Catholic Weddings in Italy

Catholic wedding

Catholic wedding ceremonies are legally recognized in Italy. The only other legal option for a wedding in Italy is a civil ceremony performed at the City Hall. The Vatican and Rome, the seats of Catholicism worldwide, are a strong attraction for many Catholics when considering marriage. There are hundreds of churches in Rome alone and most celebrate weddings.

There are three Irish churches for example: St. Patrick's Church (of the Augustine Order), San Silvestro Church in Capite (Pallotinne Order) and San Clementine, (Dominican Order) and they perform hundreds of ceremonies a year for visiting Irish and English nationals.

The Church of Santa Susanna is the American Catholic Church in Rome. The priests Father Greg and Father Jerry perform many ceremonies there for English speaking couples as well as in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. They are very well organized.

Requirements vary from one diocese to another and must be verified in each individual case. Most will celebrate weddings even when one of the spouses is not Catholic.

In the Amalfi Coast region which includes Capri, a Catholic wedding is not possible for non-Italian nationals. Overwhelmed by requests for weddings the local diocese decided not to allow "tourist" weddings. This also applies to Venice, where a Catholic wedding is not possible for foreigners.

Fortunately in most parts of Tuscany and Umbria it is possible for foreigners to marry in a Catholic Church service.

The Catholic Churches, however, will not perform ceremonies outside of the church itself. This means no gardens, no villas (unless the villa has its own consacrated chapel), no hilltops, etc. The churches in Italy are usually very beautiful and historical and are wonderful locations for weddings.

It is also possible to marry at the Vatican in St. Peter's Basilica. Most people are surprised to hear this. There is a side chapel in the main church where wedding ceremonies are performed. There are many restrictions, however, to be considered. Neither of the couple being married can have been married before nor can either have any children from either their union or prior unions. Both must have been baptized, made first communion, confirmed, etc.

Most churches charge a fee that ranges from about 400 euro with organist to 900 euro. There is a lot of paperwork and preparation required for them and they request a contribution for their church accordingly. It is also customary to tip the priest performing the ceremony as none of the church contribution goes to him personally.

By Brenda Babcock

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