Italian Weddings Part 1 – Getting Married in Italy

Italy is a country full of love, passion and romance. It is the setting for many love stories, real and imagined. You can’t deny the romantic appeal of the cobblestone streets, Venetian Gondola Rides, or the stunning views. Italy is the ideal location for a romantic honeymoon. But it’s equally appropriate for a wedding. This guide will help you make your day unforgettable by explaining how to legally marry in Italy.

Many brides yearn to get married in Italy and then honeymoon. Photo by Luca Fazzolari

Step 1: Gather your documents

As with most things in Italy, getting married will require some documents. Although it will vary depending on your nationality, the minimum documents required to get married in the USA are a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, and proof of termination of marriages. To be legal in Italy, each of these documents must first be translated into Italian. To obtain an Apostille stamp, which is issued by the Secretary to State of the country you’re from, you will need all the documents mentioned above. To learn more about where you can get an Apostille Stamp in the United States, click here.

You will need an Atto Notorio (from an Italian Consulate) in order to complete the process. Although it is possible to do it in Italy, it is likely that language and time constraints will make it more difficult. This document states that there are no barriers to marriage and that each of you is eligible to marry.


Step 2: Select your Ceremony


Here, a scroll shows that the mayor may choose to gift the couple a quote or poem as a gift. Photo by Gina Mussio

It is a good idea to hire a professional wedding planner to manage all details of the ceremony abroad. This usually includes dealing with bureaucracy. Many people will help you coordinate your special day.

While getting married in Italy may be a dream for many brides, planning the ceremony in another country can present a host of challenges. One, it might be impossible to have a Catholic marriage in Italy, even if you live in a Catholic country. Although it is possible, there are not many priests available to perform the marriage ceremony. The couple will also need to take a complete course in pre-Cana training or marriage classes before they can get married. It is likely that you will need to have a civil ceremony in order to hold a religious ceremony.

Although the song “Goin’ To the Chapel …,”” is sung, civil marriage ceremonies in Italy cannot be held in a town hall. Some villas are allowed to hold civil ceremonies in certain cases. This ceremony is presided over by the mayor of the municipality. It’s not your usual Justice of the Peace ceremony. Instead, it is a well-written ceremony that has much more meaning and importance. The couple will require two witnesses. They can personalize the civil ceremony with music and readings.


Step 3: Go to Italy


Maria Luisa Buccella photo

To avoid delays and bureaucratic difficulties, arrive early in Italy. You will need a Nulla Osta (or dichiarazione giurata) from the United States Consulate to Italy once you have arrived. The Nulla Osta, also known as dichiarazione Giurata, is a document which swears that there are not legal obstacles to marriage under Italian law or U.S. law. The Nulla Osta is 50 USD for Americans. However, you can search the individual embassy websites to determine the cost of your nationality. You must pay in cash. Be prepared. There are U.S. consulates and agents in Milan, Genoa. Venice, Florence. Rome. Naples.

Once you have the Nulla Osta, you need to legalize it at the Prefecture’s Office or Ufficio della Prefettura. Stop in a tabacchi or tobacco shop to purchase a EUR16 Euro marco da bollo (or revenue stamp). In every capital, there is only one prefettura. The normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Although it may seem overwhelming, it’s not about filling out paperwork. You should allow yourself more time so that you can relax and not be stressed before the big day.


Your Italian wedding will be a great success if you invite your friends and family! Photo by shoobydooby, via flickr

It is an ideal location for couples looking to marry in Italy because of the passion and beautiful backdrop.

Related Articles