What is the Engaged Encounter Program?

Engaged Encounter is an investment in the future – a weekend experience in which an atmosphere is created that enables each couple to concentrate exclusively on one another while free of the pressures and interruptions of daily life. It is a beautiful program designed to give each couple an opportunity to discuss honestly with each other, in a face-to-face manner, their strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, their attitudes about money, sex, family, spiritual values, and their role in society.

We are a group of couples and priests committed to working in the Catholic Church through the ministry to the pre-married. We offer within this apostolate an experiential weekend that calls a man and a woman as a couple to strive for a sacramental way of life through the vocation of marriage. Our policy is to accept a man and a woman, as a couple, who are preparing for a sacramental way of life through the vocation of marriage on a retreat weekend.

What is Catholic Engaged Encounter?

We want to be a positive part of your engagement. We are an energized community of volunteer couples and priests whose common bond is our belief in the sacrament of marriage and family life. We provide a working weekend retreat format designed to create a focus on private couple communication. Attendees are couples of all faiths – usually planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Last year more than 20,000 couples participated in Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends throughout the country. They deepened their communication, reinforced their commitment and strengthened their love. Think about investing in what could be a very important part of a lifetime together.

Engaged Encounter focuses on communication in your relationship. You will learn new tools for listening, writing and enhancing your communication with each other. EE is a weekend of beginnings, of planting seeds and of opening doors. We encourage couples to reach within themselves to discover or reinforce the belief that your marriage can be forever, that love is forever, and that God wishes to be forever present in your sacramental relationship.

What Happens on an EE Weekend?

An atmosphere is created for the two of you to concentrate exclusively on each other, free of the distractions, pressures and interruptions of daily living – a “time out” away from home, friends, and wedding preparations.  There are no group dynamics or group therapy.   It is a quiet weekend, specifically designed to give you the opportunity to talk honestly and intensively about your future together – an opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of your relationship and God’s call to unite in a permanent union, the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The weekend consists of a series of presentations beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon.  Led by a team of married couples and a priest, the two of you are encouraged to talk privately with each other on many aspects of marriage, always from the viewpoint of your own relationship.

Among the subjects you will have an opportunity to discuss with each other are your ambitions, goals, attitudes about God, sex, money, children, family, and your role in the church and community. Personal reflection and couple discussion are the main focus of our weekend. Since each relationship is in a different place, your private answers will be unique and special to your relationship.

Through personal sharings, the members of the presenting team talk about what the sacrament of matrimony means to them individually and the impact a great marriage can have on the world. We will not tell you how to live your life. Our stories are meant to encourage you to explore your own attitudes and expectations. We will offer some good ideas and tools to help the two of you to continue growing closer through the years.

What is the Cost of a Weekend? How do we register?

The registration fee for the weekend is show on the register page.  Prices reflected in brochures received from sources other than this website may be out of date due to changes in operating costs.  Payments for less than the full amount will not be accepted for registration by mail or online.  We appreciate your understanding.

Do we have to stay all weekend?

Yes, it is very important that you stay for the entire weekend. If you arrive late or leave early you will miss important parts of the weekend experience, and we will not be able to give you your weekend certificate verifying your attendance.  The weekend begins on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. and ends Sunday afternoon about 4:00 p.m.  Please arrange your schedule accordingly and select a weekend during which you can make this full commitment.  If there is an emergency and you must be late, please call the lead couple’s cell phone or the registration couple.

Does the couple have to be Catholic?

Although the weekend is designed for couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church, it is open to all couples of any faith.  It has been found to be both beneficial and supporting for couples from differing faith backgrounds.

How soon before the wedding should we attend our weekend?

Although we are called Engaged Encounter, a couple does not need to be actually engaged to attend a weekend.  We recommend the “earlier the better.”   As soon as you are engaged, or even considering engagement, that is the right time to attend a weekend. By attending early, you can discover areas of growth necessary in your relationship, determine if engagement and marriage is right for you at this time (before becoming too invested in the wedding preparations), and avoid the last-minute hassles of attending a weekend while trying to do everything else your wedding day entails.  Specifically, we recommend that you attend a weekend at least three months before your wedding date.

What should we bring to the weekend?

Separate sleeping facilities are provided for men and women on the weekend, so please pack separately.  Please be sure to bring the following items with you:

  • Comfortable casual clothing, including a robe or sleeping attire
  • Toiletries, medicines and other personal items
Are there any ground rules for the weekend?

Yes, we do ask that you observe a few basic rules.

  • Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs
  • Please sleep in your assigned room
  • Please do not leave the weekend, for any reason, unless an emergency arises.
  • If you need to leave, please speak to one of the team members.
Will dinner be served on Friday evening?

No, dinner will not be served on Friday. On Saturday, three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be served. On Sunday, breakfast and lunch will be served.

Can you accommodate my special diet needs?

Please note your request in your registration in the “Comments/Requests” box.  Requests need to be submitted two weeks prior to the start of the weekend.

Will I have a roommate?

Yes, you will have a roommate of the same gender as yourself. While we recognize that couples may already be living together or civilly married, you will not be permitted to share a room with your fiancé while on the weekend.

Where can I smoke?

Smoking is permitted in designated areas only.

Will we have much free time this weekend?

No, the weekend is designed to be intense so that you can spend as much concentrated time together as possible preparing for your marriage. You may find that we stay up later and get up earlier than you typically would on a weekend. Time permitting; we will have a break on Saturday afternoon.

Why should we go on a weekend?

Our motto is a “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Think of all the preparation you have done for your career or job.  Most us spend years studying or learning.  Think of the preparation taken for your wedding day. Most people spend months planning and many dollars preparing for their wedding.  But how much time and effort do we spend preparing for what we hope will last 50 or 60 years – our marriage?  Ask yourself this question, “Am I willing to spend 44 hours devoted to hearing ideas and learning skills that will help to make my marriage the best it can be?”

Comments from the marriage experts.

“Engaged Encounter is the best marriage preparation program in communication for engaged couples of any denomination in the U.S.”
– Michael J McManus, author of the book,”Marriage Savers”,
syndicated columnist in 100 newspapers and radio commentator.

“In addition to pre-marital counseling, another wonderful way to eliminate the unpleasant surprises of early married life is a program called Engaged Encounter … I strongly recommend Engaged Encounter to every couple planning a wedding.” – Dr. James Dobson, author of “Love for a Lifetime”, founder of Focus on the Family

Are children allowed on the Engaged Encounter Weekend?

Unfortunately children of any age are not allowed to attend the Engaged Encounter weekend.


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