It is a weekend retreat away with other engaged couples with plenty of time alone together to plan for a sacramental marriage. It is designed to give couples planning marriage the opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about their prospective lives together — their strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, their attitudes about money, sex, children, family, their role in the church and society–in a face-to-face way.

Engaged Encounter is a community of local lay married couples and priests. The local community is part of the national Catholic Engaged Encounter program. The team couples have been through a work-shopping process to prepare their presentations. All are volunteers who look at engaged ministry as a calling to serve God and the Catholic church.

We recommend using the “earlier the better” policy. Many parishes require you to start marriage prep at least 6 months in advance. As soon as you are engaged, or even considering engagement, is the right time to attend a retreat. By attending early, you can discover areas of growth necessary in your relationship, determine if engagement and marriage is right for you and avoid the last-minute hassles of attending a retreat while trying to do everything else your wedding day entails. Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis and weekends do fill up. Spring weekends are usually the fullest and do fill up so it is best to register as soon as you can. All marriage preparation is coordinated through the parish. Prior to registering for a weekend, please notify your parish priest of your intent to marry.

No, individuals and couples of other faiths are welcome and often attend. At the same time though, because the Encounter is a Catholic program, all presentations are from a Catholic perspective and theology on marriage. CEE welcomes couples of all faiths. Be aware however that Catholic Engaged Encounter is a program designed for couples who are preparing for a marriage that would be recognized by the Catholic Church.

The registration fee is $175 per couple. Please pay total amount with reservation. A minimum of seventeen (17) days notice is required to cancel or reschedule a weekend. $60 is always non-refundable. Balance is refundable only with the 17 days notice. Scholarships for full or partial payments are available on a financial need basis. If you need assistance, please contact us ASAP. We will contact your priest to request that the parish contribute. We ask you the couple to contribute along with your priest and the Engaged Encounter community will help cover the remaining balance.
To date, no couple has ever been turned away because of lack of funds.

The retreat is not group therapy, instead, it provides private one-on-one time for the couple to learn about each other and marriage based on 5 major themes: The Family we Grew Up In, Sacramental Marriage, Communications, Intimacy – more than just sex, and Values. Couples learn about these 5 major themes through a series of presentations given by married couples. After each presentation, couples are given time to individually reflect and write on the topic covered. Couples then are given time to privately reflect as a couple. Couples are never required to share with the group.

We suggest you bring the following items with you:

  • Wear comfortable casual clothing.
  • A reusable cup to enjoy coffee and water during the retreat.
  • Any snack or drink items for your own personal consumption (water, tea, and coffee will be provided). No alcohol.
A weekend typically starts at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. Saturday is usually a long day that ends close to 10 PM that night. We try to break up the day, but the schedule doesn’t always allow for much of a break. Sunday morning also starts at 8:00 AM and usually goes until 5 PM. There is a lot of material to cover over the course of the weekend. Much of the timing of the weekend is determined by the punctuality of the attending couples as well as the weekend format. Once you have registered and paid for the weekend, you will receive a confirmation email that will detail what time you need to arrive on Saturday.

Each couple will receive two workbooks to use throughout the retreat. These are yours to keep. The workbook provides an outline of the retreat and topics covered. Due to varying factors, such as mealtimes, slight differences in presenter’s length on topics, we are unable to provide exact timing of each presentation. Most presentations, individual reflection, and couple reflection time total about 60-90 minutes.

YES, it is very important that you stay for the entire retreat. If you arrive late or leave early, you will miss important parts of the retreat experience, and we will not be able to give you your certificate of completion of the retreat.

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

  • Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Please respect this is a Catholic retreat – we ask that you dress appropriately. Gentlemen, please no hats.
  • Please remember the weekend is presented at a Catholic facility and be respectful of your surroundings.
  • 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.

Dress for the entire weekend is casual. Please dress comfortably. We will attend Mass during the weekend, however casual attire is acceptable.

Catholic Engaged Encounter is a smoke free environment, and due to state law, all of our facilities prohibit smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes. If you do smoke, each facility has designated smoking areas outside of the building. Additionally, as a sign of respect, we ask that you please refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping inside the facilities as well.

Planning a wedding can be a fun and exciting time. It can also be stressful. Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. While couples spend the majority of the retreat together – there is not much free time. Couples should plan to start their day a little earlier and work a little later than they typically would on an average weekend at home.

Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. As such we ask that couples refrain from using electronic devices as much as possible – including cell phones.

No, the purpose of the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend is to interact with and talk with your fiancé about issues you may not have already discussed. If your fiancé is not present, you will be unable to complete the program.

Commuter Weekends do not require an overnight stay.  Although they begin at the same time (8:00 a.m.), couples leave around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday evening and return Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. to complete their weekend around 5:00 p.m. 

Weekends are usually held at a parish center in the Salt Lake City area depending on the size of the group and facility availability. 
Catholic Engaged Encounter is unique because its emphasis is on quiet time for each other as opposed to small group interaction and sharing. This marriage preparation program is specifically designed for private dialogue between the engaged couple.

Normally, a very light breakfast is provided Saturday and Sunday mornings. Saturday and Sunday lunches as well as Saturday dinner are provided on the weekend. In addition to the meals, couples are encouraged to bring a snack to share with the group and are available throughout the weekend. Following is a sample menu of the meals provided by EE.

  • Saturday lunch – Chicken noodle soup, pasta salad, green salad, and rolls
  • Saturday dinner – Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, and a green salad
  • Sunday lunch – Pita sandwich wraps (various meats) and chips

Water and coffee should be available during the weekend.

Due to Covid-19, no breakfast is provided on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Plan to eat before arriving each morning.

We worry less about the amount and more about the fact that everyone brings a little something to share with the group between meals. We almost always end up with leftovers, so we recommend bringing less than you think is necessary. One small-medium size package of something should be more than sufficient.
Due to Covid-19, no sharing of snacks will take place on the weekend. Instead, we ask that couples only bring snacks for themselves.
Unfortunately, at this time, the Utah EE community is only able to offer English weekends, however if you can understand English well but prefer to have a handbook written in both English & Spanish, we can provide those if you make the request on your registration form. If your primary language is Spanish, please do not register for a Utah weekend as it will not meet your needs. You will need to speak with your priest directly with what your options are for a Spanish Marriage Prep program either in the parish or online. There are weekends offered in Spanish outside the Utah community. Please check our national website,, for possible weekends in other areas.
We recognize that some couples may be traveling a long distance to attend a CEE weekend. Unfortunately, we nor the Parish Center are able to provide overnight accommodations. We suggest you contact local area hotels directly (Murray, UT or Holladay, UT) and/or online hotel & travel sites to find the best rates available for the weekend you will be attending.
In the past, Engaged Encounter weekends required an overnight stay in a retreat center or hotel. To better meet the needs of today’s couples, in 2015 we introduced the Commuter Weekend format where couples “commute” to and from the weekend rather than staying overnight.

Have a different question?

    Start with a strong foundation.

    Reserve a spot for you and your fiancé at a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend near you.

    Scroll to Top