Marriage requirements differ from faith to faith, and can even differ from church to church. Within the Anglican faith—the church in which Kate and William will pledge their lives to each other—couples must meet with their vicar in order to plan out the details of their ceremony. Afterwards, the vicar typically extends an invitation to the couple—which they are under no obligation to accept—to an event that will help them prepare for their married life together.
Catholic couples who are about to marry through the church must participate in marriage preparation workshops (typically known as Pre-Cana), and also meet one-on-one with the priest performing their ceremony. Other faiths, such as Islam and Bahá'í, don't require premarital counseling, but do strongly suggest it. Those of Islamic faith are even urged to seek out the guidance of a wali (guardian), who can oversee and advise the couple.
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The Church isn't the only establishment regulating the institution of marriage. Some states are attempting to introduce legislation that would penalize couples who choose not to avail themselves of premarital counseling. Texas Premarital Counseling Program Not A Hit With Couples
Florida, for example, offers a $32 discount on marriage licenses for couples who receive at least four hours of premarital counseling. And Minnesota offers a $70 discount for a whopping 12 hours of counseling. As of 2007, seven states had laws in place that offered such a discount, and more states are proposing similar legislation. Wisconsin, for example, has introduced a bill that would force couples to wait a year for their marriage license if they failed to partake in at least three hours of premarital counseling.
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Many of these states provide couples with a list of approved, qualified premarital counseling providers. Others even specify the topics that must be covered during the course of these counseling sessions. (Texas, for instance, requires a "skills-based and research-based curriculum.") At the end of the counseling relationship couples should receive a certificate of completion from their counseling provider, which they must then include with their marriage license application.