Tips and Timeline

Planning a Catholic Wedding

To create a meaningful Catholic wedding it is important to remember that the celebration of marriage is a sacrament a profound expression of God’s love in the world. The elements of the ceremony you choose will speak to those in attendance of your values and hopes for your marriage. The following are general guidelines for planning a memorable Catholic wedding compiled from information found at:

Consider the following questions as a couple, to shape your personal view of what is truly important to you in a wedding celebration.

  • What do you want the wedding to say about you and your values?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the amount you plan to spend? Are you willing to go into debt, or put family members in debt?
  • How much time and energy do you have to focus on the details of a wedding? Will you make time preparing for the marriage itself?

Typical Timeline

Twelve months prior to the wedding

  • Contact the church you wish to be married in.
  • Meet with the pastor or deacon (or parish representative) to select a wedding date and time, and discuss the parish requirements for a wedding celebration.

Nine months prior to the wedding

  • Start selecting readings (traditionally, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and one from the Gospels) and Prayers of the Faithful. Many couples find reading them aloud to each other helps in the selection process.

Six months prior to the wedding

  • Plan to attend a Marriage Preparation Program (Precana) Register now, programs can fill up quickly.
  • Create your guest list. Design or select, and order, wedding invitations.

Three months prior to the wedding

  • Meet with the parish wedding representative or pastor to discuss decoration requirements, which may include placement and size of floral arrangements.
  • Meet with the parish musician for details concerning music for your celebration.

Two months prior to the wedding

  • Finalize the invites, ceremony details.
  • Publish a wedding announcement in the local newspaper and the church bulletin.
  • Make sure all documentation has been delivered to the celebrant (ex:Baptism Records)
  • Finalize Music and reading choices with the celebrant and musician.

Three to four weeks prior to the wedding

  • Meet with the parish representative or clergy to discuss last minute details.

One to two weeks prior to the wedding

  • Touch base with your clergy person.

Day (or Two) before the wedding

  • Participate, with priest and wedding party, in a rehearsal ceremony.
  • Pray for each other!

This guide was prepared by the Marriage and Family Ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, NY

For more information contact