Getting married in Italy: A complete guide

Zorica Lončar

Getting married in Italy is relatively straightforward. Like any wedding though, it requires advanced planning, as well as a basic understanding of the law. You’ll need time to have in-person conversations, visit various offices and meet administrative deadlines. However, thousands of expats get married in Italy each year, and with good reason.

Italian weddings are known to be colorful, vibrant and fun affairs. From the food to the atmosphere to the lively music, there’s plenty on offer. It’s only natural that a wedding celebration would take place in a country where celebrations are taken seriously.

Italy holds a special place in the heart of many couples, whether they met there, have family there or have been on a romantic Italian trip. No matter the reason, this article will help you with what you need leading up to your wedding in Italy. Find the facts on legal requirements, mandatory documentation, estimated costs and suggested locales.

Weddings in Italy: What type of weddings are possible?

Italy legally recognises religious and civil weddings. For non-Catholic religious weddings, a civil ceremony must be incorporated into the marriage before a wedding is officially legal. You’ll be required to prove you're civilly married before you can celebrate in a religious house of worship.¹

The majority of Italian weddings take place in a church, due to the country’s overwhelming Catholic majority and the proximity to The Vatican. However, Italy recognises religious weddings from all faiths, including Jewish, Hindu and Muslim religions. In most cases, the marriage process under these religions is similar in any country, including Italy. For Catholic weddings, at least one member of the couple needs to be Catholic.²

For non-religious couples in Italy, symbolic ceremonies and blessings do take place. The couple should follow the civil administrative procedure prior to the ceremony if they wish for the marriage to be official and legal. For same-sex couples in Italy, civil unions are officially recognised, but same-sex marriage is not.¹

What are the legal requirements to get married in Italy?

Anyone can be married in Italy, as there's no legal residency requirement for a wedding. Whether foreign or not, you’ll have to provide paperwork that certifies your identity. You also must certify that there are no legal obstacles standing in the way of your marriage.²

What do you need to get married in Italy?

Necessary paperwork and documentation³

You will need to prepare all necessary paperwork required for a civil, religious or symbolic wedding in Italy. Plan to have the following documents at hand:

  • A valid passport or national ID card for both parties
  • Original birth certificate for both parties or certified copy
  • Divorce papers or death certificate if you have been previously married and divorced or widowed (if you’re a woman whose previous marriage ended in the past 300 days, you’ll need a waiver from the Italian Distict Attorney’s Office)
  • An affidavit, _Nulla Osta_² or Dichiarazione Giurata sworn before a consular office of your home country, stating that there's no legal impediment to your marriage in your home country
  • An Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses, further confirming no legal impediment to your marriage (the witnesses can’t be family members)
  • A declaration of intent to marry that will go to the civil registrar

A Catholic wedding may also require some or all of the following documentation¹

  • Baptism certificates
  • Confirmation certificates
  • Certificate of first communion
  • Nihil Obstat, a letter of no impediment to marry
  • Proof of attendance of a premarital course
  • A written letter of permission from your Priest

Finally - what is the legal age to get married in Italy? Couples must be 18 years old to legally marry, and under-18s must have written parental consent.¹

The process

Your first step should be to contact your home country’s consulate in Italy. They will advise you on the specific steps you need to take, including the preparation of the atto notorio.

You’ll submit your declaration of intent to marry to the local marriage office in the city’s town hall where your marriage will be performed. This declaration will go to the civil registrar. A translator should attend if you don't speak Italian. You’re officially invited to set the date of the wedding after this intent is declared.³

You should plan the do this at least three weeks in advance of your wedding. Civil notifications must be posted for two consecutive weeks before the wedding, including two Sundays. If neither party is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy, you may contact the office to waive this requirement. You might be able to expedite your waiting period to as little as a day, depending on the local town hall regulations.³

For Catholic weddings specifically, you may have to conform to the rules of your local parish, as well as the parish where you intend to marry. It’s best to ask directly when you should submit all of your religious documents. Keep in mind that there are many documents you need to obtain, so you will certainly need time. Contact your local parish and the parish where you'll marry for specific advice.

At the wedding, you'll sign your legal marriage licence. You will be given an official marriage certificate that's authorised by the mayor in the municipality where you marry. After the marriage, you should plan to visit the town hall again to present the marriage certificate. There you'll receive an Apostille stamp which verifies the document and contains a translated copy of the certificate into English.¹

What fees are involved?³

You should expect to pay the following fees for your Italian wedding:

  • A revenue stamp for the Dichiarazione Giurata/Nulla Osta of €16
  • Two revenue stamps for the Atto Notorio of €16
  • An application for the Atto Notorio of €10,62
  • An application for the Nulla Osta of £50.⁴
  • A rush fee of €31,86 for the Atto Notorio, if applicable

You may also face some local administrative fees, or charges specific to your parish. Inquire directly with the venue where you'll marry in advance.

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What should I know about wedding ceremonies in Italy?

Civil ceremonies can occur in any location that's been approved by Italian authorities, indoors or outdoors. Many villas, castles, public gardens and town halls are approved for use. It only matters that the location is officially licenced. A civil ceremony will be performed by the mayor or another official of the government. An interpreter is required if neither person in your party speaks Italian, but they don't have to be an official translator.² The amount of time required between declaring your intent to marry and your actual wedding date will vary by location.

The only church ceremonies that are legally performed without a civil component are Catholic weddings. One person in the couple must be Catholic.² You should anticipate a longer planning period for a Catholic wedding, due to coordination between your local church, the Italian church, city officials and consulates. It’s a good idea to start planning six months before your anticipated wedding date.

Take a look at your home country’s consular or embassy website for more information:

How to get married in Italy as a UK citizen

As a UK citizen, you’ll need certain documents from the UK government to go through with the wedding process. For example, one of them is a CNI or the Certificate of no impediment.⁵ Since the full list of documents can depend on the situation, it’s better to check beforehand, so you don’t miss possible changes.

Getting your CNI starts with making an appointment at your local register office. It costs £35 and it’s valid for 6 months in Italy. However, CNIs issued in Scotland are only valid for 3 months, so plan your wedding accordingly. The next step is getting the CNI translated and legalised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.⁴

Another thing you’ll certainly need is a statutory declaration which you will sign in front of a notary or solicitor in the UK. You’ll present these documents to either the priest or a registrar at the town hall, depending on the nature of the ceremony.⁴

If you’re in Italy temporarily and can’t go back to UK for a CNI, a Nulla Osta will suffice. You just need to put your UK address on the form instead of your place of stay in Italy. Check out the description of the steps. This part of the process, like the rest of it, is the same for same-sex couples.⁴

The cost of a wedding in Italy

Weddings in Italy run the gamut from very reasonable to very expensive. Here is a cost breakdown of what you can expect on average, although it can vary depending on your wishes:⁶

ItemApproximate cost
Ceremony€250 – €900
Wedding Planner€2,000 – €8,000
Venue€2,000 – €15,000
Photographer€1,000 – €4,000
Decorations€4,000 – €20,000
DJ€500 – €1,500
5-course meal (including cake and wine)€100 – €170

Top wedding locations in Italy

When it comes to best places to get married in Italy, it all depends on your preference. However, here are ten popular venues for big weddings in Italy:⁷

Villa di MaianoStunning views of Florence, a ballroom and a huge garden
Villa CatignanoClose to Siena, with beautiful Tuscany views
Masseria GriecoOne of Puglia’s best gems
Villa Medici LillianoA breathtaking lemon garden and its proximity to Florence make it memorable
Castello di San Sebastiano di PoClose to Turin and ideal for big outdoor weddings
Masseria CuturiExudes Puglia’s rustic charm
Tonnara di ScopelloA working museum perfect for a Sicilian seaside wedding
La FoceIdyllic and authentic Tuscan venue
Tonnara FlorioA lighthouse, castle and courtyard are only bits of this gem near Palermo
Villa GrabauWith multiple villas, this stunning propery has everything necessary for a fairytale wedding

Wedding traditions and customs in Italy

You may want to embrace one or more of the following Italian traditions on your big day:

  1. Luck - a Sunday wedding is considered to be lucky since they’re believed to bring fertility and prosperity
  2. No gold - it’s believed that wearing any gold jewellery (besides your ring, of course) brings bad luck
  3. Tarantella - a special ‘dance of the spider’ that involves guests holding hands in a circle while the music speeds up
  4. Tie-cutting - the groom has his tie cut into pieces that are sold to the guests to pay for the wedding expenses
  5. Vase-breaking - at the end of the wedding, the couple may break a glass or vase. The number of pieces it splinters into represents the number of years of happy marriage

Like any wedding, an Italian marriage will take planning and careful forethought. However, it’s sure to be an occasion to remember for every attendee. The exotic location and special traditions can help you create the wedding of your dreams, no matter what budget you’re working with.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Housing Anywhere - getting married in Italy
  2. Tuscany Now and More - getting married in Italy
  3. US Embassy in Italy - getting married in Italy
  4. - marriage in Italy
  5. - marriage abroad
  6. Italian Wedding Circle - Italian wedding cost
  7. La Lista - 10 Italian Wedding venues for big weddings
  8. Bookings For You - Italian wedding traditions

Sources checked on 26-Jul-2022.

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