And the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. -- Mark 10: 8
In the Archdiocese of Seattle, couples begin marriage preparation at least six months before their prospective wedding date.
Before you set a specific date, please contact the Parish Office to meet with our Marriage Preparation volunteers to discuss your particular circumstances, preparation requirements, and wedding liturgy details.
If you have been married before, and your previous spouse is still living, you will need to pursue an annulment through the Catholic Church before you can set a date for your upcoming wedding.
This applies to all people seeking to be married in the Catholic Church, even if they are not Catholic themselves. The Parish Office can connect you with a volunteer tribunal advocate to guide you through the annulment process.
There is no charge for parishioners to get married at Our Lady of Lourdes. To use our hall for a reception, please contact the Parish Office for details.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage in the Catholic Church
Why do I have to wait at least six months to set a date for my wedding?
We need at least six months, preferably longer, to ensure that we can provide you with with adequate preparation and have time to collect the documents we need to properly record your wedding in our records. Some of these records include: Baptismal certificates retrieved from parishes within six months of your intended wedding date, forms testifying that you are willing and able to get married, and forms from witnesses (usually your Best Man and Maid of Honor, but another close friend or relative will do) testifying to the same.
What does the Catholic Church believe about marriage?
A lot of things! But in short, marriage is a covenant, a sacred promise, through which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership for the rest of their lives. This purpose of this partnership is twofold: the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. A marriage between two any two baptized people is a sacrament. Marriage hinges on the free consent of the spouses, each agreeing to be exclusively united with the other and to be open to having children.
What if I've been married before?
The Catholic Church recognizes that divorce ends the civil elements of a marriage, but it does not end the marriage itself. It's not necessarily a sin to get divorced; in fact in some situations it may even be the right thing to do to ensure the safety of oneself and one's children. If you have questions about getting married after a divorce, or if you have questions about the validity of your marriage, please contact the Parish Office to be put in touch with an Annulment Tribunal Advocate, or contact the Tribunal at the Archdiocese of Seattle directly. There is usually no cost for an annulment in the Archdiocese of Seattle.
What does it mean to be open to children?
The Catholic Church calls all married couples to actively discern together through prayer how God is leading them to live out their marriage. A significant part of that discernment concerns whether or not God is calling the couple to be open to having a child or postponing pregnancy. It's not a decision one makes once, but something that is revisited as circumstances change. One couple may feel called to have many children, while another may have a few or none at all because of serious reasons, such as medical issues.
Natural Family Planning is the name of several methods of monitoring a woman's menstrual cycle to identify when she is fertile and infertile. This information empowers the woman to better know and understand the way her own unique body works, while also giving the couple essential information for them to use in their efforts to achieve or postpone pregnancy. This safe, healthy, and effective alternative to artificial birth control reflects the dignity of the whole human person, and enriches the couple's relationship with God and one another. There are many methods to choose from, including the Marquette Model online, which requires purchasing a ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor. However, it's easier to learn a method of NFP by taking a class. Some local options include:
Creighton Model: The course begins with a 1.5-hour introductory group session; couples will then schedule four one-hour private sessions with the instructor over the next two months at their mutual convenience. Four follow-up sessions are available over the course of the year to ensure the method is fully understood and to address any questions or unique circumstances. - New classes are typically offered each month; cost: $270 per couple - Certified Instructor Caitlin Elder; Vancouver, WA; (509) 995-9081 - email@example.com
Sympto-Thermal Method: Northwest Family Services offers a course consisting of three two-hour classes which meet over the course of one month with personalized followup. These classes do not ask that you share any personal information with the other class participants. - New classes are typically offered once each quarter; Cost: $110 per couple - Northwest Family Services; 6200 SE King Road, Portland, OR 97222 - Call 503-546-6377 to learn current class dates and to register.