Tips for Foreigners Marrying in Italy
In the past decade or so it has become common to get married abroad, and Italy is often picked as a perfect location to pledge eternal love. While the beauty and romanticism of Italy is a given, you also need to think about the paperwork required to get legally married in Italy. The best advice for anyone hoping to marry in Italy is to hire a professional wedding planner based in the city you've chosen. This person will be an invaluable guide as you navigate your planning.
One of the first decisions you'll have to make is what kind of ceremony you'd like, as a Church wedding is different from a civil ceremony. Talk to your local priest if you want to go Catholic or you can call the Italian Consulate in your city to ask further questions. You'll also need to speak to officials on your side of the pond to find out exactly what you'll have to do to register your marriage at home.
Let's go in order and examine everything in more detail. In the case of a Catholic wedding, and after speaking with your local priest to obtain the permission, it is important to locate a church and a priest in Italy willing to conduct the ceremony. In order to approach the Italian Church, you'll need a written document from your hometown Church confirming you've fulfilled all pre-marriage requirements and that you've been granted permission to marry abroad. You'll also need to obtain the same from the Bishop's office.
List of required documents for a Catholic wedding in Italy:
-A formal letter on your local church's letterhead
-A formal letter from the Bishop's office
-Proof of Baptism
-Proof of First Communion
-Proof of Confirmation
All of the above must be sent to the Italian Church for approval.
After the ceremony, the original of the marriage certificate must have the church seal and all proper signatures to be legal and official.
An Italian Garden Wedding
If you'd prefer a civil ceremony only, you must appear in front of an appointed Italian clerk and declare your wish to be married. You'll also need two witnesses. Obtaining a civil marriage is definitely easier than arranging for a religious wedding. Things only get a bit tricky if one of the spouses resides in Italy. If this is the case, you'd be required to publicly announce your wedding, something that non-Italians don't have to do. For Italian residents the law requires a written announcement in the City Hall for two Sundays running. After the second Sunday, the couple must wait at least four days before getting married. The couple and witnesses will then swear to have the legal right to marry in front of an Italian counsel officer in their own country. At this point, the couple must go to their counsel office in Italy and swear that they have the right to marry. It is a redundant procedure, but mandatory.
Keep in mind, in Italian people under 18 cannot marry without written parental consent.
A list of required documents for a civil wedding in Italy:
-Birth certificate (less than 6 months old)
-Proof of termination of previous marriage, if any.
All documents must be officially translated into Italian and hold an Apostille Stamp from the Secretary of State.
It's also helpful if you arrive in Italy five to six days before the scheduled wedding to get everything in order. We wish everyone planning to marry in Italy a wonderful and happy life together.