How To Hold A Virtual Wedding In The Philippines
The pandemic has made mass gathering quite an impossible feat nowadays, and big celebrations and events have to take a backseat. Weddings are among the events that have been greatly impacted, making couples sit the situation through until it’s over.
However, thanks to technology, couples can choose to get wed without breaching the social distancing protocol – that is through a virtual wedding. Not to mention, it’s also a practical means to tie the knot because wedding expenses will be massively cut due to fewer expenses on venue, accommodation, and transportation.
But before we dive deeper into this subject, let us answer the elephant in the room.
Are e-weddings or virtual weddings legal in the Philippines?
Early in June this year, a bill was proposed to legalize the marriage of couples through cyberspace. In that bill, it was proposed for the sole purpose of addressing public health problems faced by couples with their scheduled weddings due to the pandemic.
The highlight of the bill was that Family Code took effect in 1988 when analog means of communication were the prevalent norm and virtual presence is just a “figment of imagination”. Now that technology has fully realized this possibility, the law must adapt.
In this proposed law, the male and female spouses to be wed would be together in the same location but their presence before the solemnizing officer would be remote or virtual. To date, this law is still up in the air.
So to answer, a virtual wedding where the couples to be wed are in a different location from the solemnizing officer is not yet allowed by our law. Otherwise, a small gathering that includes the couples to be wed and the officer who will hold the wedding rites and a few witnesses is legally acceptable – pretty much like a civil union minus the fanfare and the big crowd.
With this being said, a virtual wedding is still possible as long as the solemnizing officer and the couples are physically in the same location.
Things to take note of when holding a virtual wedding
With the easing of the quarantine measures and the gradual opening of the economy, there’s less strain now in holding a gathering – while mass gathering is still strictly prohibited, a small and solemn one is okay.
Taking a leaf out of how couples in other countries do it, here’s how you can pull off a virtual wedding right without compromising its legality, essence, and spirit.
Have 10 people in the venue
All cities across the country now are at least in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status, which allows a gathering of up to 10 people in the same place at the same time. By law, for a wedding to be valid, aside from the approval of both sides, there must be witnesses physically present during the wedding ceremony. Nothing in the law states how many witnesses are needed, thus you could simply limit the number of people physically present in your wedding ceremony based on the GCQ or MGCQ limitations.
According to the Family Code of the Philippines:
No prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that they take each other as husband and wife.
Make sure your guests are at least 1 meter apart and are wearing prescribed face masks.
Set up the right technology
One of the things that make virtual weddings work in other countries is the technology that enables guests to watch the wedding remotely and live. Prepare a laptop and/or a smartphone for the technical set up of your wedding.
At least, include a person in your limited guest list who can operate the tech side of your virtual wedding on the day of the occasion.
How do you invite people to a virtual wedding?
This is where apps such as Zoom which many people are now familiar with using for online meetings. But before you go ahead and set that up, make sure you have all the bases covered such as the audio and video quality, the zoom link to the session.
You can either send your virtual guest a zoom link or create a Facebook group where you want to broadcast the wedding privately, add them there, and send each one of them an RSVP on Facebook.
There’s really nothing much that you need to do other than set up your laptop or smartphone at the wedding venue then turn on either Facebook live or Zoom to start the live broadcast session. It’s highly recommended to assign a tech-savvy person to operate your live broadcast.
Go live on Facebook
If you don’t have the time to learn the ropes of Zoom meetings, another option you can pull off during your virtual wedding is broadcasting it live on Facebook. Since almost everyone is now on Facebook, it’s going to bring your wedding closer to people who matter to you most. It doesn’t have to be a public live though, you can simply create a group, invite the people there, and send them an RSVP on the same platform. It’s much easier to access than Zoom and for most people, it’s a lot easier to operate overall.
Still coordinate with a few wedding vendors
While a virtual wedding may have left you no choice but to reconsider the typical venue that fits an entire entourage of people, catering, and event rentals; do take note that some vendors may still be necessary to your virtual wedding.
A photographer for one, even the operator of your live wedding (but you can always just have a relative do this for you), and your cake supplier. Your cake however will have to be downsized for this case. Your hair and make-up artists as well as your wedding attire provider should also make it to your list, though they don’t necessarily need to be on your guest list.
Do a test run before the wedding day
Technical errors can happen and are very common, but they are not inevitable.
In this case, a test run doesn’t have to be a practice wedding, but rather a test on all the techs that will be used for the event. Figure out how to set up the live broadcast through your laptop or smartphone or both. Test the quality of the audio and video, or the internet connection in the venue.
Even down to the most minor elements of your wedding like the backdrop, check to see if they’re visible on camera, and which angle will give your online guests the best viewing experience.
How much should you spend on a virtual wedding?
The amount you’ll be spending will definitely vary, but it is by no means near the cost of a traditional wedding. With only a few people physically present on the occasion and with minimum logistics involved, you can say the cost can be comparable to a civil wedding. Although, you’ll be spending more depending on how extravagant you want your wedding dress and the wedding venue will be.
Should you do a virtual wedding or e-wedding?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many physical guests you have at your wedding or how much you spent on your reception; you only need a few people to officiate your wedding and officially tie the knot. You don’t really need a pandemic to throw a small but solemn wedding. The fact that you only need a few people and it’s unnecessary to spend a fortune on a wedding is written in our constitution.
While we don’t discourage anyone from staging a wedding of the century or spend their money however they want just to achieve the wedding of their dreams, we’re just putting this out there to let you know you always have an option to go down the less expensive path of doing it virtually.
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