Anyone proposing or accepting a Valentine’s Day offer of marriage in Dublin will have to wait months for a place on a preparation course, it emerged today.
Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, has seen such an increase in demand for its courses in the city this year that they are booked out until July.
Hundreds of couples are currently booked in for the 2006 marriage preparatory courses, which are held in 11 different centres around the Dublin Diocese and waiting lists continue to grow.
The courses are nine hours in duration and hosted by trained facilitators.
Mary Quinn, director of marriage education at Accord Dublin, said staff have also found themselves having to prepare one half of a couple for marriage.
Ms Quinn said many foreign nationals working in Ireland were approaching them for courses on their own before returning home to marry their loved ones still resident in Poland, Lithuania, India and elsewhere.
“We don’t like to see these people having to take part in a course with 20 other couples,” she said.
“So we usually try and facilitate them on a one-to-one basis.”
This new phenomenon has also seen Accord staff start looking at ways of helping people with marriage preparation material in their own language.
As well as marriage preparation, Accord also provides counselling for people experiencing difficulties in their relationships, marital sexual therapy for couples, and relationship and sexuality programmes in schools.
The Accord annual collection takes place this weekend and staff are considering increasing the number of marriage preparation courses available as the numbers of Dublin couples heading up the aisle continues to rise.