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I'm Engaged

Coronavirus Update for your Marriage Preparation

In light of the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, the Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Conferences for the remainder of 2020 have been canceled. All previously signed up participants have been notified and have been invited to participate in our online version of the conference.

If you are getting married, or forming a couple who is getting married before March 2021, please contact Emily Burds ( for information on registering for our Online Marriage Preparation Conference.

Meetings to plan the wedding liturgy, meetings with the pastor/pastoral staff, and meetings to review the FOCCUS and other pre-marital inventories should still take place, if possible.

We realize this is a heart-breaking time for so many engaged couples whose wedding plans have been significantly altered. We will pray for the peace of all the couples and those walking with them in their preparation.

Congratulations on your Engagement!

Right now, you’re probably thinking about your reception, dress, and invitations. You want your wedding to be beautiful and perfect – and we do too! The beauty you’re hoping for points to hope much deeper – a joy-filled, solid marriage. Your engagement is not only a time for planning your wedding but a time during which you build the foundation for a lifelong marriage rooted in Jesus. In a world where so much seems temporary, the Church is here to help you prepare for a lasting marriage, one that is fully open to all the grace and blessings God wants to give you through this sacrament. Don’t miss out on knowing all the things God wants you to know about building an excellent marriage!


Marriage Preparation Timeline

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  Step 1. Contact the parish where you are getting married (as soon as you get engaged or 10-12 months before wedding).

This is essential to do as soon as possible to ensure that you have enough time to resolve any particular issues that may arise. Once you contact your parish, you will be invited to meet with a priest, deacon, or parish staff member to discuss the marriage preparation process.

If you don’t belong to a parish, please contact the Office for Marriage and Family Life and we can work with you on finding a local parish.

Initial meeting with your priest or parish staff member

While every parish operates on a slightly different timeline, in the early stages of your engagement you will meet with a priest or parish director who will walk you through the marriage preparation process and ensure that there is nothing standing in the way of a wedding in the Catholic Church. 

Premarital Inventory

You will also be invited to participate in a premarital inventory which you will be set up with at your parish. This inventory is not a test, but rather a tool to help you as a couple learn more about yourselves and the manner in which you relate to one another. FOCCUS and other similar inventories can be very useful for diagnosing areas of both strength and weakness in couple communication. You will be assigned a trained married couple to walk you through the responses from your inventory.​

  Step 2. Sign up for a Marriage Preparation Conference (6-8 months before wedding).

Once you have connected with the parish where you will be getting married, you will be invited into the parish’s process for preparation which will include your participation in one Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Conference. This day-long or weekend-long experience will give you the opportunity to encounter dynamic married couples who will share about the meaning of marriage, praying as a couple, and the powerful gift of sexuality and offer tips for a healthy marriage. Regardless of your faith or background, you are welcome at any of these preparation experiences. You will choose one program that best suits your needs as a couple.

Find out more information and sign up for a conference by clicking on the registration icon below.

  Step 3. Sign up for an Introductory NFP Workshop (5 months before wedding).

Natural Family Planning is a natural, scientific, holistic approach to fertility care. These workshops, taught by one of our local teachers, will introduce NFP in a broad sense and also explain the differences between the several NFP models.  Following the workshops, a teacher will be available for follow up to serve your specific fertility needs. This could include navigating cycle irregularities and connecting you with specialists trained in diagnosing and treating medical conditions.

Find out more information and sign up for a workshop by clicking on the registration icon below.

  Step 4. Plan your Wedding Liturgy (2 months before wedding).

Creating time to plan your wedding liturgy is a beautiful way to intentionally include the Lord in your wedding and ensure preparedness and peace on your big day. Resources are available to assist you.

You will plan the details of the ceremony with the parish where your wedding will take place.

  Step 5. Attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation (1-2 weeks before wedding).

The Church welcomes and encourages all Catholics to spiritually prepare themselves for marriage through participating in the sacrament of Reconciliation. We invite you to receive God's mercy even if you have not gone to confession for some time. Find confession times near you here!

If it has been a while, don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are helpful tools to prepare you for Reconciliation.


Registration for 2020







Be Devoted by Dr. Schuchts

Dynamic Catholic’s Marriage Prep Videos “Better Together

For Your Marriage

Forever by Jackie and Bobby Angel

Happy Together by John Bosio

Heaven’s Song by Christopher West

How to Love your Wife” by John Buri

Invited by Stephanie Calis

Just Married by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak

Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri

One Body by John and Claire Grabowski

Podcasts and Videos on Marriage from Ascension Presents

Spoken Bride

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Three Secrets to Holiness in Marriage by Dan and Amber Dematte


Frequently Asked Questions

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  What are the requirements to get married in the Catholic Church?

The Code of Canon Law outlines several things that are necessary to be married in the Catholic Church. They include:

· One party must be a baptized Catholic.

· The wedding must take place in a Catholic Church and presided over by a Catholic priest or deacon.

· The spouses must not have any prior marriages that have not received a Declaration of Nullity (for more information on this process, visit the Metropolitan Tribunal page:

· Both parties must be mature and capable of consenting to the marriage and understand what the Catholic Church teaches on marriage (this will be covered during your marriage preparation)

  Okay, we want to get married in the Catholic Church. What is the first step?

Contact your local parish. If you do not have a parish, use our website to find some options near you. Your local parish will help prepare you and your spouse for the sacrament of marriage and handle any paperwork that must be submitted to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

  What documents will we need to give our parish?

The Catholic party or parties will need to provide a baptismal certificate (this can be obtained by calling the parish where you were baptized) as well as certificates for your First Communion and Confirmation if applicable. Baptismal certificates must be dated within six months of your wedding date, so you do not need to request them before that point.

If your spouse is a non-Catholic Christian they will need to provide evidence of their own baptism via a certificate or affidavit signed by an adult who was present at the time of baptism. Your local parish will help you determine what may be necessary.

  How long before our desired wedding date do we need to begin marriage preparation?

It is recommended that you contact your parish as soon as possible to begin the process. This includes reserving a date that the Church will be available and scheduling marriage preparation sessions.

  What is required for marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee?

The parish where you are doing your preparation will explain in greater detail what is included in the various steps of premarital instruction. You will have meetings with the pastor or other parish staff as well as attend an Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Program day. You will also attend a workshop on Natural Family Planning and be assigned an established married couple to guide you through the process.

  Can we choose a priest from another parish or diocese to marry us?

Yes. Inform the parish where you will be getting married and they can assist you in this process.

  I am marrying a non-Catholic Christian. Can their minister be a part of our Catholic wedding Mass or can we have another ceremony in their Church?

A non-Catholic Christian minister may be involved in the wedding Mass in a very limited capacity. In no way may it appear that this minister is concelebrating the Mass and they may not take part in the Rite of Marriage. They may be invited to offer a blessing or reading. Be sure to discuss any involvement with your priest.

There can not be any type of second ceremony at a different church. A couple with one Catholic party may be granted permission to be married in the Christian church of the other party instead of the Catholic church. This can be discussed with your Catholic parish and will still require marriage preparation through the Catholic Church.

  I am marrying a non-Christian. Can we have a second ceremony in their religious tradition?

No, Canon Law does not permit this. There may only be one wedding ceremony. If a couple wishes to get married in the religious tradition of one party, they may be granted permission I to do this. This can be discussed with the Catholic parish and will still require marriage preparation through the Catholic Church.

  Can we do our marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee but get married at a church outside of the archdiocese?

Yes, simply inform your parish here in the archdiocese and they will assist in preparing the paperwork to send to the diocese in which you will be married.

  Do Catholic parties need to be Confirmed in order to get married?

No. While Confirmation is encouraged, it is not a requirement. To learn more about receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation as an adult, visit our RCIA information page:

  What is required for planning my wedding Mass?

Visit our wedding liturgy resource page to learn more about planning:

Connect With Us

General Marriage Prep, FOCCUS, & Financial Assistance Questions
Please contact Emily Burds, Associate Director of the Office for Marriage & Family Life, at 414-758-2213 or

Registration Questions (rescheduling, registration errors, etc.)
Please contact Merridith Frediani, Admin Assistant, at 414-758-2201 or 

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408