There’s no other thing to book before everything else but the church. The sacred union will take place there. The magical place where you will receive the sacrament of matrimony. So before we book anything else, we made sure that the church is already booked and secured.
We got engaged on October 7, 2018. After letting that sink in for a month and after scouting for the perfect church for our big day, we finally found “The One” and booked it on November 3, 2018. Luckily, they are already accepting bookings for 2020 weddings.
We booked the very simple San Roque Chapel in Subic.
We didn’t originally plan to have our wedding in Subic. Since the fiance is from Pampanga and I am from Bataan, we knew that it’s gonna be in either one of those provinces.
So, how did we end up in Subic?
Here are our considerations before booking a ceremony venue.
- It has to be air conditioned.
- That’s all. HAHA!
My tolerance for heat isn’t very high. Plus, who wants to walk down the aisle sweating, right?
So, I started googling air conditioned churches in Bataan and Pampanga. The options aren’t too many.
I wrote the list of churches in my notebook and googled them one by one.
- Arzobispado De Pampanga in San Fernando, Pampanga. – This is where the fiance’s sister got married last September. The church is good and there is a function hall at the back where the reception can take place. We will save so much time and money. But, the fiance doesn’t want to get married in the same church where her sister got married so we crossed it out.
- St. John Paul II Parish in Lakeshore – Mexico, Pampanga. – I like the minimalist altar of this Parish. It looks very simple and neat. However, we crossed it out as well as Lakeshore is not very accessible especially to guests who don’t have a car.
- St. Peter of Verona Parish in Hermosa, Bataan. – It has a look of a classic and traditional church. But, it didn’t give me the “this is it” feeling.
- Sanctuario De San Jose in Las Casas De Filipinas Acuzr in Bagac, Bataan. – When I started planning, I once told myself that my dream wedding would be in Las Casas. I immediately inquired. Their packages are pricey. Their packages are:
– 1,000,000 Php for 300 guests
– 600,000 Php for 200 guests
– 485,000 Php for 150 guests
– 425,000 Php for 100 guests
– 300,000 Php for 50 guests
– 1,888 Php for every extra guest
Though the inclusions are many and will cover most of the services needed, we still find it too pricey. Also, it is very far and we didn’t want to cause too much hassle to our guests. Also, the chapel inside Las Casas is just a replica. It doesn’t look good in pictures and videos. So, goodbye, it’s not my dream location after all.
- Chapel of Jesus and Mary at Cana in Holy Land, Subic. – This also caught my attention. The church is very classy. Holy Land is a place in Subic where people go for pilgrimage. There are picture worthy spots inside the Holy Land. There is also a tent inside where they hold wedding receptions. So, we really considered this church. I even asked a friend Pam to inquire for me. So she called them and was able to talk to one of the staff who promised to send her the fees but did not. So, I just asked my brother to have an ocular visit and to inquire personally. I cannot do it myself because I am working abroad. Later on, we found out that the visit should be scheduled. We were able to schedule our visit but did not push through after realizing that Holy Land is not accessible to guests without a car. Another thing is, the reception venue is a tent and we are a bit hesitant to hold our reception in a tent.
- San Roque Chapel in Subic Bay. This church, from the very first sight, gave me that “this is it” feeling. I fell in love with the all white facade of the chapel. I love the minimalist style of the chapel and there is a huge space outside with lots of trees. The trees provide a lot of shade and fresh air. Even its altar is very simple. The only think that bothers me is that the aisle space is a bit narrow and short and it is not allowed to close the church door during the whole ceremony which means there will be no dramatic door opening for the entrance of the bride. Maybe a curtain entrance will do the trick. But, overall, it’s good. I showed it to the fiance and he instantly fell in love with San Roque Chapel as well. So, there’s nothing left for us to do but to book it. Thanks to my family who is a family of Methodists for being so understanding and for supporting my decision to marry in a Catholic Church.
Since we are abroad, I just asked my family to personally visit the church and to ask for the fees/ donations.
Here’s the breakdown of fees/ donations:
– 12,500 Php for local parishoners and 15,000 Php for non-parisioners. This fee is mainly for the ceremony venue and air conditioning. The styling, choir, and other requirements are not included.
- Officiant – 3,200 Php
Total: 18,200 Php (for non-parisioners like us.)
They will require you to pay the 50% of the Church fee and the Officiant service fee.
Fortunately, I was able to go home to the Philippines last month (January 2019). The first thing on my To-Do List is to visit San Roque Chapel. It is heartwarming to see it for the first time.
I took a moment of silence and meditated for a while. I stood inside. Alone. Closed my eyes. Took the moment in. Opened my eyes and walked down the aisle. I teared up a bit. It gave me goosebumps and it kinda made me realize what is really happening. I AM REALLY GETTING MARRIED. IN THAT VERY CHURCH AFTER A YEAR. I knew it right at that very moment that we booked the perfect church for our union. Praise God!
Booking the church took as a big step forward into planning. Booking it is like making a promise to God. A promise that noone can ever seal our relationship but Him. We would love to start our happily ever after in His presence. After all, He is the one who wrote our love story. He is the one who lead us to each other. He is the one who sustained us in difficult times. We are forever grateful. In that very church, we will make a promise to love each other because He loved us first.