How To Get Married In Italy: Planning Your Destination Wedding

Plan your dream Italian wedding with insights on getting married in Italy.
Written By: Andrea Spallanzani
Last Updated March 22, 2024
How & Why We Created This Article

This article has been reviewed and fact-checked. We live in Italy and travel throughout the country to help you make the best choices for your trip. To provide the highest quality content, portions of this article have been written using assistive AI tools for help with spell-checking, grammar, and translation.

Last Updated March 22, 2024

In this article, you'll learn how:

  • Italy offers both civil and religious wedding options, with civil ceremonies being conducted by the Mayor or Civil Registrar in Italian.
  • Catholic weddings are prevalent in Italy, but they require additional planning and collaboration with local churches and authorities.
  • Same-sex civil unions are legally recognized in Italy, providing rights and obligations similar to those of marriage.

Do you want to get married in Italy? It’s not too difficult. 11,000 international couples opted to marry in Italy, with 54% choosing a symbolic ceremony. However, it necessitates extensive planning and a fundamental knowledge of the law, just like any wedding. For face-to-face interactions, office visits, and administrative deadlines, time will be needed. Nevertheless, there is a solid reason why tens of thousands of foreigners get married there every year.

It is well known that Italian weddings are vivid, colorful, and enjoyable events. There is a lot to choose from, from the cuisine to the setting to the energetic music. In a nation where celebrations are taken seriously, it makes sense that a wedding would be celebrated.

Whether they were married there, had family there, or went on a romantic Italian vacation, Italy holds a unique place in the hearts of many couples. Whatever your motivation, you can get the information you need from this article to prepare for your trip to have your dream Italian wedding.

The Different Wedding Types In Italy

Italy recognizes both civil and religious weddings legally. All religious weddings in Italy, except for Catholic ones, must be legally binding and take place in a civil ceremony.

A civil union, which is a same-sex relationship, is also recognized in Italy. In 2021, Italy registered 2,148 same-sex civil partnerships. Your rights under a civil partnership are on par with those under a marriage.

There are also non-marital relationships, sometimes known as cohabitations.

Wedding TypeDescription
Civil MarriageNon-religious union conducted by the Mayor or Civil Registrar in Italian.Can take place in Italian town halls or authorized historic sites like castles and villas.May be followed by a customizable symbolic ceremony.
Religious WeddingReligious ceremonies are held in churches with a priest and Scripture readings.All religious marriages are recognized in Italy but require a prior civil ceremony.Mixed-religion weddings are allowed with the parish bishop’s blessing.
Catholic WeddingRequires at least one partner to be Catholic.Involves planning with Italian and local churches, city officials, and consulates.Legally binding when accompanied by a civil component.Typically held in dedicated churches or chapels, often in English
Civil Union (Gay)Recognized same-sex civil unions available in Italy.Offers inheritance, cohabitation, pension, and family name rights similar to marriage.May require a meeting with the town hall office at least 30 days before the ceremony.Does not permit adoption and is easier to dissolve than divorce
De Facto RelationshipsHeterosexual or same-sex partners living together without a formal marriage or civil union.Provides rights such as assuming lease obligations and receiving compensation in case of a partner’s deathCan be formally recognized by declaring the relationship at the municipal registry office.Offers visitation rights, healthcare involvement, and potential residence permits for non-EU partners.

Civil Marriage

two gold-colored wedding rings on a book

A civil marriage is a union of two persons that is not religious. The Mayor or Civil Registrar conducts them in an unreligious setting and in Italian.

Marriage vows and readings from the Italian civil code typically make up the civil ceremony.

They may take place in an Italian town hall or another location chosen by them. No need to worry if you’re concerned about the background! Historic sites including medieval castles, palaces, and villas are among the authorized locations. However, indoor settings are used most frequently.

After the actual wedding ceremony, you could also hold a symbolic ceremony wherever you like.

Civil Ceremonies

  • Conducted by the mayor of the city or another civil official
  • On an Italian-language basis
  • A formal interpreter is required (if one of you cannot speak Italian).
  • Must take place in a structure that the town hall has approved.
  • Can be customized, for instance, by adding unique vows, poetry, or music
  • Last 20 – 30 minutes

Religious Wedding Ceremonies

The religious context and ceremonies of religious marriages set them apart from civil nuptials. They take place in churches, where a priest and members of both families read Scripture verses.

Catholicism predominates among Italians. There are over 100,000 Catholic churches in Italy, most of which are in Tuscany. All religious marriages are recognized in Italy, although, unlike Catholic weddings, they are not legally binding unless a civil ceremony is held beforehand.

However, a mixed-religion wedding (between partners of several religions) is only permitted with the parish bishop’s blessing.

Catholic Wedding Ceremonies

  • Need that at least one partner be Catholic
  • Entail more planning and time (you’ll need to arrange with the Italian church, your local church, city officials, and consulates)
  • Are enforceable as long as there is a civil component to the service
  • Occur in a dedicated church or chapel
  • Are led by a Catholic priest
  • Can be carried out in English
  • Last about an hour
  • Require the documentation to be submitted at least two months but not more than six months before the wedding
  • The bride’s shoulders are covered during the wedding ceremony

Gay Weddings: A Civil Union

The Italian government passed a law enabling same-sex civil unions in 2016. Similar to other countries, Italy only allows marriage for mixed-sex couples, whereas civil unions are only allowed for gay couples.

Although it goes by a different name, most of the rights and obligations are the same as those of marriage.

But what precisely does a civil union entail?

A Civil Union

  • Is for same-sex couples
  • Gives individuals the same inheritance, cohabitation, pension, and family name rights as married people
  • Possibly calls for a meeting with the town hall office at least 30 days before the ceremony
  • Refuses to permit adoption
  • It is not necessary to be faithful
  • It is simpler to dissolve the union than to get a divorce

De facto Relationships and Cohabitation

silhouette of person's hands forming heart

De facto couples, also known as coppie di fatto, are heterosexual or same-sex partners who live together and maintain a committed bond without entering into a marriage or civil union.

The rights to, for instance, assume lease obligations or receive compensation in the event of a partner’s death are granted under this sort of partnership, also known as cohabitation.

By declaring their connection to the municipality’s registry office and signing a cohabitation contract, a couple might choose to formally recognize their union.

The following are the primary characteristics of a de facto relationship:

  • Couples share a home and a solid, enduring relationship.
  • If one partner passes away, the other may occupy their home for a maximum of five years.
  • Children of a couple have the right to joint custody.
  • They must register in the city registry as a famiglia anagrafica (household) to receive official recognition.

When a cohabitation becomes official:

  • The couples have complete visitation rights in hospitals and prisons.
  • They have the right to receive private information about their partner’s health issues and to participate in medical decisions.
  • A partner from outside the EU can be eligible for a residence permit.
  • A partner has the right to take part in the management and earnings of their partner’s family business.
  • The lease could be taken over.
  • In the case that one of the two spouses is unable to serve as guardian, one of the partners may be chosen.

The cohabitation agreement enables you to decide in advance to whom the shared property will be assigned in the event of a disagreement. It must be in writing, confirmed by a notary or attorney, and entered into the Municipality’s registers as a legal contract.

The cohabitation agreement in Italy lets couples decide on:

  • The cohabitants’ place of habitation.
  • Their strategies for meeting those demands in everyday life
  • Any system for defining common property.

In contrast to marriage, cohabitation in Italy implies:

If a couple is separated, the economically weaker member cannot expect financial assistance from the more powerful one.

In the event of death, the surviving spouse can only inherit the decedent’s possessions via a will.

What legal conditions must be met to get married in Italy?

There is no legal residency requirement for marriage, doesn’t matter if you stay in Italy or not, thus anyone can get hitched there. You must present identification documentation whether you are a foreigner or not. Additionally, you must attest that no legal barriers are preventing your marriage.

What are the requirements to be married in Italy?

Residency RequirementNo legal residency requirement for marriage in Italy.
Identification DocumentsBoth parties, whether foreigners or not, must present legitimate passports or national ID cards.
Previous Marital StatusIf previously married, divorced, or widowed, divorce documents or a death certificate must be presented.
Atto NotorioA sworn declaration before a consular official from your native country attesting to no legal obstacles.
Marriage StatementA statement of intent to marry is submitted to the civil registrar.
Additional Catholic Wedding Documents (if applicable)Baptismal and confirmation certificates.Certificate of first communion.Nihil Obstat or a letter of no hindrance to marriage.Proof of attending a premarital course.A written letter of permission from your Priest.
Minimum AgeThe legal marriage age is 18; minors require written parental consent.
ProcedureContact the consulate of your native nation in Italy for guidance.Submit the statement of intent to marry at the city’s town hall.Choose the wedding date, typically at least three weeks in advance.Civil notices are published for two weeks before the wedding (may be waived for non-Italian nationals).Visit the town hall to obtain the marriage certificate and Apostille stamp for authenticity and translation.

Essential Records and Documents

All the papers required for a legal, religious, or symbolic wedding in Italy must be prepared. Plan to have the following paperwork nearby:

  • Both parties’ legitimate passports or national ID cards
  • Original birth certificate or certified copy for both parties
  • If you have been previously married, divorced, or widowed, you must present divorce documents or a death certificate. You need a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office if your previous marriage ended within the last 300 days.
  • A declaration made under oath before a consular official of your native country that there are no obstacles to your marriage there is known as a Dichiarazione Giurata.
  • An Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses (who may not be family members) further attesting that there is no legal obstacle to your marriage
  • A marriage statement that will be submitted to the civil registrar

Additional paperwork that may be required for a Catholic wedding includes some or all of the following:

  • Baptismal and confirmation certificates
  • Certificate of first communion
  • Nihil Obstat, or a letter of no hindrance to marriage
  • Proof of attendance at a premarital course
  • A written letter of permission from your Priest

What age can a person legally get married in Italy? Legal marriage requires both parties to be at least 18 years old, and minors must have written parental consent.

The Procedure

Make contact with the consulate of your native nation in Italy as a first step. They will give you advice on the precise actions you must take, including how to prepare the atto notorio.

Your marriage will be performed at the city’s town hall, where you will hand in your statement of intent to marry. The civil registrar will receive this declaration. If you do not speak Italian, you should bring a translation. Once this intention is expressed, you are formally invited to choose the wedding date.

This should be planned at least three weeks before the wedding. Before the wedding, civil notices must be published for two weeks straight, including two Sundays. You can ask the office to waive this requirement if neither party is an Italian national or resident. Depending on the rules of your particular town hall, you might be able to reduce the length of your waiting time to only one day.

Particularly about Catholic weddings, you might need to abide by the regulations of both your home church and the parish where you plan to get married. It’s advisable to inquire directly about the deadline for submitting all of your religious paperwork. Remember that there are numerous documents you must get, thus time will be needed. For special guidance, speak with the parish where you’ll get married as well as your local parish.

You’ll sign your official marriage license at the wedding. The mayor of the municipality where you get married will authorize the issuance of an official marriage certificate to you. You should schedule a second visit to the town hall to produce the marriage certificate after the wedding. There, you’ll get an Apostille stamp that authenticates the paper and includes an English translation of the certificate.

What should I be aware of about Italian wedding ceremonies?

Civil weddings may be held indoors or outdoors in any venue that has been authorized by the Italian government. The usage of numerous mansions, castles, parks, and town halls has been authorized. The location’s official license is the only requirement. The mayor or another government representative will officiate during the civil ceremony. If no one in your group speaks Italian, an interpreter must be present; they do not need to be a certified translator. Depending on where you live, a different amount of time may pass between announcing your intention to marry and the day of your wedding.

Catholic weddings are the only religious ceremony that can be legally performed without a civil component. The couple must include a Catholic. Due to collaboration between your local church, the Italian church, city officials, and consulates, you should plan on a longer wedding planning period. Starting your planning six months before your intended wedding date is a smart idea.


How much does a wedding planner cost in Italy?

Wedding planner fees in Italy vary based on factors like location, celebration scale, and services needed, ranging approximately from €2,000 to €8,000.

Does getting married in Italy grant you citizenship?

Getting married in Italy does not automatically grant you Italian citizenship. Even if you’re a foreigner married to an Italian, you don’t become Italian automatically. You need to apply for citizenship at the Prefecture’s Office after being married for at least two years (or one year if you have children).

For further information, visit the website of the consulate or embassy in your native country:



United Kingdom:


United States:

Italian Wedding Customs And Traditions

On your big day, you could choose to incorporate one or more of the following Italian traditions:

  1. Luck – A Sunday wedding is good because it is thought to bring fertility and prosperity.
  2. No gold – Wearing gold jewelry is thought to bring bad luck (apart from your ring, of course).
  3. Tarantella – a unique “dance of the spider” in which visitors form a circle and clasp hands while the music accelerates
  4. Tie-cutting – To raise money for the wedding costs, the groom has his tie cut into pieces that are sold to the guests.
  5. Vase-breaking – The bride and groom may break a glass or vase after the ceremony. The number of splinters it breaks into corresponds to the number of joyful years of marriage.

An Italian wedding will require preparation and careful consideration, just like any other wedding. However, every attendee will undoubtedly find it to be a memorable event. No matter what kind of money you have, the exotic setting and unique traditions can help you plan the wedding of your dreams.