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Marriage Preparation

A comprehensive program of Marriage Preparation, following USCCB guidelines.

Congratulations on your Engagement!


Getting married is one of the most thrilling and amazing adventures. 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 a 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!  God has so much in store for you and the love of your life as you prepare to say "yes" to one another, and the Office of Marriage and Fmily Life is here for you to help you grow more in love with one another and to remind you how good and powerful this sacrament is.

We know that preparing for your wedding can be a busy time so our marriage preparation opportunities provide a chance for engaged couples to take a step away from the planning and explore the meaning of a committed sacramental marriage, all the while learning more about one another and God’s incredible plan for marriage.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has set forth specific guidelines regarding marriage preparation programs, and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference has adapted those guidelines for particular use among the Dioceses of Wisconsin. The Office for Marriage and Family Life is responsible for ensuring that proximate preparation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee meets these pastoral guidelines. A minimum of six months preparation is required for all marriages in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. 


Preparation Steps


Contact the Parish Where You Are Getting Married

  • 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.

  • You will also be invited to participate in a pre-marital inventory. This inventory is not a test, but rather a tool to help couples learn more about themselves and the manner in which they relate to their partner. 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.​

Sign Up For an Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Experience

  • 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 program (Marriage Preparation Conference, Marriage Preparation Day, Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat, or Marriage Preparation Conference for Remarriage). These day-long or weekend-long experiences (detailed below) will give you the opportunity to encounter dynamic married couples who will share about the meaning of marriage, praying as a couple, 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. Please see descriptions and dates below or view our 2019 Marriage Preparation Brochure.

  • Sign up by clicking an icon below

Sign up for an introductory NFP Workshop

  • Natural Family Planning is a natural, scientific, holistic approach to fertility care. These workshops, taught by one of our local FertilityCare Practitioners, will introduce NFP in a broad sense and also explain the differences between the several NFP models.  Following the workshops, a practitioner 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 here.


Plan Your Wedding Liturgy 

  • 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. Click here for helpful resources.

Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation 

  • 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!


Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Options:



Marriage Preparation Conferences take place on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m and are run by a team of dynamic married couples. This retreat-style day gives the couple a chance to slow down, enter into intentional conversations about their relationship, pray together, learn about the sacrament of marriage, eat great food, and so much more. 

Cost: $125 per couple (includes breakfast, lunch and all supplies)

January 12 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center)
 March 9 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center) (Spanish track available)
 March 30 | Holy Family Church, Fond du Lac
 April 27 | Schoenstatt Retreat Center, Waukesha
 May 11 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center) (Spanish track available)
 June 1 | Schoenstatt Retreat Center, Waukesha
 July 13 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center) (Spanish track available)
 September 28 | Schoenstatt Retreat Center, Waukesha
 October 26 | St. Anne Catholic Church, Pleasant Prairie
 November 16 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center)




Marriage Preparation Days take place on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and are hosted and planned by several of our parishes and include large group presentations and time for interaction between couples. 

Cost: $125 per couple (includes breakfast, lunch and all supplies)

February 2 | St. Joseph Parish, Grafton
 February 16 | Holy Angels Parish, West Bend
 May 4 | St. Dominic Parish, Sheboygan
 August 17 | Holy Angels Parish, West Bend
 September 7 | St. Dominic Parish, Sheboygan




Marriage Preparation for Remarriage takes place on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and is designed for couples remarrying with the Church’s approval. These days for remarrying couples are part of several of our Marriage Preparation Conferences, with special workshops offered by couples who have remarried and blended families. 

Cost: $125 per couple (includes breakfast, lunch and all supplies)

January 12 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center)
 May 11 | Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center)
 November 16| Mary, Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, Milwaukee (formerly Archbishop Cousins Center)




Catholic Engaged Encounter is a quiet weekend retreat with other engaged couples with plenty of time to talk honestly and intensively as a couple about your future together – an opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of your relationship and the Sacrament of Matrimony.  This weekend is especially recommended for couples who are looking to take their relationship to a new level spiritually. The retreat begins on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m., and concludes Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Sunday Mass will be celebrated.

To learn more about Catholic Engaged Encounter click here. For a promotional video click here.

Cost: $250 per couple (includes all materials, five meals and overnight lodging in shared rooms. Brides will share rooms with other brides, and grooms with other grooms)


May 3-5, 2019 | Schoenstatt Retreat Center, Waukesha
November 1-3, 2019 | Schoenstatt Retreat Center, Waukesha


Register Here


Connect With Us

Financial Assistance and Payment Plans
Please contact Emily Burds, Associate Director of the Office for Marriage & Family Life, for more information. 414-758-2213 or

Registration Questions (rescheduling, registration errors, etc.)
Please contact Annette Basaldua at 414-758-2201 or





Rich Harter, M.T.S.

Emily Burds
Associate Director

Tori Pohl
Program and Events Coordinator, NFP Consultant

Merridith Frediani
Administrative Assistant



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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