Marriage Preparation

Congratulations on your decision to get married!

The Catholic Church rejoices in your decision to marry and enter into the beautiful vocation of marriage – the beginning of a great adventure together, and family life. As you prepare for this life changing moment, the Catholic Church desires to be part of your journey by helping you grow in your love for each other, and in your relationship with Christ. Each person is called to prepare as well as possible to live out their faith in marriage and daily life.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton looks forward to helping you both begin this process together. Completion of a Catholic marriage preparation course is a mandatory pre-requisite 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, especially as space and program schedules may be limited. By participating in a marriage preparation program 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

Contact your local parish to inquire about the program that is available in your area.

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.

Parish programs all offer similar content, but parishes will conduct these programs according to their own pastoral plan and schedule such as a weekend course, two or three consecutive weekends, or through a series of weekly evening sessions. There is usually a fee associated with the programs to cover the costs of program delivery including: resource materials, licensing for certain programs, facilitators and speakers, and hospitality.

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

To find and connect with your local parish, visit

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

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