How to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad

How to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad

If you have chosen a catholic wedding, don’t miss out on this step-by-step guide on how to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad.

Italy, with Rome being the Christianity epicenter, boasts a centenary Christian tradition finding its most manifest expression in the vast collection of utterly unique monumental churches built up in different past ages. Many of them are open to wedding ceremonies.

Don’t miss my post The 10 Top churches of Rome to get married in for a timeless wedding in Italy

A couple getting married in Church How to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad

How to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad

Read the background information first

First thing first, to learn how to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad, know that the major rules apply to both catholic and civil ceremonies: being a resident in Italy is not an essential requirement to get married in a church. On the other hand, compared to only-civil ceremonies, some additional requirements need to be met, and extra formal steps, as well as extra paperwork, need to be sorted out and submitted prior to your wedding scheduled date.

With that said, consider that a catholic wedding in Italy has civil effects, in other words, it’s recognized by the Italian State as a legal binding. However, many couples in order to speed the entire process up, decide to get legally married in their home country first, opting for an only-catholic ceremony in Italy at a later date.

An only-catholic blessing can be performed on a venue’s terrace, garden, or in the church backyard, as long as the priest you designed to officiate the ceremony approves. However, take into account that a catholic ceremony is only restricted to the church in Italy.

Also, consider that not all churches are open to ceremonies of non-Italian residents and some churches are only eligible for a catholic blessing. Check with the parish secretariat or ask your wedding planner to verify if a ceremony for non-residents is permitted inside your shortlisted churches. Most of the time this kind of information is not indicated on the church parish website.

If you want to know how to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad, you are also recommended to start reading up on all the required paperwork to sort out and submit at least 10 months ahead of your wedding date.

Make sure you don’t submit any documentation to Italian civil and religious authorities before 6 months ahead of your ceremony date as every Italian official document only has a 6-month course of validity.

The following documentation is required either in case of an only-blessing catholic ceremony or a catholic ceremony with legal effects.

All the required paperwork needs to be translated into Italian before being submitted to the priest who will be officiating your ceremony in Italy. Submit the document 3 months before the scheduled wedding date preferably and in any case not later than two months earlier.

To get permission for a catholic wedding in Italy, your wedding application needs to be approved by both the priest designed to officiate the ceremony and the Italian Dioceses where you are going to get married.

Inform your local parish priest first

How to plan your Catholic Wedding from Abroad

Your parish priest will be also the one to be relating to your church’s Dioceses in Italy as far as concerns all the required paperwork. He will tell you what formal steps are essential to be taken and how to plan your Catholic Wedding in Italy from abroad.

Take into account that besides the set of documents listed below, you’ll need to submit your civil wedding certificate too, in the event you are legally married in your own country.

If you aspire to perform a catholic-civil ceremony in Italy, besides the set of papers indicated below, you’ll need to submit a number of civil documents and go through a number of formal steps. Read more about the civil part of the wedding on our Legal Guide to Planning a Wedding in Itay.

Make sure that all the religious paperwork is dated as of 6 months before your ceremony wedding date. In other words, if your wedding date is scheduled for 6 September 2020, all these documents can be dated from 7 March 2020 onwards, differently, they would be considered already expired in Italy. An exception to this rule applies to baptism, first communion, and confirmation certificates that don’t have an expiry date.

Take into account that all this set of documents have to be translated into Italian prior to submission to the Italian priest officiating your ceremony, and have to be original. This set of documents cannot be sent to your priest in Italy later than two months in advance of your wedding date.

Looking for a wedding venue?

The required documentation to submit for a catholic wedding in Italy

How to plan your Catholic Wedding from Abroad

The pieces listed below are required for a Catholic Wedding in Italy. In addition to the document below, as already mentioned you will have to provide an extra set of civil documents.

The civil documents submission procedure and the required documents are outlined in our Legal Guide to Planning a Wedding in Italy.

Check with your wedding planner or ask your officiant priest about the submission timing. It remains unclear sometimes whether the religious documents have to be submitted before or after the civil ones.

If you have not hired a wedding planner and feel resilient to consult your priest about administrative stuff, you are more than welcome to drop me an email ([email protected]) for some advice/assistance by us.


Religious documents to submit:


Baptism certificate, signed and stamped by your Bishop’s office;

First communion certificate, signed and stamped by your bishop’s office;

Confirmation certificate, signed and stamped by your bishop’s office;

Official letter by your bishop. You need to get one released, signed, and stamped on the Bishop’s office letterhead paper, attesting that you are allowed to get married in Italy (an indication of the church name, city, and date is compulsory). You will need one issued by your parish priest on letterhead paper as well. The letter will have to read the same content as in the Bishop’s letter; in the same letter they will have to attest that you have completed a pre-nuptial course;

A pre-nuptial attendance course certificate

Another requirement for a catholic ceremony is that both or at least one of the couple members be catholic. Differently, a mixed-ceremony is allowed in case of approval by your local bishop who will have to sign and stamp an approval letter for a mixed-catholic marriage.

If one spouse or both have been previously joint in a catholic wedding, evidence of divorce and marriage annulment needs to be provided. The divorce and annulment certificates need to outline the date of divorce/annulment date.

According to Italian civil law, in case of widowhood, divorce, or annulment, you are not allowed to join in another wedding (civil or catholic) before 300 days have passed. Should it not be the case, you need to obtain authorization by the Tribunal set in the place you are getting married in.

When a wedding planner is necessary

How to plan your Catholic Wedding from Abroad

Wedding planner visit card

It happens often that married couples to be are wondering if hiring a wedding planner would be 100% resolutive when it comes to planning their wedding from abroad.

Personally, to my experience, if you have a tight budget for a wedding cost in Italy (under 20.000 euros) I wouldn’t recommend you to hire a wedding planner to get your wedding organized from start to finish. The good news is that wedding planner most of the time can offer focused and tailor-made services based on what you exactly need and that how much you can spend.

In particular, when it comes to handling your paperwork, I would warmly recommend you to hire a local wedding planner, especially if you don’t have anyone else to rely on. A wedding planner can certainly advise more accurately on the required documents to submit, and the exact submission timing.

Indeed civil and religious wedding regimes in Italy can change unpredictably and having a trusted person to rely on would ensure that every step gets sorted out in the right way.

Last thing off, don’t hesitate to share all of your doubts and concerns with us so that you can start off on the right foot.

I hope this short guide will let you initiate your Catholic Wedding planning in Italy with much more confidence.

Don’t miss out on our post on the 9 Top churches for a Magical Catholic Wedding in Rome!

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