How Much Do Weddings Cost In The Philippines?
(Edited to add photo/video and ring costs on Sep 19)
Love don’t cost a thing, but weddings can cost a pretty penny. That might be one of the factors as to why fewer Pinoys are tying the knot these days — according to the NSO, the number of registered marriages has been steadily declining since 2009. There are so many expenses to worry about in life already, so setting aside a giant chunk of money for one day of celebrations might seem unreasonable.
But we Pinoys are very romantic, so we like our weddings. And having a wedding in this economy doesn’t have to be a burden. You just have to know your budget and plan around that. To give you a better idea, we’ve divided up wedding expenses into three categories: essentials, major, and minor. Read on and find out what expenses you have to prepare for to have the wedding of your dreams and start your life of matrimonial bliss:
Without these, you can’t have a wedding. These are the bare minimum expenses you will need.
- Marriage license. You will need to get this from your local registry office. The bride- and groom-to-be fill out this form together (he on the left, she on the right), and submit it to the municipal office. Fees vary depending on the city; for example, the total fee for Quezon City is P320, while in Cebu it’s P250. And if one of you is not a Filipino national, there will be additional fees, at around P1,000 depending on the municipality, and more forms required.
- Certificate of No Marriage. It does what it says on the tin — certifies that you are not married. Some churches require this. Philippine embassies can also request this if you’re getting married in a foreign country, and you’ll need it if your spouse will be filing for a fiancée visa on your behalf. This costs P415 per copy (or $25 if the request is made from abroad) when ordered online from ecensus.com.ph, or P195 if you go to a walk-in Serbilis outlet.
- NSO birth certificate. Some municipalities require an NSO birth certificate when you apply for a marriage license. This costs P140 from a walk-in Serbilis outlet, or P350 from ecensus.com.ph.
- Baptismal certificate. A must for church weddings, along with a confirmation certificate. The fees for these can vary. Churches require a “for marriage purposes” stamp on the baptismal certificate, so you can’t use your old one; you’ll have to get a new one.
These are the major components of a traditional wedding. The cost of them depends greatly on your budget, taste, and number of attendees.
- Church. If you’re going to have a church wedding, you’ll need to prepare a lot of documents and attend a few seminars. But the big expense here is the fees for the church, which can vary greatly. For example, making a reservation at St John Bosco Parish in Makati costs P17,000 (without air-conditioning, P22,500 with). Meanwhile, Malate Catholic Church has an “economy” rate of P5,000 for weekday weddings — and if you’re a parishioner there, you can get a 50% discount on that rate. Some churches offer all-in packages. For P140,000, Mt Carmel Parish in Quezon City will provide invitations, flowers, catering, and photo/video services. A less expensive alternative is the kasalang bayan, or group weddings that are sponsored by the local municipality, sometimes in cooperation with a church, and are free.
- Reception. This will be the most costly major expense. According to kasal.com, City Garden Suites Manila is one of the most affordable venues in Manila — their rates for a complete wedding package range from P44,750 (50 pax) to P167,720. The cost of a reception depends on how many people will be attending, the menu, and the venue.
- Wedding attire. Those on a budget can find wedding gowns for as low as P2,500. Boutique bridal stores offer dresses at a range of P15,000 – P40,000 and beyond. The cost of the attire will depend greatly on your style and budget.
- Wedding rings. These are a symbol of a couple’s eternal love, but they don’t have to be eternally expensive. Some local jewelry stores sell gold wedding rings from P8,609.50 each. If you want diamonds, expect to spend around P20,000 for the lowest tier. On the other side of the spectrum, you could spend almost P750,000 on a Etoile five-row band ring with pavé diamonds in platinum from Tiffany & Co.
- Photography and Videography. Of course, you’ll want to relive your big day with photos and videos of the event. If you want professional photography, basic rates can start at around P25,000. Video services can start at around P40,000. If you want to save yourself the trouble and get a package including both, expect to pay around P60,000 — and if you want extras like same-day editing or a prenup video, this will cost extra, starting at around P90,000 for an all-inclusive package.
- Makeup. Hiring a professional hair and makeup stylist for a wedding can set you back by as much as P20,000, depending on the stylist. Some packages are bride only (which can cost around P6,000), some include both bride and groom, and some include an additional two heads, such as bridesmaids.
- Honeymoon. If you go to a local honeymoon hotspot such as Club Paradise in Palawan, you’ll spend around P50,000 for a honeymoon package. If you want to go abroad, expect to spend even more.
These are the little expenses that can add up if not planned for. Not having these won’t kill your wedding, but they are nice to have.
- Invitations. This can range from P15 each for a basic invitation, or much higher if you choose fancier options such as customized designs, letterpress printing, thermography, and others.
- Souvenirs. Shops like Papemelroti have souvenirs from P20 and up. If you buy in bulk from a vendor, you can negotiate a lower price.
- Gifts for sponsors. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for your sponsors with a thoughtful gift. You could get a bottle of wine for P800, or a personalized Filipiniana clock for P500.
- Accommodations. If family and friends are going to travel from abroad to the wedding, they’ll need accommodation. If you can’t house them all, you can contact a hotel for group bookings to get a discount on room rates.
Of course, our list above doesn’t include every single expense. So depending on what kind of wedding you want to have, you could spend as little as P200,000, or as much as P1 million and beyond.
If all these expenses sound like a headache, remember that it’s not the extravagance of your wedding that determines the happiness of your married life. Instead, think of the wedding ceremony as a simple celebration of your love. What’s important is your loved ones will be present on your big day and everyone is happy.
Start preparing for your wedding now and find the best savings account for your needs.