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Catholic Weddings

Is 2 years too early to begin Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter?

Hi Ladies! Im new here. I'm starting my marriage preparation VERY early. That's the way I like to do things. I'm getting married in May or June of 2012 and I really want to get started on all the pre marital requirements by the church. We signed up for the Engaged Encounter for this August. But I'm not sure if I should hold off on the rest. I'm hoping the church will be able to set a date for us asap so we can book our venue. Any advice?

Re: Is 2 years too early to begin Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter?

  • edited December 2011
    I would definitely speak with your priest about this. Have you met with him yet at all? He might have a specific way that he would like you to do your prep. Our priest laid out the process for us in detail. I have a feeling your priest/church would not want you to do Engaged Encounter so far in advance. A lot can change in 2 years.

    We were required to do marriage counseling with the priest or a couple AND an EE retreat. We started our counseling about 9 months before the wedding and we spread the sessions over a couple of months. We then did our EE retreat 2 months before our wedding. I was initially worried it'd be too soon, but it was actually a great way to step away from the craziness of wedding planning for a weekend to focus only on our relationship and MARRIAGE. All of the couples on our retreat were getting married within the next 1-3 months or so, too.
  • edited December 2011
    I had a feeling it was too soon. But we were sooo excited to get started. We met with our Deacon but it appears that we will be getting a new priest so he didn't have many answers for me. The thing is financially, we have to start the process now because my job has been up and down lately. So we would like to book our venue asap. Don't get me wrong, our MARRIAGE and our relationship is the most important thing to us, but all this planning and finances is a little stressful. Do you know what I mean?
  • bel138bel138 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We started prep two years out. I was in medical school in WV; he was working in MD, and the church was in PA. We were both 5 hours from the church, and it wasn't like my schedule allowed for much flexibility. So we did a weekend retreat and had about 6 3-4hour meetings with the priest over that time period.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Actually, it is waaaay better to start early. Discernment should be taken very seriously from early on in the relationship. You haven't financially invested in a specific day yet, so you are free to do serious soul searching this early on.
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I like the idea of starting early but I don't know what your church will have to say about it.  They may be picky so ask.  The other thing is you should not book your venue without a date from the church but most churches won't give dates till a year in advance.  I was engaged for a really long time too and it was sooooo frustrating not having a date or venue for forever because of the church. I actually didn't talk about the wedding much because I didn't feel like anything was real since I couldn't plan a damn thing.  
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    it depends.

    for example, our church didnt require an EE weekend or any of that.  our pre-cana was just with the priest.  are you certain you  need those items?  i'd hate to see you pay for somethign you may not need, although i'm sure it would be worthwhile.

    as a side note, if your job is "up and down" right now, you may want to be very careful about booking a venue too early.  you will most likley have to place some hefty deposits.  you dont want to run into a situation where you have significant money down, then lose your job, and you have no way to pay for the rest.  i'd hate to see you eat deposits or worse, charge the rest of your wedding. 
  • edited December 2011
    I plan on paying the entire venue off by this November if the church is willing to set a date first. So that way in case work becomes slow, the church and venue is paid for. And financially, I won't have to worry. I'll just have to inquire further with the church and hope they are willing to accomodate. My church does require pre-cana, EE, and a spirituality night. Thanks for the advice!
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    I live in Colorado, but getting married in Ohio.  The priest in Ohio did not even want to talk to me until 6 months before my wedding.  I guess baptismal records need to be recent and things like that.  I called to see if the church was available, he told me to call back in 5 months.

    Meanwhile, in Colorado... They require an 8-12 month planning period minimum.  A friend of mine from work got engaged about 2 years ago (her wedding is next weekend in fact), and she was telling me she finished her marriage prep over a year ago.  So it really depends on the diocese.

    I did all my paperwork in Colorado, and they required 4 Sundays of marriage prep for 4 hours each time, and then we had to do Natural Family Planning which met 3 times over three months, and we had to pay $150 for the materials.

    I spoke with the priest in Ohio this past weekend (we flew out there), and he said they only require 1 Saturday class from 8:30 A to 1 PM, and that's all the prep you have to do, and it was free.  So it really depends.

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  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    catarntina, how frustrating! I can't imagine having to wait till the last six months just to even get a date and then planning everything frantically at the last minute.  How are you handling it? 
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Well, I had planned on calling the priest exactly 6 months in advance at like 8 o'clock in the morning so that nobody could sneak up on me and steal my date. Plus I was thinking, "Who in their right mind wants to get married in November in Ohio?"  I was ok with booking vendors.  I put small deposits down, so I wouldn't be out $1,000's if it didn't work out.  I think a lot of them would have just changed the date as long as I still went with their services and they had the date open.  If I had to switch to the weekend before or after, I think the vendors would have been ok with it.  Seriously, who wants to get married in November in Ohio? haha.

    But it all worked out; I got the date and time I wanted.  I took all my NFP classes and Pre-cana classes before talking to the priest in Ohio.  So it wasn't that bad.

    I was a little paranoid, but I felt better knowing that nobody else could book that date either :)
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  • unplainjaneunplainjane member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    yeah it's a stressful situation. we had a similar problem with trying to book the church and venue. definitely the most stressful part of the planning. we booked ours 16 months out and that was pretty early. you have 2 years so you have a lot of time. can you find out when the new priest is starting? so at least you know when you can speak to him and start planning. in terms of having stuff paid out. you have 2 years to save up money so i would expect you would be okay even if your job is not stable. as you still have time to get another job and save. i know it's hard but try not to stress about this too much until you can talk to your priest. you shouldn't book a venue until you have a date with the church set. and yes it is too early to begin pre cana. we just finished ours and our wedding is 14 months away. most couples in our class are getting married within the next 4 months!
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    catarntina, that would've stressed me out so much.  My church actually made me sign a document saying that I would reserve NOTHING untill they gave me a date and I was engaged for 18 months but could only get a date 12 months in advance. Then, we called a week before the year mark and they told us our date was taken!! So, we had to go with the second choice.  I'm glad they didn't make me wait more than a year though because I would've just died or found another church. 
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    my church actually made me sign a document saying that I would reserve NOTHING untill they gave me a date

    Theresa - Where the heck is this church? It does sound like a nightmare! Most of the things they've required of you, I've never heard of before! Someone there must have dealt with some horrendous couples in order to establish and enforce such intricate and specific rules. I can understand why you are frustrated!
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks, Riss.  The church is in Orlando and we shopped around to a lot of different churches too because our parish is nowhere near the attractions and hotels that all of our guests would want to stay near.  We wanted to be considerate since pretty much everybody is coming in from out of town and wants to stay near Disney and make it a vacation.  We didn't want them to have to drive over an hour away from the attractions to attend our wedding at our home parish.  Unfortunately, the church doesn't think you should be considerate of your guests' needs and you should always marry in your home parish so that's where we got so much trouble.  We finally went through his home parish who were much much more helpful in letting us go with a closer church to everything.  The reason they made us sign that document is because someone sued the diocese because they put deposits down on all of their venues and then the church wouldn't give them the date they wanted because there was like a twelve or six month waiting period and they didn't have six months or whatever it was.  So, they sued the church because they lost all of their deposits and the church hadn't been clear on how long they would have to wait.  I think they won too.  So, now they make everyone sign that document and make it clear that you can't have a date till this time and you can't put any money down on anything.  
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Is 2 years too early to begin Pre Cana and Engaged Encounter?:
    [QUOTE]  The reason they made us sign that document is because someone sued the diocese because they put deposits down on all of their venues and then the church wouldn't give them the date they wanted because there was like a twelve or six month waiting period and they didn't have six months or whatever it was.  So, they sued the church because they lost all of their deposits and the church hadn't been clear on how long they would have to wait.  I think they won too.  So, now they make everyone sign that document and make it clear that you can't have a date till this time and you can't put any money down on anything.  
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    I can see why they feel the need to be careful in that case. What a nightmare!
  • Jay+MarissaJay+Marissa member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We started 2 years out and still didn't make it to Engaged Encounter until this past March. Start early if you can, it doesn't hurt
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