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The complete guide to a legal marriage for couples planning their destination wedding in Italy
If you are thinking about getting married in Italy, here is a guide to all marriage requirements for foreigners. This applies to anyone who wants their destination wedding in Italy to be an official and legally binding marriage, instead of a symbolic ceremony.
When planning a destination wedding, there are so many details to consider.
From writing the guest list, to finding the perfect wedding venue, the perfect dress and the best wedding vendors. You might want to take care of the legal requirements first, and then get to the fun part. If you are planning an elopement, a just-the-two-of-you kind of wedding in Italy, this article will be incredibly helpful too.
Even if you hire a wedding planner to take care of documents, as I would recommend, you will still need to obtain some legal documents in your home country, in order to have a fully effective, legal and official wedding in Italy.
Let me answer some of the questions you might have if you are planning to get married in Italy.
Can I get legally married in Italy?
This is one the first questions you probably have on your mind. And it is a fundamental question: will my elopement or destination wedding in Italy be a real wedding?
Yes, you can legally get married in Italy, even as a foreigner. Contrary to other countries such as France, there is no residency requirement in Italy to be able to legally marry.
Same-sex couples can also get married in Italy with a civil union.
Whether you are traveling from Australia, the United States or the UK, you absolutely can get legally married in Italy. The only strict requirement is that you must be at least 18 years old.
What kind of wedding can I have in Italy?
There are a few different options to explore for your destination wedding in Italy.
Religious wedding ceremonies in Italy: Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim wedding
All kind of religious weddings are possible in Italy. The country recognizes religious weddings from all faiths. All around Italy you can find an endless amount of Catholic churches available for your wedding, as well as Anglican, Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian churches. There are also a lot of synagogues for a Jewish wedding, and venues for Hindu and Muslim weddings. Each religion has specific requirements, and different paperwork. As a general rule, you will need to receive permission from your priest, rabbi, or Imam in your home country first.
Civil wedding ceremonies in Italy at the local City Hall or directly at your wedding venue
A civil wedding is a great option for couples wanting to get legally married in Italy. A civil ceremony can be held at the local City Hall: some of these venues are truly stunning. But it will always be a very fast wedding ceremony, since City Halls have strict schedules. You can also have an emissary of the mayor perform the ceremony at your wedding venue. If it is a location that has been approved by Italian authorities. There are many beautiful villas, castles and public gardens that have been approved for civil ceremonies in Italy.
Symbolic wedding ceremony in Italy, wherever you wish
The final option (and a very popular option for destination weddings) is to plan a symbolic ceremony. Symbolic ceremonies are not legally binding, so you’ll need to get legally married in your home country before or after your destination wedding in Italy. There are no restrictions when it comes to venues for a symbolic ceremony – you can get married anywhere you wish.
What are the legal requirements to get married in Italy?
While you ceremony can be either symbolic, religious or civil, if you want the wedding to also be legally binding, there is a procedure to follow. You can do it yourself, or, since all the information online tends to be in Italian only, you can hire a professional to take this off your hands (I recommend it).
Another great option , if you don’t wish to undertake this process, is to get married at home and get married with a symbolic ceremony in Italy.
That said, if you are a romantic and you want to be legally married in Italy and obtain a marriage license, you should have these documents:
– A valid passport or national ID card for both parties;
– Original birth certificate for both parties;
– Divorce papers, if you have been previously married and divorced, or death certificate if you are widowed;
– An affidavit, Nulla Osta 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;
– A declaration of intent to marry that will go to the civil registrar.
It is useful to remember that in order for the ceremony to be legal, you will also need:
– A translator if you don’t speak Italian
– Two witnesses
The process is the same for opposite sex and same sex civil marriages.
There is additional paperwork if you wish to have a religious wedding.
Catholics weddings in Italy, for example, are a sacrament and they need additional paperwork. If you are planning a religious wedding in Italy, you should contact your local parish or other religious person of reference, and they will provide you with more guidance. For a Catholic wedding in Italy, for example, you need:
– Baptism and confirmation certificates
– A letter of no impediment to marry
– Proof of attendance of a premarital course
– Written permission from your local bishop to marry abroad
How can I find more detailed information regarding my country’s requirements?
Depending on your nationality you can find more specific and detailed information at you country’s embassy in Italy. Unless you are hiring a wedding planner to do the paperwork, it is always a good start to write an email to the embassy. This way you can check the updated requirements for you to get legally married in Italy.
American citizens can check this page.
Australian citizens can check this page.
British nationals can check this page.