Wedding | PreCana



What if I’m not registered in a parish?
Find the Catholic church nearest to your home and contact a priest there to begin the paperwork.

Do I have to get married in my own parish?
No, but you must obtain a letter from your local parish giving you permission to marry in another parish. This letter becomes part of your marriage file.

Is Confirmation necessary before marriage?
It is not mandatory in the United States, although it is in most of the rest of the world. Since it completes your Sacraments of Initiation as a Catholic, it is encouraged before marriage.

What happens to my papers if I am getting married outside the Archdiocese of Chicago?
Be sure you start this process as soon as possible. Once your file is complete, your parish priest will send your marriage file to the Office for Canonical Services at the Quigley Center downtown for review and stamping of approval. It is then sent to the diocese where you are getting married. They in turn review it, stamp their approval, and send it on to the Catholic church where you are getting married. The Office for Canonical Services at the Quigley Center needs at least three months to get the paperwork stamped, sealed, and sent out to another country if you are not getting married in the United States.

Once our paperwork is completed, what happens to it?
If you and your future spouse are both Catholic and parishioners of the same parish, it stays in the parish marriage files. For other cases, call Canonical Services at 312.534.8207 or 312.534.8382.

What do I do if I want to get married at a chapel that has special meaning for me?
Write a letter the Office of Canonical Services, P.O. Box 1979, Chicago, Illinois 60690-1979 with the details of your wedding and the reasons why you wish to marry at this site. You will get a response by mail. You also have to get permission from the place where you wish to marry.

What if I want to have my Catholic wedding in a garden, at a hotel, or on a beach?
A Catholic wedding must be held in a Catholic church before a priest and two witnesses.

Can my dog be part of the wedding?
No, only people may take part in this sacred ceremony. 


What is PreCana?
PreCana is an umbrella term for marriage preparation classes presented by the Office of Lifelong Formation in the Archdiocese of Chicago. PreCana fulfills one of the steps to marry within the Archdiocese of Chicago. Cana is the place where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding, so we use the term PreCana for marriage preparation.

Where does PreCana take place?
We have multiple locations throughout the archdiocese, most at parishes, hosting marriage preparation classes, as well as an online class. See our Marriage Preparation Classes page for locations and dates. Some parishes in the Archdiocese host their own PreCana. When you meet with the priest to discuss your wedding, please ask him what he recommends for you.

When does this take place?
PreCanas take place most Saturdays at a variety of locations throughout the year. Dates, locations, and availability are provided for specific classes on the Marriage Preparation Classes page. The online class is available anytime, anywhere you have an internet connection.

How much does PreCana cost?
$195 per couple. 

What does the registration fee include?
The fee pays for the cost of the class, continental breakfast, handouts, workbooks, resources, and site rental.

The online class fee covers the cost of hosting the videos, worksheets, downloadable resources and ebooks, as well as the premarital inventory Catholic Couple Checkup, 12 months of follow up education, and return access to the class to review the videos and material for one year.

What if I can’t attend on Saturdays?
All of our in-person PreCanas are on Saturdays. You can also take the class online at if you prefer to learn online or are separated by distance. This and are the only online options accepted by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Is there a dress code?
It's an informal class, dress casually.

What happens at the class?
A married couple leads the day. Through short talks, sharing of their own experiences and faith formation, group exercises and personal reflection, you are guided through topics useful for a successful happy, healthy, and holy marriage. Some of the topics presented are: natural family planning, communication and fair fighting, adjustments, mutual decision-making, effective communication, conflict management, intimacy and sexual expression, finances, sacramentality, goal setting, the extended family, and faith in marriage.

How long does the class last?
PreCanas begin at 9 AM and end at 4:30 PM. Please plan to arrive early for registration.
The online class takes about 8 hours to view the videos, take the premarital inventory, go through the questions for reflection, fill out the worksheets, and share them with each other.

Is lunch provided?
A continental breakfast is provided in the morning. You can bring your lunch with you or go out for lunch. There is an hour lunch break.

When should we attend PreCana?
We recommend attending PreCana 4 to 6 months before your wedding, but no more than 12 months in advance. It is more beneficial if taken earlier in the engagement process.

Are children or relatives allowed to attend?
No, PreCana classes are designed only for the engaged couple.

Do we have to be there for the entire day?
Yes, you receive your proof of attendance at the end of the day.

My future spouse cannot attend the session; is that ok?
PreCana is an interactive day needing participation and discussion with couples. Both must attend the class. If one cannot attend you can take the online PreCana,

We live in Chicago but will be married outside the area. What do we do?
First, speak to the priest or deacon that will marry you. Most dioceses accept our PreCanas as marriage preparation but you must check with him to be sure. After completion we can send an official document stating that you attended a PreCana directly to your priest or deacon.

Who can attend PreCana?
All couples, regardless of religion or location, planning to marry are welcome to attend our marriage preparation classes.

What if one of us is not Catholic? Should we both attend?
The program is designed for both the bride and groom, regardless of your religious traditions. Both are expected to participate.

What if I am marrying out of the country?
Different countries have different rules for getting married, and you must follow both the civil and religious rules of the country. Check with the priest or deacon marrying you for what is required, and be sure to allow several months to get the paperwork taken care of. Click here for more information.

What is the best way to register?
You may register online or call us at 312.534.8351 between 9 AM and 4:30 PM to register by phone.

What if I registered to attend a PreCana session and we aren’t able to make it that day?
If possible, please try and call us as soon as you find out about your schedule change so we can help find another open class for you. If an emergency arises on the day of the session and you can’t make it, please call our office the Monday immediately following the scheduled course to get you re-scheduled.

Is there a waiting list for the in-person sessions?
Unfortunately we are not able to keep a waiting list due to the high volume of classes held throughout the Archdiocese. If you would like you can attend an in-person program One in Christ, which is another PreCana in the Archdiocese - Or if those are not possible for your schedule, we do offer the online session as a possibility - online marriage class.