Getting Married in Italy for US Citizens - Complete Guide

Getting Married in Italy: What Americans Need to Know

Published:   |  Updated:   |  Posted in: Getting Married, Italy
Getting Married in Italy: What Americans Need to Know

Who doesn’t love a good destination wedding these days? It’s the right romantic gesture for your soon-to-be spouse.

A 2022 survey shows that 80% of American couples are looking forward to traveling somewhere for their wedding. Many love-struck youngsters even plan to go overseas to say their marriage vows and promise undying love for each other.

Bali, France, and Morocco are some of the most famous wedding destinations, but none of them comes even close to Italy – the cradle of Western civilization and the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic tale. With its rich cultural heritage and exotic locations, Italy could be the perfect place to stare into your lover’s eyes and say, “I do.”

If you’re a US citizen looking to marry in Italy, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain the whole process of getting married in Italy in 2024.

Can US citizens get Married in an Italian City?

The beaches, villas, churches, and town halls of Italy are buzzing with excitement, awaiting the arrival of brides, grooms, and guests who flock here from different parts of the world to enjoy a typical Italian wedding. Italy is, after all, one of the hottest wedding destinations on Earth.

You might be wondering if US citizens can get legally married in Italy. Good news for you – the countries of Italy and the US exchanged notes in 1964 to discuss US citizens tying the knot on Roman soil. They deemed these marriages perfectly legal and ratified this law (legge n. 1195) in October 1965.

Regarding the law, US couples should face no hurdles in having an Italian wedding.

The Italian government heavily favors any excuse to bring more visitors to the country’s gorgeous beaches and countless tourist attractions. The tourism industry alone employs 8% of the country’s population; in other words, the locals will find you a welcoming presence in their midst.

Marriage Requirements for US Citizens in Italy

Before booking your next flight to Italy with the would-be spouse, make sure you’re eligible to get married in the Latin peninsula. Don’t worry; marriage requirements are easier in Italy than they are on American soil. The Italian legal system only has five conditions, and US citizens will find most of them pretty normal:

It would help if you Were of Age

You have to be 18 years old to tie the knot in Italy (or 16 if both of you have parental consent).

You Must be Single

You can’t marry another person if you’re already married to one. Keep in mind that bigamy is a crime in Italy. You have to prove that you’re either divorced or your previous partner is deceased.

Don’t Marry a Relation

Relatives, even the adopted ones, cannot get married in Italy. So, make sure you’ve looked deeper into this section of the country’s marriage law before flying to Rome.

Law for Divorced Women

A divorced woman needs to wait for 300 days before she can remarry or prove that she isn’t pregnant from the previous marriage.

Procure Two Witnesses

Now, this can be an amazing excuse to bring your closest friends to Italy for your marriage ceremony. The law requires two witnesses to be present when you and your partner exchange the rings.

Documents Necessary to Get Married in Italy

Getting married in any Italian city is easy if you have all the required documents. Also, your US documents must be translated into Italian and then stamped with the apostille including marriage certificate translation before you can use them in Italy. Remember to consider the role of a translated document in determining the validity of your marriage.

Here’s a brief list of all the documents you have to process before and after flying over to Italy:

Before Heading to Italy

Gather these documents before leaving the US for your wedding in Italy. Besides translating them, you need to authenticate all documents at the nearest Italian consulate. The consulate will also help you get the famous Atto Notorio affidavit.

  • Your passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal and confirmation certificates (if you want a Roman Catholic wedding)
  • Divorce, annulment, or previous spouse’s death certificate (in case you were married before)
  • Atto Notorio (a sworn statement and declaration that there are no obstacles to your marriage as per the US legal system)

After Arriving in Italy

OK, you’re in Italy now and need to gather just a few more papers before celebrating your wedding. You will need to visit the US consular offices in Italy. It’s OK if you are planning a wedding in a city other than Rome; you can find officers in Milan, Genoa, Venice, Palermo, Florence, and Naples.

  • Nulla Osta (yet another sworn statement like the Atto Notorio one to be signed in the presence of an American consular officer stationed in Italy; stays valid for three months)
  • Declaration of Intent to Marry (file this declaration 2 to 3 days before your wedding in front of a civil registrar)

How many Types of Unions are there in Italy?

Have you decided what type of marriage you and your would-be significant other desire? Italy gives you two options, i.e., civil and religious, so go into details of each of these options and decide what’s best for you and your intended spouse. Let’s briefly go over these two choices and find out how a homosexual couple can get married in Italy.

Civil Marriage

The most common way to swear a marriage oath in Italy is under the civil code. Traditionally, a civil marriage takes place in the town hall, but you can always choose a more charming location for this important ceremony. This is what you need to know about civil marriages:

  • A mayor or a city officer leads the ceremony
  • You can write your vows or include songs in the ceremony
  • The ceremony is done in Italian, so you should hire an interpreter

Religious Marriage

Many couples choose Italy as their preferred wedding destination for religious reasons; the papal seat lies in the very heart of Rome. If you wish to get married under the auspices of the Catholic Church, then here are some very important points to keep in mind:

  • Get a priest to conduct the ceremony
  • Either you or your partner must be a Catholic
  • It can be time-consuming (the bride has to cover her shoulders)

Civil Union

If you and your spouse are of the same sex, then you two can enter a civil union. A civil union gives you and your partner the same rights married couples have; however, there will be some differences:

  • You cannot adopt children
  • No need to abide by marital fidelity
  • It is much easier to dissolve than marriages

Now, your job is to mull over these three options with your partner, family, and friends. It never hurts to seek a legal expert’s advice on what sort of union/marriage is ideal for your married life. Next, we will check out some amazing tips for Americans excited about getting married in Europe’s boot.

Planning your Italian Wedding: A Step-by-Step Process

You’re more than ready to embark on the most exciting journey of your life. All you have to do now is to go through this brief checklist and mark all the steps you’ve completed. Once you mark the tenth step, your dream of getting married in Italy will be complete.

Step #1

Go through the three options we described above and choose what kind of marriage ceremony you’d like. Remember that you are still in the United States to do all the necessary research first.

Step #2

Look for the perfect venue to hold your marriage ceremony, and make sure it’s available on your wedding day. You can easily look for different locations online.

Step #3

Head to the nearest Italian consulate and get the go-ahead for your destination wedding.

Step #4

Submit your documents for processing and have them translated from English to Italian well in advance.

Step #5

Invite your family and friends to celebrate the joys of happy matrimony with you. Make a guest list while you’re still in America and arrange comfortable lodgings for everyone.

Step #6

Go to Italy and make all the necessary arrangements there. Ensure you now have all the documents necessary to marry in Italy.

Step #7

Visit the marriage office where the ceremony will take place and declare your intent to marry.

Step #8

It’s time to watch your bride walk down the aisle and read your wedding vows in front of all the guests.

Step #9

Obtain a marriage license and a marriage certificate to finalize your grand Italian wedding.

Step #10

Head to the town hall to verify this certificate. You’ve now registered your marriage in Italy.

Tips for US Couples Planning an Italian Wedding

But planning an Italian wedding isn’t just about gathering documents, visiting town halls, or getting the paperwork stamped. Let’s move away from the legal side of this subject and explore what other important matters you have to attend to when in Rome:

Find the Perfect Location

There’s no lack of online platforms where you can search for and even book venues for your wedding in Italy. Try and to find the perfect location.

Create a Budget Carefully

Wedding expenses differ from city to city in Italy; you should expect to spend €25,000 to €85,000 on the whole shebang. So, budget these expenses carefully and avoid overspending.

Hire a Local Wedding Planner

Remember to hire an Italy-based wedding planner to ensure the greatest day in your life goes smoothly. Hitched has this great list of the best wedding planners in Italy.

Learn Local Wedding Customs

Familiarize yourself with some popular Italian wedding customs, e.g., cutting ties, throwing rice, getting hitched on a Sunday, and others. Immerse yourself in the local culture, so enjoy the ceremony.

Make Room for Your Guests

Make sure there’s enough room for all your guests at the venue and that they have all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay. Let your guests have the time of their lives in your Italian wedding.

All that’s left now is to congratulate you and your loved one ahead of time on a successful wedding! Embrace the experience of getting married in beautiful Italy and create lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Let’s summarize the proper way for US citizens to get married in Italy. You’ll need your passport, birth certificate, and the Attorio Notorio affidavit. Once you’re in Italy, you should obtain a Nulla Osta to get married. Remember to get an apostille stamp on your US documents and get them translated.

You should hire USCIS-certified translators to get the job done right. If you need a document translated into Italian, try TranslateSwift to sprinkle the magic of la lingua italiana over it.

Translating your English documents to Italian can pave the way for a delightful Roman wedding. Go online and order an accurate translation of your relevant documents at an affordable rate.

FAQs –Getting Married in Italy

Can I get married in the US consulate in Italy?

If you’re an American citizen getting married in Italy, US consults cannot perform the wedding ceremony or take place on the consulate’s premises.

Can I get a Catholic priest to perform the wedding?

Yes, if a Catholic priest conducts the wedding ceremony, there’s no need for a civil ceremony. However, keep in mind that the Catholic Church requires additional documents.

How soon can women get married in Italy after a divorce?

Italian law doesn’t allow women to seek a new marriage for 300 days after a divorce. So, if a woman gets her previous marriage annulled, she can’t seek matrimony for the next 300 days.

How old do you have to be to get married in Italy?

Like many other countries, couples entering an Italian marriage contract should be at least 18 years old. But 16-year-olds can still tie the knot in Italy with parental consent.

Will my marriage in Italian be legal in the US, too?

Yes, the United States recognizes marriages performed in other countries. If you marry in Italy, your marriage is also valid in the eyes of the US government.