Wedding Planning

The Process: Preparing for Marriage


  • Marriage Orientation and FOCCUS Instrument Meeting: Before your first meeting with the priest or the deacon and before a date for your wedding can be set, you must both attend the Marriage Orientation and FOCCUS Instrument Meeting. Reservations for the Orientation Meeting should be made online — please go to the FOCCUS information to do this. Estimated time of the Orientation: 2 hours

During this Orientation Meeting, a representative of our parish will explain the Marriage Preparation process to you. After the presentation, you and your fiancé will both take the FOCCUS Marriage Preparation Instrument.

After you have attended this Orientation Meeting, someone from Our Lady of Perpetual Help will call or email you to set up a meeting date with Father. If you have not heard from the office within a week regarding the scheduling of your appointment.

  • First meeting with Father or Deacon: At the first meeting with the priest or deacon, you will have an opportunity to get to know the priest or deacon who will be receiving your vows. Secondly, and very importantly, you will have an opportunity to discuss the results of your FOCCUS instrument. Finally, you will be able to set a date for your wedding. St. Thomas is a very popular parish for weddings, so please be advised that your desired date may not be available, and you should be prepared to be flexible on dates. (It is not a good idea to come to this first meeting with your reception already booked!)Estimated time: 1 hour

Now that you have taken your FOCCUS Instrument, please schedule the Engaged Encounter Weekend and the Introduction to Natural Family Planning, and the Conflict Management Seminar. You must attend Engaged Encounter Weekend within 90 days of your first meeting. Introduction to Natural Family Planning and Conflict Management may be attended anytime before the Third Meeting with Father or Deacon.

  • Second meeting with Father or Deacon: This will be a follow-up discussion with Father or Deacon immediately following your Engaged Encounter Weekend. Any FOCCUS subjects that were not covered in that first meeting will be discussed at this time. Estimated time: 1 hour
  • Third meeting with Father or Deacon: The third meeting is a meeting set aside for paperwork. This meeting should take place not less than 60 days prior to the wedding. You will need to bring your Engaged Encounter, Natural Family Planning, and Conflict Management certificates along with your signed Affidavits of Free Status. The Catholic party/parties will need to bring newly issued baptismal certificates and, if one is not Catholic, her/she will need to bring some proof of baptism. Also at this meeting, if this marriage is to be an interfaith marriage, the Catholic will be asked to sign a document that states that he/she intends to remain Catholic and that all children of the marriage will be baptized Catholic. Estimated time: 45 minutes

Meet with the organist: Your meeting with Mrs. Renee Wyatt, the parish organist, can take place anytime in the process, but it is preferable to have met with him at least 2 to 3 months prior to the wedding.

  • Fourth meeting with Father or Deacon: The fourth and final meeting should take place two to three weeks from the wedding. At this meeting, please bring your marriage license and all checks for the Church, the Music Minister, and the priest or deacon. You will have the opportunity at this time to discuss the liturgy and to go over the program, if you plan to have one. Estimated time: 45 minutes.