Planning a destination wedding in Italy requires the completion of a fair amount of paperwork. Here we will guide you through the process, from tips on picking your location, your venue, your flowers and more, so that you can have the wedding of your dreams.
Planning your wedding
Hiring a local wedding planner can help you navigate through Italy’s wedding paperwork, contact local vendors and negotiate fees. Having help from a known expert with established relationships with local people will help you save money, time and stress with their tips on picking your venue, food, wine and more. Wedding planners can offer full-service planning, day-of only, paperwork only, location scouts and more.
Paperwork requirements differ considerably from city to city. The UK Consulate mails paperwork directly to the wedding hall for its citizens. In contrast, US and Australian nationals need to get a sworn statement from their embassies and then have it legalized at an Italian courthouse.
Do not apply for documents and certificates more than 6 months before the wedding as they will expire under Italian regulations. All original documents will need to be accompanied by Italian translations via an agency verified by the Italian Consulate. Applications for Nulla Osta (a Certificate of Freedom to Marry) should be submitted at least four months before the date of the marriage.
Many couples put off by the red-tape of a destination wedding, legally marry at home and arrange a symbolic ceremony in Italy. Hiring a local celebrant creates a personalised ceremony, giving couples a wider choice when planning their day.
Civil wedding ceremonies
A Civil Ceremony can only happen at the local Commune (Town Hall) and buildings managed by the local government office, which include palaces, villas and castles. Your ceremony is usually performed by the Mayor. You will need two witnesses and an interpreter. There is no official residency requirement for civil ceremonies in Italy.
Contact the local Commune to check availability and the documents that are required. Your documents must be presented to the town hall 2 or 3 days before the wedding so plan to arrive in advance.
Only catholic ceremonies can be performed legally in Italy without the requirement for a civil ceremony beforehand. You or your partner (or both) must be Catholic and neither of you can be divorced. Contact the church a year before your wedding. The church in Italy will need your paperwork two months before the wedding. The paperwork required is the same as for a civil marriage with the addition of sacramental certificates issued within the last 6 months and formal letters from your Parish priest and local Archbishop to be forwarded to the Church in Italy.
For other religions, proof of a civil marriage is required before you can celebrate in a church
Tips on picking your…
… location: if you are planning an outdoor wedding, always have a plan B. Summers are not as predictable in Italy as they once were when it comes to the weather.
… photographer: consider hiring a local photographer as they will have knowledge of the best photo opportunities in the locale.
… bouquet: have seasonal flowers in your bouquet and make it truly Italian by adding olives, lemons, sprigs of rosemary in floral decorations.
… dress: if you plan on getting a dress in Italy, consider hiring a dress-maker to make the dress of your dreams that will fit perfectly and look amazing.
… music: if you plan on getting married at the local Commune, ask if you can bring your own music.