by Abby Defino
When planning a wedding, top of mind items and “to-do’s” always include the venue, the flowers, the dress, and a variety of other specifics that will make every couple’s wedding dream a reality on their big day. Often what could be overlooked or not immediately thought of is everything that is necessary to get in order for your ceremony to take place in the church – the most important part of the entire day! While it takes ample time to get details in order, the marriage prep process at St. Isidore is quite simple.
All planning is done through the parish office. You call to find available dates or ask if a date that you have in mind is available. Once your date is chosen, you will have the most important piece of information to plan everything else. Shortly after your date is set, you receive paperwork outlining all the steps to complete before the big day. This includes details on prep courses to be taken, fees, and a checklist of all the information you need to provide to get married in the church. When you choose your wedding date, the day of your rehearsal should also be considered, typically 1 – 2 nights before the wedding.
Preparing for your marriage celebration at St. Isidore involves the marriage prep courses that must be completed prior to your wedding day. You will receive date options for both sessions. One of these prep sessions is called FOCCUS. During FOCCUS, you and your future spouse will sit down and answer an array of questions about each other, your relationship, faith, vision for your future together and more. Your answers are submitted and scored. When your score is ready for review, each couple sets up time with a priest or deacon to assess the similarity in both of your answers. The purpose of this is not to get graded on your answers, but to work through and discuss how and why your answers differed in certain spots. The course helps you to better understand your partner and where you both stand on a variety of topics.
The second course completed by each couple prior to marriage is Becoming One. This course is led by Tom and Vicki Dau here at St. Isidore. While at Becoming One, Tom and Vicki lead all the couples in group discussions regarding your relationship, how to solve problems and a multitude of other topics that can help you prepare for what to expect once you become one. It is incredibly helpful to have these prompts given to you to discuss with your partner, and heartwarming to talk through a lot of the discussion with other couples going through the same process. At first, it seems nerve-wracking to open up in front of other people, especially people you do not know, but the Daus are incredibly comforting and make it so easy to open up and share with the others in the group.
While the prep courses are the bulk of what needs to be done during your preparation, the checklist outlines other items including Baptism and Confirmation certificates. Another is the music and liturgy form. You are provided with a booklet that includes the choices for readings and music for your wedding mass. You should receive this shortly after setting your date. There is a sheet included in the booklet where you can record all the parts of the mass. After making those decisions, and as you get a little closer to your date (typically 8 – 10 weeks out), the couple meets with Dr. Anne to discuss your music choices.
Within 60 days of the wedding, you need to obtain your marriage license so you have it for the rehearsal. About one week from your wedding day, you talk through the entire Mass again with a St. Isidore wedding coordinator. This person will walk you through all the details of your ceremony prior to your rehearsal.
A lot to do during such a busy and exciting time, the process being detailed from the start helps all couples stay ahead of their tasks, and ensure they are fully prepped and ready for a beautiful day and celebration of love.