“Mawwiage bwings us together. Wove, twu wove ...” declares the priest in an unforgettable scene of the movie, The Princess Bride. True love is great, but when all is said and done, most couples spend a lot more time planning their wedding than planning their life together.
Knowing this statistic and also wanting to genuinely reach out to people in their own community, Justin and Susie Kastner from Manhattan, Kansas, did a surprising thing. They requested to have a booth at a bridal fair to promote The Marriage Preparation Course. That’s right - a bridal fair. They were assigned a spot right next to caterers, photographers, DJ’s and a guy selling cake knives. Why did they do this?
They were offering the Marriage Preparation Course at their church but only one couple had signed up. When Justin was thumbing through the local newspaper, an ad for an upcoming bridal fair caught his eye.
Justin’s heart was stirred. He knew this course was designed to equip couples with great communication tools, despite their faith background. In fact, he was most excited that, through offering this resource, he had the opportunity to connect with people who did not attend church and invite them to their Marriage Preparation Course.
True love is great but most couples spend a lot more time planning their wedding than planning their life together.
So, Justin and his always daring wife, Susie, showed up at the Bridal Fair and found it very easy to start conversations. They set up a welcoming Marriage Preparation booth with simple brochures, their contact information and, of course, an endless supply of candy.
They asked the future brides and grooms if they had a plan to do any marriage preparation classes. If the couples gave each other a look that said, “Um, we did not even think about that,” Justin and Susie graciously offered The Marriage Preparation Course as an option. They shared how this is a helpful resource for starting marriage on a strong note. In addition, if the mom of the bride happened to be with the couple, they received many positive head nods and nudges in agreement.
Justin and Susie shared that they wish this course had been created when they were dating, as it covers so many useful topics. When they explained that the course is not a group experience where you "air your dirty laundry," but rather a dialogue with only your partner, most grooms breathed a sigh of relief.
"You will forget the name of your caterer and florist, but not the time you invested in building lifelong communication skills."
So, was this a worthwhile experience? Yes - In fact, five couples from the bridal fair, most with little or no church affiliation, came to their Marriage Preparation Course. Justin and Susie chose to host the course in a coffee shop, a neutral and fun location. At the end of the course, Justin was even asked to officiate the wedding of one of the couples.
This experience was such a success, that Justin and Susie signed up to be at the same bridal fair the following two years and had several of the Marriage Preparation grads come and help at the booth. The second year they had two couples from their church and four from the bridal fair at their Marriage Preparation Course. One couple had even been referred by friends who took the course the year prior.
Susie concludes, “The Marriage Preparation Course is a great investment for your life together. You will forget the name of your caterer and florist, but not the time you invested in building lifelong communication skills.”
Want to learn more about the Marriage-Preparation Course? Go here.