A year ago, I was honored to be invited by one of my friends to her wedding in the Philippine Embassy at the Diplomatic Quarters Riyadh. It was my second time to attend a wedding in the embassy, the first being my brother’s in 2012. I was surprised to find ourselves in the embassy’s parking lot in the basement with the huge pillars complete with black and yellow paints. There was just a table for the couples and a podium for the consul officiating the wedding. Monoblock chairs were assembled for guests. I just thought the venue was inappropriate for a very special day for the would-be married couples remembering that when it was my brother’s wedding it has held at the hall in the ground floor of the embassy, much classier and appropriate I suppose (that area is now the passport renewal venue). Anyway, I was resigned not to get married in the embassy’s parking lot when my time would come. IF my time will come! (At that time, no wedding plans were foreseen for my future, lol.)
Fast forward to September 2015 and I saw myself on the same parking lot getting married to the love of my life. Haha! Yes, I was already married in civil rite before the January church wedding in the Philippines (thank you for your warm wishes!). And yes, I swallowed my own words. The venue was still at the basement, yes, but they organized it to resemble a wedding hall complete with a cover for the table and backdrop with flags for better picture-taking. The ceremony was done in 30 minutes! Imagine how fast someone can get married in Riyadh right? Haha! Of course before the ceremony itself, we had to gather up our documents, present ourselves in the embassy, wait for the 10 day notice, and schedule our wedding day. If you’re thinking of getting married at the Philippine Embassy-Riyadh, here’s how:
1. Gather your and your partner’s documents. During your vacation in the Philippines, you can get these done but if you’re not going home to the Philippines before your wedding then read on. Some of these documents are only obtained in the Philippines so you have to ask your relatives or friends to request this and send them to you. For me, my older sister is in Manila and she’s the one I
bossed asked nicely to get our documents (thanks ate!). You’ll need the following:
a. Original Birth Certificate from NSO, authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila (with red ribbon).
For OFWs, we can request our NSO-certified birth certificate through e-census. Just fill out the application form, pay through accredited channels (in my case I have a BDO account and I paid through my online banking account), and wait for the certificates’ delivery. You can request your partner’s documents also via e-census. Fee is PHP 315.oo per document and you can have it sent to your address in the Philippines if someone will send it to you along with other documents or have it delivered in your address here in Saudi Arabia. For delivery destinations within the Philippines, processing and delivery of paid requests takes about three to nine working days after receipt of payment. For delivery destinations outside the Philippines, processing and delivery will take six to eight weeks after receipt of payment.
b. Original Certificate of no Marriage (CENOMAR) from NSO (issued at most 6 months prior to the date of submission to the Embassy), authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila.
The same as the birth certificate, you can request this CENOMAR through e-census. It’s much more convenient than going to NSO yourself or asking others to go to NSO. Fee is PHP 415.00 per certificate.
***Both the birth certificates and CENOMAR must be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila which means it has to have the RED RIBBON. You can ask your family member or relative to get this for you at the DFA or nearest DFA satellite office in your place provided he/she shows an authorization letter and copies of valid IDs from you and your partner. The process of getting a red ribbon will take around 3-4 working days.
c. For contracting parties aged 18 – 21 years old: Parental consent, notarized and authenticated by DFA (with red ribbon).
d. For contracting parties aged 21 – 25 years old: Parental advice, notarized and authenticated by DFA (with red ribbon).
e. For widow/widower: NSO issued Marriage Contract and NSO issued Death Certificate authenticated by DFA (with red ribbon)
f. For contracting parties with annulled Marriages: NSO issued Amended Marriage Contract authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (with red ribbon); Certificate of Finality of Decision and Court Order authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (with red ribbon).
g. Passport copy of each party (data page only).
h. 2×2 inches photo, 2 pieces for each party. Make sure you’re beautiful and handsome in your photos. It’s going to be posted in the embassy’s website! Haha!
i. Application forms for marriage which you can download from the Philippine Embassy website (linked in the list below). We suggest you download and sign the forms before going to the embassy to minimize time and effort. Forms should be typewritten. Or if you’re bent on handwriting, then write as legibly as possible.
- Application for Marriage License
- Marriage License
- Joint Affidavit
- Public Notice
- Applicant’s contact details (type in coupon bond)
To download, right click on the form name and “download the link file”. Just open the PDF file and input your details accordingly. The PDF file is editable. If for some reason you totally forgot about these forms (please do not!) and realized it when you’re already in the embassy, then forms are available at the Consular Section. Again, I suggest you don’t forget the forms. This is why you’re reading this entry in the first place: to help you prepare as much as possible.
2. Once you have gathered and completed the documents above then you and your partner are now required to go to the embassy together and submit your documents at the Consular Section, counter no. 4. Again, personal appearance is required (YES, BOTH OF YOU!) so schedule ahead of time and file your leave in your workplaces if needed. If it’s your first time going to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh then check this map. The embassy is located inside the Diplomatic Quarters where almost all embassies from around the world are located. The Philippines’ can be found near roundabout 3.
3. Pay the required fees:
- Joint Affidavit: SR 100.00
Application for Marriage License: SR 100.00
Marriage Solemnization: SR 240.00
That’s a total of SR 440.00 for the entire thing. Upon submission of your document requirements, you are going to pay SR 200 (for the joint affidavit and application for marriage license) then the marriage solemnization fee will be paid on the wedding day.
4. After payment, return to counter no. 4 and submit your receipt. And then you go home.
5. Check the Philippine Embassy’s Marriage Applications page and see if your public notice is already posted. (This is why you should submit a beautiful photo of you haha!) After 10 days of the public posting of your marriage application, you can already arrange the schedule of your wedding by calling +966-11-482-3816 or e-mail at email@example.com.
***You don’t have to wait after 10 days to call and schedule. You just have to schedule your wedding after 10 days of public posting. Confused? For example, your public notice was already posted on February 21, 2016. It doesn’t mean that you need to wait for March 2 to call the embassy and schedule your wedding. You can call them starting from February 21 onwards and save the date that you want already, as long as the date is beyond March 2 (beyond the 10 day requirement). Gets?
Other information you need to know:
a. The embassy holds marriage ceremonies only on TUESDAY and THURSDAY. Plan ahead if you have a certain date in mind. My husband and I are fortunate that September 8, 2015 landed on a Tuesday. It’s the date we really, really want.
b. Be on time. Please be on time to avoid inconvenience. Ceremonies are usually held at 2:00 PM. You need to be at the embassy at least two hours before because you need to check that your forms are correct, names are spelled correctly, fees are paid, etc. They usually let you wait at the ground floor then usher everyone to the basement at around 1:30 PM.
c. Follow the dress code on your wedding day. Brides are required to be in a semi-formal or formal dress or gown. Grooms are required to be in long-sleeved polo (parang awa n’yo na, NO short sleeves!) or barong tagalog or business suit. Did you know that brides are not required to wear white on a civil wedding ceremony? Yup, so I opted for a purple lace dress that I got from Debenhams (purple being our church wedding motif). It was nothing fancy, just a bit semi-formal. The other brides were eyeing me like I didn’t belong. Haha! There was even this old guy who kept on asking my groom where his bride is and he kept on pointing at the other brides, “Is she the one? Is that her?” when I was just beside him! Kaloka yung si kuya! Lol. Don’t be surprised too if the other brides are in full bridal gown getup complete with entourage. To each her own.
d. You’re not the only couple getting married on that day. You will share the moment with 5 couples or more. We were seven couples during our wedding day.
e. You can only bring FOUR GUESTS to the ceremony. YES, FOUR! But seriously, no couple probably heeded this rule even though the guard at the gate checks the number of guests you already checked in (they write it in the log book). Visitors are probably using the excuse of going to the embassy for notarial or other consular services just to attend their friend’s wedding. Okay, I was guilty of bringing five persons (my parents, our two witnesses, and one friend) but compared to the other couples who brought a barangay (read: A LOT), I think we did good in abiding by this rule. Haha!
e. Bring the following: wedding rings and bouquet for the bride. Do you need to prepare your vows? Yes, no, up to you. We loosely prepared ours but we heaved a sigh of relief when the consul just said to recite our vows all together at the same time. Like you’re just facing your partner and telling him/her the vows you prepared. Then make chikka na lang if the other couples have longer vows and they’re still not done when you are. You can totally wing it! Haha! Please say your “YES” loudly when asked by the consul so people will not think napipilitan ka lang magpakasal. Hahaha!
f. Please SMILE when the official embassy photographer takes your couple shot. It will be posted in the Philippine Embassy website on the Marriage Announcements page! LOL.
g. The entire ceremony is finished in 20-30 minutes. Or less. I remembered thinking, wait wait that’s it?! The beginning of my lifetime commitment is a 15-minute ceremony? How anti-climactic. Haha! But short is much better than long ceremonies. Then you can go and live happily ever after, until you see the bill on your reception. Haha, kidding.
After the ceremony, the marriage certificate with red ribbon is immediately given. All you have to do is have the marriage certificate translated to Arabic outside. There are so many translation agencies in Riyadh; we paid around SR 75 for ours. You have to bring back the translated document to the embassy so they can stamp it. I thought I will only have to wait for a few minutes, fine an hour or so, for the stamped document but they asked me to come back for it the next day. I wish they can expedite this process and have the document stamped the same day so we don’t have to go to the embassy again. I understand they’re probably busy but what if I live on the other side of Riyadh? Or worse, outside Riyadh and have a boss that will not permit me to go out of work again?! Anyway, just a suggestion.
The translated marriage document is what you bring every day, especially when out and about Saudi Arabia, with your husband.
So… congratulations! You’re getting married and you finished this entry! Mabrook!
Diplomatic Quarter, Ummayah Abu As-Salat Street,
P.O. 94366, Riyadh 11693, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-482-3559 , +966-11-482-0507, +966-11-482-1577
Operating Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 8:00AM to 5:00PM
For specific concerns, contact details HERE: http://riyadhpe.dfa.gov.ph/contact-us