Marriage Preparation Steps
1. CALL YOUR PARISH
(8-12 months before the wedding) Call as soon as you get engaged! It is important to meet with your priest or deacon even before setting a date. A member of the parish staff will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your wedding preparations as soon as possible.
2. INITIAL MEETING
(8 months before the wedding) At this meeting, you’ll learn about the preparation process for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, begin the necessary paperwork for your marriage file, and set your tentative wedding date. The initial meetings with a priest or deacon will ensure that there is nothing standing in the way of a wedding in the Church. These initial meetings also begin the process of creating a marriage file, which is a record of everything that was done during marriage preparation.
3. FOCCUS Inventory
(7-8 months before the wedding) The FOCCUS Inventory provides you with a personalized profile of your relationship. Your parish will set up your inventory session and, upon completion, the follow-up sessions needed to review your results. These sessions aim to facilitate communication between you and your future spouse. *Note: Some parishes use inventories other than FOCCUS
4. Marriage Prep Program
(6 months before the wedding) Various programs are available within the Archdiocese, all of which focus on the theology of Catholic marriage as well as important life skills. You’ll receive help identifying a prep program that best fits your needs. If your parish doesn’t offer a program, see the list of “Marriage Preparation Classes” found here.
5. Natural Family Planning
(5 months before the wedding) NFP respects the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, and enriches the bond between husband and wife. This course gives couples a natural approach to understanding the cycles of fertility and infertility. Course listings found here.
6. Final Meeting
(2 months before the wedding) This meeting will review your previous preparation, complete all of your paperwork, and plan your wedding liturgy. You’re getting close to celebrating this beautiful sacrament!
*Note: If you are getting married outside the Archdiocese of Denver, then the completed marriage file will have to be submitted by the parish who is preparing you to the Archdiocese of Denver one month prior to the wedding date (two months prior for a wedding outside the United States). The Archdiocese of Denver will review the marriage file to ensure it is complete and will forward the file to the place of the wedding.
(1 week before the wedding) Catholics preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Reconciliation and the Eucharist are invaluable sources of grace and healing. Celebrate this sacrament with your spouse-to-be!
Interfaith and Mixed Marriages
Marriages in which the partners do not share the same religious beliefs and affiliations are considered “mixed” marriages, or ecumenical marriages. If the couple is a Catholic and a non-Christian, the marriage is considered interfaith. Mixed marriages also include marriages in which the non-Catholic party has no religious persuasion. We know that ecumenical families are not identical; their lifestyles and faith choices are varied. The Catholic Church does try to support these couples to help them prepare to meet faith challenges with a spirit of holiness. Mixed religion couples can live out Christ’s call to be one and often experience a level of ecumenism more acutely.
For couples who are preparing for marriage, good-quality marriage preparation is essential in helping couples work through the questions and challenges that will arise after they marry, specifically those in regard to raising children.
Baptized Catholics are required to marry according to “canonical form,” that is, in Catholic ceremonies. Normally, a mixed marriage is celebrated by a priest outside of Mass because both spouses so not share full communion with the Church. At times, serious reasons may present obstacles to observing the “canonical form” of marriage. In these cases, the Catholic spouse should seek a Dispensation From Form (permission to marry in a non-Catholic ceremony). The Church cannot recognize a non-Catholic ceremony, involving a Catholic party, without a dispensation. Subsequently, marrying according to canonical form (convalidation) remains possible for Catholics in this situation, even many years after a non-Catholic wedding. See your parish priest or deacon for more information.
See also: Interfaith-marriages
Marriage Preparation Classes – Weekday Courses
Please consult your parish before you register for a marriage preparation course.
There are various programs available to you within the Archdiocese, all of which focus on the theology of Catholic marriage as well as important life skills. Through your parish, you will receive help in identifying a marriage preparation program that best fits your needs. These programs are available on weekdays, weekends, and if needed, online. Find the format that works best for your engagement.
Note: Completing one of these courses (or a different program available through your parish) fulfills the marriage preparation step #4 of enrolling in a marriage preparation program. Review our “Preparation for Holy Matrimony” brochure for more information.
God’s Plan for Marriage Prep Program
These seminars explore God’s divine plan for marriage by focusing on how couples can build a strong foundation for their marriage. This includes teaching aspects of St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and life skills to help navigate their married life.
Location: St. John Paul II Center
1300 S. Steele Street, Denver
Day/Time: Thursday at 7 PM – 9:30 PM
- 2023 June 1, 8, 15, 22
- 2023 August 3, 10, 17, 24
- 2023 September 7, 14, 21, 28
Registration: Call 720-212-8303 or email email@example.com
Cost: $180 (This includes study materials)
Send check/money order to: Dcn. Colin Coleman – 1300 S. Steele St. Denver, CO 80210
In the memo, write the “marriage seminar” and the month that you have selected. You will be sent a confirmation of registration by email.
or Zelle or Apple Pay is also available: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details, if this is your preferred method of payment.
Catholic Marriage Prep. Com – Live Classes
This program is taught by married couples, based on JPII’s Theology of the Body, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. This class has four evening sessions.
Location: St. John Paul II Center – Denver (1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO, 80210)
Time: 6:30 PM – 9 PM
- Spanish – August 4, 11, 18, and 25 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm as well. All in room 123.
- English – October 3rd, 10th, 17tth, and 24th from 6:30pm-9pm. All in room 123.
More information: 719-531-0738 or 800-208-1364
To register for the live program: www.catholicmarriageprep.com
Catholic Marriage Prep.Com – Online Program
With pastor approval, this program is available to couples who need the flexibility of an online program. It is based on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The course requires a minimum of 20 hours of active work. It is usually completed in three to six weeks. It must be completed within three months maximum. There is a total of 9 assignments. You will be paired with an instructor couple.
In special cases only, the course can be completed in less than three weeks. In these cases couples will have to sign up for our Urgent Care program (Cost: $289). This program allows engaged couples to expedite their worksheet processing. The course still takes a minimum of FIVE days to complete and is dependent on instructors’ availability. Note that instructors will not work on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
The course covers the theology behind NFP, but does NOT include an actual NFP course.
This course is offered in English and Spanish.
- Cost: $239 (scholarships available based on financial need)
- More information: 800-208-1364
- Teléfono: 719-434-7208 (hablan español)
Weekend Retreats & Intensive Courses
St. Frances Cabrini – Joy-Filled Marriage Retreat
This retreat explores God’s divine plan for marriage while encouraging engaged couples to apply this to their relationship to grow further in their love for each other and God. The retreat also works to build community among those attending the retreat. It runs Friday (5:30pm-8:30pm), Saturday (8:30am-7:30pm), and Sunday (8:30am-12:30pm). The retreat is held at the parish with engaged couples returning to their homes during the evening.
Location: St. Frances Cabrini Parish Hall
September 15-17, 2023
February 9-11, 2024
April 12-14, 2024
September 13-15, 2024
February 7-9, 2025
April 25-27, 2025
- Friday: 6:00pm-8:30pm
- Saturday: 8:30am-8:00pm
- Sunday: 8:30am-11:15am (concluding after 11:15am Mass)
Cost: $180 (This includes all study materials and meals.)
More Information: Contact Dcn. Marc Nestorick at email@example.com
St. Thomas More Marriage Prep Retreat
This weekend experience will allow couples preparing for marriage to fully understand the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church. Couples will enjoy engaging presentations on topics related to God’s plan for marriage and receive fundamental tools for building and sustaining a Christ-centered marriage.
Location: St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Centennial
Dates: one offered in the fall & one offered in the spring
- September 15-16
Cost: $200 per couple
All couples not preparing at St. Thomas More must submit a letter of permission from their church of preparation to attend the retreat weekend. Letters of permission can be emailed to Melanie Lauer, Marriage Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Refunds will not be offered within two weeks of confirmed registration retreat date.
For more information and to register: click here.
Risen Christ Catholic Parish
This retreat will fulfill the communication and theology requirements for your marriage preparation. The retreat will give the engaged couple a real perspective on marriage and the care that the church has for you and your marriage. You will also have the opportunity to grow in community with other engaged couples.
When: March 24th: 6 PM- 10 PM and March 25th: 9 AM – 5 PM
Register and more info: Email Maggie Torres at Maggie@Risenchristchurch.org
Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Norms
“What God Has Joined”
Particular Norms for a Christian Marriage
“What God Has Joined” – Supplement
To the Particular Norms for a Christian Marriage
Concerning Education in the Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning by Archbishop Aquila