A civil wedding in Italy

A civil wedding in Italy (Umbria and Tuscany), is a memorable and unique experience, a declaration should be presented to the Town Hall two working days prior the wedding date. The planner/interpreter accompanies the couple to an informal room inside the Town Hall, where the details are handled. No need to be dressed up yet!

There are different rules for these procedures, depending on the country of origin of the couple.  For some nationalities, the wedding planner will have provided the Town Hall with all the required documents. Those couples only need to bring their valid passports with them. For other nationalities, where part of the documents must be prepared in the couple’s country, the couple must bring those specific papers along with their passports. The declaration is made in front of a Registrar, who reads it in Italian. Then it is translated by the interpreter, who has sworn to fulfill her task “well and faithfully”. The text is very simple. It confirms the will of the betrothed to be married in a Town Hall (without banns, since they do not reside in Italy). The particular data of the bride and groom are on it. At that time the document is checked for accuracy and spelling. Spelling is very important. Names must correspond to those on the passports, including middle names, since they will be copied on to the final wedding certificate. The city of residence is also indicated there, as well as the date and place of birth of the couple.

Last but not least, the couple affirms that there are no impediments to their marrying. These “articles of law” are read aloud and translated, and you must attest to such things as not being close blood relatives, having no mental illness, etc!! At this point, the certificate will be signed by all present. It takes less than half an hour. Very happy people emerge, with a sense of relief.

Once this step is over, the wedding planner and the couple move on to appointments – perhaps the hair dresser and make-up artist – or to free time to enjoy some sightseeing, bask in the Italian sun, and relish Italian food!

The day of the wedding arrives! The bride and groom make their way to the Town Hall. Usually, the groom and guests are there 15 to 20 minutes in advance. They meet the wedding planner/interpreter outside and head up to the Hall where the ceremony will take place. The Mayor or another officer, who represents the Mayor, will be present, in official dress. After the bride has made her entrance, the three articles of law from the Civil Code of the Republic of Italy, (with the translation of the interpreter) which relate to mutual rights and duties of married couples will be recited. Then the final certificate will be signed. The exchange of vows and rings comes next !

In most cases, couples choose to have some live music such as a violinist, a flutist or a soprano. The Town Hall usually provides recorded music, such as a wedding march for the entrance of the bride and another piece for the signing of the deed, if requested. The whole ceremony lasts about half an hour. Some celebrants like to do a little speech offering their best wishes, which might increase the amount of time a bit. Then, off to wedding meal or reception!

Things that you need to know.

Getting married in Italy can often be a bit daunting so what exactly do you need to do the deed??

Weddings Umbria have a wealth of experience in dealing with many British, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples and their countries rules and regulations for getting married in Italy and will help you through the minefield of bureaucracy so that the process won’t make you loose sleep or make you want to pull your hair out before the wedding!

Things that you really need to know

Italy has a very strange law that states that women who are divorced or widowed cannot marry for 300 days which may seem a little strange but the reason apparently for this is to ensure that the woman isn’t pregnant with another man’s child which could result in a paternity suit although to be honest I’m still not quite sure how a dead man could make a claim to a child… so as long as you have been divorced or widowed for more than 300 days you’re good to go.

If you have been married before then you will have to present your previous marriage certificate(s) and Decree Absolute(s) depending on how many times you have been married before, and if you are a widow or widower then you will need to produce the death certificate and marriage certificate for your previous spouse.

Everyone getting married in Italy will need a Nulla Osta, this is a certificate of No Impediment which is issued by the Embassy  or Consulate of your country of origin here in Italy. They are only valid for 6 months but I’ll let you know when you need to start the paperwork as applying for them too early will mean that you’ll have to do the whole thing all over again. The Nulla Osta is issued in Italian and is possibly the most important document that you will need in order to get married here.

If you are under the age of 18 or 20 if you’re from New Zealand then you will need the written consent of your parent or guardian in order to get married so no eloping I’m afraid!

You will need two witnesses who must be 18 years of age or over.

The wedding ceremony is conducted in Italian so you will need an official interpreter for this, at least 2 days prior to the wedding there is Verbal Declaration at the town hall where you are going to get married, this is where your documents are checked and you confirm there are no impediments to the marriage according to the Italian Civil Code, the date of this will be confirmed on booking your wedding date and must be here in Italy for that.

Weddings Umbria offers an Interpreter service, please ask for details.

When you’ve booked the wedding – what do you need to do next?!

In order to keep things nice and simple the following information is based on couples being the same nationality, if you come from different countries not a problem you each need to apply for your Nulla Osta from your country of origin and in some cases there are different forms for you to complete. Don’t be put off though, we will confirm your individual requirements are so you can get married in Italy.