Marriage Prep

Congratulations on your engagement! 

The Church rejoices with you and is grateful for the gift of your loving commitment to each other. The Church offers her loving support including special graces from the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Marriage to strengthen you in living the fullness of your lives together in marital love.  

The Archdiocese of St. Louis joins you in responding to God's call. As you participate in your marriage preparation program, you will be enriched to live God’s call to holy love in marriage and family life. This marriage preparation will provide you with life skills and faith formation to live your married life to its fullest, for the rest of your lives. You can be assured of my prayers and may God bless you with His love and abundant graces.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski
Archbishop of St. Louis

Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Classes  (Office of Marriage and Family Life) 

Classes are two-day, 13 total hours, and take place at the Cardinal Rigali Center 20 Archbishop May Dr. Shrewsbury, MO 63119, OR in an interactive virtual format.  Note:  In 2022, several special Marriage Preparation Retreats will he held at select parishes throughout the Archdiocese.  View the class schedule to pick the format of your choice.  Cost $225, unless otherwise noted and this should be paid at the time of registration..

 View the class schedule TO REGISTER


God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage

The program, God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage, incorporates rich Catholic theology with sound psychology, and it is highly interactive, and engaging for today's couples pointing them toward a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage. Springing from St. John Paul II’s teachings on "Theology of the Body," the program invites couples to explore their own uniqueness by seeking their identity and mission in Christ. In addition, the program is designed to help couples celebrate their 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.

Steps to Get Married

Step 1: Meet with your priest or deacon

When: 8-12 Months before the 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 or 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: 8-12 months before the 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: 6-12 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.

 Learn More

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.  Click Here to View the Video

***The Above 6 Steps are available in a trifold brochure in both English and Spanish. Please click here for ordering information.***

Other Marriage Preparation Programs

Engaged Encounter Weekends of St. Louis

Held at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka, Missouri. Visit their website below for upcoming dates and a registration form.

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College Church Marriage Preparation Retreat

St. Francis Xaiver College Church offers several marriage preparation mini retreats each year. These weekends focus on both the spiritual and practical aspects of living the marriage covenant. Couples from the parish serve as resource partners and presenters during the weekend. As couples spend time reflecting together on marriage as a covenant, adjustments in marriage, the spirituality of marriage, personality differences, communications, and conflict resolution, they learn more about themselves and their partner. The program includes presentations, opportunities for dialogue as a couple, and some sharing with other couples. Each mini retreat consists of a Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon session. The mini retreats are typically held every other month. Details and a schedule can be found by clicking the below button.

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AGAPÈ Catholic Ministries-Online Class

The AGAPÈ Catholic Ministries Marriage Preparation course is based on the Theology of the Body and Humanae 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.

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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 Deacon Jorge Perez at 314.792.7645 or email [email protected].


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 an engaged couple. This option is not available at all parishes.

Additional Links

Pope Francis' Address to Engaged Couples Preparing for Marriage



Interested in bringing your marriage into the Church by convalidation of marriage? Contact your parish priest or deacon for information on beginning the process. For other resources, please call Paul Duker 314.792.7178 or email [email protected].


Seeking Facilitator Couples for Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Workshops

Qualifications: Married at least five years; ages 30-55; engaging, energetic; love the Church and the fullness of truth; pursuing an active relationship with Jesus; open to sharing; and called to lead couples to a deeper faith. Some knowledge of Theology of the Body helpful.

Training will be provided.
Stipend: $800 per weekend
Hours: 14-15 hours, split over two days (12 hours of presenting). The workshops are two-day workshops held Saturdays and Sundays. Snacks and a meal are provided. We ask the facilitators to arrive 1-1½ hr. early to set up the workbooks and class materials.

For more information on the archdiocesan marriage preparation program, God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage, please click here.

If you are interested in serving as a Marriage Preparation Facilitator, please contact Paul Duker, Program Manager, Office of Marriage & Family Life, 314.792.7178 or [email protected].

For more information on marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, please contact Paul Duker at [email protected] or 314.792.7178.