The Rite of the Holy Union is one of the Rites of the Metropolitan Community Churches all over the world as stated in Article III, Section C, paragraph 3 of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches Bylaws and it says:
The RITE OF HOLY UNION is the spiritual joining of two persons in a manner fitting and proper by a duly authorized clergy, Interim Pastoral Leader (Lay Pastoral Leader) of the Church, Ministry leader or Deacon or UFMCC Elders of an affiliated MCC Church. After both persons have been counseled and apprised of their responsibilities one toward the other, this rite of conferring God’s blessing may be performed.
The essence of the Rite of Holy Union is the vow; the pledging of deepest fidelity of each other. It is the spiritual joining of two persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a celebration of love witness and affirmed by their friends, family, and the Church.
Freedom of Religion
As of the present time the Family Code of the Philippines prevents the legal marriage of same sex couples (2018) in the Philippines. There is also no such legislation or jurisprudence yet recognizing the union of Transgender persons with their partners who might be construed by society and state also as a same sex union.
The Holy Union conducted by Open Table MCC is a religious ceremony that blesses, celebrates and affirms the love and commitment of persons wishing to declare their vows of life-long loving partnership and loyalty to one another.
As such, the Philippine Constitution guarantees that the Freedom of Religion is protected, in Article III, Section 5 of the Bill of Rights states that:
No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
The essence of the rite of the Holy Union is the exchanging of the vows of two loving persons that promise to be together for the rest of their lives with or without the legal papers. This is a private ceremony to be conducted purposely for the celebration of love.
What Holy Union Is Not
It is NOT a Marriage
The word “marriage” is a legal term that denotes the government and its laws and through its agencies recognize a particular union or partnership. As of yet, since there is no law yet in the Philippines recognizing and protecting the union of same sex or same gender couples, the Holy Union is therefore not a marriage under existing laws.
However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines in its dismissal decision of the petition filed by Atty. Jesus Falcis, said the following:
“From its plain text, the Constitution does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression,”
The petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the grounds of technicality but the above pronouncement is a clear indication that in essence and constitutional principle, the Supreme Court agrees that there is constitutional basis for the legal marriage of same sex / same gender couples.
Open Table (MCC) Church – as with all MCC churches around the world – believes, affirms, and celebrates same sex unions as Matrimonial like any other marriages of heterosexual couples, only that as of now, the family code of the Philippines prevents same sex couples from being recognized and protected by the law. We pray, work and hope for the day that same sex unions are recognized as legal marriages our Philippine legal system.
The struggle for LGBTQI+ inclusion in state laws continues whether it be Marriage Equality or the SOGIE Equality (Anti-Discrimination) Bill.
It is NOT a solution to broken and problematic relationships
There is no magic formula or prayer or incantation that can make a bad relationship a good one. Union ceremonies are ritualizations and celebrations of what is already true and real in a relationship. Therefore, a problematic relationship entering into a Holy Union will only create more problems. Holy Union ceremony is not the solution nor the bandage to heal a problematic and conflicted relationship. In the Filipino saying which we paraphrase “Nasa Diyos ang awa at pagpapala, nasa mag-asawa ang pag-gawa.
It does NOT provide assurance of “Forever”
While it is the hope and the prayer of the ceremony that the couple will last for a lifetime or to whichever time period they wish to be with, there is also NO magic formula that binds a couple forever. There is no assurance that after the ceremony, the couple will last. The longevity of the relationship is NOT dependent upon the ceremony. The longevity of a relationship is in the commitment and effort of each partner to make the relationship work every single day. The blessing comes from God and the effort and work is with the couple.
(Nasa Diyos ang pagpapala nasa couple ang gawa)
It is NOT a means to exploit others financially or in any other way
It’s a reality that some people, especially from third-world-global-south countries like the Philippines get into romantic relationships with economically able persons from first-world-global-north countries for financial and immigration purposes. Sometimes, a person from the global south country which would be much younger in age does this to exploit and abuse the feelings of the person from the first-world country. Other times, persons from global north countries having such economic power would exploit and abuse the economic vulnerability of the person from the 3rd world country. Or even within the same country of the same nationality, such exploitative relationships happen and exist.
Holy Union Ceremonies ARE NOT CONDUCTED for such exploitative and transactional purposes even if they have a semblance of a relationship.
Open Table MCC does not condone, encourage or support any form of exploitation based on a false pretense of a romantic relationship even if there seems to have a semblance of consent. The smallest hint of such a motive for one of the couples or both shall be enough reason for Open Table MCC to deny the request for Union and it is within the right and duty of Open Table MCC to do so.
The right to have a union does not give license or leeway for exploitation and abuse and certainly, Open Table MCC will not allow itself and the ceremony it does to participate in such situations and circumstances.
VIRTUAL UNIONS and SURPRISE UNIONS
We do not conduct virtual or online weddings. The liturgical ceremony of Holy Unions are done in person, face-to-face.
We also do not conduct surprise Holy Unions, because this is must be a thoroughly agreed upon life-decision of the couple which they need to discuss and prepare for. Our process also requires a counseling interview prior to the ceremony.
Official Personnel, Website, and Social Media
Be cautious of those that are attempting to pose as Open Table MCC’s other official Facebook pages and/or personnel.
Official Website: holyunion.opentablemcc.ph or opentablemcc.ph
Official Facebook – Church: facebook.com/opentablemccph
Official Facebook – Holy Union: facebook.com/OpenTableMCCHolyUnionMinistry
Official Contact Page: www.opentablemcc.ph/contact
Open Table MCC carries its historical prior identity of Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC). Anyone claiming to be MCC Quezon City or MCCQC not associated with Open Table MCC is a fraudulent claim.
All Holy Union requests are submitted through this website and are transacted through our official email also listed in this website. We do not transact over the phone or Facebook Messenger.
PLEASE BE AWARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS AND MISREPRESENTATIONS.
Be cautious of those that are attempting to pose as Open Table MCC’s other official Facebook pages and/or personnel.
Rev. Joseph San Jose is the Pastor In-Charge for Open Table MCC.
Jack Nicklaus Quimpo is the Ministry Leader for Community Engagement
Bro. Elmer (Vince) Madolid is the alternate Officiating lay minister for Holy Unions and also our Church Administrator.
Christopher Celeste is a board member and the Online Ministry Administrator.
Joshua Cheng is the Finance Officer / Treasurer.
Open Table MCC currently has no ecclesial relationship or organizational connection with any other Church or group that is outside the MCC Denomination and is not officially authorized by MCC Denomination.
Announcement: As of 3rd of November 2022
Vaccination: Starting August 2022 onwards, we require that couples and their witnesses have already taken their first COVID Booster (2 main doses and 1 booster)
Must Not be previously legally married or has already been annulled: Starting August 2022, we require that all couples have not been previously legally married (with marriage registration in PSA) or if previously legally married, must already be legally annulled. A CENOMAR or a proof of annulment will be required.
Travel Bond: The travel bond for venues in other Islands will now be equal to the cost of 1 way Airline Ticket or PhP 7,000 whichever is higher. The travel bond will be returned 7 to 10 days after the wedding.
Steps to Request a Holy Union
1. Read these steps and guidelines
…carefully and thoroughly. Many of your questions will already be answered by the succeeding steps and information below. Any forwarded questions relating to the steps are going to be reverted back to this portion of our website to read again.
2. Eligibility and Approval
- All participants of the wedding (the couple to be wed, and the witnesses) must be fully-vaccinated (2 doses) and have had their booster shot.
- 25 years old and above and at least 1 year in physical relationship.
- Age difference NOT more than 15 years. You may make an appeal, but we have the prerogative on whether to approve and accept or not.
- If long distance relationship, it has to be at least 3 years together
- If previously legally married, or if previously had a Holy Union, documentary proof of annulment is required.
- If previously had a Holy Union, a certificate of dissolution or lifting of vows from the church you had your previous Holy Union.
- Open Table MCC reserves the right to reject any application that does not meet our eligibility clause and any other risk factors relating to pastoral care and organizational due diligence.
Passing the Suitability Clause, proceed to STEP 3 (below).
3. Choosing a Date
We do not do weddings on days that fall on Mondays, as this is the rest day of our Pastor. As much as possible we also do not do weddings on Sundays because the Pastor, and the other officiating minister has to be in our church for worship/mass.
We also do not do weddings on Christian Holy Days and Specific Holidays:
- Holy Week (please check the dates of holy week)
- May 1 – Labor Day
- June 12 – Independence Day
- Last Weekend of June (Pride Celebration)
- The whole month of August
- September 11 – September 22 (Anniversary period of the Church)
- First Sunday of October
- October 30 – November 3 (Days for All Souls)
- December 22 – January 8 (Christmas Break)
During Rainy Season: We still accept reservations for dates during the rainy and monsoon season which would be between June to October, except August.
Should there be a typhoon or heavy monsoon that threatens the safety and security of our Pastor or Lay Minister, there is always a possibility that the Church or the Pastor or Lay Minister may decide to re-schedule your wedding date without any liability on our church and any of our leaders, members or representatives.
NO UNIONS for AUGUST: August is the Sabbatical Month of the Church every year. We do not conduct any Unions or any other services during the month of August.
4. Health Guidelines and Requirements
Fully vaccinated and boosted: Reverend Joseph is now fully vaccinated and boosted; the alternate Lay Minister, Vince Madolid and Jack Nicklaus Quimpo, arealso fully vaccinated and boosted.
Counselling Interview: A counselling interview is required for all couples. Some couples may need to undergo an interview before approval of wedding ceremony depending on the stipulations and circumstances discussed above regarding eligibility.
The counseling interview shall be through ZOOM unless the Pastor requires an actual physical interview in our chapel.
This counseling interview will be scheduled once a reservation deposit and other documents have been received. The schedule is set nearer to your wedding date.
Health Protocols: Couples and witnesses must be fully vaccinated and should at have at least 1 booster shot. Will follow the most updated health protocol released by the National Government. The Pastor may still choose to wear a facemask.
5. Location of Venue
For Metro Manila: We accept weddings for any venue in Metro Manila except in North Caloocan, Novaliches, Fairview and CAMANAVA areas. We also do not do weddings in Rodriguez or Montalban, Rizal.
We are now accepting wedding reservations for the following cities outside of Metro Manila (different cost per city):
- Metro Cebu
- Metro Davao
- Naga City and Legazpi City (Bicol)
- Tagbiliran (Bohol)
- Tacloban City (Leyte)
- Dumaguete City
- Zamboanga City
- Iloilo City
- Cagayan De Oro
- General Santos
- Boracay via Caticlan Airport
- Cavite: Tagaytay, Silang, Alfonso, Dasmariñas, Imus, Bacoor, and Carmona
- Batangas: Nasugbu, Lipa, Calatagan, San Juan, Laiya, Lobo, Lemery, Lian, and Mabini
- Laguna: San Pedro, Biñan, Santa Rosa, Calamba, Santo Tomas, Los Baños, San Pablo
- Quezon: Tianong, Sariaya, and Lucena only
- Rizal: Antipolo, Cainta, Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Tanay, and Baras
- Pampanga: San Fernando only
- Bulacan: Meycauayan and Marilao only
- Northern Luzon: Laoag, Batanes Group of Islands, and Baler (Aurora) – air travel and accommodations will be required.
- Other Northern Luzon and Central Luzon provinces: please contact our Sister Church, Northern Sanctuary MCC, located in Baguio City, via their Facebook Page.
The couple is responsible for any and all transportation and logistical cost of the Pastor or Officiating Minister going to their venue and from their venue, back to the residence of the minister. The farther the venue, the more costly the transportation and overall expense. We have the right to reject any application or wedding request if the travel is determined to be detrimental to the overall well-being, health, and other schedules of the minister(s).
Car Transport Required
(For Greater Manila Area and surrounding Provinces)
The couple shall be required to provide a car transportation for the Pastor or officiating Minister, especially for the surrounding provinces around Metro Manila. For Metro Manila venues, you will be charged with the cost of GRAB to and from the residence of the Pastor or officiating minister. You CANNOT request the officiating minister to commute or provide for their own.
The Pastor lives in San Pedro, Laguna bordering Muntinlupa. This will be the pick-up point of the Pastor. The alternate Lay Pastoral Ministers are: Elmer “Kuya Vince” Madolid and Jack Nicklaus Quimpo. The same car transport shall bring the Pastor or Lay Minister to the same pick-up point. Further details shall be exchanged during the email transaction. If the officiating Minister will be Kuya Vince, he will be picked-up somewhere around or near Pedro-Gil, Taft Ave. as he lives in that area. The same transport will have to bring him back there after the ceremony. Jack Nicklaus Quimpo, should he be the officiant, shall be picked up from and returned to Taguig.
For Unions in other Islands that require air travel, the couple will be charged with the GRAB transportation from the house of the officiating minister going to the airport and from the airport going back to their residence, including any toll gate costs.
NEW AIRLINE POLICY flying to other Cities and Islands:
This policy is effective starting June 01, 2023 and all reserved and blocked schedule onwards.
Due to our experience and also the general reality of frequent delayed and cancelled flights by some airlines in our domestic air travel in the Philippines, we are now requiring Philippine Airlines ONLY.
Going to other islands and cities via air travel takes a lot of physical effort and affects the overall health of the minister.
This is even more impacted when flights are delayed or cancelled. Flight delays also affects the other personal, work, and church schedules of the officiating minister. We no longer want travel for Unions to negatively impact the health and the other official schedules of the pastor or other officiating minister. Since PAL, while not perfect, have generally been better with their flight schedules, we are requiring that this is the ONLY airline for travel for our officiating minister in the other Cities and Islands in the Philippines.
Remote Venue that requires multiple travels and prolonged travel time
If the venue of the wedding for example in Cebu, Bohol or other places may require an extensive travel time and several transportations (example: Bantayan Island, Cebu where after landing in Cebu City, there is another 3-hour land travel and then 1-hour boat ride), we will determine if we can accept the wedding given the exhausting travel and transport to get to and get out of the venue of the couple. Should we accept the wedding in such a venue, we may require a more spaced out travel plan where the Minister will arrive in the city airport and spend the day there to rest and then travel the next day to the venue of the couple. You will be responsible for booking the flights of the Pastor / Lay Minister and Assistant. We will not accept any money and will not book any flights.
Also if the couple will be charged an additional PhP 1,000 per day if because of logistics and travel, the wedding will take additional days.
Air travel and Flight Schedule
- 1 night: The default requirement for venues in other islands or provinces is for the Pastor to spend at least overnight. It means the Pastor fly-in a day before the wedding. Then flies back to Manila right after the ceremony.
- 2 night accommodation: Depending on the situation, we may require 2 nights of accommodation. Pastor flies-in a day before the ceremony. Ceremony happens next day. Pastor goes back to Manila a day after the ceremony. Because of previous experiences, Open Table MCC will be the one to book the hotel accommodation in the city or province where your Union will be held. The cost of the accommodation will then be charged to you and paid to Open Table MCC as instructed. Further details of this will discussed at least 1 month to 2 weeks before your wedding date and the flight of the minister.
- We will BOOK the Hotel: We will be the one to look for and book the hotel of the Pastor and we will just charge you the exact hotel cost amount. The exception to this is if the venue of your Union is in a resort hotel, which is still not a guarantee because we will still check and see if we can already allow that the minister be booked by you in your resort-hotel or if we will still be the one to reserve a hotel for the Pastor. We will ensure that the hotel we will book for the pastor or minister will be reasonable and mid-cost. We will book the hotel once reservation deposit for the Union has been made and flights have been booked. Once we booked the hotel, you will be instructed to deposit or transfer the payment for the hotel to Open Table MCC.
- Fly-in and Fly-out: Should the Pastor prefer a fly-in and fly-out flight schedule, the flight schedule going to your venue (ex. Cebu or Bohol) should not be earlier than 11:00AM. The arrival schedule back to Manila Should not be later than 9:00PM. Which means to say, your wedding ceremony should start between 3:00PM or 4:00PM. So that by 6:00PM, he can go back to the airport for his flight back to Manila. Fly-in and fly-out is the decision of the pastor or minister. This cannot be requested by the couple.
- Cancellation of flight by Airline and other inconvenience: The officiating minister, the church, and any of our leaders and official representatives will not be held liable for any adverse effect on the Union schedule caused by flight cancellations or significant flight delays, depending on the severity of the situation of the cancelation of delayed flight, the minister reserved the right not to proceed and travel at no liability or cost to the minister or to Open Table MCC.
- Minister gets stranded: If the flight back to Manila is cancelled by the airline, the couple will be responsible for the extra accommodation of the Pastor and all food requirements. Depending on the situation and agreement when this scenario happens, the reserved Bond can also be utilized. Should the Pastor get stuck in your city or Island because of the cancellation of flight, Open Table will charge and deduct from your reserved bond 1,000.00pesos for everyday the Pastor or minister remains in your city or Island. This is on top of additional accommodation and food requirements when the minister gets stuck in your city or Island. If the Bond gets fully utilized or used-up, the church may charge more if the Pastor or minister incur further expenses and remains stuck in your city or island. Additional costs if the Pastor has an assistant with him also stuck in your city or island.
- Travel insurance: For air-travel, we require that you include in the ticket an air-travel insurance for the Pastor and Assistant on both flights; flight going to the venue and flight going back to Manila.
- Check-in Baggage: You are also required to provide the basic and lowest check-in baggage for the minister (and assistant) on both flights.
- You will book PAL Flights: After securing and reserving the date of your Union, you are responsible for booking the PAL flights of the Pastor/Minister and the assistant (if there’s an assistant)
Assistant is Required and Non-Negotiable
It’s understood for weddings outside of Metro Manila, especially in other islands or in far provinces, that the Pastor or Lay Officiating Minister will have 1 Assistant to join him for security and safety purposes. There is a possibility that the Pastor may decide not to bring an Assistant, but this is the Pastor’s discretion and cannot be requested by the couple.
Meal allowances: We require 2 meal allowance for the minister or pastor. If he has an assistant with him, another set of 2 meal allowances will also be required. This is a meal allowance in transit going to your island or city and transiting back to Manila from your city or island. The meal allowance is only for weddings in other cities and provinces. Weddings within NCR and Greater Manila Area does not require a meal allowance.
The meal allowance does not include the food requirement cost for the duration of the stay of the pastor or minister (and assistant) in your city or island. There will be separate discussion, arrangement, and agreement regarding this because we need to account the actual circumstance and geographical area of the venue of the couple and the accommodations of the minister.
Higher Fee, Higher Costs
The below new fees and cost policy are stipulated as follows:
If your wedding is outside of Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces the basic fee would be:
If your venue is in other Islands and provinces, below are the fees:
- Coron and Puerto Princesa, Palawan – PhP 8,800
- Naga and Legaspi City – PhP 8,800
- Metro Cebu – PhP 8,800
- Metro Davao – PhP 8,800
- Samal Island via Davao City – PhP 9,800
- Tagbilaran, Bohol – PhP 8,800
- Panglao Island via Tagbilaran – PhP 9,800
- Iloilo City – PhP 8,800
- Guimaras Island via Iloilo city – PhP 9,800
- Tacloban City, Leyte – PhP 8,800
- Dumaguete City – PhP 8,800
- Catanduanes Island via Airtravel – PhP 8,800
- Bacolod City – PhP 8,800
- Cagayan De Oro – PhP 8,800
- Siquijor via Dumaguete – PhP 9,800
- Zamboanga City – PhP 9,800
- General Santos City – PhP 9,800
- Boracay (via Caticlan) – PhP 9,800
- Batanes – PhP 9,800
Not on the list: If there is a venue that is not included in the list above, we will make an appraisal for the fee and other costs, or a determination whether we can do your wedding in your chosen venue or not.
Depending on the circumstance of the venue and how to travel to get there, and how many days the entire wedding may consume, the fee maybe appraised higher. An additional PhP 1,000 per day maybe required if the venue of the wedding causes the Pastor or lay minister to spend additional days.
Reason: Pag mas malayo mas mahal: The main principle and idea here is to be aware that if your CHOSEN wedding venue and situation is farther (mas malayo), harder and longer to travel, you may expect to have a higher cost and other logistical requirements to ensure that the Pastor/Lay Minister and the Assistant are able to travel as safely and as comfortable as possible mitigating the impact of the travel to their health and overall well-being. Be aware also that when your wedding venue is in another Island, the minister or Pastor spends hours and oftentimes 2 to 3 days away from church work and family. Also, if the travel to your venue has been determined to be detrimental to the health, well-being, and other schedules of the Pastor or any of our lay ministers, we can turn down your application. You have the option of choosing a different venue instead, one that is more accessible and practical.
December Fee: Additional PhP 1,000
December is a high demand wedding month. If your wedding schedule is in December of any given year, whichever city or island your wedding is to be held, you will incur an additional PhP 1,000.
For example if your venue is in Bacolod City which the fee is PhP 8,800 and your wedding date is in the month of December, your total wedding fee would be PhP 9,800. If your wedding is in Tagaytay which the fee is PhP 7,800 and your wedding date is in the month of December, your total wedding fee would be PhP 8,800.
7. Cost, Reservation, and Payment
The fee of Holy Union is regularly reviewed, determined and approved by the Church Board of Open Table MCC. The fee has been determined as fair and equitable between the couple and the Church, putting into consideration all logistical and circumstantial details including socio-economic factors. We appraise the fee and other costs with due consideration, logical reasons, and within a sense of justice and fairness. The fee is received in our official bank account and together with all the other donations, offerings, tithes and pledges – are pooled together and are used for the ministry and operations of Open Table MCC.
In this sense, the couple actually shares and contributes to the ministry of the Church.
- Standard Wedding Fee in our chapel and NCR: PhP 6,800
- For Weddings outside Metro Manila but within GMA: PhP 7,800
- Fee for other Islands and cities: See above
- December fee: additional Php 1,000
- If there is a venue that is not included in the list above, we will make an appraisal for the fee and other costs, or a determination whether we can do your wedding in your chosen venue or not.
Other possible fees and expenses: As previously mentioned, if the venue of your wedding has a complicated and extensive travel situation, we may appraise the wedding fee at a higher amount and we may require other allowances, fees, insurance, returnable protection bonds, other logistical requirements and transportation remunerations.
You will be given a breakdown of the total cost and financial requirements during the process of securing your reservation. All financial requirements shall be discussed and agreed upon through the email thread that was started through the submission of the application.
Reservation deposit is PhP 3,400. Must be deposited upon the confirmation of the Holy Union Committee that the date you are reserving is available. The official banking details of the church account where to deposit or transfer will also be provided in the confirmation email. Upon making the deposit or transfer, please write or indicate your name and date of union in the deposit slip or transaction notes then send us via email the photo of the deposit slip or transfer receipt. If your bank or transfer app charges fees for transfer or deposit, you are responsible for those charges and should not be taken out from the fee you are paying.
The reservation deposit is non-refundable.
We will inform you the date of the remaining balance.
Travel Bond – For weddings in other islands and faraway provinces, we require a travel bond for safety and security purposes. The travel bond shall be equal to the 1 way airline ticket of the Pastor (and assistant) and one night accommodation or PhP 7,000 whichever is higher. If it is land travel and will require a travel bond, the travel bond shall be the minimum PhP 7,000. The travel bond maybe assessed higher than set down here depending on the assessed risk or logistical difficulty.
We will RETURN to you the travel bond in full assuming that the minister and the assistant has returned safely to Manila and without any unnecessary and risky cost on their part. If the Pastor (and minister) for any reason or situation such as but not limited to the cancellation of a flight by the airline, the couple MUST cover any additional costs for rebooking flights and for any additional accommodations for the Pastor, and ALL costs such as food and transport as long as they are stranded in the City of the venue of the wedding. Any incidental costs not covered will be taken out from the bond of the couple. We will return to you the bond within 7 to 10 calendar days after the wedding date.
Forfeiture of dormant funds: if there is any reservation fund, final payment or returnable bond that has already been deposited to us, and the couple has failed to give us advice via official email within 3 consecutive months upon last email interaction, those dormant funds shall be forfeited.
All payments for Holy Union shall be deposited to our official Church bank account ahead of time. WE DO NOT RECEIVE any reservation, remaining balance or other agreed upon payments in person or through any personal name via LBC-Padala, Palawan Express or Cebuana.
Please do NOT make or send full payment ahead of time. Pay only the reservation fee to secure your date. All other payments especially transportation, bond, and other agreed upon logistical requirements are to be paid nearer 1 month to 2 weeks before your Union date.
Monetary Stipend for officiating Minister – Please note that the Pastor or Lay Minister almost always does not get anything from the wedding fee you pay.No matter how big you think you had paid or will be paying to Open Table MCC, that is only for all the logistics and the fee of the church. The Lay Minister only gets a day’s wage from the fee. Your wedding fee all goes to the general ministry and operating funds of the church. Hence, we are now requiring couples to give a stipend to the Pastor or Lay Minister as a token of appreciation. While the stipend is now required, it is up to the couple to decide how much stipend they will give to the Pastor or Lay Minister.
The couple should put it in a white envelope and give it to the Pastor or Lay Minister after the ceremony.
8. Documentary Requirements
- Photocopy of Birth Certificates
- CENOMAR for each individual
- Photocopy of Valid Government IDs
- Registration Form (will be provided)
For the above documents, we only need PDF or scanned copy of the original, to be sent to our email. We do not need to receive the physical copy.
Should one or both couple have been previous legally married in the Philippines, we require documentary proof of annulment. Should one or both of the couples have been legally married in another country, we require documentary proof of Divorce or Annulment.
Should one or both of the couples have had a non-legally binding Holy Union ceremony in another LGBT-Affirming Church, we require that the couple obtain from the previous church a certificate of dissolution or certificate of lifting of vows.
9. Cancellation and Rescheduling
If National or Local Government Declares Restrictions:
The Church may re-schedule at a later time the wedding should the government declare travel and gathering restrictions on the month or date of the wedding.
Force Majeure (Acts of Nature):
Typhoons (bagyo), severe monsoons (habagat), earthquakes (lindol) and any and all other natural disasters – the Church may cancel and reschedule the wedding to ensure the safety and well-being of our minister or pastor. Open Table MCC together with its leaders, officers, members and any official representatives shall not be held liable for their decision for cancelation and rescheduling of Holy Union due to any Force Majeure or Act of God, including any civil or political unrest that puts at risk the life, health, and security of its people.
For whatever reason, the couple may decide and therefore inform Open Table MCC that they are re-scheduling their wedding
Cancellation by the Couple:
If the couple cancels for whatever reason, the reservation deposit of PhP 3,400 is forfeited.
The final payment is non-refundable if the couple cancels the wedding 5 days before the ceremony. If there is a bond in the final payment, only the bond will be returned to the couple in lieu of their cancelation.
If the final payment has been paid and the couple cancels ahead of time. Only half of the final payment maybe refunded to the couple. The refund is not guaranteed. The board officers will decide if a refund can be approved.
Should a refund be approved, any bank or transfer fees shall be taken from the refundable amount. For legal and security purposes, we will only transfer or deposit any refund or bond through the couple’s bank account.
Rude and Disrespectful Behavior:
Should the couple or anyone representing them prove to be rude, disrespectful or are being difficult to work with, Open Table Church reserves the right to reject an application or cancel an existing reservation with no liability on the part of the Church or any of its officers and leaders including not refunding any reservations or payments because of disrespectful behavior or proving to be a difficult couple or person to work with.
10. Submitting an Application
Towards the end of this web-page is the online application form. It is connected with our official email address. Please fill out with the complete information including each of your complete legal names.
GMAIL ONLY: Please use only Gmail – email. If you do not have a Gmail, please create one. Other email platforms like yahoo causes error in our system or sometimes goes to our spam mail, thereby causing serious delay or error. We only transact and have a conversation through the application you sent us and the email thread we have started with each other.
Other details: If you have other questions, special information or things you want to inform us for consideration, please indicate on the box ‘other details’.
GETTING A REPLY (RESPONSE TIME): We respond to all new applications and follow-ups every MONDAYS and TUESDAYS. Not including holidays.
We also do not respond to applications and emails during our Christmas break of December 22 – January 8, and during Holy Week.
The people managing our Holy Union process are all volunteers. We ask for your patience, kindness and understanding. Should the response take too long, you may send follow-up email or message us via our official Facebook page.
Be mindful also of the time difference if in case you are currently located outside the Philippines. We work and respond under Philippine Standard Time.
Applications of couples ages below 25 years old will not receive any response as you are automatically not eligible yet for a Holy Union. We may consider 24 years old, but this is not a guarantee.
REPLY ONLY: Once you have an email thread with us. Please send all your future questions, clarifications and concerns by replying only through the email thread you have with us. DO NOT SEND A NEW APPLICATION and DO NOT SEND A NEW AND DIFFERENT EMAIL. We need all emails connected under one email thread.
11. Receiving the initial Confirmation and Official Transaction
Depending on when you sent your application, you will receive a confirmation email from us on a Monday or Tuesday, whether your date and venue of wedding is available.
If it is available, you will be instructed to already make your reservation deposit. The registration form will also be attached on that email together with other instructions.
If your date is not available, our Union Committee will work with you to find the best possible and available date for your desired wedding.
The initial response may also include some questions and clarifications on our part.
Please be advised that all agreements, negotiations and instructions are ONLY coursed through our official email and under the email thread you have with us. We do not transact in Facebook or other social media platforms even if they are our official accounts. We also do not transact in person or through the personal social media accounts of any person. We will not honor anything outside of the official application and email you sent through this website.
12. Couples Who Cannot Afford The Holy Union Fee
If the couple cannot afford the Holy Union fee, please reach out to us by sending an application and informing us of your financial and life situation. We will not deprive a couple of the sacramental rite of Holy Union if the only reason is lack of funds. We will work with you on the best possible way we can bless your relationship and officiate your wedding ceremony. Please submit an application in the other web page for weddings in our chapel.
The above policies, process and protocols may change without prior notice. Any changes or update to the policies, requirements, and fees will be applicable to all pending applications in our calendar. Each wedding application is also treated on a case to case basis.
Holy Union FAQs
- Is the Union legal?
Answer: No it is not legally recognized. There is no legal effect. It is purely a religious ceremony.
- Is the Holy Union Illegal?
Answer: No. It is not illegal. The Union Ceremony is a religious ceremony protected by the Philippine Constitution in its provision on Religious Freedom.
- Why do you call it Holy Union and not Marriage?
Answer: The term “Marriage” is a legal term that means it has legal recognition and protection by the Republic of the Philippines. We do not call our ceremony as marriage because as of present date, there are no marriage equality laws yet in the Philippines recognizing and protecting the union of two people of the same gender or situations where one of the partners identify as a transgendered person.
- Why do you charge a cost or fee for Holy Union?
Answer: Back in 2013 there has a been a debate within the Church leadership on the need to charge a cost for the Union.
The decision is to the charge a cost of Union because of several reasons:
1. The charge appropriately provides a certain degree of financial maturity for the couple. Also in a subtle way, it forces the couple to think about their readiness for a long time or life long relationship that entails the reality of shared finances. The cost of Union helps to a certain degree a sense of planning and thinking in terms of the realities of a relationship.
2. Many couples who wish to have a Union ceremony are willing to spend a lot of money for the venue, the food, the sound system, the photography, the clothes and many others. It is but fitting that the primary instrument and institution by which the Union will transpire is also given due respect and importance through a financial contribution to its ministry and operations.
- Who determined the cost and why?
Answer: The Board of Open Table MCC determines the cost of the Union that is equitable for both the church and the couple, taking into consideration also socio-economic factors that affects everyone. The Union fees are reviewed periodically and may change as decided upon by the board.
- What if we cannot afford the cost of the Holy Union?
Answer: Talk to us and be as honest and as open as possible. We are willing to make arrangements with the couple as how we can best provide the Holy Union ceremony and not having the financial difficulty be a hindrance to a sincere request for a Union Ceremony.
- What does the Holy Union Cost include?
Answer: The Union fee only includes the certificate to be issued and given after the wedding ceremony. It also covers Administrative costs. It DOES NOT INCLUDE any flowers, designs or any logistical costs. It DOES NOT INCLUDE the transportation of the officiating Minister and admin Assistant.
- Do we need to pay for the transportation of the Minister and Admin Assistant?
Answer: Yes, the couple has the responsibility to shoulder the cost of the transportation of the officiating Minister and Admin Assistant.
- Do we give any stipend or love-gift to the officiating Minister?
Answer: Yes. We are now requiring that the couple give a stipend to the officiating Pastor or Lay Minister after the ceremony. While the stipend is required, the amount of stipend shall be decided upon by the couple.
- If we are a straight couple (man and woman) can we request for a holy union?
Answer: Yes, you can. However, it will still be a purely a religious ceremony with NO legal recognition and effect. We will NOT register your wedding ceremony in the City Registrar and PSO. As long as LGBTQI+ couples are denied legal marriage recognition and protection, we will not offer a legally binding marriage ceremony for heterosexual couples.
- Will other countries recognize our Holy Union in MCC?
Answer: MCC has a global presence and is well known in certain countries like Canada and in the US; however each country has its own laws regarding marriage and immigration. We suggest you consult with the Embassy or Immigration Office of the country you are migrating to, in relation to the acceptability and immigration effects of the Holy Union Ceremony you have done in Open Table MCC. The Union Certificate, depending on the embassy or immigration office of a particular country, MAY consider the certificate as proof of togetherness.
- How will the ceremony happen? Can we get a copy?
Answer: The Ceremony details will be discussed by the officiating Minister during the counseling session. You may request a copy of the ceremony from the officiating Minister.
Request for a Holy Union
Reminder on Reply: The volunteers will reply every MONDAYS and TUESDAYS, Philippine Standard Time. Not including holidays.
Please declare your complete legal names with middle initial. The names you submit will be the names that will appear in your union/wedding certificate.
For those who have a preferred name different from your legal name – please put this under “Other Details”. Please indicate reason why there is a different preferred name in the details.
Last Updated: 27 September 2023