Preparing for Marriage
Congratulations on your engagement! We are happy that you want to be prepared for marriage at the Basilica of St. Anne de Detroit and look forward to working with you. The months that a couple spends preparing for marriage and planning their wedding are very special, and we feel blessed to be a part of this memorable time of your life.
At Ste. Anne, we ask that every couple seeking to get married have a minimum of six months of engagement before their wedding day. Our marriage preparation program, Witness to Love, is designed to be completed over this time period, so please know that we schedule wedding dates at least six months from when you begin your preparation, not six months from the date you became engaged. We do this not just to help you have a beautiful wedding, but also a successful marriage.
Most couples interested in getting married at Ste. Anne tend to follow a similar process. We strive to be helpful as you make your way to the altar, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Couples usually start by reaching out to the parish office at 313-496-1701 x14 or email@example.com to reserve a wedding date. We can check our calendar to see if we have availability on the date(s) you are considering.
From here, we’ll ask a few questions.
- Has the couple ever married before?
- Is at least one member of the wedding couple Catholic?
- Is the wedding date open? (Weddings must be planned at least six months in advance.)
We are also happy to answer any questions that you might have.
The couple is welcome to walk through the basilica, by appointment on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. They are also always welcome to join us for Mass on Sunday. Please note that walk-throughs are optional as many couples live far away.
Wedding dates, when discussed with the program director, can be held for 10 days without a deposit and completion of the Wedding Date Request Form.
When you have chosen your desired date, you must complete a Wedding Date Request Form and submit it to the parish office for review. The form includes contact information for the couple as well as the date and time of the request. The parish staff reviews the form, and notifies the couple upon approval. The Wedding Date Request Form can only be obtained by calling the parish; it cannot be filled out online.
An $850 nonrefundable down-payment is due to formally reserve the wedding date.
- Checks should be made payable to Ste. Anne.
- Down-payments can be mailed or brought to 1000 Ste. Anne Street, Detroit, MI 48216.
- Please list the last names of both the bride and groom on the memo line and the requested date, for example, “Smith-Schultz Wedding, Aug. 18, 2019.”
- Electronic payment is also accepted. Please call the office.
Marriage preparation must be completed at the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit or at the couple’s home parish. (Many of our brides and grooms are not Ste. Anne parishioners).
Before the wedding takes place, Ste. Anne requires the following.
- Completed A-form. (This is a form that all couples married in the Archdiocese of Detroit must complete. It must be completed with a priest and cannot be filled out online.)
- Sacramental records dated within the past 6 months. (These can be obtained by contacting the parish or parishes where the sacraments were performed.)
Marriage Prep at Another Parish
If marriage preparations take place at another parish, you are asked to follow the requirements of the church where you are being prepared. The pastor is required to send the marriage file to Ste. Anne so the information can be accurately entered into our sacramental records.
Marriage Prep at Ste. Anne
- Initial Meeting. At this first meeting, you will get to know the clergy member conducting your marriage preparation; he will ask you a few questions and take down some initial information. Please be aware that due to our clergy and their schedules, the priest or deacon who prepares you for marriage may not be the celebrant on the wedding day.
- After this meeting, our office will email you a “Scavenger Hunt.” This is a check list of sorts which includes some fun activities for you to do with your mentor couple during the marriage preparation process (for example, go on a double date planned by the guys.)
- After meeting with the priest or deacon, you will receive an email with a web link for you to fill out a “Prepare and Enrich” marriage preparation questionnaire. This will serve as a tool to highlight strengths in your relationship and areas for growth.
- At this point, we also ask that you choose a mentor couple. The parish provides you with the coordinator couple who is trained to facilitate your working through Witness to Love, but we want you to pick a mentor couple who you know personally to accompany you during your engagement period. They will be expected to meet with you six times to go over the materials in the Witness to Love workbooks as well as be a support for you. The criteria we ask you to use when you pick a mentor couple are simple:
- The couple must be married in the Catholic Church for at least five years.
- The couple must attend church regularly.
- The couple must have a marriage you admire.
- Meet with the priest or deacon to discuss the results of the “Prepare and Enrich” marriage preparation questionnaire.
- Complete instruction in Natural Family Planning (NFP). The Catholic Church takes very seriously the call to holiness and therefore we want to empower couples to live their marriages well. Through various scientific methods, couples are able to track their fertility and grow in their knowledge of how NFP can be used to assist in achieving or avoiding pregnancy. We ask every couple to complete an NFP class online. You can access one here.
- Attend a Theology of Marriage discussion with a priest. This has two parts.
- Attend a talk given by one of the priests on the theology of marriage.
- Invite the priest who is assisting with your marriage preparation over for your fifth meeting with your mentor couple. (This is not an additional night, but one of the six scheduled with your mentor couple.) This is usually done over dinner and gives you and your mentor couple an opportunity to ask the priest any questions about marriage and the Catholic faith.
- Plan the wedding ceremony – Two months before your wedding date, select the readings for your ceremony and submit them to our office. Think about all aspects of the wedding like how many people are in the wedding party, deciding whether or not there will be a presentation of flowers to Mary, etc. If you are bringing in your own celebrant, please consult with him before selecting the readings.
Please contact the parish office for more information at 313-496-1701 x14 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our Weddings Guidelines page for additional details about weddings at the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit.
May God bless your journey to the altar.
The Ste. Anne Marriage Preparation Team