How to get Married in Italy as a Foreigner

Created: Mar 16, 2024 | Updated: Mar 16, 2024

Imagine exchanging your vows in front of one of Italy's breathtaking backdrops, where every corner tells a story of history, art, and passion. Italy is one of the most sought-after destinations for couples from around the globe because of the beauty and enchantment it adds to your wedding experience. This blog post will guide you through the process of getting married in Italy as a foreigner. We'll be talking about the legal requirements and also give you some tips on how to plan the perfect ceremony. Keep reading to learn more about Italy's interesting wedding traditions and the steps you need to take to have your dream wedding there. 

The Italian Wedding Culture

Italian weddings are deeply rooted in traditions and culture that reflect the country's heritage. They often involve large and elaborate celebrations, including symbolic rituals such as the breaking of a vase or glass, where the number of pieces represents the years of happiness the couple will share. The Italian wedding is not just a day of celebration but a communal experience, showing how much they value family and communal ties. Some Italian wedding traditions include: 

  • Lucky Sunday Weddings: Italians believe that a Sunday wedding brings good luck like fertility and prosperity.
  • Unlucky Gold: They believe that except for your wedding ring, wearing gold jewellery brings bad luck.
  • La Tarantella: This is a special ‘dance of the spider’ that involves guests holding hands in a circle while the music plays.
  • Tie-cutting: Here, the groom’s tie is cut into pieces that are sold to the guests to pay for the wedding expenses.
  • Breaking the Vase: The couple may break a glass or vase and the number of pieces it breaks into represents the number of years the couple will have a happy marriage.

The Catholic faith plays a significant role in the Italian wedding culture, and it shapes the ceremony and traditions. Many Italian weddings are held in Catholic churches as it reflects Italy's deep Catholic roots, where sacraments like marriage hold great spiritual significance. The ceremony includes Catholic rituals such as the exchange of vows, the giving of rings, and the nuptial blessing. The Catholic faith's emphasis on family values and the sanctity of marriage also influences the communal and celebratory spirit that characterizes Italian weddings. 

Types of Italian Weddings

In Italy, weddings can primarily be categorized into civil, religious, and symbolic ceremonies. Civil weddings are legally binding and take place in a city hall, officiated by a mayor or civil registrar. Religious weddings, most commonly Catholic in Italy, occur in a church and are conducted by a priest, incorporating Catholic traditions and rituals. Symbolic weddings, while not legally binding, offer the most flexibility in terms of location and personalization, allowing couples to celebrate their union in a way that's meaningful to them, often in scenic or historical settings. 

  1. The Civil Wedding: An Italian civil wedding is a legally recognized ceremony conducted in a City Hall by a mayor or civil official. It is conducted in the Italian language with an interpreter present if you do not speak Italian. It has to take place in a building approved by the local town hall such as a church, a castle, a villa, or a palace. The ceremony lasts less than an hour and you must declare your intention to marry at the town hall before the wedding. Civil ceremonies in Italy can be personalized with vows and readings, but they must include the legal aspects mandated by Italian law to be officially recognized. 

  2. The Religious Wedding: As earlier mentioned, the Catholic faith governs the religious wedding ceremony in Italy. It is held in a church and officiated by a priest. The ceremony follows traditional Catholic rites, such as the exchange of vows, readings from the Bible, and the nuptial blessing. Couples often need to complete a pre-marital course and provide baptismal certificates along with other religious documentation. This type of wedding is deeply spiritual and incorporates various sacred rituals, reflecting the couple's faith and Italian religious traditions. 

    Italy recognises marriages of other faiths as well. Civil authorities in Italy acknowledge the legal union of couples married in non-Catholic religious ceremonies, provided that the religious ceremony complies with Italian civil law requirements for marriage. This includes submitting the necessary legal documents and sometimes having a civil ceremony in addition to the religious one. Couples are encouraged to consult with their religious leaders and local city hall to ensure all legal and religious requirements are met.

  3. The Symbolic Ceremonies: Italian symbolic ceremonies are usually opted for by non-religious couples. It allows you to celebrate your union without the constraints of legal or religious formalities. These ceremonies are highly personalized, offering you the freedom to choose any venue you wish and to incorporate your own elements, such as your unique vows, cultural traditions, or family rituals. 

The Legal Requirements for Marriage in Italy

  • You must be 18 years or older or have written consent from your parents. You can marry at 16 if you have a Juvenile Court authorisation.
  • You must be single at the time of the marriage.
  • You must submit the following documentation: 
    • A valid passport or national ID.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Divorce or death certificate if you have been divorced or widowed. 
    • If you’re a woman and your previous marriage ended within the last 300 days, you’ll need to submit a non-pregnancy certificate to the local court or get a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office. (A non-pregnancy certificate, also known as a "Certificate of No Impediment," is a legal document that certifies that you are not currently married and not pregnant and there are no legal impediments to the marriage.). 
    • A Nulla Osta (No Impediment Certificate) or a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry if you are citizens of one of the countries that are in agreement with the Munich Convention of September 5, 1980.
    • An Atto Notorio that also confirms no legal impediment to your marriage, signed by two witnesses, (the witnesses can’t be family members).
    • A declaration of intent to marry that will go to the civil registrar
    • For a Catholic wedding you will need:
  • Baptism certificates.
  • Confirmation certificates.
  • Certificate of First Communion.
  • A Nulla Osta.
  • Proof of premarital counselling.
  • A written letter of permission from your Priest.

You should also expect to pay the following fees:

  • Nulla Osta revenue stamp- €16.
  • Nulla Osta application - £50.
  • Two revenue stamps for the Atto Notorio - €16.
  • Atto Notorio application - €10,62 (rush fee - €31,86).

Some local administrative fees or charges specific to your church may also apply. 


How to get married to an Italian citizen


The Italian Marriage Process

Getting married in Italy can be a truly magical experience! Here’s a simplified process of how to get married in Italy: 

Check Your Eligibility

Ensure that you are legally free to marry by reviewing the requirements mentioned above. 

Put Together the Paperwork

Read through the list above and ensure you have all the documents needed to marry in Italy. For the ones that you do not have, visit the issuing authorities and get them. 

Legalize and Translate Your Documents

Documents not in Italian must be officially translated. This is because Italian authorities need to understand the information in the documentation that you provide. For this reason, you need certified translation service in Italy that can accurately translate the information on your documents. With Translayte, you will have access to certified translators that are qualified and enrolled with Italian courts. Our services are easy to order and delivered quickly, with 100% guaranteed acceptance within Italy. Our certified translations are accepted by the Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ministero dell'Interno (Ministry of the Interior), and other Italian institutions, such as universities, banks, local authorities and courts.

Additionally, documents issued by foreign authorities need to be legalized or apostilled to be recognized in Italy. This is done by visiting the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs or the body in charge of legalising documents in your country and having them legalised. 

Declare Your Intent to Marry

Go to the local town hall or Wedding Office of your municipality (Ufficio Matrimoni del Comune) in the city where you wish to marry in Italy and submit a declaration of intent to marry. This is known as the "Atto Notorio," and it may require the presence of two witnesses.

Request the Publication of Marriage

Once you have submitted this documentation, you have to request the Publication of Marriage (pubblicazioni matrimonio), which is a public notice that will be made of your intention to marry. If you do not speak Italian, you will need an interpreter to go with you. The publication will run for at least 8 days. This has to be done at the municipality where you or your partner live.  The municipality will then put out the publication on your behalf. It is a traditional formality that may or may not be required, depending on the municipality. If you live in Italy, the Office of Civil State where the marriage will take place may ask you to do a self-declaration instead of the publication.

Plan the Ceremony 

After the 8 days of the publication are over, you have 180 days to celebrate the marriage. You can set the date for your wedding ceremony at this time and begin your plans for the ceremony. The possibilities are endless when it comes to planning a wedding in Italy. Let’s give you a few tips on how to plan the ceremony. 

1. Choose Your Type of Ceremony: Choosing the type of wedding ceremony you want to have in Italy can shape the entire experience of getting married in one of the most romantic countries in the world. You can choose between a religious wedding, a civil ceremony and a symbolic ceremony. When making this choice, consider the legal requirements, reflect on your values and preferences, consider the venue and atmosphere and seek professional help.

2. Set a Budget: Italian weddings can range significantly in price depending on the location, number of guests, time of year, and the type of ceremony and reception you dream of. Your budget should guide most of your decisions. Research the costs for venues, catering, accommodation, transportation, and wedding services in your area. Identify what aspects of the wedding are most important to you and your partner. This could be the venue and location, or the food and photography. Allocate more of your budget to these areas.

Setting a budget and sticking to it requires discipline and clear communication between you and your partner. Careful planning and prioritizing your spending will help you have the Italian wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. 

3. Select a Venue: Italy offers an array of breathtaking locations, from rustic vineyards to glamorous seaside resorts, and historic castles and villas. Consider the season, the cost, the number of guests you intend to invite and the aesthetic you hope to achieve when choosing the venue.  

4. Choose a Date and Time and Send out Invitations: When selecting your wedding date, consider factors like the weather, special dates for you and your partner, venue and vendor availability, and guest availability. The peak wedding season in Italy is usually between late spring and early autumn, with May to October being the most popular months because of the warm weather, beautiful natural views, and longer days. Send out the invitations in time so your guests can make their plans to attend.

5. Hire Vendors: For a wedding in Italy, assembling the right team of vendors is necessary to bring your wedding vision to life. Here are some vendors you may need to hire for your big day:

  • Wedding Planner: An experienced local wedding planner can be invaluable, especially if you're organizing your wedding from abroad. They can handle logistics, recommend the best local vendors, and ensure your vision is executed perfectly.
  • A Photographer/Videographer: Capturing your wedding day through beautiful photos and videos is essential. Look for professionals with experience shooting in your chosen venue or similar settings, and ensure their style matches your vision.
  • Music and Entertainment: Whether you prefer a DJ, a live band, or classical musicians for your ceremony, music sets the tone for your celebration. You might also consider other entertainment options like dancers, magicians, or fireworks displays to wow your guests.
  • A Florist: A florist will design all the floral arrangements for your ceremony and reception, from the bridal bouquet to table centrepieces. Consider a local florist who can source the freshest seasonal flowers.
  • A Caterer: If your venue doesn't provide catering, you'll need to hire an external caterer. Italian cuisine is a highlight of any wedding in Italy, so choose a caterer who specializes in the type of Italian food you love, be it traditional dishes from a specific region or a more contemporary Italian meal.
  • Hair and Makeup Artist: Look for local professionals who can provide bridal hair and makeup services. You should consider a trial session before the wedding to ensure their style aligns with your preferences.

6. Have a Dress Rehearsal: Plan to have a dress rehearsal if you intend to have a large and complex ceremony. This is usually done a day before the wedding. This helps ensure everyone knows their roles and the event runs smoothly.

7. Personalize Your Ceremony: Incorporate elements that reflect you and your partner’s personalities and relationships. This could include unique music choices, a special reading, or a ritual that has personal significance.

Attend Your Marriage Ceremony 

Attend your beautifully planned marriage ceremony and don’t forget to have all the fun you can! Remember to have all the witnesses present and all the necessary documentation you will need. At the wedding, you'll sign your marriage licence and be given an official marriage certificate authorised by the mayor of your municipality. 

Register Your Marriage

If you chose a civil ceremony, your marriage would be automatically registered. If you have a religious ceremony, the officiant will provide documents to be taken to the town hall to register the marriage officially. 

After registration, make sure to obtain an official marriage certificate from the town hall, and find out if it needs to be legalised for it to be recognised in your home country or elsewhere. Remember to consult with the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country or a legal professional specialising in Italian law for the most accurate and up-to-date advice.

What documents do I need to get married in Italy as a foreigner?



How Long do I Have to be in Italy Before Getting Married?

You can get married in Italy after just 2 or 3 days and sometimes up to 10 days depending on your nationality as there are no residency requirements for getting married in Italy. 

Can I Get Married in Italy Without a Visa?

The need for a visa to enter Italy depends on your nationality, although, you do not need to be a legal resident to get married in Italy. 

Do you Get Citizenship if you Marry an Italian?

No, you do not get automatic citizenship if you marry an Italian. You can apply for Italian citizenship after being married for 2 years if you both live in Italy, and to the Italian Consulate or Embassy after being married for 3 years if you live outside of Italy.

Can I Stay in Italy After Marriage?

Yes, you can stay in Italy after your marriage by applying for a residence permit for family reasons. 

Can Non-Citizens Get Married in Italy?

Yes, non-citizens can get married in Italy. All you need are valid identifications and the necessary legal documentation. 

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