Congratulations on your engagement!
Couples who wish to be married in the Catholic Church are required to attend the following:
- One of the Marriage Preparation Programs (see list below)
- Introductory Natural Family Planning Class (see link in Step 4 for class schedule)
Download a Marriage Preparation Checklist
Our Marriage Preparation Coordinator can be reached at 314.792.7182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Classes
(Office of Laity and Family Life)
View the Class Schedule Classes are a total of 10 hours and take place at locations throughout the Archdiocese. Please do not contact the class location directly.
Click here to Register. If you have questions, call Kitty Mandis at 314.792.7182. Classes fill quickly, so please register and submit payment as soon as possible. Cost: $225, unless otherwise noted. Registration in a class is not guaranteed until payment has been made. There are no refunds, but your payment can be transferred to another class. If necessary, please reschedule by noon the Wednesday before your class to avoid a late cancellation fee ($50) to cover the cost of the meals which are ordered in advance.
- Once you have registered online, you may pay by credit or debit card, e-check or PayPal by clicking here . You will be directed to our Online Giving page where your payment can be processed by the PayPal network. You may complete your payment as a PayPal "guest" or use your existing PayPal account. Please be sure and put the bride and groom's names in the "Comments" section. If you would prefer to make your payment by mail with a check or money order, please send and make it payable to: The Archdiocese of St. Louis, Mail Stop 375215, P.O. Box 953745, Saint Louis, MO 63195-3745.
God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage
Joy-Filled Marriage incorporates rich Catholic theology with sound psychology, and it is highly interactive, engaging today's Catholics and pointing them toward a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Springing from Blessed John Paul II’s teachings in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, the program invites couples to explore their own uniqueness by seeking their identity and mission in Christ.
In addition, the program presents the Theology of the Body in a manner that any Catholic can understand—a "new language" that celebrates our call to greatness. Many engaged couples come away from the program with a newfound awe and respect for the truth and meaning of human sexuality. They leave with a clearer understanding of the extraordinary gift marriage is to our society and themselves.
Step 1 - Meet with your priest or deacon
WHEN: Six to twelve months prior to your wedding
- As soon as possible after your engagement, contact your priest or deacon to assist you with your marriage preparation.
- At the initial meeting he will determine if you and your fiancé(e) are free to marry in the Church; he will provide you with information for completing Steps 2-6 of this process; and he will set up a schedule for future meetings.
Step 2 - Marriage Preparation Inventory
WHEN: As soon as possible after meeting with your priest or deacon
- Complete a marriage preparation “inventory,” which is a set of questions to help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship and any areas that need further discussion or attention.
Step 3 - The Marriage Preparation Course
WHEN: Ideally, six to twelve months before your wedding
- To complement the “inventory,” the Archdiocese offers an excellent marriage preparation program designed to introduce you to God’s plan for your marriage.
- The course also includes virtue-based instruction on communication, conflict resolution and financial decision-making.
- Some parishes offer this program within the parish with a mentor couple.
- To register, click here.
Step 4 - Natural Family Planning Intro Course (click here for class schedule)
WHEN: Six to twelve months before your wedding
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is not only effective for planning your family it is also highly effective in overcoming obstacles that compromise your ability to become parents. You will find the list of NFP classes at: archstl.org/naturalfamilyplanning
Step 5 - Sacrament of Reconciliation
When: Before the wedding as necessary
- The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Even if you are not of the Catholic faith, you still would benefit from spiritual direction.
- The regular practice of the sacrament of reconciliation keeps marriages healthy and strong.
Step 6 - Liturgy Planning
WHEN: Before the wedding
- The priest will provide a booklet to help you plan your wedding ceremony.
- Watching the USCCB video Saying I Do...What Happens at a Catholic Wedding is very helpful for this process. Link to view the video: archstl.org/marriageprep
Held at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka, Missouri. For upcoming dates and a registration form, visit their website.
Marriage Preparation Workshop - St. Charles Lwanga Center
This is a Friday evening and full day Saturday workshop for engaged couples. For information, upcoming dates or to register, please call 314.367.7929.
The AGAPÈ Catholic Ministries Marriage Preparation course is based on the Theology of the Body andHumanae Vitae. Online marriage preparation and Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes are available. Online worksheets foster conversation between the couple, and in all of the courses, there is follow-up with personalized feedback from instructor couples. This program is excellent for engaged couples in the Military.
Spanish Language Marriage Preparation
A number of facilitator couples are available who will give engaged couples bilingual or Spanish marriage preparation. In addition to one-on-one preparation, a class is offered twice a year. For information, call Maria Lucrecia Knapp at 314.830.1426.
Parish-Based Sponsor Couple Experience
Check with your priest or deacon for a parish-sponsored marriage preparation program in which married couples meet one-on-one with engaged couple. This option is not available at all parishes.
Pope Francis' Address to Engaged Couples Preparing for Marriage
Click here for the the Pope's 2014 address.
Interested in bringing your marriage into the Church by convalidation of marriage? Read this short article that can help you understand how to begin the process. Click here. Contact your parish priest or deacon for information on beginning the process. For other resources, please call the Marriage Preparation Coordinator at 314.792.7182 or email email@example.com.