Marriage Ministries Archdiocese of Wellington

Welcome, Nau mai, Haere Mai!

Marriage Preparation

The Marriage Ministries office supports engaged couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. We have prepared a booklet with guidelines and information to help you as you begin your Wedding preparation which can be downloaded here.

The Marriage Ministries office is open to take your registration for marriage preparation courses in the Archdiocese of Wellington. Please read the information on this page and make your selection of course. Bookings can be made now via the online forms below and will be fully confirmed by the Church Mission Team by email or phone within a few days.

For Marriage Ministry enquiries please email For urgent enquiries about pre-nuptial marriage papers and/or overseas dossier transfers please contact the Vicar General – Archdiocese of Wellington, Msgr Gerard Burns at Ngā mihi nui.

Marriage Preparation Courses

Couples are offered to choose one option from three marriage preparation pathways which are detailed below.

If you have questions and would like to talk about which Marriage Preparation pathway in the Archdiocese of Wellington is right for you, please contact your officiating priest or the Church Mission team at 04 496 1719

Marriage Ministries Archdiocese of Wellington

Option 1: ‘Love is a Decision’ & the Commit programme

The Commit and Love is a Decision programmes are designed to be completed together and are held in person in Wellington. By doing both of these courses, couples are involved in a comprehensive package in order to prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage.

When you register for the “Love is a Decision” face to face course, you are automatically registered for the Commit Questionaire introductory programme. An Archdiocesan Marriage Educator will contact you directly to complete the Commit course before you attend the face to face group course “Love is a Decision”. The total cost for option 1 is $130.00 per couple.

Love is a Decision Face to Face course dates for 2023:

5 & 12 March. Registrations now closed.

11 & 18 June. Registrations now closed.

10 & 17 September. Registrations now closed.

5 & 12 November, 10am – 4pm, location to be arranged in Wellington region. Register HERE.

A certificate of completion is issued following the completion of the course.

The Marriage preparation course COMMIT runs from 1 February to 30 November each year. Commit can also be booked separately. Please contact the Church Mission team at or (04) 496 1719 to discuss.

  • For more information about Commit click here.
  • For more information about Love is a Decision click here.

Option 2: ‘SmartLoving Engaged’ – Online, Self Directed course.

The Archdiocese of Wellington have partnered with the SmartLoving team to provide an innovative online course during the Covid-19 pandemic. This course is also suitable if your partner is currently residing in another country.

SmartLoving Engaged is an online Catholic marriage preparation course for engaged couples. Consisting of 9 lessons, a couple can progress through the course at their own pace over approximately 9 weeks and will receive a certificate of completion at the end. This course is suited to couples who are self-isolating or who are separated by distance. After enrolling you will be contacted by an Archdiocesan representative who will accompany you to complete the course. The cost for option 2 is AUD $99.00 if you choose to print your own workbook or AUD $164 if you would like the resources mailed to a New Zealand address.

You can register for the course here at any time.

Option 3: Engaged Encounter weekend.

Catholic Engaged Encounter is a worldwide marriage preparation course for couples contemplating marriage, whether already engaged or just thinking about a future together. It strengthens commitment by providing the opportunity for couples to think about many different aspects of married life, asking themselves (and their partner) the hard questions or the very obvious but unspoken ones. The weekend “away from it all” helps iron out many issues that could be major hurdles or challenges to compatibility. It gives couples an unparalleled opportunity to form a closer bond to each other and create a proven and solid foundation for a happy future.

The weekend in Wellington is open to any engaged couple wanting to prepare for a deeper, more meaningful life together in a marriage recognised by the Catholic Church. It is open to couples of other faiths, or couples with no particular church experience. We do not seek to convert anyone who attends. The weekend is focused on your relationship. The cost for option 3 is $180.00. The course going ahead is subject to numbers. A minimum of three couples is required for the course to go ahead.

Engaged Encounter weekend dates for 2023 are:

18 & 19 March

19 & 20 August

25 & 26 November

These are held in Karori and run from Saturday 8am to Sunday 4pm.

For more information and to register for the Engaged Encounter courses please visit:

Download their flyer here.

Getting married in New Zealand or overseas.

All Catholic marriages require pre-nuptial papers to be completed with a priest. Whether you are getting married in New Zealand or overseas it is essential that you contact your parish priest as soon as possible to arrange an appointment to complete the marriage papers.

Marriage papers are required for all weddings, both in and outside the church building. It is especially important if your marriage is taking place overseas or in another diocese in New Zealand. Your marriage papers are prepared in the place where you currently reside.

If your wedding is to be held outside the church, or in another New Zealand diocese or overseas, the papers are forwarded by your priest to the Vicar General, Monsignor Gerard Burns in the Wellington Archdiocese. He will then provide any further documentation required.

The marriage papers are then sent to the bishop’s representative (Vicar General or Vicar for Marriages) in the diocese where you are being married.  They are then forwarded to the priest who will officiate at your wedding. Please allow at least 6 months for this process.