Getting married in Italy requires some paperwork if you plan it to be legally binding. In Italy, Catholic and weddings of some other religions can obtain legal validity during one unique ceremony, this is called “matrimonio concordatario”. Obviously, both religious and civil paperwork have to be prepared well in advance.
Both Civil or Catholic weddings in Italy – unlike many other countries in the world – have to be celebrated respectively in the “comune” (town-hall) premises or in authorized churches. There are very few cities that allow legally binding civil wedding ceremonies in castles or villas which have a special wedding license. You might want to plan to have a private legally binding ceremony in the town hall and then a symbolic ceremony with your guests at the location of the wedding reception such as a castle, a villa or which ever other place you desire.
Let’s now consider different options and requirements for you wedding in Italy as a foreigner:
Wedding in Italy, the Couple
The couple will need to obtain a “NULLA OSTA” to be able to perform a legally valid wedding in Italy. Any countries require different procedures to release this “nulla osta” to let you get married in Italy. As a general rule, if a wedding is celebrated according the Italian regulation it will also be valid in your native country (provided you could come with the Nulla Osta or alike).
Paperwork is to be prepared before you come, sometimes when you are here and after you have left, depending on the nationality of each spouse. In any of the cases timing is critical. In Italy same sex couples cannot perform a legally binding marriage, if it’s your case you may decide to have a symbolic wedding instead and we will be more than happy to provide you with all the needed planning.
GAY WEDDINGS IN ITALY
In Italy gay weddings are not recognized by the law, but we can and we do organize same-sex commitment wedding ceremonies. Our celebrants can perform very personalized symbolic weddings, and we can provide legal assistance to sign a private agreement for mutual respect and obligations.
CATHOLIC WEDDINGS in ITALY
For Catholics, the wedding is a sacrament, and needs an additional paperwork (in parallel to the civil one) which generates another Nulla Osta. this Nulla Osta is generated by the Bishop of the area where the couple lives, and is sent to the local Bishop where the wedding will be held. Be careful of the following:
- To obtain the Nulla Osta at your place, you will need a pre-cana preparation and at least 6-10 months
- Inquire your local priest before to ask him about the exact requirements in your parish. He will initiate the process to obtain your Bishop’s Nulla Osta.
- Preparation is important for a Catholic wedding, so please allow the due time to it, speak a lot with your Father at your local church as a first thing, we are happy to help you and counsel but your church is the first point of reference until you have the fist Nulla Osta released
- All the documents will have to be ready and sent to the Italian Bishop of reference AT LEAST 2-3 months before the wedding. For this reason we suggest you start collecting information about the whole process in your country with your priest no later than 9 months before the wedding.
- MOST OF THE BISHOPS in Italy are not so keen in accepting weddings of non residents, so be advised that your wedding will be able to be celebrated in very few areas.
GENERAL RULES FOR A LEGAL WEDDING IN ITALY
The main rules to be able to get married in Italy are:
- Both, bride and groom, have to be either single or legally divorced or widow
- By law, if the woman divorced less than 300 days before the new wedding date, a medical certificate of non pregnancy should be provided to the local court.
- Bride and Groom cannot be relatives of first or second degree, brother/sister or father/daughter – mother/son NOT EVEN IF the relationship was BY ADOPTION or BY BLOOD (without legal recognition).
- Catholic weddings, if one of the two had been married before with a catholic or Christian celebration, a catholic wedding cannot be performed. you can only have a civil legally binding wedding or a symbolic wedding. The only exception to this is if the catholic part got a “Catholic Church Annulment” (nullification) – this procedure is so long (i.e. years) and most of the times unsuccessful. If this is your case, we suggest you do not plan a catholic wedding until you have a nullification certificate with you, or plan either a civil or a symbolic wedding.
Wedding in Italy Documentation
If none of you is Italian nor resident in Italy, banns are waived and you just need the Authorization (usually called NULLA OSTA) issued by consular foreign Authority in Italy (for some nationalities consul’s signature shall be legalized by the Prefecture) The legalization is not requested for the following countries (it may apply to some others): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK (including the Isle of Man), Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Holland (including Netherlands Antilles and Aruba), Portugal, Czech Rep., San Marino Rep., Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary. Alternatively you need the authorization of a competent foreign authority confirmed by the Italian Embassy or Consulate. The authorization shall attest there are no impediments to the marriage. It also shall include the following data: name, surname, date and place of birth, residency, nationality, marital status, paternity and maternity (full names of the parents), birth certificate (when maternity or paternity are not provided on the authorization).
Some countries will need other documents on top of the Nulla Osta, as mentioned above, i.e. USA citizens and AUSTRALIAN Citizens (read the detailed pages about these two nationalities)
Most of the nationalities will require the couple to meet the Consulate in Person, so please schedule your trip accordingly, as many of the consulates are only in Rome or Milan.
Do not worry, we can help you out with all this and send the whole paperwork to the competent authorities to have your marriage registered in your home country. All you have to do is plan to be in Italy some days in advance… but, as we will be there releasing you from any stress, imagine that as an advanced honeymoon!!
Please select your nationality in the menu bar for specific directions and consulate addresses or click the links below
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