The ceremony constitutes the very heart of a wedding celebration, being the time when you pledge your life to the person standing next to you while everyone you know and love watches and listens. It’s a powerful, emotional moment marking a turning point in your lives as you commit to taking one another for life. That’s why a couple should choose a ceremony that suits their beliefs, values and ultimately their personalities.
You have probably been at many weddings in your country and know how a ceremony typically goes, but you may be less familiar with wedding ceremonies in Italy. Traditionally, a Catholic rite performed in a church is the Italian wedding ceremony par excellence. But times are changing, more and more couples are choosing a nonreligious legally binding ceremony, called civil rite. In recent years, symbolic ceremonies have also become popular among Italian couples.
For the planner, it is important to know from the early stages of the planning what type of ceremony you would like to have; documents need to be prepared and requested to civil or religious authorities well in advance, and, most importantly, we must find the most appropriate location that offers the optimal solution for your preferred ceremony.
We have prepared this guide to help you understand the types of ceremonies that can be performed in Italy and hopefully to help you determine which may be the most ideal ceremony for your romantic destination wedding in Italy.
Also known as non-denominational or secular wedding ceremonies, symbolic ceremonies are definitely trending in recent years and are the preferred choice of most foreign couples choosing Italy for their destination wedding. This type of wedding is not legally binding, it is purely spiritual and presents many benefits.
First and foremost, couples choosing a symbolic ceremony don’t have to worry over paperwork. Although our expert wedding planners assist couples with paperwork requirements and liaise with authorities in Italy, the documents necessary to get legally married in Italy such as birth certificates, sworn statements or affidavits cannot be requested on your behalf. Your wedding planner will explain the procedure, but some actions are required by the couple.
In addition, symbolic ceremonies ensure freedom in terms of the format. With a symbolic ceremony, you are free to create your unique and highly personalized ceremony. We can arrange a professional English-speaking celebrant and, during the months leading up to your big day, we will work side by side with you to personalize all the moments of the ceremony, from your entrance to the script incorporating special readings, meaningful rituals, anything that speaks to and about you.
Visit our dedicated page to read some of the most beloved readings and vows for a wedding in Italy.
If you prefer, you can ask someone close to you to perform the ceremony, thus ensuring an intimate and emotional register to the occasion.
Another reason why symbolic ceremonies are so popular is that they can be celebrated in the most spectacular settings such as a terrace with a spectacular ocean view, a beautiful vineyard, a romantic Italian garden. Italy offers a wide choice of impressive settings for your destination wedding celebration. Isn’t that the prime reason why a destination wedding in Italy is so special?
All the wedding venues we recommend feature one or more jaw-dropping spots ideal to host a symbolic wedding ceremony.
Find out our favorite venues in our ultimate guide of the top wedding locations we selected for you.
If you want the real deal but in a non-religious way, choose the authentic Italian civil marriage rite.
The civil service in Italy is a fully legal marriage, recognized throughout the world. On our dedicated page you can find more details on how an Italian civil ceremony is performed and you can read a sample text of the typical civil ceremony. The ceremony is pretty standard, but, as you will see, is beautifully written and meaningful – much more than a simple Registry office ceremony you may be accustomed to. The couple is encouraged to add readings, music, exchanging of personal vows, and exchanging of rings.
Paperwork for a civil wedding ceremony is not an easy process and we do not recommend handling it on your own. Our wedding planners at Exclusive Italy Weddings have over 15 years of experience assisting couples of different nationalities with paperwork requirements for their legal wedding in Italy, you can rely on us! We have also prepared a handy guide with specific information on legal requirements for different nationalities.
Civil ceremonies are generally performed in city halls, which often find their home in beautiful historical palazzos. Famous art cities like Rome with its elegant Campidoglio Hall or Caracalla, Florence with the spectacular Red Hall inside Palazzo Vecchio, or Siena with its beautiful Palazzo Pubblico are just some of the most beautiful places on the list.
City Halls are not the only possibility: although by law a civil ceremony must take place in a building approved by the Italian government, the great news is that there are many approved venues, also outdoors, where it is possible to perform a legally binding ceremony. Some of the most spectacular venues of this kind include fabulous Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, the jaw-dropping San Galgano Abbey with its roof open to the heavens, elegant Villa Durazzo on the Italian Riviera, the Norman-Arab cloister of the Grand Hotel Convento in Amalfi, Masseria Le Carrube in Apulia, and beautiful Villa di Lilliano just outside Florence. These are just some of them, contact us to find the ideal civil ceremony venue for you!
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the most beautiful churches and cathedrals of the world can be found in Italy. Couples who want to have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Italy are spoilt for choice, every corner of Italy has impressive churches, with our help, finding a gorgeous church near your selected venue will be easy. The list of the most spectacular churches in Italy where it is possible to organize a Catholic wedding for non-residents is long, but certainly includes Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere, St. Mark’s Basilica and Church of the Redentore in Venice, the charming countryside churches of the Chianti regions such as the Barberino Church and the outstanding Positano Cathedral and the Duomo in Amalfi.
Catholic weddings in Italy can only be celebrated inside consecrated churches or chapels by a Catholic priest and never outdoors. The wedding mass lasts approximately an hour, even though some couples decide to have a shorter Rite of Matrimony without the mass, especially when one of the two spouses is not Catholic.
Specific Catholic requirements have to be met in order to have a Catholic wedding in Italy, you can find additional information on our dedicated page Catholic Weddings in Italy. Your Exclusive Italy Planner will make sure that the procedure is very clear to you and will make all the arrangements with the local Parish in Italy. Consider that dealing with small parishes is not an easy process, most of them can be reached only by phone at some very strict times and you will likely not find anybody speaking English. But with our help, you can relax and focus on choosing the lectures, the Gospel and the music for your touching Catholic wedding ceremony.
A Catholic ceremony can also have civil validity; however, we recommend that couples get civilly married in their country before coming to Italy, this would avoid the hassle of preparing both religious and civil documents.
The same goes for Protestant wedding ceremonies in Italy. They can be either a “Protestant blessing” without civil validity or a legally binding Protestant wedding which includes the civil paperwork. Unlike Catholic ceremonies, a Protestant blessing can be performed in the location of your choice, including a spectacular outdoor venue. We know pastors of different denominations, including Anglican and Evangelical Protestant among others, who are happy to travel to celebrate a Protestant wedding ceremony. Should you prefer to celebrate marriage in a church, Protestant Churches can be found in fairly large cities like Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples. One of the most stunning venues is the lovely Gothic Episcopal Church of Florence, located a few steps out of the historical center of town. You can see the beautiful interiors of this Protestant Church at our dedicated page Protestant Weddings in Florence.
Large cities in Italy also host Jewish communities of great historical and artistic importance and therefore impressive Synagogues, like the ones in Rome, Florence and Venice, where couples can celebrate their Jewish wedding ceremony in Italy. At these Synagogues it is only possible to celebrate Orthodox ceremonies, which will require permission from your own rabbi and will involve documentation.
If your dream is to celebrate your luxury Jewish wedding in a venue of superlative beauty, such as an open view, a castle or a beautiful garden, we can arrange a modern Jewish ceremony with a reform Rabbi who can officiate a modern reform or Jewish interfaith ceremony.
Another option, which ensures total freedom and no paperwork, is for you to bring your own rabbi.
Our Italian wedding planners have a long and extensive experience in organizing luxury Jewish weddings and have a great network of kosher catering services and outstanding floral designers who will arrange for you the most beautiful chuppah ever.
We invite you to explore our Location section to find information and pictures of Italy’s most beautiful Orthodox Synagogues, as well as of the many stunning venues we work with, where we can arrange a reform Jewish wedding.
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