for marriage, the Catechism of Pope St. Pius X states...
How should those about to be married prepare themselves to receive this
sacrament with fruit?
order to receive this sacrament with fruit, those about to be married should:
(1) Earnestly recommend themselves to God, so as to know His will and obtain the
graces necessary for that state; (2) Consult their parents before making any
promise, because obedience and the respect due to them demand this;+
(3) Prepare themselves by a good confession, or, if necessary, a general
confession of their whole life; (4) Avoid all dangerous familiarity in word or
act while in each other's company.
Baltimore Catechism states...
What should Catholics do to prepare for a holy and happy marriage?
prepare for a holy and happy marriage, Catholics should: first, pray that God
may direct their choice; second, seek the advice of their parents+
and confessors; third, practice the virtues, especially chastity: fourth,
frequently receive [worthily] the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist.
+ Note that above references to parents doubtless
assumes certain things [e.g. good, orthodox (small 'o'), available Catholic
parents with proper motives who are sincerely interested in the spiritual
well-being of their offspring]. Furthermore, note that obedience to parents has
As to what
are the 'most important' things in preparing for a Catholic wedding, I can only
give my opinion. Remember that the wedding ceremony may be an hour or so long,
but marriage is for life – and it may have a significant effect on one's
health, happiness, offspring, and even on one's chances for salvation – so I
would concern myself far more with preparation for the marriage than with
wedding plans. That being said, my first thoughts are...
* To be sure that both the man and woman are capable of
marriage and have no impediments
* To be sure that both parties understand and unwaveringly
accept that marriage is for life, no matter what comes after they say 'I do'
* To be certain that both parties are sufficiently mature
and spiritually prepared for marriage
* To be sure that both parties have the proper
intentions/dispositions (including the intent to be faithful to each other for
their entire lives)
* To be sure that both parties are compatible spiritually
(e.g. both are spiritually likeminded, practicing Catholics)
* To be certain that both parties can enter into a valid
* To be confident that both parties place God 'first' in
* To shun mixed marriage (try
here for more on this topic)
* To be certain that decisions regarding selection of a
partner have not been merely superficial (e.g. based on one's looks or
* That the man & woman be extremely confident in the good
character of each another [e.g. by looking at each party's past & present
actions (not just words), by considering how they react to difficult situations
& conflicts, by considering their commitment to others, and even putting
sufficient thought into the other party's upbringing/family life, etc.]
* That sufficient time has passed in order to really know
the other person (but not too much time that their commitment could be
* That each party's motives for marriage are proper
* To make sure the couple understands & accepts primary
purpose of marriage and is fully open to lovingly receive all the new lives that
God may choose to bless them with
* To be sure that the couple appreciates the God-given,
traditional roles of men & women (including the husband being the breadwinner
for the family and the wife having a duty of obedience)
* To follow all proper requirements for marriage in the
* To sincerely love each other and seek the other's good
* To pray diligently (perhaps praying the rosary together daily
for their upcoming marriage)
As for the
wedding ceremony itself, my first thoughts are...
* Always puts God first
* Include the Blessed Virgin Mary in the ceremony (e.g.
prayerfully & lovingly place flowers at Our Lady's statue)
* Ensure that the couple is in a state of grace before the
* Keep in mind that it won't matter how beautiful the
ceremony was if the marriage itself is bad
* Ensure that the couple & and the entire bridal party is
modestly dressed (and the guests as well)
* Ensure that attendees know not to receive Holy Communion
unless they are properly disposed Catholics in a state of grace
* Consider seeking a traditional Nuptial Mass [Note: Remember that
the faithful are entitled to request ALL sacraments according to their
traditional rites, including the Nuptial Mass (try
here for information).]
* Follow all requirements for a proper Catholic wedding
* Do not overspend on a wedding that may harm your future
(e.g. if blessing of a child comes right away)
* Do all in your power to seek God's blessings for your
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