Getting Married in Italy - What you need

You may be wondering why I haven't been tweeting so much or posting so much on this blog recently. Well... I've been busy sorting out documents to get married in Italy! You would think it wouldn't be too difficult. Sure, there's the certificates you have to give to the council, banns that have to be read in a church, but it should be pretty straightforward right?

Well, here's the story, split over two blog posts.

We're going to have a full-on Catholic wedding, so we need to get documents for the church as well as the council. In this post, I'll talk about the church side, in the next post, I'll cover the civil side. Hopefully people stumbling across my blog will find this useful, as (as you'll see) there isn't so much help available online or indeed from the people/institutions involved. Please remember that I'm not an expert on these things, so take all of this with a pinch of salt.

Allora, here we go...

The Church side

In our particular case, the wedding is a cross between a non-catholic christian (an Anglican, if you will) and a Roman Catholic (literally, she's from the province of Rome). After we had decided on the church and got the local priest and comune (council) to give permission, we received the banns from the Italian priest and were told to contact our local priest back home (in the UK) to sort out their wedding preparation and reading of the banns. As it turns out, the wedding preparation is a couple of hours with the local priest going over the ideas of marriage and how to resolve arguments (including such handy tips as 'the guy even has to help around the house' and 'a woman is allowed to work nowadays' - all very enlightening I'm sure you'll agree...) and is also the point where the priest provides information and ideas for the service itself (including possible readings), which was perhaps more useful. Further to this, we had to go on a full-day 'marriage preparation' course (for a small fee) which went over the same ground in greater depth. Despite our grumblings, I think this is overall a good thing to do and I'm sure it will help us both now and in the future. Once this is completed, the UK priest prepares 'documents' detailing the baptism/confirmation details of both parties and dispenses the banns (apparently Catholic churches don't 'read' them in the UK). The most important document that the priest prepares is the ‘Religious Non Objection Declaration’. Once all this is sent to the Diocese for the area in Italy (in this case Civita Castellana in the province of Viterbo), then the local priest in Italy takes up the baton and finalizes all the details of the day itself and posts various documents around the towns giving notice (the most important document being a 'Religious nulla osta')

Overall this was relatively easy, but there were a few problems arising from translation problems (nothing was translated in the end, but the priests do have the right to request this, so be prepared).

Things you need:
  • Baptism/first communion/confirmation records from your church (even if it's now miles away)
  • A few weeks for the local preparation (which in this case was 2 hours over the course of 3 weeks)
  • A few months for the whole process to work it's way through. Expect nothing to happen in August (as the Priest will most likely be on holiday), and expect things to take longer than expected at both ends. 

I would definitely recommend starting this process asap as we were lucky to get onto the last marriage preparation course of the year (despite it only being in July!).

For us, for start to finish, the process took about 7 months.

Good luck!

PS In my next post I'll detail the civil side of getting married in Italy.

2 comments:

  1. Unfortunatly nothing is so easy in Italy...we booked the church one year in advance and during that period we went around several offices to get all the required documentation...

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    1. Oh dear :( Hope you got there in the end! We must have been quite lucky in the end! :)

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