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Weddings can be stressful affairs, and many couples have issues to work through in order to have a successful marriage. It can be helpful to talk things through with someone who isn’t a family member or friend to get a truly objective point of view. Premarital counselors provide help for couples, and many can help couples rehearse for the wedding and even serve as the wedding officiant. Typical couples sign up for about five one-hour sessions. Some counselors are religious clergy people, and others are secular therapists. Premarital counseling has the potential to save couples from needing marriage counseling down the road.

Private or group

Premarital counselors work with individual couples as well as groups. Group settings are usually slightly less expensive. Counselors typically charge by the hour for private sessions and offer group sessions at a flat rate for a several-hour program.

Church-affiliated

Some churches require couples to attend their own premarital counseling sessions to get married at the facility. These sessions tend to be slightly less expensive than secular sessions. If the two people are not members of the church, they will pay more than members. Some churches even offer free premarital counseling to members. For example, A Walk With Jesus Christ Church of Mill Creek, Washington, offers free premarital counseling as part of its ministry.

Secular

Secular premarital counseling usually involves a licensed therapist. These sessions are generally more expensive than church-affiliated counseling.

Prepare/Enrich

Some premarital counselors facilitate the popular Prepare/Enrich relationship assessment program for a fee. For example, Joyous Vows of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, charges $300 for a Prepare/Enrich couple’s assessment, including a summary report, workbook and four one-hour review sessions. Additional sessions are available, as desired, for $50 per session.

Package deals

Some premarital counselors charge one flat fee for a range of services beyond counseling sessions. For example, for a single flat fee, Douglas N Rorapaugh MS, MDiv, Pastoral Counselor of Philadelphia provides three sessions of premarital counseling, attends the wedding rehearsal to help answer logistical and practical questions to ensure that you are fully prepared for the ceremony, and also performs the wedding ceremony.

Cost-saving strategies

Check to see if your insurance plan covers premarital counseling. Some counselors offer discounts to financially challenged couples. Some states will discount marriage license fees if you can prove you attended premarital counseling. According to A Day Made for Us in Arlington, Texas, the state of Texas has a program called Twogether in Texas certification, which, once completed, allows couples to reduce the cost of their marriage license.

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