How to Get Married in Italy
Italy is the country of amore…the country of love, and if you have always dreamed of marrying in Italy then let us help turn your fantasies into reality. While getting married in Italy is not terribly difficult, there are certain documents and approvals which must be obtained and if even one is missing then a planned marriage may have to be delayed. Non-Italians are urged to use someone experienced in facilitating weddings in Italy to make sure that your special day goes off without a hitch.
Tying the knot in Italy is easy and there are no residency requirements.
In order to get married in Italy you and two witnesses must appear before the town clerk and declare your intention to get married. If one or both of you live in Italy then your banns (wedding announcement) must be posted at the town hall for two consecutive Sundays. Four days after the second Sunday the banns are posted you are free to marry. If neither of the couple is Italian or lives in Italy then the posting of banns is not required.
For Non-Italians a civil wedding is highly recommended before having a religious or symbolic ceremony.
For non-Italians wishing a civil marriage in Italy it is highly recommended that they appear before the town registrar at least four days prior to the intended date of the ceremony in order to insure enough time for all documents to be authenticated and the necessary paperwork to be completed.
In general if you are not Italian you will need the following paperwork (please note that the exact papers required vary somewhat depending on your country of residence). You will need to present your passport or you will need an armed forces identification card. You will need a birth certificate that is less than six months old. If this is not your first marriage you will need evidence of the termination of your previous marriage.
You and four witnesses will also need to swear in front of an Italian counselor officer in your own country that under the laws of your jurisdiction you have the legal right to marry. You will also have to go your country’s embassy or counselor office in Italy and swear that you have the right to marry.
Minors under 18 years of age need the written consent of a parent or guardian before they may be married.
All paperwork must be translated into Italian by a certified translator and certain documents must have what is known as a Apostille Stamp from the Secretary of State in the state in which you live. Contact your Secretary of State’s office to find out how to obtain this stamp.
With all the paperwork in place it takes anywhere from three to four days to get permission to marry for a civil ceremony held at a town hall.
A Catholic religious ceremony is possible but very difficult to arrange unless you have a civil ceremony first.
A religious marriage is not so easy for non-Italians. If you wish to marry in a non-Catholic church it is almost impossible to do so without first obtaining a civil marriage license; it is highly recommended that you have a civil ceremony first and a religious ceremony afterwards.
This is even true if you are seeking a Catholic ceremony. While it is possible for non-Italians to have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Italy, the number of priests who will conduct marriage ceremonies for non-Italians is shrinking and the practice is frowned upon.
If you have your heart set on a Catholic ceremony it is possible. It is recommended that you talk to your local priest or Archbishop to see if they know of a church in Italy that will perform your ceremony. At the very least you will need a formal letter on church letterhead from your local priest stating that you have fulfilled all Pre Cana procedures and further stating that your church grants permission for the ceremony. Your priest will need to obtain a similar letter from your Archbishop. An entire package, including the two letters plus a copy of your baptism, first communion and confirmation must be sent all together to the priest at the Italian church where you wish to marry. You will also need the original of the marriage encounter with all of the church seals and signatures.
Even after all of this paperwork has been presented, the Italian priest may choose not to perform the ceremony.
A simpler procedure would be to hold a civil ceremony prior to any religious ceremony. A religious ceremony to confirm a civil union is much less complicated to arrange, although it is still recommended that you make all arrangements ahead of time to insure that there are no last minute surprises.
In order to make your life simpler and to relieve yourself of the stress of making the official arrangements, it is highly recommended that you employ a wedding facilitator to take care of all the details for you. Why take the chance of trying to arrange your own wedding when a professional can guarantee to do the job right and relieve you of the headache?
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world in which to marry and to honeymoon, so if your dream has been to be married in Italy, don’t let anything stand in your way. The land of amore awaits!