Marriage Preparation

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Marriage is a call to give oneself to one’s spouse as fully as Christ gave himself to the Church

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, 32)

Diocesan Marriage Preparation Overview 

Congratulations! The prayers of the Church are with you as you prepare for your Sacrament and Married Life Together. The Diocese of Fall River recommends that you begin your preparation process at least six to eight months before your wedding date. You will begin this process by calling your parish to make an appointment with the Priest or Deacon to discuss being married. Below you will find an overview of the marriage preparation process in the Diocese of Fall River, a step-by-step guide to get started and the registration form for your “At the Table” Preparation.  

In total, during your engagement season, a couple marrying in the Diocese of Fall River will receive supported preparation leading up to their wedding day through two branches of the church: the clergy and married mentor couples. 

As a couple, you will participate in three to six preparatory council sessions with your parish priest or deacon approximately one to two hours each.  Many Parishes in the Diocese of Fall River use a tool called FOCCUS (or an equivalent resource). FOCCUS is a confidential questionnaire used to facilitate meaningful conversations between you and your celebrant as you prepare to receive the Sacrament of Marriage. These sessions will provide you with further insight into your relationship with each other as well as with the church.​ 

In addition, the Diocese offers a two-session program titled “At the Table”. Each session runs approximately three and a half hours.  Here you will meet and share a meal together with Married Mentor Couples as well as other engaged couples preparing for their Sacrament in the Diocese of Fall River. During these sessions, Mentor Couples will help to provide practical insights into the realities of what it takes to live out a Catholic Marriage in today’s world. Through these sessions you will receive trusted advice, practical tips, and encouragement for living out your vocation to marriage for many years to come.


For questions email: or

Please note: When registering, couples are to select both, Session A and Session B for the complete preparation program. These sessions may be completed out of order to accommodate schedule conflicts.

Only one registration form is needed. Price of the program covers, both sessions, for both attendees.

Step-by-Step Guide for Marriage Preparation

1. Contact your Parish to set up an initial meeting with your Priest or Deacon.

Recommended timeline: 12-6 months before the wedding. (The sooner after your engagement the better!)

2. Attend the initial meeting with your Celebrant.

The initial meeting with the Parish Priest or Deacon is a time to talk about the expectations of the marriage preparation process. During this meeting, you will fill out the FOCCUS questionnaire, set a follow-up meeting, and reserve a wedding date.

Recommended timeline: 12-6 months before the wedding. (The sooner after your engagement the better!)

(See the overview section on this webpage for more information about this part of your Sacramental Preparation.)

3. Register for Your “At the Table” Sessions.

At the Table is a two-session program; you will register for both sessions using one form. The fee for both sessions and the take-home materials you will receive during session one is a total of $150 per couple. Each session runs approximately 3.5 hours in varying locations throughout the diocese (these details can be found on the actual registration form). To access the registration form, click here.

Recommended Timeframe: Register 12 – 6 months before your wedding but after you have spoken to your parish.

(See the overview section on this webpage for more information about this program.)

4. Explore bonus resources available throughout our website.

Recommended timeframe: Resources for all seasons of life are available throughout website. Explore them at your convenience.

5. Attend your first “At the Table” session.

Recommended Timeframe: 4 – 6 months before your wedding.

6. Complete “At the Table” interim take-home materials and resources.

Recommended timeframe: 3- 5 months before your wedding date (between your two sessions).

7. Attend your second “At the Table” session.

Recommended timeframe: 2 – 4 months before your wedding.

8. Plan your Liturgy.

You will want to carefully read the booklet “Together for Life” which you will receive from your parish to plan a meaningful liturgy. You can also find helpful information at For Your Marriage and Catholic Wedding Help.

Recommended Timeframe: 1 – 2 months before your wedding date.

9. Verify your Parish has all documentation needed.

Recommended Timeframe: 1 – 2 months before your wedding date. If your documentation is held in another country – you’ll want to begin this process sooner to accommodate travel time and possible delays.

10. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Recommended Timeframe: 1 – 2 weeks before your wedding date.

11. Attend your Wedding Rehearsal.

Recommended Timeframe: You’ll coordinate this with your celebrant. Rehearsals are usually held the night before your wedding date.

12. Get Married.

Congratulations on your big day!

13. View the “We got married…So What’s Next?” informational booklet available at your parish.

Recommended timeframe: After the honeymoon.

Additional Resources