Marriage Preparation

Congratulations on your decision to get married!

The Catholic Church rejoices in your decision to marry and wants to journey with you in your preparations and assist you in growing in your love for each other as well as in your relationship with Christ. Marriage is a beautiful vocation, the beginning of family life, and a great adventure together. Each person is called to prepare as well as possible to live our faith in our marriage and in our lives.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton wants to help you as you begin this process. Catholic marriage preparation is mandatory for marrying in The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

We strongly recommend that the marriage course be taken at least 4-6 months before the wedding. You will receive:

  • Information about what the Church believes and teaches about Catholic marriage and family life.
  • Advice and practical assistance for your daily married lives together.
  • An introduction to Natural Family Planning (NFP), a reliable method of planning your family that is both based on science and in harmony with God’s design for sexual intimacy and Church teaching. NFP assists with planning or spacing births, and also often helps in working with any infertility issues.
  • The witness of married couples to the sacrament of marriage and how it is lived in their lives.

For more information about how to begin planning your wedding, please visit Steps to Getting Married.

Marriage Preparation Programs

While a marriage preparation program is a requirement to be married in the Catholic Church, it is also an opportunity for you and your fiancé(e) to grow in your commitment to one another as you journey into married life. In the Archdiocese of Edmonton the normal expectation is that you and your fiancé(e) will participate together in a parish-based program through your own parish (searchable at and Mass Times).

If your parish does not offer a program, or does not offer one that meets your own particular circumstances, they will refer you to another local parish or to another approved program. It is important to note that these programs are often in very high demand, and, as a result, you are encouraged to plan your course and register as soon as possible.

While you can expect the same content from each program, your parish, like any other in the list below, will conduct these programs according to their own pastoral plan; in some cases they will run their course over a weekend, and in others over two or three consecutive weekends, or through a series of evening sessions over the course of several weeks. If your parish does not offer a marriage preparation program and your pastor has referred you to this site, you are encouraged to find a program that meets your particular needs

Finally, there is normally a cost associated with each program. These costs are administered by the local parish to recover the costs associated with running the program, including your resource materials, licensing for certain programs, facilitators and speakers, and hospitality.

Parish-Based Programs

Edmonton Catholic Engaged Encounter: Edmonton Catholic Engaged Encounter is a weekend live-in marriage preparation program offered at Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert. For more information visit or call 780-466-0090.

Red Deer Catholic Engaged Encounter: Red Deer Catholic Engaged Encounter is a weekend marriage preparation program offered at Montfort Centre, 5210 – 61 Street, Red Deer, Alberta. For more information visit

Online Marriage Preparation

This program requires the referral of the parish pastor, and is for couples who are unable to attend a marriage preparation program in their own parish, and who are unable to register with a local marriage preparation program in another parish or with Catholic Engaged Encounter. This program is a distance education course that takes 4-6 weeks to complete. You must have access to the internet to complete the modules required. To register for this program, you will require a referral through your own parish.

If you do not reside within the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton boundaries, you will need to contact your own diocese for marriage preparation.