Just got engaged? Surely, you’re excited about planning for your big day. Looking forward to picking the perfect wedding dress, visiting different churches, and food-tasting with possible caterers? But before you get started, you have to work on the most challenging and stressful yet most important part of wedding planning: the cost of wedding.
When planning a wedding, a couple must consider a lot of expenses. There’s the venue, the clothes, the invitations, and a whole host of other things that you and your beloved will need to spend for the big day.
Set your wedding budget from the get-go, as this will help you determine how much to pay for major expenses like ceremony and reception venues, and even minor ones, like adding an extra layer to your wedding cake.
Weddings are typically an expensive affair. Prepare to fork out PHP 236,000 to PHP 1,268,000 for a wedding in the Philippines. Destination weddings may cost more depending on the venue and number of attendees. Big, lavish weddings can cost millions of pesos.
Here’s the estimated breakdown of costs for a church wedding in Metro Manila with around 100 to 150 guests.
Cost of Wedding Preparations
Breakdown of Wedding Preparation Costs
- Wedding planner/coordinator: PHP 18,000 – PHP 95,000
- Hotel accommodations: PHP 4,000 – PHP 200,000
- Photography and videography: PHP 35,000 – PHP 130,000
- Bridal dress: PHP 5,000 – PHP 80,000
- Entourage attire: PHP 8,000 – PHP 22,000
- Groom’s attire: PHP 2,500 – PHP 20,000
- Hair and makeup: PHP 7,500 – PHP 30,000
- Flowers: PHP 8,000 to PHP 25,000
- Wedding invitations: PHP 5,000 to PHP 27,000
- Legal marriage documents: PHP 3,000 – PHP 6,000
Important Wedding Preparation Costs
Legal Marriage Documents
The paperwork for legalizing your union as a couple doesn’t cost much. Nevertheless, it adds up to your total wedding budget.
Here are the legal documents you’ll have to spend on before getting married:
- NSO birth certificates of the bride and groom
- Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR
- Community tax certificate or cedula
- Certificate of attendance in pre-marriage seminar
- Affidavit of parental consent or advice (for couples below 25 years old)
- Marriage license
Some couples hold weddings without hiring an event planner or coordinator, relying on family and friends to do the job for free instead. But getting a professional team for your wedding can be a good investment, especially if you’ll have 100 guests or more.
There are three kinds of wedding planning/coordination services: full, partial, and on-the-day (OTD) coordination services. Full and partial services are the most expensive and cater to couples who are based abroad or are too busy to plan their wedding. OTD coordination is the cheapest and best choice for couples who are hands-on with their wedding planning.
Photographers and Videographers
Your wedding photos and videos will make for a lasting souvenir of your most special day. While it’s great to canvass reasonably priced photo and video packages, never skimp on this wedding cost to ensure you’ll get nothing but professional quality.
If you’re trying to cut costs, consider doing away with the fancy add-ons, like prenuptial shoot, same-day edit (SDE) videos, and/or aerial or drone shots. Your entire wedding will still be documented anyway without these extras.
Every bride wants to look her best on the wedding day. If your heart is set on a specific design, look for couturiers (whose rates are within your budget) who can turn your dream wedding dress into a reality.
But if you’re the practical type, go for ready-to-wear (RTW) or off-the-rack wedding dresses sold in malls. Those on a shoe-string budget can even buy a wedding gown in Divisoria for PHP 15,000 to PHP 40,000 (entourage dresses included) and look fabulous on your big day!
Accessories like veil, cord, ring pillow, and garter are included in some wedding gown packages, so you won’t have to buy them separately.
Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists
Hair and makeup go hand in hand with the wedding dress to achieve the perfect bridal look. A professional hair and makeup team may cost you thousands of bucks (more so if you’ll also pay for your entourage), but it’s worth the investment to see yourself and your partner looking great rather than a disaster on your wedding photos and videos.
Do you live far from your venue or have a lot of relatives coming to your wedding? You may need to book hotel rooms for yourselves, your close family, or entourage members.
It helps to have a comfortable place to stay near your church and reception venue at least a day before the event. You’ll have enough time for on-the-day preparations (like having makeup done, dressing up, and doing pre-wedding photo shoots), and no one comes late at the venue.
Cost of Wedding Ceremony
Breakdown of Wedding Ceremony Costs
- Wedding rings: PHP 15,000 – PHP 60,000 per pair
- Church fees (including venue): PHP 5,000 – PHP 30,000
- Bridal car rental: PHP 3,000 – PHP 68,000
- Transportation: PHP 14,000 – PHP 25,000
Wedding rings or bands are among the highest-priced items you’ll buy for your big day. The expensive cost may be because these rings must be durable and long-lasting, as you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life.
Church fees don’t come cheap either. Expect to splurge around PHP 30,000 to PHP 50,000 if you want to get wed in one of the major churches in the Philippines, like the Manila Cathedral or Santuario de San Antonio. Church fees get higher if you choose the air-conditioned option or get the church’s choir to sing during the ceremony.
Cost of Wedding Reception
Breakdown of Wedding Ceremony Costs
- Catering: PHP 50,000 – PHP 185,000
- Venue rental: PHP 35,000 – PHP 150,000
- Reception entertainment: PHP 4,000 – PHP 40,000
- Wedding host/emcee: PHP 5,000 – PHP 10,000
- Favors/Souvenirs: PHP 5,000 – PHP 50,000
- Wedding cake: PHP 4,000 – PHP 15,000
Bulk of the cost of wedding in the Philippines goes to the reception—particularly renting a venue, as well as feeding and entertaining guests.
Catering services are usually priced at around PHP 1,000 per head. The more guests attending your wedding, the pricier catering becomes. So plan your guest list carefully if you’re working on a limited budget.
As for reception entertainment, hiring a DJ (and having your own DIY music playlist) is the cheapest option at around PHP 4,000 to PHP 12,000. A wedding band or quarter may set you back from PHP 10,000 to PHP 25,000.
Hidden Wedding Costs to Budget For
Couples must also have a separate budget for unexpected costs, like when your ceremony or reception goes overtime.
Be prepared for the following hidden costs you might have to pay for on the wedding day:
- Meals for the couple, family, and entourage
- Supplier/crew meals
- Out-of-town fees for suppliers
- Parking fees
- Corkage fee for food items bought from non-accredited caterers
- Extra catering services (e.g., additional tables and chairs, waiters, etc. for unexpected guests)
- Overtime fees
- Accessories for the ceremony (e.g., offertory items, candles, etc.)
- Shoes, jewelry, and bridal accessories
- Tips for event staff
- Gifts for parents, sponsors, and/or entourage members
- Sound and lighting equipment
- Stipend for the officiating priest
Ways to Lower Your Wedding Costs
Yes, weddings in the Philippines are generally expensive—some budgets are so steep they can even be used to start a business or buy a home.
But you can still get married without emptying your bank account.
Decide Which Expenses to Let Go
While planning your budget, you and your partner can agree on which expenses you can do without. For example, do you really need to rent a limousine to get to the church? Why rent a bridal car when you can book a Grab or any ride-hailing service for less than PHP 1,000?
Pick an Off-Peak Season
Another way to reduce your wedding costs is to choose an off-peak season for your event. January, February, June, and December are the peak months for weddings in the Philippines. If you’re flexible with your wedding date, you can instead opt for a less busy month when wedding costs are lower.
Have a Civil Wedding
The most practical and budget-friendly choice is to have a civil wedding. Expect to spend around PHP 5,000 to PHP 10,000 (PHP 4,000 – PHP 8,000 for the officiating fee plus PHP 1,000+ for legal documents) on a simple, no-frills wedding in a city hall or municipal hall.
If you want to celebrate the occasion with family and friends, consider booking a restaurant or an outdoor venue where you can hold both your ceremony and reception. Allot an additional budget of PHP 500 to PHP 1,000 per head (depending on the venue).
Getting married doesn’t mean you should go broke, just so you can impress people. You can control how much you spend on your wedding. The last thing you want to happen is to start your married life in debt!
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