Marriage Preparation

“God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other.  Man and woman were created for each other…Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond”

– United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, CH21 P 279

The Four Recommended Parts of Catholic Marriage Preparation

Of the Seven Sacraments, two of them are ordered toward service, mission, and evangelization: Holy Orders and Matrimony.  The Church strives to provide sufficient preparation for individuals entering either of these important life-long vocational sacraments.  Regarding Matrimony, our office suggests that a comprehensive marriage preparation process is covered by the four parts below.

Before the wedding, couples should:

1) Meet with their clergyman regarding important steps and documents.
2) Choose one Marriage Prep Program to attend.
3) Complete one kind of Marriage Prep Inventory.
4) Choose one method of Natural Family Planning to learn.

Schedule an initial meeting with your priest, deacon, or marriage preparation minister at your local parish in Atlanta 8 to 12 months in advance of your desired wedding date. Please schedule this appointment before booking a reception site. During this meeting, the marriage documents and other requirements of the pastor for marriage preparation will be discussed.

Marriage documents can be accessed here.

Note: The marriage preparation you choose to attend must be approved by your parish priest.

Joy-Filled Marriage Workshops

The Joy-Filled Marriage Program is the archdiocesan-sponsored marriage prep program offered at the Chancery. Part I: “Living a Joy-Filled Marriage – A Virtue-based Life-Skills Program. Part II: “God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage” – A Catechesis and Sacramental-based Program. The Joy-Filled Marriage program is offered in two parts taken on two separate Saturdays: “Living a Joy-Filled Marriage”, that approaches life-skills through an emphasis on virtue; and “God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage” that presents the sacramentality of marriage. Attendance at both programs completes marriage preparation. Couples will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the second Saturday workshop.

Learn more

Witness to Love Sponsor Couple Program

Witness to Love Sponsor Couple Program is a sponsor couple marriage prep program in the Marriage Catechumenate model.

For more information and to registration please click here.

Online Catholic Marriage Prep

Catholic Marriage Prep Online is the only one-on-one, interactive, mentor-led, on-demand, online pre-cana program. Anchored in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is a great resource to enhance your marriage preparation or improve your marriage.

Learn more

Love Again (Remarriage)

For couples who are widowed or have had a marriage annulled, we offer a quarterly Saturday workshop: “Love Again” that focuses on life-skills for the couples where one or both are remarrying. “Love Again” fulfills Part I of marriage preparation. These couples will also attend Part II – “God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage” workshop to complete marriage preparation and receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the second Saturday workshop.

Learn more

Three To Get Married

This is a weekend experience for seriously dating, engaged couples, or married couples offered under the direction of the Legionaries of Christ. The program looks at both the sacramental/spiritual and practical aspects of married life. It is a Friday evening through Sunday afternoon program, with you staying in your own home each night.  More information about this marriage preparation course available through RC Atlanta – Three to Get Married.

Register Online

Building Your Marriage Before It Starts Workshop

Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman before God. Building Your Marriage Before It Starts teaches couples how best to communicate, discuss and manage finances, implement consistent parenting styles and integrate their faith in everyday decisions.This one-day workshop will help couples build a marriage that will have the foundation to last a lifetime. Each workshop is offered at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Workshop dates and registration

Fall In Love, Stay In Love

St. Thomas More is pleased to debut a new marriage preparation program called Fall In Love, Stay In Love. The title is inspired by a prayer attributed to former Jesuit superior general Pedro Arrupe SJ. Beginning in September, and offered three times per year, this 4-week program will be available to any couple preparing for marriage. Drawing from the wisdom of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, the program will invite couples to consider their own relationship together with the person of Jesus who is calling them to an ever deeper friendship and the mission to share God’s love with the world. Through presentations by witness couples and in-class and at-home couple exercises, weekly evening sessions will emphasize communication, intimacy, commitment, discernment, and values, as well as tools, rituals, and practices that will aid couples in their marriage together. For more information and to register please contact Andy and Sarah Otto at aotto@stmga.org.

Premarital Inventories are a compilation of questions that the engaged couple takes separately in an effort to obtain an objective assessment of potential problems and issues in their relationship.

There are many options in the USCCB website offered here.

Historically, the most common ones used in the Archdiocese of Atlanta have been FOCCUS and Prepare and Enrich. Pricing varies. Most facilitator training is done online. If help is needed to discern which program is good for your parish, please contact Daniel West at dwest@archatl.com.

Learning a method of Natural Family Planning is indispensable for Catholic married couples to handle their fertility in a harmonious and holy way, and avoid the spiritual and physical harm of contraception or other reproductive technologies not in line with Catholic teaching.

Visit our webpage for further explanation of the importance of following God’s laws on family planning, and links to NFP FAQs and NFP instructors.

Note:  If you are not marrying in the Archdiocese of Atlanta you will still need to work with a parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The priest in the Atlanta archdiocese will coordinate with your priest outside of the archdiocese to cover the requirements in both dioceses.

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