Lifelong Formation

How to Get Married

From putting together a wedding ceremony, to being a resource throughout the years following the wedding, the Archdiocese of Chicago serves as a resource to all engaged and married couples. The archdiocese aims to ensure all couples have every opportunity to create a marriage that echoes the love that God has for us all: a happy, healthy, holy marriage, and a covenant that is truly grounded in the Lord. This site provides you with basic information necessary to start the process of getting married in the Catholic Church.

The following steps are your starting point to prepare for your marriage:

Schedule an introductory meeting with your home parish priest or deacon
At least six months before your desired wedding date, please meet with your home parish priest or deacon before committing to any date. Please read your home parish’s marriage guidelines.

  • Once your wedding date is set, a prenuptial file will be created.
    • Your home parish will work with you in completing the paperwork for this file.
  • If you are getting married outside of the Archdiocese of Chicago:
    • Your home parish needs to send this completed prenuptial file to the Archdiocese of Chicago Canonical Affairs Office for review and verification.
    • Once the Canonical Affairs Office approves your file, they will send this file to the out-of-state or out-of-country diocese where you are getting married.
      • Only the Canonical Affairs Office is to send this paperwork to the out-of-state or out-of-country diocese to grant you permission to get married outside the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Have a premarital evaluation and discussion
The Catholic Couple Check Up or FOCCUS are questionnaires based on scientific research and a Catholic understanding of marriage. These questionnaires are taken online and can be accessed here. If you take the Catholic Couple Checkup, the results are available as soon as you finish and you can discuss them together or with the person preparing you for marriage. If your parish requires FOCCUS, please connect with your parish contact about next steps.

Attend a PreCana class
PreCana class gives couples the opportunity to learn about the sacrament of marriage and prepare their hearts leading up to their wedding day. Please visit our Marriage Preparation Courses site for more information and to register.

Follow-up with your priest or deacon
Discuss any issues or concerns raised in your marriage preparation class and share the results of your premarital questionnaire. Finalize the ceremony details, finish the paperwork, and review the chosen readings and music.

Purchase a marriage license and attend the wedding rehearsal
Purchase your marriage license at least one, but no more than 60 days (about 2 months) before the ceremony. For information on purchasing a license in Cook County, please click here. For Lake County, please click here. We advise couples to check government offices’ schedules ahead of time, as they tend to close early before holidays. Your wedding rehearsal will take place at your church with those involved in the ceremony.

Enjoy your wedding day as you receive the Sacrament of Matrimony
Your big day is finally here. Enjoy this day with family and friends as you begin your lifetime commitment to one another and your own marriage in the Lord.