Italy is a super popular location for getting married, and for good reason! With its beautiful villages and towns steeped in history it offers a bounty of lovely locations from rolling fields, scenic vineyards, villas, and castles to a vast array of breathtaking cathedrals and churches. You can choose to marry anywhere from the beautiful lakes to Shakespeare’s romantic Verona. …Unfortunately, having a legal ceremony in Italy isn’t exactly straightforward, so prepare yourself for quite a bit of paperwork.
For more stunning locations, make sure you look at these perfect ideas for a romantic getaway.
Featured above: Cortona Events – Tuscany, Italy
What’s the weather like?
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*Average daily sunshine hours
*Average monthly rainfall (inches)
What’s the flight time?
2‐4 hours (depending on destination)
What’s the time difference?
Do I need a Visa to get married in Italy?
What’s the wedding paperwork for getting married in Italy?
- Residency Though there is no official residency requirement for civil ceremonies in Italy, some Register Offices in Italy will require you to sign a Declaration of Intention to Marry 2 to 4 days prior to your marriage ceremony, so always check with the individual Registrar. (Florence, for instance, requires you to visit with two witnesses, three days before your wedding.)
- Proof of status You need to prove you’re legally allowed to get married by getting a Certificate of No Impediment from your local Register Office.
- Proof of ID You’ll need to show full birth certificates and 10‐year passports. If you have changed your name – Deed Poll
- Divorced An official copy of your decree absolute will be required as well as previous marriage certificates. A re‐marriage for a divorced woman cannot take place within 300 days of the dissolution of her previous marriage.
- Widowed If either of you are widowed you will need to produce the death certificate of your deceased spouse.
- Age restrictions You need to be 18+ to marry in Italy without parental consent. Below this age, you’ll need to obtain parental consent in the form of a sworn affidavit.
You need to also be aware that legal requirements in Italy can vary depending on the region where you wish to marry.
How do I obtain a marriage licence?
A Certificate of No Impediment:
First you’ll need a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). This must be obtained from your local Register Office and will later be sent, along with photocopies of the first five pages of your passports and your original birth certificates, to the British Consulate in the Italian city where you wish to marry. You will then be issued with a Nulla Osta (sworn statement), which you take to the Register Office on your arrival.
When you receive your CNI it will be signed and dated by your local Registrar.
Italian Wedding Event notes that,”It is essential that the names you give to the Registrar, which will appear on your Certificates of No Impediment, are exactly the same as written in your passports. For example, Jim Harris on the Certificate, and James Harris-Ford on your passport might mean that the Italian authorities will reject your paperwork and refuse to allow the marriage to go ahead. Please take your passport with you to the Registry Office, just to be absolutely certain.”
Some things to be aware of:
- A Certificate of No Impediment is valid for six months from the date on your English, Welsh, or Northern Irish CNI (or three months for a Scottish CNI). (Gov.uk advises that you check with your local register office to find out how long a CNI is valid if you live in the Isle of Man, Jersey, or Guernsey.)
- A CNI is valid for 6 months under Italian law, as under Italian regulations they will expire after that time. Therefore, your Certificate of No Impediment must not be older than 6 months when it comes time for your Civil Wedding and, with that in mind, you can’t start the documentation process more than 6 months before your wedding date (or 3 months if you are resident in Scotland).
- Your partner will also need a CNI and Statutory Declaration (see below) if they’re British. If they’re not, the documents they need might be different.
While you’re waiting for your Certificate of No Impediment you’ll need to provide more information to the Italian authorities in a “Statutory Declaration” before a solicitor or public notary in the UK. (Just be aware that there will be a charge for this.)
Once you’ve received your CNI and you’ve made your Statutory Declaration, both need to be sent to the FCO Legalisation Office (in Milton Keynes) so that they can be legalised with a Hague Apostille (just be aware that the Legalisation Office will charge for this).
Any documents issued outside of Italy must be officially translated into Italian and authorised by the Italian Consulate in the UK (or an agency that’s been verified by the Italian Consulate) that’s nearest to where the documents were issued. Note, again, that you may face a charge for the translator’s services.
Italian Wedding Event notes that, “As it will become an Italian legal document it should be translated by a translator based in Italy and sworn before the Italian courts or an Italian Justice of the Peace.”
In fact, all original documents will need to be accompanied by Italian translations.
Each British national resident in the UK should eventually have:
- A Certificate of No Impediment issued in the UK (UK Citizens only), legalised in the UK, and then translated officially in Italy.
- A bilingual Statutory Declaration legalised in the UK.
- A Nulla Osta (a Certificate of Freedom to Marry).
- Official, Long Form, Original Birth Certificate which include the names of both your parents.
- A valid UK Passport.
- Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address, and occupation.
- Parental or Guardian Consent if one partner is under the age of 18.
- Proof any previous marriages have ended (Divorce Decree or Death Certificate)
All documentation must be original or certified copies, and these should all be ready to be sent directly to where you will get married in Italy. If you are using a wedding planner, you should send all of your documents to them prior to the wedding and they will present them to the Town Hall on your behalf.
Choosing Your Venue:
Italy is celebrated for fine wine, amazing food, and warm hospitality, and because Italy grew up as a selection of city states there’s a rich variety of customs and cuisine from region to region. From the lush orange groves of Sicily to the unequalled scenery of the Alps, it offers enormous variety in its natural and historical backdrops too.
With its rich history and beautiful, art-drenched cities, Italy is one of the great romantic venues for your wedding and honeymoon. Make sure you check out these gorgeous wedding venues and honeymoon destinations in Italy!
There are so many venues to choose from for your wedding abroad in Italy, but be aware that mayors in a lot of of Italy won’t do outdoor ceremonies (though the list of outdoor venues is growing!)
Featured above: Castello di Meleto in in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
When you have decided your wedding date and venue, contact the town hall (or the “comune”) of the Italian town you’d like to get married in to check the availability of your dates, and to doublecheck the documents that are required. Your documents (explained above) must be presented to the town hall a number of days before the wedding, so plan to arrive at least 2 days in advance (unless they are being delivered by wedding planner or agency).
Note: The Italian Embassy in London recommends that you arrange your wedding through one of its wedding specialist agencies. See “Where can I find further information?” at the bottom of this article.
What kind of wedding ceremony can I have in Italy?
Both civil and Catholic weddings are possible in Italy, and provided you’ve done all of the legal paperwork correctly they are both legally binding.
Firstly, you’ll need to sign a Declaration of Intent to Marry two to five days (depending on the Municipality) prior to your wedding and an interpreter will be needed throughout. (For details of Register Offices where you can book your ceremony and arrange for an interpreter, contact the Italian Embassy. Again, see “Where can I find further information?” at the bottom of this article.)
In Italy, a civil ceremony can only happen at the local Town Hall and buildings managed by the Town Hall but, happily, many of these buildings are stunningly beautiful and include backdrops such as palaces, villas, and castles to name just a few. Your ceremony will most likely be performed by the Mayor or his assistant (or another civil officer), in Italian,and the ceremony will last for around thirty minutes. You must have an interpreter present throughout (whether you speak Italian yourself or not) and you must ensure that you have at least 2 witnesses who are over the age of 18 (who can be present during your civil marriage and who can then sign the official documents).
As with any Civil Ceremony, you can still enhance your celebration with your own vows and readings.
Featured above: Abbey of San Pietro in Valle, Umbria via Paolo Cicognani Weddings and Events
Most cities in Italy can arrange Roman Catholic ceremonies, where appropriate, which are automatically registered with the Italian Authorities and don’t require a civil wedding as well. In some areas, mixed-religion marriages are also possible with a Dispensation from your local Parish Priest. Ceremonies for other religions can also be organised, though these are not recognised by the Italian Authorities—here you’ll need to organise a civil ceremony beforehand, either in Italy or at home before you travel, or your wedding in Italy can be a purely symbolic ceremony while you have a full, legal wedding at home.
Please note that, for a Catholic wedding in Italy:
- Either you or your partner (or both) must be a Catholic.
- Under Italian law, a woman who has been divorced/widowed and wishes to re-marry in Italy can’t do so until 300 days have passed from the date of her divorce or the death of her husband. Italian Wedding Event however notes that “It is possible to apply for a Dispensation to this through the Civil Law Courts (Tribunale Civile).“
- Organising your wedding is a long process. Start 6 months before your wedding (see above for information on getting a Certificate of No Impediment), and make sure the church in Italy has the paperwork at least 2 months before. On which note, One Fab Day advises that you should, “make contact with the priest of the church well in advance as they might not agree to marry you and you will need to set a date.”
- Paperwork for Catholic weddings is in addition to all paperwork needed for a civil ceremony and can be completed through the bride’s parish.
Furthermore, The Pontifical Irish College in Italy can help Irish citizens to arrange a Catholic wedding in one of the jewels of Italy—Rome. They will help with plans and paperwork, and weddings take place in the gorgeous St. John Lateran in Rome. However, couples must work directly with the college and not through a planner or agency.
Of course, many modern couples choose to have a purely symbolic wedding service and reception, at home or abroad, and go to a registry office either before or after the celebration to make the wedding legal by signing the official register.This allows for much more freedom and creativity—your wedding can literally be whatever you want it to be.
Certificate of Marriage
As mentioned above, both civil and Catholic weddings in Italy can be legally binding. Provided everything has been done properly, you will be issued with an international wedding certificate that will also be valid in your home country (though if you want multiple copies of this you need to request them in advance). Once you return to your home country your marriage can also be lodged with the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths and you can order extra copies that way.
Featured above: Stephanie Allin Bellissimo Collection
Where can I find further information on getting married in Italy?
Confetti makes reasonable efforts to obtain data from reliable sources and to keep the contents reasonably accurate. However, specifications and requirements may change and Confetti cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the content or information in this article. We strongly advise you to consult other sources of information, including the embassies or consulates of the countries in question, or local lawyers.
Italian Tourist Board
1 Princes Street
Tel: 020‐7408 1254
14 Three Kings Yard
38 Eaton Place
Tel: 020 7235 9371