Please contact a priest at least six months before the desired date and prior to making  other arrangements.

The Diocese of Arlington requires six months of marriage preparation.


1. You and/or your fiance(e) must be registered in a parish of the Arlington diocese.

2. Notify your parish no later than SIX MONTHS prior to your proposed date of marriage, and set up an initial meeting with a priest or deacon. This is necessary even if you plan to wed outside of the diocese. This meeting should take place before any social arrangements for the wedding are finalized.

3. You are required to meet with your priest or deacon as a couple at least four times during the six month period, excluding the wedding rehearsal.

4. During the FIRST MONTH you must register for one of the following pre-marriage programs. Brochures will be provided by the priest or deacon.

  • Engaged Encounter
  • Three to Get Married

5. Your priest or deacon may require you to attend Natural Family Planning classes. Couples are urged to attend these important classes even if the clergyman does not require it.

6. At one of the first meetings you will be asked to take the FOCCUS survey.  The survey will provide the preparing clergyman an indication of the strengths and weaknesses of your situation so that he might help to improve your readiness for marriage.

7. In some instances, it may be necessary for the priest or deacon to request that you obtain additional counseling in order that he may be assured of your readiness to assume the serious responsibilities of Christian marriage.

8. There are special procedures for teenage marriages and for couples with extraordinary circumstances.

9. Father or Deacon will assist you in preparing the liturgy, readings, music and other elements for your wedding.

Useful resources:

Cohabitation and the Catholic Church

Planning the Wedding Ceremony

Natural Family Planning

Are you ready to get married?