the Sacrament of Marriage

Comprehensive preparation for planning one of life’s most important events

Marriage Preparation

for the Matrimonial Covenant

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament (Code of Canon Law, 1055).

Christians see the presence of God in the union of husband and wife. Human love between a man and a woman who marry stands as a symbol of God’s love for the human race and the human race’s love for God. That is why this sacred moment of marriage is celebrated within a community of believers. Each sacrament has its own sign or symbol. In marriage, the couple is the sign of the sacrament. “It is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ’s grace  mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1623).

The whole Church is also strengthened by the sacrament couples become: Jesus “himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage.” “It is by following Christ and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1615).

Therefore the entire community, especially those in attendance at the wedding celebration itself, rejoices in the lifetime commitment that is made in the sacrament of marriage.

The Steps to Marriage

Information on the requirements for weddings at st stephen’s

The FOCCUS inventory is a questionnaire that is filled out by the bride and groom and is designed to foster open communication and understanding. Call the Parish Office at 763-421-2471 for additional information.

Preparation for Marriage Liturgy

The Marriage Liturgy Worksheet, which helps couples prepare for the wedding celebration itself will be distributed and explained. Options for readings, music, sample vows and sample programs will also be shared.

Workshops are held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Please call the parish office at 763-421-2471 to register and confirm meeting location.

  • September 24, 2019
  • November 19, 2019
  • January 28, 2020
  • March 31, 2020
  • May 26, 2020
  • July 28, 2020

Additional dates will be added soon!

Attendance at an engaged couples retreat is required. The retreats are offered at various locations in the Archdiocese. The priest will give you brochures with various dates/locations.  The couple may choose the option that works best for them.

In addition to a few appointments with a priest or deacon, engaged couples are also paired with a married sponsor couple from the parish. The engaged couple will meet with the sponsor couple to discuss the results of the FOCCUS communication inventory, view some marriage theology presentations, and discuss various aspects of married life.

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal Mystery of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1621)

Interfaith marriages are welcome at the Church of St. Stephen and ministers from other faith traditions may be present and participate in the celebration of the sacrament. Most often interfaith marriages are celebrated within a Word Service. Musicians who are not Catholic are most welcome to assist parish cantors as well.

A marriage license may be obtained at any Minnesota County Court House. There is a seven-day waiting period after application, and a fee will be charged. The license is valid for six months from the date of issuance.

Catholics are required to obtain a certified copy of their baptismal record (embossed with the parish’s seal) from the church where they were baptized and dated within 6 months before the wedding. This can be done by simply calling that church. No fee will be required.

Non-catholics may bring in a photo copy of their original baptismal certificate. Certificates and photo copies are turned in to the priest or deacon presiding for the wedding celebration.

The Wedding Fee is $400.00.  The Altar Server fee is $20.00.   In addition, a gift of appreciation of not less than $150.00 for the priest or deacon is customary.


Fees for the engaged couples retreats are paid directly to the retreat organization and are separate from the church wedding fee.


Musicians set their own fees. See the Wedding Music tab below for more information.

During the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage, congregational hymns are to be used.  Sacred music is preferred before and after the liturgy and during the candle lighting ceremonies. Popular and secular music should be redirected to the reception.

Guidelines for Hiring Wedding Musicians

For weddings, one musician (a cantor) must be hired through the Church of St. Stephen. It is requested that at least one accompanist be a keyboard player.  It is not necessary that this person be hired through the Church of St. Stephen, although it is encouraged, as there are many excellent accompanists here. A musician may not serve as a cantor and accompanist at the same time.

In addition to the cantor and accompanist, other musicians, family or friends, are welcome to be a part of the wedding ceremony.

Process for Hiring Musicians

1. Contact each musician you decide to hire.  A list of musicians from the parish is available.  Confirm the date and time of your wedding with them and agree to their professional fee.  This fee varies from one musician to another.


2. Put the name and phone number of your musicians on the Marriage Liturgy Worksheet.


3. Consult with the musicians about your music selections.  Enter them onto your Marriage Liturgy Worksheet.


4. Contact  Mary Newton, Music Director, 763-712-7435 with questions and to review your choice of musicians and music selections.

Weddings at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church

Memorable Occasions

Weddings are scheduled at the following times:

  • Fridays at 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
  • Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.

The Church is available during the following times:

  • Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
  • Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Weddings are not scheduled Friday evenings during Lent (Stations of the Cross are prayed in the Church on Friday evenings), Mardi Gras weekend, Spring Fiesta weekend or Halloween parade weekend.

Are you ready to take the next step?

Call 763-421-2471 for more about marriage preparation and reserving your event at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church