Checklist for preparing for your Catholic wedding

Approximately 1,400 couples are married each year in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Planning the perfect wedding is a job that calls for prayer and preparation. The archdiocese requires a 6- to 8-month engagement period for couples to reflect prayerfully on their relationship and their readiness for marriage.

Here is a checklist for your Catholic Wedding:

6-12 months

  • Immediately after making the decision to marry, you should visit your parish priest to make arrangements for pre-marriage counseling.
  • Discuss with the priest or deacon any special circumstances that might affect your marriage.
  • Complete a premarital inventory, a series of written questions responded to by the couple separately. The priest or deacon will analyze the results, which will help assess your readiness for marriage.
  • The priest or deacon will discuss the premarital inventory with you and review the strengths and weaknesses of your communication process. Presuming you are ready to go forward, you can begin making your liturgical wedding plans.
  • With the guidance of your priest or deacon, decide on a marriage preparation program. The priest or deacon will discuss with you the most appropriate program, depending upon your circumstances.
  • The Family Life Apostolate website has complete information on steps to take when preparing to be married in the Catholic Church. For more information, go to http://nolacatholic.org/offices/family-life-apostolate#planning-to-get-married. The Family Life Apostolate can be reached at (504) 861-6243.
  • Discuss the wedding budget and style of wedding with both sets of parents. The priest or deacon will inform you of parish guidelines and any costs or offerings involved.
  • Plan the reception: reserve all services needed.
  • Decide on attendants.
  • Using index cards or a computer spreadsheet, draw up your invitation list and have your fiance draw up his. Keep the cards in alphabetical order for ease in writing thank-you notes.
  • Select your wedding dress, veil and accessories. Allow three months for delivery.
  • Select attendants’ dresses and shoes.
  • Select a photographer.
  • Select a florist.
  • Plan your music, selecting organist and singer.
  • Reserve limousines.
  • Arrange rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, if you plan to have one. Tell the wedding party.
  • Begin plans for your future home together.

3 months

  • Order invitations.
  • Order personal stationery and note paper.
  • Complete plans for your honeymoon.
  • Have both mothers choose their gowns.
  • Plan accommodations for out-of-town guests.
  • Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon.

2 months

  • Finish addressing the wedding invitations.
  • Decide upon gifts for your attendants.
  • Select the wedding ring, if you have not already done so.
  • Prepare newspaper announcement.
  • Visit your doctor.

1 month

  • Depending on the timing and completion of your marriage preparation program, this final phase could range anywhere from one to three months before the wedding. In the final phase, the priest or deacon will discuss what you have learned and experienced during the marriage preparation program and your understanding of the  sacrament in light of the formal preparation. He will discuss your responsibilities as future parents and as spouses and complete all documentary requirements.
  • The reception of the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist as fitting preparation for the sacrament of Matrimony will be addressed.
  • Finalize wedding liturgy and plan wedding rehearsal.
  • Get the marriage license.
  • Make transportation plans for the wedding party.
  • Have the final fitting of your bridal gown.
  • Order your wedding cake and the package of groom’s cake for guests to take home and dream on.
  • Mail your invitations.

2 weeks

  • Record each gift as received.
  • Check on attire for everyone in the wedding party.
  • Plan how to handle traffic and parking for guests.
  • Arrange for name changes on Social Security, driver’s license, auto insurance, etc.

1 week

  • Have final consultations with caterer, photographer, florist, musician, etc.
  • Give bridesmaids’ luncheon.
  • Keep up with gift acknowledgments.
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