Marriage The love between two people is a gift from God.

Getting Married at The Basilica

  • Open to parish members and non-members
  • Must complete a marriage preparation program

Role of the community

Those celebrating this sacrament are witnesses to each and to the community of the love God has for his Church. They are supported through the prayers of the community. In turn, the community’s faith is strengthened by the witness of their love for each other.

Planning Your Marriage at The Basilica of Saint Mary

Welcome to our marriage preparation process. We hope your experience is one that enriches you as a couple and provides you with a solid foundation as you begin your sacramental marriage together.

The love between a man and a woman is a gift from God. The commitment two people make to be together for the rest of their lives, and to accept children from God is sealed before the community and God during the celebration of the sacrament of marriage.

To schedule a wedding contact Mark Wyss.

Basilica Wedding Times:

  • Friday evening: 5:00pm
  • Saturday: Noon and 3:00pm

Marriage Preparation

This is your opportunity to reflect on and explore the sacramental and vocational nature of your life-long commitment in marriage.

The Basilica will do all we can to make sure you are prepared for this important, holy and life-long commitment. Through the program, couples will discuss all aspects of marriage: spiritual, relational, and practical. 

  • The Basilica’s preparation program fulfills the standard marriage preparation requirements for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul andMinneapolis.
  • Couples should begin marriage preparation at least ten months to one year before their wedding.

Preparation Checklist

You will receive a checklist to follow as you move through your preparation process at The Basilica. This checklist ensures you have enough time to truly benefit from each step, and have time to work on any relationship issues that may come to light.

We have discovered that if preparation begins too close to the wedding day, the couple tends to get caught up in the wedding day preparation and have a hard time giving adequate energy to important aspects of their own relationship.

Marriage preparation and wedding fee

The Basilica charges a marriage preparation and wedding fee of $2000.

  • A $800 deposit is made to secure the date, this is non-refundable.
  • The balance is due two weeks before the wedding. 
  • One half of the full fee is refundable, if the fee is paid in full, should the wedding be canceled.

Marriage preparation only (wedding elsewhere) fee is $800.

Our marriage preparation process includes:

  • Welcome meeting
  • Blessing of Engaged Couples as you begin 
  • Administration of a pre-marriage inventory called PREPARE
  • Inventory Review Workshop to review the PREPARE inventory
  • Engaged Temperament Retreat (a separate fee)
  • Wedding workshop
  • Individual meeting(s) with our wedding liturgy planner
  • Production of a wedding program/leaflet
  • Meeting with wedding officiant
  • Wedding rehearsal
  • Parish wedding coordinator on day of wedding
  • Congratulations and Evaluation gathering after your wedding

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage Preparation

Q:  We are not members but have been attending The Basilica.  Can we book a wedding date?

A:  Yes, open to members and non-members. 

Q:  If my fiancée/fiancé is not Catholic, can we still be married at The Basilica?

A:  Yes, only one of you needs to be Catholic.

Q:  We don’t want to wait 10 months to a year. Can we book a sooner date?

A:  On rare occasions, if a couple has already done some marriage preparation elsewhere.

Q:  My fiancée/fiancé does not live in the Twin Cities. How can we do the preparation?

A:  We can often be quite creative about how to accomplish the preparation when a couple or one of the two do not live locally.

Q:  We are members but will not be getting married at The Basilica.  Can we still do our preparation here?

A:  Yes. We will discuss our preparation-only fee with you.

Q:  One of us has been married before.  Will that prevent us from booking a wedding date?

A:  In the Catholic Church, all previous marriages must be discussed before a wedding date can be booked.  The Basilica's marriage coordinator can determine what will need to be done. If an annulment is needed, the marriage coordinator can explain that process and help you begin.

Q:  Can we have our own musicians?

A:  The Basilica wedding policy booklet answers all questions related to the wedding ceremony and wedding day.

Keeping your marriage alive and healthy     

It is important that married couples do things together to keep their marriages alive and healthy. Prayer, good communication and fun as well as dedicated time together for ongoing growth and understanding are all necessary tools.

The Basilica of Saint Mary offers a variety of enrichment events for married couples— some on a regular basis and others occasionally. 

Rock Solid Marriages

For married couples in their 20s and 30s (or those married less than 10 years) who want to grow closer together and with God.

Get involved with a fun group as you grow in faith together, meet other couples, and pursue God's word using scripture to guide discussion and deepen your relationship.

Throughout the year, we discuss a variety of topics that strengthen and encourage healthy marriages, and offer specific gatherings and events.

Married couples retreats

Franciscan Retreats Prior Lake, MN

Marriage Encounter St. Paul, MN

Worldwide Marriage Encounter 1-800-795-5683

Christ the King Retreat Center Buffalo, MN
763-682-1394 or 763-682-3453

Marriage Booster​

Share your successful marriage as a Marriage Mentor Couple

An opportunity as a couple for enrichment and volunteering at the same time.

If you have thought or talked about getting involved at The Basilica, and are looking for something that is flexible and based on your schedule and availability, perhaps the Marriage Mentor Ministry is for you.

Together with your spouse, you will help facilitate a day-long workshop required for our engaged couples. You will share experiences from your own marriage and help these couples review their pre-marriage Inventories.  At times you may meet two-on-two with an engaged couples. Training is provided, and required. It’s a very rewarding and fun ministry that also can improve your own marriage. 

Exploring remarriage in all its forms

Are you entering one of these situations? A second marriage. Marrying someone who has been married before. Bringing children into a new marriage. Marrying someone who has children. Currently in a remarriage.

The Basilica offers special resources and support related to your unique situation. 

Remarriage/Blended Family Seminars are offered periodically. 

This Remarriage/Blended Family Seminar will address some of the common issues experienced by families in remarriages and/or blended families:

  • Custody
  • Housing
  • Step-parenting
  • Former spouses
  • Finances
  • The importance of the spiritual dimension
  • Making your couple relationship primary

History of marriage according to our Catholic faith

Jesus lifted marriage to the level of a sacrament — revealing God’s love for us. The fact that His first miracle occurred at a wedding and He believed in an unbreakable marital bond are sited as arguments for this.

Nevertheless, it took the church more than1,000 years to develop a ritualized and codified sacrament of marriage. And it was not until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that marriage became a universally recognized sacrament.

The council of Trent declared that a marriage could not be valid unless it was celebrated in the presence of a priest and two witnesses. One of the couple needed to be registered in the parish records.

After the second Vatican Council,the wedding liturgy, which had been very rigid and clerical, became much more individualized and called for greater participation by all present.


The 1983 Code of Canon law describes the sacrament of marriage as a "covenant by which a man and a women establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children.” (Canon 1055)

As an assembly of believers, we focus our lives on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By seeking the sacrament of marriage, a couple indicates that they intend Jesus' message to be the guiding factor of their life together. The community, in turn, commits itself to support the couple in this pursuit.

The celebration of the sacrament of marriage, which is rooted in the Sunday assembly, is not a private family function, nor is it merely a social affair or a personal expression of your love for one another. Rather, it is an action of the entire Church, in whose presence two people commit themselves to one another.

Because the sacrament of marriage is worship, it is above all, congregational. And because it is congregational, every effort should be made to enable the assembly to participate in a full and active manner.

The liturgy is neither a show nor a performance and it is not enhanced by the presence of passive observers. Everyone present should be able to hear, see, speak, sing and pray.

Learn about closure and healing from a divorce/annulment

Declaration of Nullity (Marriage)

For anyone who has been divorced, the annulment process can bring the closure and healing needed to move on with one's life and enter a new, healthy relationship.

For most people, Catholics included, this is a very misunderstood process. Often people view it as just one of the church’s many rules and regulations. In fact, the annulment process can be a very pastoral process.

The annulment process involves the Church gathering information about the marriage that has ended in divorce. This means that the petitioner (the person who begins the process) will be asked to write a history of the past relationship (there is a question guide to help).

This writing can be difficult and even painful for some people. But avoiding "dredging up" the past can be the same as avoiding feelings associated with past events. We cannot avoid feelings forever. They are "in there" and will affect us one way or another in the future if we do not acknowledge them and deal with them in a healthy way.

For all of us, looking honestly and fearlessly at the circumstances of our failed marriage, and especially our own contribution, is an insurance policy that we will not carry the same behaviors and attitudes into a new relationship.

It's always easier to focus on the faults of our former spouse. But focusing on our own faults is what will help us heal. It challenges us to change the things we can with God's help. This is what assures us that we can enter another relationship or marriage that will be a successful and fulfilling one.

If you feel uneasy about your relationship with God and/or your church since your divorce or since making your plans to remarry, you may find that the annulment process will bring you the peace you need. Ask God to give you the courage to face the past. Trust in God's forgiveness and plans for your future.

Questions about Annulments

Q.  If the Church declares my marriage Null, is it saying that my marriage never existed?

A.  No.  The Church acknowledges that your marriage existed in the legal sense. The annulment process only examines the sacramentality, or the religion dimension, of the marriage.

Q.  How can the Church determine if my marriage was sacramental?

A.  The circumstances of the marriage will be looked at in comparison to a set of criteria that the Church says need to be present for a marriage to be considered sacramental.  If it is determined that one or more were missing at the time of the marriage, the marriage may be declared Null.

Q.  How long does the process take?

A.  Timing is dependent on many things but generally less than a year should be expected.

Q.  Does my former spouse have to be contacted?

A.  Yes.  The Church feels that both partners have a right to participate in the process. However, a former spouse can wave his or her right and the process can proceed without his/her participation. In the case of a possible Order of Protection situation, discuss the situation with the Metropolitan Tribunal.

Q.  Is there a cost for the process?

A.  The Metropolitan Tribunal for our Archdiocese currently charges a $600 fee to help cover about three quarters of their administrative costs; $200 is required at the time of application, but the Tribunal is flexible about the payment process, and the fee is not a determining factor in the outcome of the case.

Q.  What is involved in the annulment process?

A.  You will be asked to fill out an application, write a history of the marriage (guide sheet available), identify at least two other "witnesses" who can share their perspectives, gather some documents (Baptismal certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree), and submit it all to the Metropolitan Tribunal.

Q.  How do I get started?

A.  Contact your parish for a priest, deacon or other trained staff person who will meet with you to explain the process in detail, answer your questions, and give you the necessary forms to begin.

Q.  Does an annulment affect the legitimacy of children or child support?

A.  Not at all.  The annulment process only deals with the sacramental nature of the marriage, not the legal dimension.

Q.  What if I am afraid to go back and get in touch, again, with all the emotions related to my past marriage?

A.  A big part of the value of the annulment process is the healing/closure aspect. Writing a history of the past relationship may be difficult for some people, but for many it is the very thing that helps put some real closure to feelings and emotions.  This closure is necessary to move on with life and possibly a new relationship in a healthy way.  This is probably the most important value of the annulment process.