To meet the requirements for Catholic marriage within the Archdiocese of Chicago, there are specific steps you should take.
- Have an introductory meeting with your parish priest or deacon.
Meet with your priest or deacon before you commit to a wedding date, and learn about your parish's marriage guidelines. You can ask about appropriate music for the ceremony, and begin to fill out some of the required paperwork.
- Have a premarital evaluation and discussion.
The premarital inventories recommended by the Archdiocese, being both research and scientifically based with a Catholic understanding of marriage, are The Catholic Couple Check Up or FOCCUS. Both inventories are taken online, and both are accepted.
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, talk to them about the best route to take it.
- Attend a marriage preparation class.
There is education and preparation opportunity for receiving all the sacraments of the faith, including the Sacrament of Matrimony. Sign up for your marriage preparation class. For a list of dates and locations click here.
In addition to taking a PreCana class, you may also be interested in our supplemental videos for engaged couples to customize your marriage prep based on your circumstances. There are downloadable resources and worksheets available as well. The videos cover specialized topics that may be appropriate for your unique circumstances, such as Cohabitation, Children of Divorce, forming a Stepfamily; and Second, Military, Interchurch and African American marriages.
- Consult with your priest or deacon.
Discuss any issues or concerns raised in your marriage preparation class. Share the results of your premarital inventory. Finalize the ceremony details. Finish your paperwork and review the readings and music you've chosen. You’re almost ready to say “I do.”
- Buy a marriage license and attend the wedding rehearsal.
Buy your marriage license at least one but no more than 60 days before the ceremony. For information on purchasing a license in Cook County, click here. For Lake County, here. We advise you 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, as determined with your priest or deacon.
- Attend a Natural Family Planning class.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) teaches you to read and interpret signs of fertility and infertility to achieve, space, or avoid a pregnancy. Thus, you’ll be able to strengthen your marriage, and your family.
Over the course of a Natural Family Planning class, you will learn how you can remain faithful to God’s plan for marriage with the only method of family planning morally acceptable to Catholic teaching. In-person and online classes are available through here.
- 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.