You're engaged! Congratulations!
You are setting out on a beautiful adventure together. As you prepare for your wedding, your parish will help you to begin preparing for a successful marriage as well. These steps have been carefully thought out to help balance your busy schedule with important information and skills you'll need for a passionate, life-long marriage. Many couples tell us that their time spent in marriage preparation is a welcome break from the stresses of life and wedding planning, and a way to reconnect with the reason for the wedding- their love for their fiance'!
Step one: Meet with your priest or deacon
Time Frame: 4-6 Months before the wedding, though 6+ months is preferred.
As soon as she says, "yes!" contact your parish to set up a meeting with your priest or deacon. This meeting will:
- Get you and your priest/deacon acquainted possibly including a couple inventory for you to fill out,
- Get started on paperwork and give you an introduction to the process at your parish,
- Schedule future meetings with priest/deacon and any other necessary parish staff, and
- Get a tentative wedding date reserved. Please do not put down deposits on reception venues or services until you have at least had this meeting!
Step Two: Marriage Preparation course
Time Frame: 4-6 Months before the wedding
There are several approved marriage preparation courses available to couples in this Archdiocese. Your priest or deacon will help you get connected to the right course for your area and your situation. For information on the most popular two courses, use the links "Preparing to Live in Love" and "Engaged Encounter" above. All the courses do the following things:
- Provide valuable skills for a successful marriage,
- Allow time for you to reflect as a couple on your relationship, and
- Lay out the Church's vision for sacramental marriage and why that is important.
Step Three: NFP Introduction
Time frame: 4-6 Months before the wedding
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is not your grandma's "rhythm method"! NFP is a research-based method of spacing births that is not only effective but healthy for the woman and the couple's relationship. Since there is so much misunderstanding about NFP, we feel it is important for each couple to become familiar with it before marriage. You can fulfill this requirement by:
Step four: Final parish meetings
Time frame: 1-3 Months before the wedding
This meeting or meetings (depending on your parish and/or priest) are the final step of your marriage preparation! The purpose is to:
- Discuss your marriage preparation/NFP introduction and have any questions answered,
- Discuss the inventory you took (if applicable),
- Plan your wedding liturgy, and
- Complete anything else specifically required by your parish.