Where in the world could be more romantic than Italy for a wedding? Of course, in a nation of Catholicism and many regulations, you’d best be prepared for plenty of hoops to jump through and more than enough forms to fill out if you plan to wed in Italy. That being said, once the work is through, there is no better place for a terrific party and celebration than an Italian villa, countryside or piazza.
There are two options for wedding ceremonies in Italy. The first is the religious ceremony and the second is a civil ceremony. The state religion is Roman Catholic, and to be married in a church in Italy, you must arrange the ceremony with a priest who approves of your union and is willing to perform the marriage. This can be tricky as many priests are no longer marrying foreigners in Italian chapels as many feel the system has become too lax. Your priest at home is your best bet to find the right connections in the Italian churches.
If you are not a Roman Catholic, you truly have only one option for a marriage ceremony and that is to be married in a civil ceremony in the town hall. These buildings are often hundreds of years old, so there is still great romance and intrigue to the ceremony, but it will be officiated by a local functionary rather than a priest. Laws prevent the civil ceremony from taking place outside of the town hall as the authorities are prevented from presiding over the union in a vineyard or garden, and most Catholic priests are uncomfortable performing the ceremony away from a consecrated church.
Of course, once you file all of the important paperwork and make your way through the tangled web of the wedding procedures, you have a great deal of freedom regarding your reception. The party to celebrate your wedding can be staged anywhere willing to host your group and this is where you have the options of beautiful scenery, ancient buildings, and open air piazzas for dinner and dancing.
There are many restrictions and laws governing an official marriage in Italy. It would behoove you to consult with or hire a professional and experienced wedding planner who specializes in weddings for non-residents. Be prepared for a long list of responsibilities and documents, including many witnesses and an audience with a US Consular in the US Embassy. But with the help of a planner, you’ll be able to take care of the details in a way sure to leave your mind free at ease to enjoy your beautiful Italian wedding.