Our Civil Wedding Preparation Journey

When it comes to planning a wedding, there is so much to think about and organize. When my partner and I decided to get married, we chose to have a civil wedding, and the preparations for this special day soon began.

 In this blog post, I'm going to share our journey of planning a civil wedding and all the challenges we faced. From finding the perfect venue to making sure all the details were taken care of, I'll be talking about it all. So join us on our journey as we prepare for one of the biggest days of our lives!


The Decision Behind the Civil Wedding

To give you context, me and my partner have a 1-year-old baby (at the time I am writing this), and we are both Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Thailand. And no matter what the circumstances, we both want to share our special day with our family.

Reasons why we choose the Civil Wedding:

  • We only have a month's vacation in the Philippines, and we don't have that luxurious time to prepare if we opt for a church wedding.
  • We only have a limited budget.
  • Me and my partner have different religions; I'm a Roman Catholic and he is a Christian. If we are going to tie the knot in a traditional church setting, it would require more time, seminars, documents, and more. Which we don't have the capabilities for.
That's why we decided that civil marriage suits what we can offer.

Invitation and Souvenir


We want our wedding to be simple, unique, and special. I am in a minimalist mood. So, to start, let's start with the invitations. I want our invitation to be unique, not the traditional cards, and I found this inspiration on Pinterest: a newspaper-style invitation. I can say I am a Canva expert, so I designed our own invitation, then bought a crossword puzzle maker on Etsy.

Click HERE for my Canva newspaper invitation.

Newspaper size is a bit big, so I decided to reduce the size to tabloid newspaper size. Luckily, I have a friend in high school who has a printing and arts and crafts business (Crafts and Prints ) and I sent her my design and asked her to print the invitation for 3,000 PHP.

My Thoughts: I really love the outcome of the newspaper invitation; it's so unique, and even the guests love it.


I want a souvenir that guests can really use, not just a display. I want a souvenir that they can use in their everyday errands, so the most affordable and easy to find is a canvas tote bag. I designed the print and found a tote bag manufacturer, Blank Canvas. I spent 4,950 PHP for 50 pieces.

My Thoughts: Everyone loves the idea of the tote bag as a souvenier, as they can use it. I also like the print.


The Venue

It really took me a long time to decide on the best venue to choose from; even though it's a civil wedding, I still want it to be special and magical. At first, I wanted to be married on the top of the mountain with its beautiful view, like at some resorts in Bukidnon. The problem is that 90% of our guests are from Lanao del Norte, where my hometown is, so it's a big expense to transport our guests to another region, plus it's not like we wed, drink, and eat, then go home. It's far from our hometown, so we need to think about their accommodations.


Second, I imagined that we would exchange vows at Amaya View in Cagayan de Oro City. They do have a stunning view of the city because the resort is situated on higher ground in the city. But then again, the same problem exists with transportation and accommodation, plus their package is way too expensive for our budget.

Lastly, my best friend from high school recommended this resort, which is 40 minutes away from our hometown, Lamian sa Baybay. I definitely said yes to this because of its astonishing view of the ocean. They have this aisle at the top of the water. I imagine myself walking down that aisle; it's so promising!

Next, they have a package depending on the number of guests. The package includes the following:

  • Food  
  • 3 main dishes (choose the beef and seafood menu)
  • Rice
  • Dessert
  • Drinks
  • grazing corner
  • Wine for a couple
  • Venue 
  • free use for 4 hours
  • decoration
  • Lights and sounds
  • full catering set-up, equipment, food, and servers or attendants

This is my vibe; I don't need to find someone who will decorate, someone who will cater the food, or anything else needed in a wedding. One venue solved everything.

Aside from the package, they can also cater to your additional needs, like extra decor and lechon (roasted whole pig) with, of course, an additional charge. But to the point that I don't want to be stressed anymore about where or who will provide the lechon. I want to go there and get married.

All in all, I paid 50,048 PHP.


My Thoughts: We arrived at the venue at 2:25 PM; our wedding will start at 2:30 PM, and it was drizzling. I am grateful that the pastor recommended letting the drizzle stop first before we start the wedding ceremony. Finally! The time has come. The aisle for the ceremony looks amazing, and the reception is nice. The guests love the venue; it looks like all of them have their own photoshoot there! However, there is just something that I hope they organize better. Our wedding arc should be at the center, not the baptismal arc of Aryl.

The food is superb, according to our guest, because I haven't eaten anything at the reception because I was too busy with the event and looking after our kid. But according to our guest, all foods are delicious.

Make-up and Hair stylist /  Emcee

My best friend in high school recommended his makeup and hair stylist from her wedding, Harley Jan Montanez Bagaloyos. Her make-up during her wedding was so perfect, so there's no reason I won't go with her recommendations. Plus, Harley also does emceeing or hosting, so it's like hitting two birds with one stone. I paid 1200 PHP.

My Thoughts: Harley and his assistant are super nice and friendly; they made me feel so comfortable and not pressured. I am an introverted person, but they didn't make me feel something wrong. And my make-up is so pretty that it is not only me who praises it but also other people who are amazed at how I look so different and perfect.

Cake and Dessert Table

The package is honestly enough, but a wedding is not complete without the cake and sweets. It is not included in the venue package, so I look for a supplier for the cake and dessert table. I really want to go for crepe cake, but it's so hard to find a baker in my hometown who can do crepe cakes; it seems like 99% of shops and bakeries I asked don't know how to create it. So, I have no choice at all and opt for a traditional cake with a twist.

My sister's best friend was married a few months ago, and she was invited to that party. And she definitely loves the sweets and cake. So, without a doubt, I booked Velvet Vanille. I booked their package and also added another two layers of cake. Our wedding cake design is simple, minimal, and all white. I just want it to be clean and neat. The flavors are butter cake and red velvet. 
I also added a coffee corner from them, and since I am a coffee lover, I think it's a unique way to add something new to the menu.

I paid 20,000 PHP.


My Thoughts. Again, I haven't tried the coffee during the wedding because I was too busy, but the decision to put up a coffee corner in the reception is worth it! It was drizzling at that time, and the pastor would like to wait a little bit longer for the rain to stop, and there's no better way to kill the boredom of the guest than to have a freshly made coffee. 

Photographer & Videographer

Finding a good photographer at an affordable price is a challenge. Luckily, I found a photographer at Chicpix Galleria with a package for 6,000 PHP; they are based in my hometown, so I think I got a good deal.

My Thoughts. I was very surprised to know that the photographer knew my cousins and relatives. It feels great to work with someone who knows you or your family already, so there is no pressure at all. Mam Chic is very friendly, and the videographer, she really directed us on how to pose and what not, the output of the photos? It's amazing, just the way I wanted it—fresh and airy. 


The Rings

I am already eyeing a shop for our rings because they are so affordable. However, they are based in Bangkok, and we are in Pattaya. We don't have the time to travel to Bangkok, so we need something in Pattaya. We searched many jewelry shops, but we really couldn't find the best wedding ring for us within our budget. Then I found Star Gems Jewelry on Facebook; they communicate really well in English, and they make rings to order that are suitable for our budget. We wanted a simple, minimal, and unique wedding band with an engraving of our wedding date. The rings are so pretty; seriously, we paid 15,000 THB.


My thouhgts. I am very happy with our rings; at first I thought they were too thin, but when we wore them during the wedding, they were so perfect for us, the way we imagined them. We wanted a ring that was simple and minimal but still gold. 



Wedding Officiant (Pastor) and Wedding License

Wedding Officiant (Pastor)


Unfortunately, the judge—a friend of my brother-in-law—cancelled the appointment due to an emergency operation. I really had a stressful day because of this, and we might not get married at all because we don't have an officiant. A mayor can officiate our marriage, but our venue reservation is on Sunday, and the mayor is only available during the weekdays and on Saturday. The venue cannot adjust the date because the week is already fully booked.


I am really grateful to my brother-in-law because he has a client who is a pastor and is willing to be our officiant. And finally, everything is back to business. We paid 7,000 PHP to the pastor.

Wedding License

 To get the wedding license from the Local Civil Registrar (LCR), we first submitted our PSA copy of the birth certificate and both our CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage), filled out the forms, and paid the fee, including the orientation with the DSWD. And then wait for 10 days of processing before we can get the marriage license.

Wedding Outfits

I know that I shouldn't limit myself, but since it's a civil wedding and I'm already a mom, it felt weird to wear a luxurious long dress; it doesn't feel right for me. I know that it's not, but for me, it is. So, I opt for a simple, sexy, but elegant and casual white dress. I bought my wedding dress from Shein for only 800 THB. 

My partner's outfits are all from Shopee; they cost 1100 THB. And it definitely looks like we ordered from a high-end tailor shop.


Key Takeaways

Planning a civil wedding can be an exciting and meaningful experience. With careful preparation and the right help, couples can create a day that is special to them.

When planning a civil wedding, couples should consider the following points: convenience, budget, time, and creativity.

I believe that this is not the only wedding that I and my husband are going to plan, hopefully soon, in church. One thing that makes me so happy is that I celebrated our special day with our little boy and with our family and friends.

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