When a couple reaches the point in their marriage preparation when they are ready to begin a formal preparation session, there are two main options available to them in the Diocese of Richmond.
#1: Couple is prepared one-on-one by the priest or deacon
The couple may always be prepared by a priest or deacon one-on-one in their local parish. This preparation is to be done one-on-one, but not in a group setting in the parish or region by clergy or the laity.
#2: Couple participates in a marriage preparation program approved by the diocese
To ensure consistency in marriage preparation, there are currently two programs that the diocese approves. Any other programs that may have been active in the diocese, parishes, or LPAs no longer fulfill this step.
- UNVEILED is the Diocesan of Richmond’s Marriage Preparation program. Couples attend a one-day, 12-hour Saturday session that blends video-based content with the testimony of married couples. The program is focused on presenting the Catholic vision of married love in a way that allows each couples to process the material and have discussions throughout the day.
- ENGAGED ENCOUNTER is the Diocese of Richmond’s Marriage Preparation retreat option. The program allows couples to spend a weekend together to focus more deeply on their relationship and communication as they prepare for marriage.
For couples unable to be prepared using any of these methods (for instance, where there is a language barrier, military service interruptions, significant geographic distance between the bride and groom, or some other special circumstance), please contact the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life directly for further assistance and other available alternatives.