Christian Marriage Preparation

If you are recently engaged, congratulations!

We are excited that you are preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony with us! It is our hope and prayer that through your journey of preparation, you will discover God’s plan for your marriage and acquire the truths, virtues, and graces that you will need to live out your new vocation.

In asking to be married in the Catholic Church, you and your future spouse are publicly proclaiming your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and asking to live as disciples of Christ in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The sacred liturgy of your wedding, which begins your married life by the solemn exchange of marital consent, is above all else an act of worship.  We will help you prepare for that happy day and for the lifetime of Christian Marriage that follows your wedding day.

First, please do not set any other dates or times (e.g., reception location) until you have confirmed the wedding date and time with our parish Wedding Ceremony Coordinator, Mary Frei. This is very important since not all dates may be available due to parish events.

In order to celebrate holy matrimony at St. Mary’s:

  1. Either the bride or the groom must be a registered, regularly practicing and contributing member of St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken.
  2. Or, with our pastor’s approval:  The Catholic party(s) must be registered and practicing at another Roman Catholic parish.
  3. Or:  If living in or near Aiken, if either the bride or groom are Catholic but are not registered with St. Mary’s, you must register and begin regular attendance at Mass and support of the parish.

Your first step in your preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is to contact Mary Frei, the Wedding Ceremony Coordinator, at the church office to begin the process and set the orientation meeting with the pastor.  Diocesan guidelines require at least six months’ preparation before the wedding date.  The six months begin shortly after your orientation meeting with Father (as soon as you have identified your mentor couple). Please delay reserving places for receptions/dinners until your wedding date is reserved on the parish calendar—not all dates at the church may be available due to parish events or other conflicts. 

Christian Marriage Preparation:  Witness to Love

St. Mary’s uses Witness to Love to prepare engaged couples for the sacramental marriage.  Witness to Love gives you all the important tools for you to share a joy-filled and life-long marriage, including taking a marriage prep inventory, learning Natural Family Planning, understanding the Sacrament of Matrimony, and also having the support of a mentor couple.

The engaged couple chooses a mentor couple whom you usually already know and trust, who attend the church where the engaged couple will be worshiping together after the wedding, and who meet basic requirements (click here for guidance on choosing mentors). Your mentor couple shares their married life experiences with you and is there for you during your engagement and also during your first year of marriage, which is often the most difficult for married couples.

For more information on Witness to Love, visit

Please call or email Mary Frei at the parish office to make an appointment with Father in order to begin your marriage preparation: 803-649-4777 or

Wedding Ceremony Preparation:  Guidelines and Details

Please call or email Mary Frei at the parish office in order to receive the St. Mary’s Wedding Guidelines to help you prepare for your special day: 803-649-4777 or