Saturday, March 06, 2010

My Big Fat Pinoy Wedding (Part II)

Church officials requires the following if you want your wedding held in a church: a civil marriage license, a couple’s seminar, marriage counseling and confession prior to receiving the holy Eucharist (communion for the religious but un-informed). Except for the marriage contract, all are managed by the church and you have to pay a fee for the seminar and counseling.

No problem in obtaining a civil license. We signed the papers a year before in a simple ceremony at Manila City Hall before I flied back to Riyadh. So my fiancĂ©e already got the leverage document, I mean, insurance paper, este, the civil license needed by the church. As for the seminar and counseling, which I thought was a waste of time, I got no choice but to attend. We were scheduled one weekend; seminar in the morning, counseling in the afternoon and confession after that.

There are three other couples in that room besides us. One couple of marrying age was sitting on the far side. Another in the middle, whom I think, just wants to formalize their union since two children are sitting beside them. And a very young couple at the back who just can’t seem to let go of one another. Frankly, I have no recollection of what was being discussed in that seminar. My mind was somewhere else, occupied with calculating my expenses and subtracting it from my rapidly depleting bank account.

On the other hand, marriage counseling was a one-on-one sit-in with a young, if I’m not mistaken, newly ordained priest. But before he could begin, I asked him a barrage of questions: How old are you? What is your experience as a marriage councilor? Do you think, when it comes to life’s experience, you're more knowledgeable, even if you’re 10 years my junior? To which I received a series of nod and shake of his head. I think that’s the shortest marriage counseling there ever was.

The parish priest is no stranger to me. Not only is their house a stone throw away from our family compound, my brother-in-law was his former classmate back in their seminary days. So we for go the formality of the confessionary and just sat on a bench outside the cathedral. When he found out my last confession was 15 years ago, he asked me if I haven’t sinned for the last decade and a half. That’s when I told him about my little theory. The psychological effect of telling one’s problem to another, which somehow free or lessen a person’s anxiety when they "opened up". And as Catholics being one of the most guilt stricken religious group, it is, but logical, to "introduce" confession. Since I equate “sin” to “guilt” and I have freed myself of that “guilt” a long time ago, I think there is no need for confession anymore. He just looked at me, took a deep breath and our confessional session ended.

The price of “renting” a church for your wedding varies in its looks and size. Chapels’ and churches maybe cheaper but we paid a 5 figure to use the cathedral. Before that, I suggested on having a “garden wedding”. The place where we held our reception has a beautiful garden, a gazebo where we could put the altar and menos gastos pa since it’s included in the rental. But I was cut short by the “olds”. It’s not “traditional” said one. Its sacrilegious, said another. And everyone, who still wear a veil when attending mass, agreed it should be a church wedding.

But having a church wedding has its downside. In my town, if you want it fancy, they have their own “officials” to do it. You can’t bring in your own flower arrangers because they have their own “official” flower arranger. You can’t have somebody sing in your wedding because they have their own “official” choir to do the singing. And to all of these you have to pay extra and it’s not cheap either.

Since we can’t do anything but use their “officials”, I asked, if they could sing our favorite song during the actual wedding ritual. But their conductor told me they have an “official” list of songs and if my song is not there, they can’t sing it. Can you believe that? That’s typical Catholic clergy mentality! They’ll decide what’s good for you, boss you around and then expect to be paid for dumping their crap on you.

Not only that, these “officials” where also at the reception and enjoying their heart out. When I whispered to my wife “Who invited them?” she replied “Nobody”. I continued to smile while receiving guests and some more “officials”, but a lot of expletives were running around in the back of my mind.

Forget what they say about “In the eyes of God and men blah blah blah…”. How ever they phrase it, when it comes to legality, a marriage license issued by the church does not hold water in any judicial proceedings. It’s not recognized by the court and the only legal paper admissible are the ones issued by a judge in a civil wedding ceremony, like your marriage contract. And like any other contract, be sure you read it, especially the fine prints, and understand what’s stipulated in its provisions. Some contract contains “pre-nuptial” agreement that in some cases maybe disadvantageous to some party, especially to you, ladies.

You can have your heart’s desire at your own wedding. But I suggest you put your venue somewhere else but the church. Not only do you save financially but from the hassle and aggravation as well of facing these hypocritically self-righteous church “officials”. Cheers!

Since I couldn't get them to sung our favorite song, I might as well put it here:


  1. grand wedding talaga...
    must be your wife's dream wedding... hehehe
    dapat lahat ng gusto ng mga ikakasal ang masusunod.. un ang makakapagpaperfect ng lahat...
    hmmm songs... favorite songs or yung theme song ng couple playing in the background would set the right/romantic mood for everyone...

  2. YanaH, yun nga eh. Bad trip ako nung hindi nila kinanta yung "What Matters Most" by Kenny Rankin.

  3. nakakatouch pa naman talaga yung kanta na yun... yun yung song na pli-nay dun sa wedding nung friend ko.... fave nila yun... kaya yun ang ginamit for their first dance as husband and wife.. naiyak pa yung friend ko..
    at shempre based talaga ko.. di ko naman masyado hinintay yung karugtong kase hehehe..
    ingat po jan kuya!

  4. o",) Pakiramdam ko parang hindi kayo natuwa sa naging ceremony at sa mga pinagagawa ng mga 'officials' sa inyong kasal. Pero sa tingin ko hindi naman lahat ng simbahan ganu'n. 'Yaan niyo po sa 25th anniversay ay paulit niyo ang ceremony- sa simbahang mangyayari lahat ng ninanais niyong mag-asawa.

    Uhmn, maid of honor na si Bea that time. U

  5. re: "Pero sa tingin ko hindi naman lahat ng simbahan ganu'n."

    RJ, May punto ka dyan. Baka yung sa maliliit na simbahan ay mababait at hindi mukhang pera ang mga opisyales. Pero huwag mong asahang ganun din pag dating sa magagarbong katedral katulad ng sa amin.

  6. matrabaho talaga maglakad ng papeles para sa kasal eh noh. tsaka mas okay nga sa mga simbahang maliliit, mas madali kausap sabi ng mga friends kong nag church wedding.

  7. I love What Matters Most! Sayang di pinayagan kantahin... :(

  8. eRLyN, sabi ng mrs ko nangayayat sya dahil dyan. At sa tingin ko, tama ka. Mas makatao ang pakikitungo ng mga opisyales sa maliliit na simbahan.

    Pinky, I fall in love with my wife every time I hear that song. tama na, ang cheeesy!

  9. Bakit ganun sayang naman at di kinanta ang favorite song at theme song ninyo. Siguro nga depende rin sa Catholic church ng lugar na pagdadausan ng kasal ninyo. In my church walang bayad lahat ang pag gamit ng chapel, you can have your flower arrangements pero yun song di rin pwede baguhin kasi for church wedding lang yun dapat kantahin pero pwede kami magrequest ng lang di na ako catholic (yun mga reklamo mo sa catholic naramdaman ko rin yan hahaha) kaya sa ibang church kami kinasal hehehe at least libre

  10. Sardz, dapat siguro mag bago na rin ako ng relihiyon. Bawal kaya ang baboy sa Buddhism? Favorite ko kasi yun. : )

  11. If I were to wed -- if EVER I were to wed, I would go for a simple garden wedding. And I will definitely play Kenny's What Matters Most.

    Pero dahil nga I'm sure maraming matatanda ang kokontra, I think I will undergo what you've been through.

    O baka maki-join na lang ako dun sa kasalang bayan. Way, way cheaper than a private wedding.

    Thankfully, I don't think I will ever wed.

  12. Nebz, huwag kang mag salita ng patapos. Nasabi mo lang yan dahil puro mapurol pa ang mga palasong tumatama sayo.

  13. Hahaha, sobrang tawa ako sa "insurance paper".

    Naiimagine ko yung (younger) priest nung tinanong mo sya. Naintimidate siguro. =)

  14. Experience is the best teacher the say. How can you counsel when you haven't been married or never had a relationship with a woman before ? The affairs of the heart isn't about theory ! I liked how you lectured the young priest hahaha :)

    It's easier to have a private ceremony, in a nice restaurant with a garden or even a golf club, where you can do anything you want and just get a man of religion or official - priest, pastor, rabbi, judge - to officiate. Ang importante para sa akin ay spirit of the celebration at saka participation ng loved ones from both sides. Nonetheless, tapos na ang rite of passage mo kung baga kaya congrats pare ko for a nice wedding :)

  15. Ms.Jo, hehe. Akala kasi ng mrs ko I'll get cold feet at baka mag back-out. >: )

    bw, that's the problem with priests. They think they are the authority and have all the answer to everything.

  16. i just cannot understand the counseling part palagi. sometimes, the priests always sound 'holier-than-thou'.

    having a grand wedding is a remarkable. what happens after that will tell if it paid off or if it's worth it. :-D

  17. bing, my sentiments too. Some still thinks they are still living in the time of friars.

    And yup, one should gauge a succesfull marriage not by how grand their wedding but how they live as husband and wife.

  18. korek! kami ni Lolo, hindi dumaan sa pari ek ek, sa civil lang, 15mins ceremony, and on that moment, gusto ko na kunin ang marriage contract, baka bukas masunog ang city hall, hahahha!

    i could see, put off ka talaga sa "matters" of the church, I agree with you. Ginawang business na, kaya kung bibisita si Bro Jesus sa kanila, nakupo, baka sesante sila lahat sa corruption going on. Mama mia!
    Baka walang pang tong its si Father, lol

  19. nice song! nakanta ko na to sa isang wedding before.

  20. Francesca, hinde lang ginagawang "business", yung hinde pa pag sang-ayon sa isang isyu na nakakabuti sa madla ngunit hinde pabor sa kanila!

    R-yo, naks! Kaya pala ikaw ang pambato ng grupo nyo ng pumunta si GMA sa Japan. Hinde ka lang pala pang karaoke, wedding singer pa!

  21. thanks for the tips and pointers to follow sa kasal-kasalan lol hay the simplier the better kaya sa jollibee na lang ang balak ko lol happy meal lol