Article 2 of the Family Code specifies the essential requisites, as opposed to the formal requisites, of marriage. It reads:
Art. 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; and
(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.
The parties, who must be a male and a female, must have legal capacity and must freely give their consent.
On the other hand, Article 3 of the Family Code specifies the formal requisites, as opposed to the essential requisites, of marriage. It reads:
Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:
(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer;
(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and
(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.
The distinction between formal and essential requisites of marriage pertains to the effect to the marriage in case of absence or defect.
The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio. (Family Code, Art. 4)
This general rule has an exception, which is Article 35(2) of the Family Code, referring to an instance when the marriage is solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so.
An irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable. (Family Code, Art. 4)