We love destination weddings and we love a destination wedding in Italy. Italy has an immense amount of history. This is the homeland of the Roman empire and the birthplace of the Renaissance and is just oozing with culture and art. But, beyond the history also lies the beautiful landscape which takes you from the icy Alps to serene lakes, to lavender fields, blue waters and ancient cities.
As you can imagine, Italy attracts couples for their destination weddings like a moth to a flame. Just look at the recent celebrity weddings of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin in Venice, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in Florence, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Puglia. And let’s be honest, it’s not hard to see why.
The history alone is something to marvel, but the beauty of the country, the passionate people and oh my god, the food is something you can’t help but fall in love with. There is so much to see and do that is so appealing to both engaged couples and their guests alike.
Italy isn’t a huge country, but the terrain is varied enough that the best times to have your destination wedding will depend on the location you are headed to. In general, though, the best time to have your destination wedding in Italy is in the spring or fall because it’s the shoulder season and will be cheaper and less crowded.
The spring brings with it festivals and flowers and the fall has the grape harvest. Summer and the Christmas/New Year holidays are the peak season with lots of tourists and higher costs and less availability. The winter is low season so it’s much cheaper, but you should stick to larger cities as other areas do close down for the winter. All in all, though, Italy is a year-round country that will delight you no matter what season you choose.
Getting married in Italy is a bit tricky. It’s not hard per se, but there are a bunch of steps you’ll need to take in order to get it done legally. While you certainly can get it done, some couples choose to get married in their home country before or after their destination wedding in Italy to avoid the hassle. Either option is up to you, but we’ll detail out the steps here to doing it legally in Italy in case you want to go that route. Of course, you should always check with your embassy or consulate office for the most updated information.
The applicable law on marriages is one and the same all over Italy, but know that local town halls may interpret the law in slightly different ways and waive certain requirements. You will want to contact the Registrar’s Office of the town hall where you intend to get married to obtain a definitive list of documents as well as to learn how many days prior to the date of the ceremony you need to submit them.
Now, if you want to get legally married in Italy, the first thing you’ll have to decide is if you want a civil ceremony or a religious one. The only religious ceremony recognized in Italy is a Roman Catholic one, so if that isn’t you, then you’ll need to have a civil ceremony. You can still have a religious ceremony that isn’t Roman Catholic, but if you go this route, you’ll need to have a civil ceremony first to ensure the legality of the marriage. Civil ceremonies are performed by the mayor or one of his deputies. Two witnesses and, if necessary, an interpreter must be present at the ceremony.
With regards to the paperwork, the first step is to submit a Nulla Osta form along with a $50 fee that verifies that you are free to marry. You must sign this form in front of a consular officer. Then you must also obtain an Atto Notorio, an oath sworn in the presence of two witnesses (no family members) and an Italian consul, which states that “there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in the United States.” If you or your witnesses does not speak Italian, the presence of an interpreter is required. You both must provide your passports and birth certificates and in cases of remarriage, the divorce decree or death certificate of the former spouse must be provided as well. Documents issued in the U.S. that are in English must be translated into Italian and authenticated by the Italian Consulate. Couples should contact the Italian Consulate in the city in which they will marry to verify documentation requirements, as there are some variances among consulates.
Once you have declared your intent to marry, banns are posted in the commune, or town hall. The length of time the banns, or marriage announcements, are posted varies from one day to several weeks depending on the city. In many cases, banns are waived or shortened when neither individual is Italian or a resident of Italy.
After exchanging vows, you can request certified copies of your marriage certificate. The U.S. Department of State recommends requesting multiple copies. You must take the certificate(s) to the legalization office of the Italian Prefettura that has jurisdiction over the city in which you were married. Here, the office affixes an apostille (stamp) to the certificate, which legalizes it. And then you’re all set!
Now that we explained the legal side of getting married in Italy, let’s talk about the fun side! Our friend Janna from Warm Photo, heads to Italy often to shoot destination weddings, so we asked her to share some of her thoughts on Italy.
Jamie: Hi Janna! I’m so happy to have you chat with our couples about Italy. So, to start off, what do you love about Italy?
Janna: You can constantly explore Italy and never get tired! Everyone will find in this country something special. Every road leads to something beautiful.
My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon exploring Italy, so it has a special place in my heart. I can close my eyes and “feel” the amazing sunsets in the hills of Tuscany, delicious coffee in Rome, and mysterious nights in Venice. The language, food, and scenery are all so beautiful, and the light is so magical. There are so many inspiring places!
Jamie: Do you have a favorite place in Italy?
Janna: I personally love Civita di Bagnoregio and The Val d’Orcia. I feel something special in my heart in these places! But I also have to mention Tuscany. Tuscany is the region where Italian dreams and romance were created. With its rolling hills covered with olive trees and grapevines, timeless Renaissance cupolas and churches, bright yellow fields of sunflowers and villages with cobblestone streets, it is just captivating.
Jamie: Why do you think a couple should consider a destination wedding in Italy?
Janna: There are many opportunities and styles for every couple. You could have a small private wedding for two, a romantic and elegant wedding in a villa, or a huge luxury event. And there are so many beautiful Italian venues like villas, castles, palaces, churches, gardens, and beaches all throughout Italy. Choosing your wedding venue may end up being one of the most difficult decisions you make.
And don’t forget that one of the biggest pluses is that you have the ability to have your wedding and honeymoon all in one place.
Jamie: What types of couples do you think are most attracted to Italy?
Janna: Couples who are adventurous by nature and lovers of history and culture. I think couples who have a destination wedding in Italy want a beautiful fairy-tale wedding where they can create a special atmosphere and memories.
Jamie: What is one thing a couple should know before choosing Italy for their wedding?
Janna: Remember that Italians are slow in their work. My advice is to plan early and start everything in advance!
Thanks Janna for sharing some of the awesomeness of Italy both in your words and your photos (all the lovely photos were taken by Janna)!
So, why Italy? I have to agree with what Janna said. Having a destination wedding in Italy is great because there are lots of options for venues from lakes to ancient castles to peaceful countrysides and beautiful cities. There is something for almost everyone here. I find that the couples who flock to Italy really enjoy the history aspect of the country. They like that gladiators fought there or that they can get married in a place so old that the art mosaic is crumbling. They appreciate the long history and culture of the country and the stories and want to embrace that old world feeling in their wedding.
What I love about Italy besides the history, culture and food, is that despite it’s craziness at times (have you seen those drivers in Naples?) there is a real sense of peace. You find it here and there when you ride a gondola down an abandoned waterway or sit and stare up at the Sistine chapel or when you are enjoying some amazing dishes at a neighborhood restaurant. Italy is an old and winding road and there is something new to discover around every corner. Who wouldn’t want a wedding with all of that?
(Photo credit for all photos: Warm Photo)
Excited about Italy? So are we! And if you need a destination wedding planner, we’d love to make your destination wedding in Italy as special as you are.