Getting married? A little preparation can make a big difference.
Updated: 12th April 2021
If you are thinking of getting married our specially designed, thought-provoking and fun marriage preparation courses will equip you with insights and know-how, clarity and confidence to avoid the pitfalls and build the best possible future together.
We offer four options, delivering equally excellent but different experiences:
FOCCUS – Not currently available due to social distancing restrictions. This is a face to face, bespoke, questionnaire-based exploration of your unique relationship, provided for individual couples over 2-6 one-hour sessions; just the two of you and a skilled facilitator. This resource was developed by FOCCUS Inc., an apostolate of the Archdiocese of Omaha, and is suitable for couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Upon completion the course you will be provided with a certificate to show to your Priest as verification of attendance on this approved marriage preparation programme.
Preparing Together: – Not currently available due to social distancing restrictions. This is a one day, face to face, skills-orientated group course and is suitable for couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Preparing Together has been awarded an Imprimatur from Cardinal Vincent Nichols and upon completion of the course we will provide couples with a certificate to show to your Priest as verification of attendance on this approved marriage preparation programme.
The Certificate of Attendance provided to couples after completion of one of our marriage preparation courses is required by most local parishes and is valid indefinitely even if you experience delays in your wedding plans.
Guidance for couples marrying within the Catholic Church
It is worth bearing in mind that Canon Law normally requires a minimum of six months notification for marriage, though some diocese will require longer. This guidance is designed to provide a brief overview of the process and to avoid problems further down the line.
Firstly, go and see the priest where you live before you make any arrangements for the wedding reception. He will explain what you have to do, the paperwork that needs to be completed and agree the marriage preparation resource (i.e. Marriage Care).
Secondly, your priest will ask you to obtain a copy of your baptismal certificate that is not more than 6 months old and a copy of your confirmation certificate. He will want the same from your other half if he / she is a baptised Christian. In addition, many dioceses now require evidence of freedom to marry in the form of a Statutory Declaration of Freedom (the form is usually supplied by the priest).
You and your partner will also have to go to the register office to get a certificate to allow you to get married. You cannot get married without this ‘blue form’, as this constitutes the legal side of the wedding.
Marrying overseas: If the wedding is to take place outside the United Kingdom it is best to contact your local parish priest here in the UK before any arrangements are made with a priest in the other country. This is to allow time for the Church documentation to be completed and sent in advance of the wedding. Marriage papers for weddings taking place in another country travel via the chancery office in each diocese, then on to the office of the overseas bishop, before finally being sent to the place of marriage. You should allow at least three months for this, from completion of marriage preparation and all documentation, but the Church in some countries will require longer.
If you are marrying in a Polish parish please check with your priest that these courses meet their requirements.
Who can attend?
Many of the couples who attend are getting married in the Catholic Church but we welcome any couple who is considering marriage or a long term committed relationship.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate babies or children at either type of course.
Is there a Fee?
Marriage Care is a registered charity and all our services are delivered by trained volunteers. We charge a fixed fee for our marriage preparation courses that contributes to the costs incurred, the resources you are given and the behind the scenes facilitator training and preparation. The price you will need to pay is indicated as part of the online booking process and you can find our booking terms and conditions below. If you are facing financial difficulties and might struggle to pay the fee proposed you can email us to explore alternative arrangements. We’re here to support you.