Tying the knot on a shoestring budget

By Rosalie O. Abatayo July 08,2018

Couple Catherine Añero and Glenn Lahoylahoy plan to tie the knot in September after being together for over two years. The couple initially scheduled the wedding in July but was unable to complete the requirements on time.

THE COST OF GETTING MARRIED

Walking down the aisle dressed in an elaborate white gown, with a handsome young man waiting at the altar, is every little girl’s idea of a ‘happy ever after’ to cap her own version of a fairytale.

But the fab and glam of the perfect wedding day that brides imagine do not come easy, budget wise.

For Catherine Añero and Glenn Lahoylahoy, tying the knot even in the simplest way needs not just love and commitment; but financial capacity.

Catherine, 22, works as a customer attendant in a gadgets store; while her partner Glenn, 27, is an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor.

After more than two years of being together, Catherine discovered that she was pregnant last April.

Both decided that it was time to tie the knot and plan for their big day.

“We initially had it scheduled in July, but lack of time hit on us and we are still unable to process all the requirements. We decided to move it in mid of September,” said Catherine.

Though she had dreamed of her own fairytale wedding, Catherine said she was brought down to earth by the reality of their financial constraints.

And so the couple made certain that their wedding preparations would be simple, affordable, and yet meaningful to honor how special the day truly should be.

To prepare for their wedding, Glenn and Catherine needed to secure, first and foremost, a marriage license.

“Securing the documents is really expensive especially when you discover that there were mistakes in them. You’ll really have to spend to get the papers right,” Catherine said.

The marriage license to be issued by the local civil registrar of the city or town where either the groom or bride resides is the most important document needed before a wedding could take place.

The license itself costs only P200 but there are other documents that couples need to secure, which add to the expense.

Among them are: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)- certified copy of the couple’s birth certificate, affidavit of parental consent for those who are between 18 to 25 years old, Certificate of No Marriage (Cenomar) from PSA, certificate of attendance to pre-marriage counselling, barangay clearance and community tax certificate or “cedula”.

A copy of the PSA-certified birth certificate and Cenomar costs P155 and P180, respectively; while the costs of a barangay clearance and cedula vary depending on the locality where these are obtained.

If a couple intends to get married in a Catholic church, a Pre-Cana seminar is required. The registration fee for the seminar vary per parish but mostly it is around P200.

Simple weddings

Thursday is the regular day for wedding ceremonies in many churches with fees ranging from P1,300 to P2,000 inclusive of the honoraria for the church choir.

If the couple wishes to have the ceremony held on other days, a special rate of P5,500 to P10,000 is charged, depending on the parish.

The payment includes the church choir and a few decorations, according to a source at the Sto. Rosario Parish along P. del Rosario St., Cebu City.

For simple low-budget weddings, immortalizing the celebrations through photos and videos could cost between P5,000 to P20,000,

For simple low-budget weddings, immortalizing the celebrations through photos and videos could cost between P5,000 to P20,000, according to local freelance photographers.

Freelance photographers anchor on social media sites to get connected with couples who wish to hire their services.

For the entourage, a number of clothiers in Cebu’s downtown area offer gown rental packages ranging from P5,000 to P10,000.

The package covers the bride’s wedding gown, the groom’s barong or tuxedo, four sets of gowns for the maid of honor and bridesmaids, and four sets of barong or tuxedo for the groomsmen.

The wedding band, which is a testament of the couple’s vow “to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death” – is worn as a symbol of matrimony and commitment from the day of the ceremony onward.

But it could cost a fair amount of money.

For those on a tight budget, a popular Cebu-based metal craft store offers wedding ring packages for P4,000 and up.

Most of the cost of a wedding is taken up by the banquet shared by the newly-wed couple with their family and friends.

An informal survey of Cebu catering services showed buffet packages are being offered at P300 to P500 per person, depending, of course, on the menu.

For a hundred guests, limited to just close family and friends, this would amount to a P30,000 – P50,000 budget for food and refreshments alone.

Even the simplest of weddings do not come cheap these days; but the love struck, Glenn and Catherine who unexpectedly found themselves planning for a wedding still opt to have one.

“I grew up that my parents were not yet married. It was chaotic – full of jealousy, insecurities and instabilities,” said Catherine.

“It’s really different when you know that your partner is really yours and that you swore to be together before man and God,” she added.
Catherine, now five months pregnant, prefers a church wedding for herself.

She said she wants to raise her child knowing that he is born into a family united in God’s blessing.

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