legal wedding in Italy

Legal requirements for weddings in Italy

There are so many reasons to choose a destination wedding in Italy over a big wedding at home. Italy has a plethora of wonderful venues for an epic destination wedding in Europe that you will remember forever.

If you are a newly-engaged couple exploring the possibility of getting married in Italy, the first thing you need to consider is whether you can have a legal wedding in Italy or not. If the answer is yes, what requirements do you have to submit, and what processes do you need to go through? These are the questions that we will answer in this post so keep reading.

Pros and cons of a legal wedding in Italy

Before we dive into the hows and the what for a legal wedding in Italy, here are a few pointers to consider when you’re in the early stages of wedding planning.

Pros

Having a legal wedding in Italy is not impossible even if you’re not an Italian resident or national. You just need to submit some documents to the legal marriage office months before your desired wedding date, and you can have the legal wedding ceremony that you want.

Although it’s not a walk in the park to comply with all the requirements for a legal wedding in Italy, it’s feasible. In fact, it’s more feasible for foreigners to get married in Italy than in Germany or France with stricter requirements for non-residents.

In Italy, civil weddings, Catholic weddings, and religious weddings from all faiths are recognized as legally binding. As long as you follow the rules and requirements of the faith where you belong, your religious ceremony will be considered a legal wedding in Italy.

By having a legally binding wedding in Italy, you don’t need to perform a separate civil wedding in your home country. Just submit the marriage certificate that you signed in Italy to the local marriage office in your home country, and they will register you and your spouse as a married couple.

Cons

Although the pre-wedding requirements in Italy are less complicated than in other European countries, you still need to comply with the documentation and legal processes.

For a Catholic wedding, you might need four to six months to complete the documentation requirements. Lesser months might be needed for a civil wedding, but you still have to consider the time required to obtain the documents and the time it will take to get the documents to Italy.

If you don’t want to go through this process, you can opt for a symbolic wedding in Italy, which will be discussed in the last part of this post.

Legal paperwork for Italian wedding ceremony

Before getting married in Italy, you need to establish two important facts: your identity and your legal capacity to get married. For that purpose, here are the documents that you and your fiancé need to submit to the civil registry office in Italy:

  • A valid national ID or passport
  • Birth certificate (original)
  • Death certificate of prior spouse or divorce certificate for widowed and divorced
  • Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giurata, showing that there is no legal impediment for your marriage (issued by the consular office of your home country)
  • Atto Notorio as additional proof of no legal impediment to marry (must be signed by two witnesses)
  • A declaration of intent to marry

For Catholic weddings, you must comply with the requirements of the church, which are the same wherever you intend to marry. It’s best to contact your local parish and the parish where you plan to have your wedding in Italy so they can give you a list of requirements and the instructions on how to get them.

Other requirements for legal weddings in Italy

Age requirement. Both of you must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to get married in Italy. Otherwise, you need to obtain the consent of your parents, and this parental consent must be in writing.

Intent to marry. One of the required documents that we mentioned earlier is the declaration of intent to marry that you must submit to the local marriage office of the city where you will hold the ceremony. Once the office has processed your document, you will receive an official invitation to set the date of your wedding.

Catholic weddings. Couples who are not Italian residents and nationals should allocate two to three months for the processing of their Catholic wedding documents. Take note that it may take weeks to obtain the required documents from your local parish, and you must submit them to the local marriage office in Italy at least seven weeks before your wedding date. It’s best to get in touch with your local parish for an accurate time frame and additional requirements for your Catholic wedding in Italy.

Wedding venue. Civil weddings must be celebrated in a venue approved by the Italian government for legal marriages. You can browse through our handpicked wedding venues in Italy to see some of the approved locations for legal ceremonies.

Language. Civil weddings have to be in the Italian language for it to be legally binding, so you will need a translator if you don’t speak or understand Italian. The translator does not need to be officially recognized by the Italian government.

Symbolic weddings in Italy

A symbolic wedding does not carry any legal weight, that’s why we think of it more as a genuine celebration of love than an official marriage ceremony. Although it does not make you a legally wedded couple, a symbolic wedding gives you full control of how your wedding will unfold.

Marry anywhere. You can have a symbolic ceremony anywhere you want in Italy, whether the venue holds a license for legal weddings or not. So if you found a mountain chalet in the Dolomites region or a hotel with a terrace overlooking the Roman landscape, you can book it for your wedding even if the venue does not hold a license for legal marriages.

Customize the ceremony. You can incorporate any tradition or a unique segment in your ceremony, without the need to follow the regular flow of a legal wedding. Best of all, the ceremony can be in the English language or in any language that you want.

Vow renewal in Italy. Many of our couples who booked us for their destination wedding in Italy were already married, and they just wanted to have a symbolic ceremony in their dream Italian region. One of them is a couple whom we helped plan a vow renewal in Italy, particularly in Tuscany. It was not very difficult to plan this vow renewal because the couple did not have to comply with any legal paperwork or pre-wedding requirements.

Simple legal ceremony prior to wedding in Italy. If you’re a couple who never had a legal wedding ceremony before, but you want to have a dreamy wedding in an Italian region without having to go through the legal requirements, here’s an option. You can have a simple legal ceremony in your home country, and then have a symbolic wedding in Italy. The first ceremony will make your marriage legal while the second will make your dream wedding in Italy come true.

Final note

We’re sure you have so many reasons to consider a small wedding in Italy instead of a grand wedding at home. The requirements for a legal wedding may be daunting, but a choice between a symbolic or a legal wedding in Italy depends on the time and effort that you are willing to allocate to the process.

You can check out our enquiry page to have a better overview of the cost and processes involved in a destination wedding in Italy. You can also tick the box at the bottom of the page to schedule a consultation call with our Italian wedding planner.

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