Marriage Preparation

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a vocation – a public and covenantal commitment between a man and a woman to spend a lifetime together. The sacrament is a visible sign of God’s unconditional love for us and brings grace and joy to the new couple. Contact your parish priest six to nine months before your wedding date to start the marriage preparation process.

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Marriage Preparation Steps

Step 1: Contact your parish

Contact your parish to begin the marriage preparation process. You will have an initial meeting with a priest or deacon to establish your freedom to marry.

Find A Parish

The Archdiocese of Omaha requires a minimum of 6 months of preparation time before the scheduled wedding date. Most couples benefit by beginning their marriage preparation at least nine months before the wedding.

  • If the bride or groom will be less than 19 years old on the date you plan to marry, a wedding date will not be set until the preparation process is complete.
  • If either the bride or groom or both have previously celebrated any type of wedding whatsoever, a written decree of nullity (annulment) is required prior to registering for marriage preparation.

Step 2: FOCCUS Facilitation

After an initial meeting with the priest or deacon preparing you for marriage, you will receive a link from your parish to assist you in registering for a pre-marriage inventory through FOCCUS Marriage Ministries, and assigned a facilitator.

Allow 45 – 60 minutes for completion. As soon as both of you have completed the inventory, a personalized Couple Report will be delivered to your facilitator.

You can expect to meet with your trained FOCCUS facilitator weekly for 4-6 one-hour sessions. These sessions are intended to facilitate discussion between the two of you on areas of strength and opportunities for growth identified by the FOCCUS™ Pre-Marriage Inventory. Your results and your facilitated discussion are kept confidential.

There is a $30 fee for your FOCCUS facilitation inventory. Please use the button below to register for FOCCUS.

Sign Up for FOCCUS now

Couples directed to use the REFOCCUS inventory may use the button below to create their registration.

Sign Up for REFOCCUS now

Step 3: Attend a Marriage Formation Program

Your parish may direct you to a Marriage Formation program to be completed 3-6 months before your wedding. These programs provide formation in the theology and practical life skills of marriage, with many options available online and in person. Costs range between $100-$200.

If your parish does not direct you to a Marriage Formation program, you may look at available options at For Your Marriage, or see below for one of our recommended options.

Catholic Engaged Encounter in Norfolk

Catholic Engaged Encounter in Omaha

Smartloving Engaged Online Marriage Preparation

Joy-Filled Marriage Online Certification Course

Catholic Marriage Fellowship Online Marriage Prep

Step 4: Meet with your Priest or Deacon

After completing your FOCCUS sessions and formation retreat, additional wedding planning will be provided by the priest or deacon at your parish. This will include planning the Rite of Matrimony and finalizing any pastoral formation specific to the couple.

Bonus Step 1: Find a Mentor Couple

If your church parish is a Witness to Love parish, you will be given information about meeting with a mentor couple early in the process of your marriage preparation. If you are interested in meeting with a mentor couple, you should choose someone who meets the following criteria:

  • Married 5 years or more in the Catholic Church
  • Active in the Church
  • Have a marriage and family you both admire
  • Go to the same church as you do now OR attend the church you will be married at OR attend the church that you will be attending after the wedding
  • Should not be immediate family members

    You can invite your new mentor couple to guide you through your Marriage Formation program (SmartLoving offers free access to mentors), or Witness to Love.

Bonus Step 3: Reconciliation

One of the greatest ways to prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is to receive the gift of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Contact your priest preparing you for marriage to set up a time to go to confession, or check the parish bulletin for confession times.

Are you a priest or parish leader?

Check out our Marriage Preparation Resources page for more information

Marriage Preparation Resources