To the bride and groom, congratulations on your engagement! This is an overview of the steps in preparing and planning with the WHY Church for your big day.

Your Preparation – The first thing you’ll want to do is schedule your first meeting with one of our pastors. The process you’ll be starting with that appointment looks like this:

  • 1st meeting: Pastor/Couple Getting to Know Each Other and Initial Wedding Details
  • Take the FOCCUS Premarriage Inventory (A link will be emailed to you)
  • 2nd meeting: FOCCUS Inventory Results and Update Wedding Details
  • 3rd meeting: Finish FOCCUS Inventory Results and Finalize Wedding Details
  • Complete premarital education and receive your Educator’s Statement to take to the county government center (See “About Premarital Education” for more information).
  • Apply for your marriage license at the government center. For Sherburne County: 13880 Business Center Dr NW, Elk River, MN 55330. Recorder’s office: 763.765.4420.

Your marriage license is valid for 6 months. Please make sure you obtain your license from the government center at least 2 weeks before your wedding. The bride and groom must both be present and show valid photo identification (e.g., driver’s license). It is a good idea to pay for at least one additional copy of your marriage license as you may need it for updating documents with a name change, etc.

About Premarital Education


The cost of your marriage license is $115. However, if you complete 12 hours of premarital education, you qualify for the reduced rate of $40. Financial incentive aside, it is definitely worthwhile to invest the 12 hours of time in preparing for your marriage together. The three meetings with one of our pastors covers 6 of the required hours (2 hours per meeting), plus you can count the time spent taking the online inventory.

To complete the remaining 4-5 hours you may:

  • Attend a premarital workshop (Ask about current options).
  • Read or listen to a book about marriage and discuss.
    • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
    • Getting Ready for Marriage by Jim Burns & Doug Fields
    • 31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him/Her by Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke
    • Another book of your choosing (with pastoral approval)
  • Grow in your spiritual life together.
    • Attend a worship service
    • Read Scripture and/or pray together
  • Meet with a married couple whom you respect. Ask them questions about what makes for a healthy and vibrant marriage.

Pastoral Preparation

Includes at least 10 hours of time for the following:

  • 1st meeting: Pastor/Couple Getting To Know Each Other and Initial Wedding Details
  • 2nd meeting: FOCCUS Premarriage Inventory and Final Wedding Details
  • 3rd meeting: Finish FOCCUS Premarriage Inventory and Finalize Wedding Details
  • Preparation of the ceremony and message
  • Rehearsal
  • Wedding


The suggested honorarium is $300 and is typically given at the rehearsal the day before the wedding. If the rehearsal/wedding is a significant distance away from Elk River, please consider covering travel expenses.

More Than a Wedding

Whether you’re part of the WHY Church or we’re just getting to know each other, please know that this is about more than planning a wedding. This is a chance for us to make a lasting connection and to celebrate what God is doing in your life – on your wedding day and beyond. We look forward to our time together and will be praying for you. Again, congratulations!

Contact Us

Office: 763-358-0901