Wedding destinations don’t come much more romantic than Italy, a country that holds a very special place in my heart. And what’s not to love? Incredible scenery, a rich history, delicious food, good wine, and people who know how to celebrate la dolce vita! From the sun-drenched hills of Tuscany to the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, there are hundreds of unforgettable wedding venues. Villas, castles, vineyards, grand palaces, ruins… It’s hard to choose. But planning a destination wedding in Italy definitely has its challenges, especially if you aren’t working with a local wedding planner (something I would definitely recommend!). To help you get started, I’ve put together this little guide. It covers everything from when to plan your Italian destination wedding to ideas for your Italian wedding stationery.
Where to Plan a Wedding in Italy
When it comes to choosing your wedding location in Italy, you really are spoilt for choice. Every region has something special to offer. One of the best places to start is to choose a location that fits your travel plans. Flights from the UK take between 2-4 hours, and are often concentrated around larger tourist centres like Florence and Rome. Even if you don’t want to get married in one of these cities, it’s a good idea to choose somewhere that’s easy to access for your guests, to keep the logistics manageable.
In Italy you can choose to have a religious ceremony, a civil ceremony, or a symbolic ceremony or blessing. Whichever you choose will have a bearing on your venue options. For example, if you’re having a church ceremony, you will need to make sure that your reception site is within an easy distance. If you have a civil ceremony, you have a choice of pre-approved locations (many of which are spectacular historical buildings). However, if you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding at your villa or a beach ceremony, these will only be symbolic and you’ll need to have a civil ceremony performed either in Italy or at home as well.
Some of the hotspots for a destination wedding in Italy include: Rome, Florence, Venice, the Tuscan or Umbrian countrysides, the Lake District, the Italian Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, and Puglia.
When to Plan a Wedding in Italy
The Italian wedding season runs from April to October. Spring is beautiful, but does bring some risk of rain. Summer is a delight, especially if you want a coastal wedding. Do bear in mind that July and August can be extremely hot and muggy, as well as crowded in cities. August can also be difficult as many Italians are on holiday during this time, and businesses, venues and government offices may be closed. Of course, if a winter wedding is more your vibe, then you’ll have lots of options, including a romantic snowy wedding in the Italian alps.
Making It Legal
The following is meant as a guide only and is not comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specifications and requirements may change, so I strongly advise you to consult your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date legal requirements.
As I mentioned before, Italy recognises both religious and civil weddings. However, only Roman Catholic weddings do not require a civil ceremony before the religious one. There are no residency requirements to get married in Italy, but you will have to provide paperwork certifying your identity, and that there are no legal obstacles to your marriage. You will also need to submit a declaration of your intent to marry with the marriage office in the town or city where your ceremony will be performed. All of this can take time, so it’s important to start the documentation process well in advance. If you’re planning a Catholic ceremony, there is additional paperwork to be completed, and this will need reach the church where you will be married at least two months before the ceremony. You will need to work with your local parish and bishop to complete this. An interpreter is also required for your ceremony, but does not need to be an official translator.
After the ceremony, you’ll need to present your marriage certificate for validation at the local town hall, where you’ll receive a stamp and a translated copy.
Italy Destination Wedding Ideas
Your wedding invitations are the first taste that guests get of the event, so why not convey your destination through the design? Location is always something I use as a starting point when creating beautiful bespoke wedding stationery for my clients. I love incorporating Mediterranean motifs and textures such as olive leaves in my designs for couples planning a destination wedding in Italy. Maps and illustrations of the castle or cathedral where you’ll celebrate your wedding, are another lovely option. You could also add some local flavour with lemons or bright majolica tile patterns for a Positano wedding, for example.
Here are a few more Italian wedding ideas to consider:
- Instead of floral centrepieces, opt for a long runner of vines and greenery, dotted with candles of various heights and sizes.
- To create a luxurious old-world European feel, incorporate beautiful vintage serveware and heavy stone urns.
- Embrace Italian cuisine for your menu (why wouldn’t you?). Serve delicious antipasti on a beautifully styled grazing table, or load your table up with passable platters of food for a deliciously authentic Italian-style dining experience. If possible, dine al fresco, so you can enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
- Give your guests a piece of Italy to take home with them, such as little bottles of olive oil or limoncello, local wine, or the traditional sugared almonds.