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
- If you don’t know yet, ask your SO candidate for the name of his sect, as on PSA records.
- Go to the PSA Sect Database – Solemnizing Officer Information System website.
- Key in the sect name and display the list of members. It should show you the registry information, jurisdiction and validity of his license.
- 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.