Preparing for Marriage

You might be at a point in your relationship when you are considering marriage. On this page you will find helpful resources for discerning and preparing for the sacrament of marriage.

Foundations for a healthy marriage

Planning your Catholic wedding

Preparing for your wedding can be overwhelming, but it can also be very fruitful and strengthening for your relationship with your future spouse. Below are some helpful resources for engaged couples who are preparing to get married in the Catholic church.

Betrothed: A Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage

Betrothed invites couples to prepare for a joyful, lifelong marriage. Blending hands-on learning of practical life skills with excellent catechesis and insights from St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, this marriage-prep retreat is designed to impact on the quality of a couples’ communication, conflict resolution, and shared sense of mission. 

The Archdiocese of Seattle accepts all marriage preparation programs that have been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). For a list of approved programs, visit this page.

Other considerations

Getting your marriage license

If you are applying for a marriage license in Washington state, please contact the county where your wedding will take place.

If you are getting married in another state, please refer to state laws on how to obtain a marriage license.

It is the responsibility of the couple to ensure this process is done correctly and on time.

Once you have the civil marriage license, please give the license to the parish wedding coordinator.

At the ceremoney, the bride and groom will immediately sign the marriage license and certificate along with 2 witnesses. The parish will submit the completed license to the state.

Getting married out of state

If you are planning to get married in another state or country, begin by contacting the parish where you wish to do marriage preparation and let them know that you will be getting married out of state. They will guide through the paperwork that is needed, such as Baptismal certificates, witness statements, completion of marriage preparation paperwork.

They will have you and your fiancé/e take a pre-marital inventory and may also do counseling based on the results.

Once you complete a marriage preparation program or engaged retreat, the parish will send all the paperwork to the Archdiocese of Seattle, who will then forward the paperwork to the appropriate diocese. A fee may be assessed with this transfer of paperwork, especially if it is out of the country.

Annulments

If you have questions about the annulment process, please contact the Archdiocese of Seattle Tribunal office at 206-382-4830 or 800-950-4926.