Getting Married in Italy
In a charming little villa on September 5th, 2009, so many of my dreams came true!
Getting married in Italy is a dream for most people.
From the numerous countrysides, the beautiful beaches and exotic castles, it is not surprising that so many people choose to hold their wedding in Italy. I know I never could have imagined it happening to me.
Have you ever dreamed of getting married in Italy?
“Vado a un matrimonio.” — I’m going to a wedding.
The legal side of things
I met my now husband in the summer of 2008 and although I was on my way back home to Canada, we both realized right away that we could not live without each other.
After a trip to the Canadian embassy in Rome where we requested our permit to marry we were asked to provide the following papers:
- A valid passport or 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 Giurata sworn 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 * (Be advised that here will be fees for most of these!)
We had our civil wedding (cerimonia civile ) in the spring of 2009 at our local town hall (comune) amongst my husband’s closest relatives and friends.
This is also where I began my long and somewhat difficult process of applying for my residency in Italy as well as getting all the needed paperwork done to become a “legal citizen”. (I will be discussing that further in another post!)
So we were legally married, hooray! Now came the more time consuming part: the preparations for our big wedding. Having family spread all over the globe made it more difficult to organise. Not to mention I was already pregnant at the time of our civil wedding!
Between having a baby, working out a date that would work for everyone, finding a dress and location, a year flew by. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to organise such an important day of your life!
Our next big hurdle was from the church. Being a Catholic country they have certain requirements for having a religious wedding.
Such documentation could include:
- Baptism certificates
- Confirmation certificates
- Letter of no impediment to marry
- Proof of attendance of a premarital course
- Local bishop’s permission to marry abroad *
Thankfully I had my husband’s family by my side throughout the whole ordeal and they were a very big help. Most of my family was able to make it and my dad walked me down the aisle!
Not being Catholic myself and therefore not having all the needed documents, we were not given permission to have a religious wedding. Although it is more traditional to get married in a church here, we had a private pastor officiate.
“Vi dichiaro marito e moglie.” — I pronounce you husband and wife.
A year later out in the beautiful countryside on the outskirts of Rome in a little quaint town called Nepi we finally tied the knot.
Cultural traditions for weddings in Italy.
Although a lot of things have changed since I got married back in 2010 as far as “trends”, there are cultural traditions thats have remained the same as they have been for the last century or so.
A wedding is an important moment in anyone’s life. Italy, like each other country has its own traditions regarding weddings.
For example, the concept of “bridesmaids” is not common here. They typically have two designated “witnesses”(testimone) who attend the wedding and act as support for the newlyweds. The brides witness is similar to a “maid of honor” and should be a person the bride can count on, rely on and be able to manage some of the “critical” moments of the wedding.
Friday weddings are considered bad luck(sfortuna), whereas Sunday ceremonies are viewed as the luckiest day — bringing couples fertility and prosperity.
Sweet wedding favours know as ‘bomboniere’ — are small gift bags given to guests as a thank you for attending. Bomboniere are usually an odd number of sugared almonds or sugar covered chocolate.
Another tradition in Southern Italy is that the length of veil should reflect the length of engagement; one metre for every year.
Italy is an incredibly rich country in history and culture–perfect for all the romantics out there. Although it might take a few extra steps to get there, all in all it is definitely a place for having an unforgettable wedding. I know I do not have any regrets!
As long as you do your research concerning all the legal elements and plan ahead for any possible setbacks, you should be fine!
Bear in mind that if you are considering getting married anytime soon you will also have to look up any current restrictions or new requirements concerning the COVID pandemic. (You can visit this site for information.)
*Excerpts taken from www.wise.com. For a more detailed and in depth guide on the legal details of getting married in Italy read here.
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