Getting married in Italy: A complete guide
Getting married in Italy is relatively straightforward. Like any wedding though, it requires advanced planning, as well as a basic understanding of the law. You’ll need time to have in-person conversations, visit various offices and meet administrative deadlines. However, thousands of expats get married in Italy each year, and with good reason.
Italian weddings are known to be colorful, vibrant and fun affairs. From the food to the atmosphere to the lively music, there’s plenty on offer. It’s only natural that a wedding celebration would take place in a country where celebrations are taken seriously.
Italy holds a special place in the heart of many couples, whether they met there, have family there or have been on a romantic Italian trip. No matter the reason, this article will help you with what you need leading up to your wedding in Italy. Find the facts on legal requirements, mandatory documentation, estimated costs and suggested locales.
Weddings in Italy: What type of weddings are possible?
Italy legally recognises religious and civil weddings. Couples are also free to pursue secular symbolic ceremonies, although they're not legally binding.
The majority of Italian weddings take place in a church, due to the country’s overwhelming Catholic majority and the proximity to The Vatican. However, Italy recognises religious weddings from all faiths, including Jewish, Hindu and Muslim religions. In most cases, the marriage process under these religions is similar in any country, including Italy.
For non-Catholic religious weddings, a civil ceremony must be incorporated into the marriage before a wedding is officially legal. You’ll be required to prove you're civilly married before you can celebrate in a religious house of worship.
For non-religious couples in Italy, symbolic ceremonies and blessings do take place. The couple should follow the civil administrative procedure prior to the ceremony if they wish for the marriage to be official and legal.
For same-sex couples in Italy, civil unions are officially recognised, but same-sex marriage is not.
What are the legal requirements to get married in Italy?
Anyone can be married in Italy, as there's no legal residency requirement for a wedding. Whether foreign or not, you’ll have to provide paperwork that certifies your identity. You also must certify that there are no legal obstacles standing in the way of your marriage. A foreign national marrying an Italian citizen does not need to have a visa to hold a wedding in Italy.
Couples must be 18 years old to legally marry, and under-18s must have written parental consent. Muslim individuals aged 16 can marry with the permission of sharia authorities.
What do you need to get married in Italy?
Necessary paperwork and documentation
You will need to prepare all necessary paperwork required for a civil, religious or symbolic wedding in Italy. Plan to have the following documents at hand:
A valid passport or national ID card for both parties
Original birth certificate for both parties
Divorce papers or death certificate if you have been previously married and divorced or widowed
An affidavit, Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giuratasworn 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
A Catholic wedding may also require some or all of the following documentation:
Letter of no impediment to marry
Proof of attendance of a premarital course
Local bishop’s permission to marry abroad
Your first step should be to contact your home country’s consulate in Italy. They will advise you on the specific steps you need to take, including the preparation of the atto notorio.
You’ll submit your declaration of intent to marry to the local marriage office in the city’s town hall where your marriage will be performed. This declaration will go to the civil registrar. A translator should attend if you don't speak Italian. You’re officially invited to set the date of the wedding after this intent is declared.
You should plan the do this at least three weeks in advance of your wedding. Civil notifications must be posted for two consecutive weeks, including two Sundays, before a wedding can take place. If neither party is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy, you may contact the office to waive this requirement. You might be able to expedite your waiting period to as little as a day, depending on the local town hall regulations.
For Catholic weddings specifically, you may have to conform to the rules of your local parish, as well as the parish where you intend to marry. Plan to submit all of your religious documents to the local Italian marriage documents no later than seven weeks prior to your wedding date. They must be processed at your consulate and with the Bishop. Contact your local parish and the parish where you'll marry for specific advice.
At the wedding, you'll sign your legal marriage license. You will be given an official marriage certificate that's authorised by the mayor in the municipality where you marry. After the marriage, you should plan to visit the town hall again to present the marriage certificate. There you'll receive an Apostille stamp which verifies the document and contains a translated copy of the certificate into English.
What fees are involved?
You should expect to pay the following fees for your Italian wedding:
A revenue stamp for the Dichiarazione Giurata/Nulla Osta of €16
A revenue stamp for the Atto Notorio of €16
An application for the Atto Notorio of €10,62
An application for the Nulla Osta of about €40
A rush fee of €31,86 for the Atto Notorio, if applicable
You may also face some local administrative fees, or charges specific to your parish. Inquire directly with the venue where you'll marry in advance.