order when you visit. 
  4. While you're there, observe their service as this is very important. See if the waiters are courteous. Take note if the staff are friendly and accomodating. Check if they are quick to serve. Absorb everything that you can. Make a mental or actual notes of your observation. Refer to this for your decision making. 
  5. Ask for their package - Some key points to know are:
    1. How much is it in total. 
    2. What are the terms. - for example, is it 50% Down Payment (DP) to book then 50% 2weeks before the date.
    3. Are there any add-on fees. - for example, it is still VAT exclusive. Meaning, there's still additional 12% VAT. Or 10% service charge. Will they charge you for using the P.A system? etc.
    4. What are the inclusions - For example, is it just food and drinks or do they have extras like an after dinner coffee etc.
    5. What are the exclusions - for example, they don't serve liqueurs.
    6. For the exclusions, what will be the fee if you still wanted to include it. 
    7. What is the time duration alloted for your event. - for example, is it the whole day or just 5 hours?
    8. What will be the fee if you go on overtime.
    9. Is there a corkage fee and how much - For example, for bringing lechon.
    10. Do they have any restrictions - For example, they don't allow any open flames like that of a candle. 

Once you and your fiance are decided, close the date by paying the DP. I personally don't advise pencil bookings as this is subject to a lot of uncontrollable changes. Also, don't forget to request for the contract and payment receipt.

Now that you're venue is set, all you have to worry about is what food to serve and what decorations to put.

Happy preps!


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