Getting Married in Italy: What to know

Italy is a country of romance, beauty, and elegance. It is no wonder that many couples dream of getting married in Italy. From the picturesque countryside to bustling cities, Italy offers a range of stunning locations for the perfect wedding. However, as with everything else in Italy, there is a lot of paperwork to prepare to get married legally in Italy. So let’s explore the process of getting married in Italy and what you need to know.

Should I Get Married in Italy?

First, let’s discuss, is getting married in Italy really the best decision. I don’t mean that regarding the celebration of your love but from a legal standpoint.

If neither you nor your partner are Italian citizens, truly skip the headache and don’t do your legal marriage in Italy. You’ll have to go through so many processes just to get permission, then once you have the certificate you’ll need to again translate it and deal with lots of paperwork. In this case, it is smarter to get married in your home country, then come to Italy to celebrate!

You can always still hold a symbolic ceremony, or skip it and hop right to the party to celebrate.

Instead, if you are marrying an Italian citizen, you can decide which solution would be easier: marrying in your home country and getting the permesso di soggiorno after you return to Italy, or getting married in Italy and having all the paperwork ready.

If you are already in Italy, and plan on staying here, it’s better to do the legal part of your wedding here, so your paperwork is already in Italian and ready to go.

The Ceremony

In Italy, only a civic or Catholic ceremony is accepted as a legit wedding ceremony. If you plan on having a different religious ceremony, you will have to first go through a civic ceremony. These civic ceremonies are held in the municipal buildings of the city, occasionally in other properties of comune, and rarely – though possibly – held at other locations of your choice.

A civic ceremony involves renting out a room that is property of the comune, and either the mayor or a selected official will read the legal aspects of a marriage agreement. You and your partner will agree, and the witness will state they were there, then you are done.

A Catholic ceremony requires you to be a member of the church, go through the pre-marriage course, then it will involve the typical reading of scripture, the “I do”‘s and that’s that.

Eloping in Italy is a popular choice for couples who want a private and intimate wedding ceremony. While elopements are often simpler and more low-key than traditional weddings, it is still important to understand the legal requirements for getting married in Italy. If you are married in another country beforehand, elope as you please. Instead, if you are legally getting married in Italy you will need to have a civic ceremony to make it official.

Once the legal requirements have been met, couples can choose from a range of stunning locations throughout the country to exchange their vows. Whether you want to say “I do” in a romantic Tuscan villa or on the sun-kissed Amalfi Coast, Italy offers a wealth of options for your elopement. And of course, you can still enjoy all of the wonderful food, wine, and culture that Italy has to offer.

The Planning – Where, How, What

Whether you are planning a civic or religious ceremony or even a romantic elopement, you may choose to hire a wedding planner to ensure that your wedding day is picture-perfect and stress-free.

The planner can help them navigate through the process of selecting the perfect location and help take care of all the details, from floral arrangements to catering. In addition, wedding planners have a wealth of knowledge about the local customs and traditions and can help you incorporate these elements into your celebration, making your special day truly unforgettable.

The Paperwork of Getting Married in Italy

Before you even set a date, if you are not Italian, and are getting married in Italy, there are some things you’ll need to do. The first is getting permission to marry by obtaining a Declaration of Intention to Marry. To do this you will need:

  • Valid US Passport
  •  Birth Certificate- it must be translated into Italian & apostille
  •  Atto Notorio
  •  Dichiarazione Giurata or a Nulla Osta

As you can see this might take a bit of time.

The first thing to get is your Birth Certificate, and getting it Apostilled.

This is simply an authenticated seal. Usually, you can obtain an Apostille copy from your State Archive. They may require a small fee but I would start there.

If they do not, you can request a copy of your Birth Certificate and then use another service to Apostille, like this one.

Then you will need an official Italian translation. This apostilled document is only valid for 6 months, so time it right and get it only when you have prepared everything else you need.

Next move on to getting your Atto Notorio.

This is essentially a declaration that states there is no impediment to the marriage. This document is requested by the Italian government. You will need to request it from either your nearest Italian Consulate, if outside of Italy, or the Ufficio Atti Notori from your local courts.

When you have your appointment, you will need to bring with you:

  • Two witnesses. If they do not speak Italian, you will also need to bring an interpreter.
  • Proof of being legal in Italy, so either your permesso di soggiorno or plane ticket showing the length of stay.
  • Two €16 marca da bollo

The office may then request a small delivery fee. This Atto Notorio is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

Finally, it is time for you Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giurata.

To get this you will need to make an appointment with one of the US Consulates or Embassies in Italy. This can usually be done directly on their website, where they will also inform you of the forms to be brought.

Once the Consulate has provided this Dichiarazione Giurata, you need to get it officially legalized by Italian Authorities. Find your nearest Ufficio Legalizzazione, found in the Prefettura of your city, and make an appointment. You’ll need to bring another €16 marca da bollo, and bring your signed form, and identification.

Now you can get the Declaration of Intention to Marry. 

You will bring all the documentation previously listed, plus copies to the Ufficio Matrimonio where you intend to get married. Once this is approved, you must publicly post your intention to marry for two weeks in the town (time varies from town to town, historically it was two weeks but many have cut the time!) If no one comes in to argue the marriage, you can then set a date.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…the Permesso di Soggiorno

That’s right, after that fun journey of getting married, if you do plan on staying in Italy, you will need to head to the Questura and obtain a permesso di soggiorno. Don’t skip this step as it is important for establishing residency, accessing healthcare, and allowing you to work in Italy.

To find out more about this process, check out my Moving to Italy guidebook, or contact me for a 1:1.

Evelyn Hill

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