Books about Catholic Weddings
(by Father Joseph M. Champlin, 96 pages, ©1997)
This is the standard booklet most couples use for planning their wedding. It contains the complete Rite of Marriage, including all the options, along with commentary to aid couples in planning the liturgy. The couple may complete a selection checklist that is designed to be torn out and given to the priest or wedding coordinator. This edition is for weddings set within the Mass; for weddings that do not include Mass, consider Together for Life: Special Edition for Marriage Outside Mass. A Hispanic edition is also available: Juntos para toda la vida: una preparación para el matrimonio. These linked titles take you to amazon.com.
(by Father Christopher Aridas, 175 pages, ©1997)
Your Catholic Wedding provides a complete and detailed overview of the Catholic wedding, including the Church's assumptions and expectations; the entire Rite of Marriage, with various options; practical details about church arrangements; and planning checklists.
I Am With You: Scripture Reflections for Couples Based on the Sunday Readings
This series includes Scripture reflections, especially for couples, based on the Sunday readings for the year. This three part series includes a thematic content for individuals to access reflections which they may find appropriate to their own particular spiritual needs.
(Paul Covino, 30 minutes VHS only)
From Pastoral Press, an imprint of OCP Publications: "This video is an excellent guide to help couples understand the wedding liturgy and make the choices that will best reflect their personal tastes. Viewers watch the couple meet with the parish priest and musicians and select options for the opening procession, vows and rings, prayers, music and the nuptial blessing."
Relevant Church Resources
This comprehensive website from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a wealth of resources aimed at helping married couples sustain and enrich their marriages; it also includes a section on planning your wedding, as well as a review of online dating services. Unlike the other online resources listed here, this website has a warm, friendly presentation aimed at a general audience.
This 2009 pastoral letter from the U.S. Catholic bishops is intended to be a "theological and doctrinal foundation... to help and encourage all those who are moving toward marriage." This 60-page document would be a useful resource for couples looking for an in-depth understanding of the Catholic sacrament of marriage.
The National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage is a special effort by the U.S. Catholic bishops to "offer guidance and resources... in order to promote, strengthen, sustain and restore marriages." Many of those resources are accessible from this website; most are aimed primarily at clergy and lay ecclesial ministers who work with married couples.
The U.S. Catholic bishops answer frequently asked questions about marriage in easy-to-understand language. "FOCCUS pre-marriage inventory probes couple's mutual understanding"
This article discusses the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study) inventory that is widely used as a first step in Catholic marriage preparation.
For couples who want to get an idea of what to expect when taking the FOCCUS inventory.
The U.S. Catholic bishops' website contains extensive information on natural family planning (NFP); many dioceses require couples to take a course in natural family planning as part of their marriage preparation.
A summary of Church teaching on marriage in question-and-answer format. (After clicking on the link, scroll down to #337ff).
An authoritative summary of Church teaching on marriage, including the main requirements for the celebration of the sacrament of Marriage.
The Code of Canon Law sets forth Church law regarding the sacrament of Marriage.
This is a landmark apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II concerning the Christian family. It touches on sexuality and marriage (#11-15) as well as marriage preparation and the sacrament of Marriage (#66-68). Engaged couples will find its wider discussion of family life helpful as well.
A letter from Pope John Paul II to the families of the world reflecting on the meaning and importance of families. Paragraphs 6-11 consider the meaning of the marriage covenant.
MarriagePreparation.org, a ministry of the Redemptorist Order, sponsors this web page for engaged or married couples from different faith backgrounds. Includes an overview of Church teaching on interfaith marriages as well as links to useful resources.
Contains sometimes serious, other times playful, experiences of a Catholic woman as she faces many tasks and challenges in life and the practice of her Catholic faith. Blogger Christina M. Weber, MS, seeks to empower Catholic women to yearn and achieve healthy and nurturing relationships by writing about the common issues every woman encounters in marriage, health, family, vocation, and sex, among others.
Other Church Documents
Getting It Right: Marriage Preparation in the Catholic Church
This document contains the results of a study describing the benefits of Catholic marriage preparation programs, as well as their limits.
This report from the U.S. Catholic bishops contains information on the growing trend toward couples cohabiting (living together) before marriage; it also describes how many priests are approaching this issue with couples. This is important reading for engaged couples who are living together.
This Vatican document is written primarily for bishops, pastors, and others ministering to couples preparing for marriage; it provides the pastoral and theological basis for marriage preparation, as well as norms for marriage preparation programs.
This 1994 pastoral letter from the U.S. Catholic bishops to families is an easy-to-read introduction to Catholic teaching on the role of the family.