DIY Wedding: Solemnizing Officer

Arguably one of the most important aspects of the wedding is for someone to officiate it! Since our families are of different religions–think four to five religions within our small group of twenty–we opted for a non-secular one.

However, we found out that a civil wedding is quite tedious in the sense that you have to pre-arrange for a schedule with the judge of the jurisdiction, AND need to be wed in his chambers. There’s a risk of not getting the time and date that you want, as it’s dependent on the judge’s schedule. From other blogs, the surest way to get the date/time you prefer is if you personally know (or know someone) the judge. As we’ve already decided on the place and the date, we weren’t going to take chances.

Through mighty Google, we learned that we can be wed by a solemnizing officer. The what?

If you’re worried that your wedding will be invalid, here’s a snippet from the Family Code:

Marriage may be solemnized by any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted him by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect.

Simply put, solemnizing officers (SO) are minsters of other religions (like priests for Catholics) and are licensed to wed couples where one is a member of the particular religion of the SO. Unlike Catholic weddings that need to be held within the confines of the church, a solemnizing officer may conduct a wedding within his/her jurisdiction, depending on the rules and guidelines of his/her sect.

We’ve honestly never attended a wedding officiated by an SO, so we were quite cautious. I remember thinking, “How do we know if the solemnizing officer is legit?” Don’t fret though, as solemnizing officers are duly registered with the Philippine Statistics Authority.

As a DIY-er, it is of our responsibility to exercise due diligence and check the validity of our SO’s license. So check if your SO is legit before you confirm and book him/her, otherwise your marriage could be nullified or will be void!

How to Check if Your Solemnizing Officer is Legit

  1. If you don’t know yet, ask your SO candidate for the name of his sect, as on PSA records.
  2. Go to the PSA Sect Database – Solemnizing Officer Information System website.
  3. Key in the sect name and display the list of members. It should show you the registry information, jurisdiction and validity of his license.
  4. You can further check information by clicking the registry number/code link.

In our case, we contacted Rev. Emmanuel Moreno. Quite honestly, it was just because he was the first one we saw on Facebook. We sent him a message on his Facebook page to get his contact details, and then discussed how we wanted the wedding to be with as little reference to religion and bible, as our families belong to different (think 4-5 religions) ones.

He will take your preferences into consideration when it comes to wedding traditions (ninongs and ninangs, arrhae, vows, rings, candle/veil/cord), but as ours was to be a simple one; we only wanted to do our own vows and of course, the rings.

Unless you are strictly following the rules of your own sect/religion, know that you are not bound by the rules of the SO’s sect, if different. As this is your wedding, find an SO who would fit the wedding that you want. Discuss with your spouse-to-be on what you want to include before you talk to your SO candidate.

We kind of dislike the preachy kind of SO that we saw on some wedding videos… I mean, honestly, I’d rather not take marriage advice from strangers. We liked Rev. Moreno’s videos as they were mostly concise, not too dreamy, and not too religion-centric. Also, my fiancé wanted to say personal vows, so that was a plus that we got an SO (unlike in a Catholic church where it is no longer allowed, or in front of a judge.)

So after discussing the details of the wedding ceremony, we made our downpayment to secure the date off off his calendar. Nearer the date, once we had our marriage license, we went to his home office in Barangay Olympia, Makati, to submit our documents, along with the names of the our witnesses (who will sign the Marriage Certificate on the wedding day.)

Post Wedding Review

Having Rev. Moreno as our solemnizing officer was not difficult at all. He’s easy to talk to, downpayment can be made through BPI transfer/deposit. I’m only just a bit irky about schedules: we met twice in his office and I think both times he must’ve almost forgotten. If you will deal with Rev. Moreno, do remind him in advance if you’re going to meet him. Also, don’t forget to contact him a few days before the wedding, as well as the morning of the wedding…you won’t want him to forget that! 😉

Would I recommend him? Yes, his thoughtful, not too flowery insights to share was appreciated. BUT to grammar nazis, no. Hehehe. If you’re a grammar nazi and want to book Rev. Moreno, I suggest you request to be wed in Tagalog. We didn’t have wedding videos, so that’s fine with us! You can’t detect English grammar on photos, after all.

* Cost for Solemnizing officer: P5,000 + P2,000 out of town fee
Click here to read about the full cost breakdown of our DIY wedding

Do you have any suggested solemnizing officer, or have questions about this post? Comment below! 

Important: As per checking on 2018-11-27, the PSA database have changed and requires some sort of login. Please contact the PSA directly if you need to confirm your SO through the Solemnizing Officer Information System (SOIS). According to the landing page of the website, this database is also for the benefit of the general public in verifying SOs, sect, effectivity of license and jurisdiction.

26 thoughts on “DIY Wedding: Solemnizing Officer

  1. Hi Miss Katia,
    Were planning to get married on Dec 18 and our plan is Solemnizing Officer kunin namin but we are so scared baka kasi bogus. Can u please help me

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    1. Hi Sha! Because I have no other experience that Reverend Moreno, he’s the only person I can recommend. In ant case kung maka meet kayo ng another SO, make sure to check his name on the database 🙂

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  2. hello dear, i read those all.. and since were also looking for a SO ppan na namin sya kunin as our officiant officer but I saw on his details sa PSA until dec 31, 2018 na.lang ang validation ng pagiging SA nya… Jan15, 2019 kasi ang civil wedding date namin.. any suggestions please, both kami ni bf ofw we will be arrive in the country a few days before our chosen date kasi 2weeks lang allowed na vacation.leave namin

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    1. Hi! You should definitely talk to him and discuss about it. I’m not sure how soon they renew these things but you should communicate to him for this legit concern.

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  3. HI! WE OPTED FOR A CIVIL WEDDING ALSO, IF WE CHOSE A REVEREND TO SOLEMNIZE OUR WEDDING DOES THAT MEAN IT WONT BE A CIVIL WEDDING? THANKS:)

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    1. Hmm. Technically a “civil wedding” is something that is recognised by the government. If your officiant or reverend of your religion is registered as a solemnizing officer, your wedding should be both legal and religious.

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  4. I’m so so happy to have come across your post! Been going out of my mind trying to figure out who can officiate our wedding in Tagaytay in April 2019. Thanks, Katia!

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  5. Hi Miss Katia. May we know what is designation in the registration in PSA website? Can anyone register there? I was trying to click the List Members link but it says: “Access denied. You may need to login below or register to access this page.”. Kindly advise. Thanks! 🙂

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    1. Hi Miss Katia. Thanks for this post. 🙂 Really happy to see this. 🙂 Though I have some questions… May we know what is designation in the registration in PSA website? Can everyone register there? I was trying to click the List Members link but it says: “Access denied. You may need to login below or register to access this page.”. Kindly advise. Thanks! 🙂

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  6. Hi Miss Katia, trying to check the name of an SO on PSA database, but I can’t access the list of members of any sect since it’s asking for log in details. Is it the same when you checked last time? Thanks. 🙂

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  7. Hello Ms. Katia! Your article is so helpful and Im happy I found your page! 🙂 Question lang po regarding sa wedding entourage nyo, ano lang po yung naging flow ng wedding nyo? May usual candle, cord and veil pa ba kayo and the rest? Thanks! 😊

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    1. Hello! Happy to hear that 🙂 No we basically just walked to the location, a little bit of ‘preaching’ on the importance of marriage and family, vows, rings, and we had our parents come up and say a few words of wisdom / blessings to us. Then it’s kiss the bride time! Haha all but 15 mins or so.

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    2. Hello! Thank you for the wonderful information. Just want to ask also, my fiancé and I were both baptised in a Catholic church.. which I was never active. I used to attend in a Christian church since 4 years old ako but hindi ako na baptised. Would it be still possible for an SO to officiate our wedding? We both wanted our wedding outside the church due to both our families different religious views too. Thank you for the response.

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      1. I didn’t have any problems with it as he still produced legally binding documents… but have a chat with your chosen SO too.

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  8. Member ka ba ng Church ni SO? Because according to below one of the parties should belong to the same church.

    “and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect.”

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  9. Hi! This is sooo helpful! Thank you so much! I have a question though. I’d defo do Rev Moreno but I read somewhere na pag kinasal ka na ng SO, hindi ka na pwede ikasal sa Catholic wedding church, is this true?

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  10. Hi Katia,
    Just want to know if you can tell me the religion or church Rev. Moreno is affiliated to. My fiancé and I are both Catholics but would like to get married outside of church for now. I’m having some conflicting issues with hiring Rev. Moreno since I have been informed by a lawyer that a marriage of 2 Catholics officiated by a non-Catholic is voidable. It should be done by an officiant that has the same religion of at least one of the couple.
    Really appreciate your help.

    Thanks, Katia.

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    1. Best to check with him about this, for me as long as his papers were legally accepted, that was all I needed… I did tell him I was baptized Catholic and hubby was Christian.

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      1. Okay thanks. Just to let you know, I did some background check on Rev. Moreno. He is neither Catholic nor Christian. It is very easy to register a new religion with SEC. He is part of Spiritual Filipino Catholic Church which is not affiliated at all with the Vatican. You can look it up on Facebook and you can see how different their views are and some of their posts are against the Pope. The “Catholic” part somehow confuses people. Law firms have warned about these services though they have the license to officiate, does not mean that they can marry any two people of whatever religion. There are certain SOs who choose to disregard this law for income. However, this law is absolute and in this case, if my sources are correct, can make your marriage voidable. Sorry. I just think it is important for you to know and to give proper guidance through your blog.

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      2. Thanks for that. My partner and I no longer identify with any religion which was actually why we chose to be married by an SO, for me if the legality of papers were accepted by the city hall, and later on the PSA, that was good for me. For us it was nothing different to a civil wedding.

        However I understand how some may need to reconsider an SO based on religion. If religion is important, the best way would be to talk to your church. Again I cannot speak for any church as I do not identify with any. As with most things in weddings, your wedding your choice. Always remember what is important to you and follow your gut. 🙂

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