Guides

How to Get Married Online in the Philippines (Step-by-Step Guide)

August 15, 2022
9 min

Marriage is a significant milestone in one's life, symbolizing a commitment to love, companionship, and building a future together. Traditionally, weddings have been celebrated with family and friends in person, creating cherished memories. However, there are situations where the need for a quick marriage arises, making online marriages an appealing solution. 

Whether it's due to time constraints, logistical challenges, or personal circumstances, the option to get married online provides a convenient and efficient way to formalize your union. In the Philippines, technology has made it possible to say "I do!" to your partner and obtain a marriage certificate within a remarkably short time frame.

Filipino couple getting married online via Zoom

The Legality of online marriages in the Philippines

In the Philippines, marriage is recognized as a civil union rather than a religious or spiritual ceremony. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, various aspects of our lives have transitioned into the online world, including education, work, and even social gatherings. It is not surprising, then, that marriage should also adapt to this new normal. 

In 2021, the House of Representatives introduced a bill known as the "Virtual Marriage Act," which proposed the legalization and validation of online marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines. The bill received a mixed response from the public. Some Filipinos expressed opposition to the concept of online marriages, believing that it detracts from the spiritual and cultural essence of the ceremony. On the other hand, many found it to be a convenient and practical solution. Online marriages offer a timely alternative, sparing couples from dealing with the minimum standard protocols imposed by churches or venues when the ceremony takes place virtually.

Currently, for a marriage under the Philippine government to be legally recognized, the bride, groom, witnesses, and solemnizing officer must all be physically present at the same location during the wedding ceremony. If any of these individuals cannot be physically present and instead participate virtually, the marriage is considered non-binding.

Until the Virtual Marriage Act is approved and the existing requirements for a valid marriage are amended, it remains necessary for Filipino weddings to be conducted in person before a solemnizing officer and witnesses.

Nevertheless, there are alternative methods to legally marry, such as opting to have a marriage ceremony in another country.

Online marriages performed in the US and their recognition in the Philippines

While online marriages are not currently allowed under Filipino marriage licenses, it is worth noting that other countries, such as the United States, have taken steps to legalize and facilitate online marriages. An example of this is the legalization of online marriages in Utah County in 2020, where the entire process from obtaining a marriage license to conducting the wedding ceremony can be done online.

In terms of recognition in the Philippines, Article 26 of the Family Code stipulates that a marriage celebrated abroad is considered valid in the Philippines if it is also recognized as valid in the jurisdiction where it took place. Given that online marriages have been deemed legal and valid in the United States, they would also be recognized as valid marriages in the Philippines.

It is crucial to stay updated on the latest developments and legal requirements regarding online marriages, both in the United States and the Philippines, as laws and regulations may evolve. Consulting with legal professionals or relevant authorities can provide accurate guidance and ensure the proper validation and recognition of online marriage in the Philippines.

Traditional marriage process in the Philippines

If you are facing time constraints and need to get married quickly in the Philippines, the usual process can be quite lengthy and challenging. One of the requirements is obtaining a civil marriage license from the local civil registrar in the municipality where the wedding will take place. This license is valid for only 30 days from the date of issuance and must be renewed every 30 days (or more frequently if necessary) until the marriage takes place.

The typical requirements for marriage in the Philippines include submitting an affidavit stating that both parties are not legally bound to anyone else in a relationship, such as a common-law marriage. Additionally, passport validations are required to show the intention of returning home after any honeymoon vacation abroad, if requested by their respective governments.

However, a convenient alternative to this complex process is opting for a service like Courtly in the Philippines. With Courtly, all you need is a valid ID and a reliable internet connection. Within just 48 hours, you can obtain your marriage certificate, eliminating the need to worry about cumbersome paperwork. This streamlined approach allows you to focus on enjoying your honeymoon without any additional administrative concerns.

Step-by-step process of getting married online in the Philippines using Courtly

Through Courtly, couples have the convenience of conducting the entire marriage process online, regardless of their location. Obtaining a valid U.S. marriage certificate becomes quick and easy, often within 48 hours, without the need for extensive documentation.

Here is a step-by-step guide to using Courtly:

1. Create an account.

To register with Courtly, simply click on the "Get Married" icon located in the top right corner and follow the provided instructions. Once your account is created, you will have access to the platform.

2. Select the ceremony format, setting, and officiant.

It's time to take action! Choose the venue and style of ceremony that best suits your preferences. Depending on your chosen time and day, Courtly will pair you with a legally qualified U.S. officiant.

3. Receive an email confirmation after payment.

Complete the payment for your chosen wedding package and await the confirmation email from Courtly. Once this is done, the wedding bells will start ringing! For complete information on our available wedding packages and add-ons, please check our Pricing Page.

4. Celebrate your marriage online with your loved ones.

Finally, tie the knot online from the comfort of your own home (or any other location with a reliable internet connection!). The ceremony typically takes around 15 minutes to complete.

You will receive a digital copy of your U.S. marriage certificate immediately after the online wedding, with a printed copy delivered to you in 1 to 2 weeks. You can also download your digital marriage license shortly after the wedding.

Registration of online marriages in the Philippines

For recognition of your marriage in the Philippines, it is essential to report and register the online marriage between Filipinos or between a Filipino and a foreign national with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) through the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General,  in the jurisdiction where the event took place. Keep in mind that many states share their consulates. For example, you got married in Utah, you would interface with the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco. The following documents are required for the registration process:

  1. Notarized Report of Marriage form.
  2. Marriage contract or certificate issued by the United States.
  3. Proof of Filipino citizenship of the applicant/s at the time of marriage.
  4. Birth certificates of both parties.
  5. Valid passports or identification documents.

To expedite the process and save time, you also have the option to request the marriage certificate provided by Courtly to be affixed with an Apostille Stamp. This stamp certifies the authenticity and legitimacy of the document.

Please note that it is always advisable to consult the Philippine Embassy/Consulate General or relevant authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the specific requirements and procedures for registering an online marriage in the Philippines. Courtly cannot and does not provide legal advice in the areas of marriage law. Please contact the officials in your jurisdiction or an immigration or family law attorney to determine the legal status of your remote appearance wedding and any additional steps or documents you may need for recognition.

For same-sex couples

By utilizing Courtly, same-sex couples, including those living in countries where same-sex marriage is still illegal like the Philippines, can obtain a marriage license from Utah. This option allows couples to go through the process of getting legally married, including obtaining the necessary documentation and performing the ceremony, all online. It essentially replicates the experience of traveling to the United States to get married but without the associated expenses and logistics.

A key benefit of marrying through Courtly and obtaining a US marriage certificate is the legal rights and benefits this document can provide in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is recognized. These advantages may encompass tax incentives, healthcare benefits for spouses, inheritance rights, and more, offering significant protections for the couple.

However, it's crucial to understand that while such a marriage is legally valid in countries that recognize same-sex marriage, it does not hold legal status in places that do not, such as the Philippines.

Apostille certification for online marriage certificates

An apostille is a unique certificate issued by either the Secretary of State or the Lieutenant Governor, which enables a legal document created in one country to be recognized and accepted in another. By obtaining an apostille, your marriage certificate is validated as a legally binding and authentic document that complies with the standards set by The Hague Apostille Convention of 1961, ensuring its recognition in countries that are signatories to the convention.

Courtly offers the option to obtain an apostille certification for your marriage certificate. It is important to note that the process of obtaining an apostille and having it reach the Philippines after the online ceremony typically takes around 15 to 30 business days. This certification further ensures the legality and validity of your marriage certificate when used in the Philippines or any other country that recognizes apostilled documents.

It is advisable to stay informed about the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining an apostille certification in your jurisdiction and consult with Courtly or relevant authorities to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

Cost of getting married online in the Philippines

Opting for an online wedding can offer significant cost savings compared to planning a traditional offline wedding. Expenses related to venue rentals, decorations, catering, wedding attire, and other miscellaneous costs can quickly add up. Venues alone can range from ₱100,000 to ₱1,000,000 per event. However, with Courtly's online marriage packages, you can enjoy a budget-friendly alternative that covers all essential aspects of a successful marriage.

Courtly's standard marriage package includes a valid marriage license, an online ceremony, and a legally recognized U.S. marriage certificate, all at the price of ₱26,999. Additional fees may apply if you choose to include an apostille stamp or require witnesses. For more details on potential add-ons, you can refer to Courtly's Pricing Page.

If you are seeking a quick and convenient way to get married in the Philippines, an online wedding can be an ideal choice. Marriage ceremonies hold significant cultural and traditional importance in Filipino culture, whether conducted offline or online. Even with an online wedding, there are still opportunities to create a heartwarming event by involving friends and family. The key requirement is to ensure a stable and reliable internet connection throughout the ceremony.

It is advisable to consult with Courtly or relevant wedding planning services for the most up-to-date information on pricing, packages, and any additional requirements to make your online wedding experience memorable and legally recognized.

Conclusion

Online marriage with Courtly caters to a diverse range of individuals, offering compelling advantages that meet their specific needs. For those with time constraints or urgent reasons, Courtly's efficient process allows for a quick marriage, addressing the need for promptness.

Moreover, online marriage serves as a practical alternative for couples facing challenges in meeting the traditional marriage requirements in the Philippines. By eliminating the requirement for physical presence, it accommodates couples who may be separated by distance or facing logistical obstacles.

Additionally, Courtly's online marriage solution presents a cost-effective option for couples seeking to minimize expenses associated with traditional weddings. With no need for venue rentals, decorations, or catering, it offers a budget-friendly approach without compromising the significance and solemnity of the marriage ceremony.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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