Last updated on February 2, 2023
Wedding in Italy 💒 Guide to traditions, locations and costs
From the green hills of Tuscany to the elegant villas of Lake Garda, Italy is a popular wedding destination. How to get married in Italy, the costs and the most romantic venues, in a guide made by Italians.
- Wedding in Italy
- Legal notes
- Wedding in Tuscany
- Wedding on Lake Garda
- Beach Wedding
- Wedding planner
You who are Italian, can you recommend a nice place, surrounded by nature and romantic, to get married in Italy?
Many write to us with this question. And we have to say, what a great idea!
This chapter of All Italian is dedicated to all non-Italians who wish to get married or celebrate their wedding in Italy. The fact that you like our country makes us very proud, to be honest.
We have collected all the questions you wrote to us, and we have organized them into a practical guide: the different types of weddings, the legal aspects, the most elegant venues, and of course the costs.
Also we are happy to tell you about the customs and traditions of a classic Italian wedding, 🔊 un matrimonio italiano. And since we're at it, we share a few words in Italian: because knowing the language helps to better understand the culture.
✍️ Author's Note
I understand well those who travel to Italy to get married. I am originally from Lake Garda, where the landscape is well suited to such an important day as the wedding.
I still have fond memories of cerimonies in romantic venues, on the shores of the lake and on the rolling hills of the Italian country. The climate, the view and the food make the day unforgettable.
Table of contents
- Wedding in Italy
- How much does a wedding in Italy cost
- Do I need a wedding planner?
- Can you legally marry in italy?
- Wedding in Italy: the most popular locations
- Wedding in Italy: the most favourite venues
- What are the best months to get married in Italy?
- What are italian weddings like? Customs and traditions
We are Italians abroad and we write this page also to practice our English. Please forgive us if you find our writing a little creative. 🙂
How to say getting married in Italian?
On All Italian we tell you about Italian culture, and we explain the meaning of the words we encounter. In this page:
|🔊 Sposarsi||To get married|
|🔊 Ricevimento di nozze||Wedding reception|
How to get married in Italy
According to data from the Centro Studi Turistici di Firenze Italy's Destination Wedding sector is constantly growing: in 2018, more than 9,000 people came to Italy to get married. Mainly from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Australia.
The types of weddings that people from all over the world come to celebrate in Italy are religious, civil or symbolic.
Types of marriage in Italy: religious, civil and symbolic
Italian law allows also non-Italians to come and marry in Italy. Not just in a symbolic manner but also with a legally binding ceremony.
As we will see below, if a person is legally married in Italy, it will also be in other countries; including the UK and the US.
A religious marriage (🔊 matrimonio religioso) in Italy is called matrimonio concordatario.
The religious ceremony is also legally binding: the priest who celebrates the religious rite also has the role of civil officer.
For couples who come from abroad, religious marriage is possible but involves a series of bureaucratic challenges and a certain amount of paperwork.
In addition to the bureaucracy, which is the same as for civil marriage, there is a number of additional steps that depend on the Church's guidelines.
In Italy the typical religious marriage is that of the Roman Catholic Church.
As we explain below about the legal implications of a marriage in Italy, the Catholic Church requires that the couple go through a "pre-marriage course" (🔊 percorso prematrimoniale in Italian), which they must attend if they want to get married with a religious rite in Italy. You might be required to be in Italy in the weeks preceding the wedding day.
Civil marriage in Italy
Getting married legally in Italy with a civil ceremony (🔊 matrimonio civile in Italian) is also possible and is easier than religious marriage - even though the Italian bureaucracy should not be underestimated.
The formalization of a legally binding marriage is held in the offices of the town hall, performed by a a municipality official (a Funzionario di Stato Civile). The ceremony is brief and is usually in the presence of only the wedding witnesses, or a small group of guests.
👉 What do they say when two people get married in Italy? 🔊 Evviva gli sposi! Long live the newlyweds!
After having formalized the marriage in the town hall (comune in Italian), the spouses usually join the larger group of guests for the wedding celebrations.
In recent years, more and more people opt to get married in a civil ceremony. For this reason, since 2001 the Italian law allows municipalities to formalize civil marriages even in alternative locations than the halls of the municipality.
A growing number of Italian cities have welcomed the initiative; today civil ceremonies are celebrated in the luxurious halls of the palaces of Florence, in the Scaligeri castles of Lake Garda and even on warm and beautiful Italian beaches.
Symbolic wedding ceremony
Many come to Italy to celebrate a symbolic destination wedding: it means that a couple legally marries in their own country, and then comes to Italy to celebrate their wedding with friends and guests.
A symbolic ceremony can be organized by anyone and can be held in any place: it is the easiest solution for those who dream their wedding day in the bel paese.
The venue of a symbolic wedding is not limited to the spaces provided by the municipality, as in the case of a civil wedding.
The presence of an officer of the municipality is also not required.
There are agencies that offer a wedding celebrant: the person who celebrates the symbolic wedding. Although we are sure that you already know the perfect celebrant among your friends.
There are also couples who first marry in a civil ceremony, to formalize the marriage legally. Then they perform a symbolic ceremony in another location together with of the larger group of guests.
Finally, a symbolic wedding is also chosen by those who renew the wedding vows, or simply - yet romantically - to celebrate the wedding anniversary.
How much does a wedding in Italy cost
In 2020, the Italian site Matrimonio.com released a publication full of data and charts on the latest wedding trends in Italy: it's called the white book of weddings in Italy.
The analysis is particularly accurate also thanks to the partnership with Google, which contributed with data processing.
According to data from Matrimonio.com, the average cost of a wedding in Italy is around 25,000 euros. The average ceremony hosts just over 100 guests, with a total cost of 200 euros per guest on average.
The minimum cost for a wedding complete with reception, venue and 100 guests is around € 15,000 - although it is noted that prices for a wedding ceremony tend to go up easily.
In the white book you will find more data on marriages in Italy.
Wedding in Italy: an overview of the costs
Let us state the obvious: organizing a wedding means putting together many small pieces that all together make the wedding day perfect.
We have made a breakdown of the items that weigh the most on the price of a wedding in Italy. It is actually not very different from the rest of the world:
The bride and groom's dress
A wedding dress in Italy costs on average between 3,000 and 4,000 euros for a bride; while an elegant Italian groom's dress costs a little less, around 2,000 euros.
The cost of renting the venue to celebrate the wedding reception can vary greatly. On average Italians spendaround 2,000 euros on renting the dream location.
The wedding banquet
A wedding banquet (🔊 pranzo di nozze in Italian) in Italy for 100 guests costs between 10,000 and 15,000 euros.
Please note: these numbers are averages - there can be significant differences depending on the context.
What factors influence the price the most?
Speaking specifically of weddings in Italy, the factors that most influence the price:
the region and location;
the season and even the day of the week.
In addition, of course, to the number of guests and how sumptuous the wedding party is; but these are factors that influence the cost of a wedding in every part of the world, not only in Italy.
How do Italians get married?
Curiously, according to data from Matrimonio.com, Italians spend similar amounts to get married in the north and south of Italy.
The price per guest in southern Italy is lower than the price in northern Italy, where the cost of living is on average higher. But weddings in the south tend to have more guests, and are also famous for their opulence.
The cost of the wedding location
Of course, the cost of the locations is extremely variable. A beach or a castle are extremely fascinating venues, with a very different cost. By the way, at Lake Garda you can have both.
The cost of the venue also increases depending on the services offered. For example, the farmhouses in the countryside of Tuscany and Umbria are a popular wedding destination because they can offer accommodation for all guests, which simplifies transport management.
Finally, the cost goes up if you want the exclusive on the venue. In some cases you can rent the entire structure, such as a villa or a farmhouse.
Often times a location can host multiple weddings on the same day, especially if it's the weekend and it's high season.
How much does the wedding banquet cost in Italy
Only the wedding banquet in Italy costs on average between 100 and 150 euros per guest. This is according to the data cited above; but the wedding banquet is one of the things you can really be creative in Italy.
Each region in Italy has a great culinary tradition; this means that if you search carefully, you will find places that serve great, locally produced, fresh and in season food at an extremely affordable price.
In Italy it's called zero km food, organic and produced locally: one of the reasons why Italians love to celebrate events and ceremonies in farmhouses. Famous are those in Emilia Romagna, called agriturismo.
An agriturismo, in addition to the traditional farmhouse activities, also offers services related to tourism. The formula become popular in Italy since the 1970s.
Wedding in Italy on a budget: tips for a small and elegant ceremony
For their wedding day, Italians on average spend around 25,000 euros, as we have written above. One can also spend much more, or less. According to data, 15,000 is the minimum budget for a ceremony with 100 guests.
Get married on a Friday
Most weddings in Italy are celebrated on weekends, Saturdays and Sundays.
Even just choosing to get married on Friday will probably help simplify the organization, find a wider availability of venues and lower costs.
Getting married in a different season
A smart way to keep the price down is to choose to get married in an alternative season. The months in which we Italians get married most frequently are June and September; depending on the location, avoiding the busy months of the year is probably a good move.
The less crowded months of the year mean greater availability of services, and it's easier to get on board the professionals who assist in the organization of the wedding.
Busy schedules usually affects the cost of services, which in the less busy months is usually lower.
The most popular wedding locations in Italy are all located in regions with a mild climate even in winter: especially the Amalfi coast and Taormina.
Data from the Centro Studi Turistici di Firenze confirms that weddings in the winter season in Florence have been steadily increasing for many years now.
Do I need a wedding planner to organize a wedding in Italy?
Organizing a wedding in Italy from abroad can present a few challenges.
A good knowledge of Italian: not all suppliers in Italy understand English.
Knowledge of the place: essential for logistics, the choice of the venue and transports.
To deal with the Italian bureaucracy, especially if your marriage is not just symbolic but is of a civil or religious type.
In fact, interacting with the bureaucracy in Italy is not at all easy; we talk about it below.
For these and many other reasons, hiring a wedding planner is likely a good choice, even though the budget need to be increased by a few thousand euros.
What a wedding planner does
Makes the necessary documents to legally get married in Italy;
proposes the different locations and venues;
coordinates service providers;
organize transport and accommodation for guests;
translates and mediates the communication with the service staff (who don't always speak English).
The wedding planner is expected to know the area, is (hopefully) experienced in the oraganization of weddings in that location and therefore knows how to manage the logistics.
If you search the web, you will find wedding planners specialized in the organization of destination weddings on the specific part of Italy you have in mind.
The wedding planner should be someone who takes stress off the shoulders of spouses and families.
How much does a wedding planner cost
On the web, many wedding planners offer an initial online consultation that can cost from 50 to 200 euros: just to get an idea about the feasibility.
Then the cost depends on the services that the wedding planner offers. For the effective management of a destination wedding, you might want to budget for a wedding planner at least 2,500 euros.
Can you legally marry in italy?
«I am a foreign citizen and I want to get married in Italy. Is it possible?». Legal and religious marriages are possible in Italy even for those who are not Italian; and the union is recognized not only in Italy but also in one's country of origin.
As an example, the US Embassy writes on the validity of the Italian Marriage Certificate in the United States:
A foreign marriage that is valid in the country where it is performed is automatically valid in the U.S. An Italian marriage certificate is sufficient to prove your marriage and it is considered valid once legalized through the Apostille procedure
However, there are bureaucratic challenges and a good amount of paperwork to deal with, not always easy to understand even for Italians.
How long do you need to be in Italy before getting married?
For civil and non-religious weddings: if you have already done all the paperwork, you may be tempted to arrive in Italy only a few days before the ceremony.
Knowing the Italian bureaucracy, however, we advise against it: there are many small details that, if you are not careful, can delay the bureaucratic process. Furthermore the municipal offices oftentimes have reduced hours, they are not open to the public all day.
The Italian bureaucracy can be slow and cumbersome: if you want to legally get married in Italy, you must first do a lot of meticulous "paperwork".
What documentation is required to get married in Italy
If you want to legally get married in Italy, you must first do some meticulous paperwork.
Non-Italian citizens must obtain two key documents, with which they declare that they are not married in their own country. The two documents are the nulla osta and the atto notorio.
These documents must be obtained from different offices: the nulla osta from the Embassy of your Country, and the atto notorio from the Italian Consulate.
The process is sufficiently complex: the documents must be formalized by the Italian Prefettura; furthermore, it is necessary to present other documents, such as one's birth certificate, translated into Italian.
As we have written, the bureaucratic complications can confuse Italians too. It is the reason why many non-Italians legally marry in their city of residence, and then come to Italy for the symbolic wedding and celebrations.
If you get married in a civil ceremony with legal binding in Italy, bureaucracy is an aspect where a wedding planner can certainly help.
We are not affiliated with these agencies, and therefore cannot guarantee the quality of the service; but for completeness we leave you the links of two pages in which the paperwork necessary to legally get married in Italy is explained in detail: the paperwork for American citizens and the paperwork for UK citizens.
How to get married with a religious rite in italy?
If you want to get married in Italy with the religious rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the path is a little longer.
For the Catholic Church, before marriage the spouses must attend a marriage preparation course (the corso prematrimoniale) in which their intention to marry is verified in the context of the Church.
To do this, the couple must be enrolled in a parish (🔊 parrocchia in Italian) and attend the course: usually one appointment each week, for 6 to 8 weeks.
To get married with the religious ceremony in Italy, some documents are also required, including the baptism certificates.
Wedding in Italy: the most popular locations
The most popular places for non-Italians to get married in Italy? Among these are certainly Florence, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Taormina, Portofino, Verona, Lake Garda and Lake Como.
To Americans, Italy will seem very small: but each region has its own climate, habits and food. The places we list here are very different from one another.
The most popular regions for a "destination wedding" are those of central Italy: Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Emilia-Romagna. With the typical hilly landscape, in the nature enjoying the delicious food of those areas.
The lakes of northern Italy are another popular destination, thanks to the elegant atmosphere: especially Lake Como and Lake Garda.
The lakes offer prestigious locations, with the mild climate of the lake (lemons grow on Lake Garda) and the mountains in the background.
These are the places where the wonderful photos you see on Instagram are taken; with farmhouses, castles and villas providing the perfect location for the wedding day.
Wedding in Tuscany
Getting married in Tuscany is undoubtedly the most popular choice among foreigners who decide to celebrate a wedding in Italy.
The valleys of Tuscany are the ideal location, as in the film starring Raoul Bova Under the Tuscan Sun. Or as in Pieraccioni's Il Ciclone, for those who remember the 90s.
The strong point of Tuscany is that you will find many professionals and agencies that specialize in the organization of destination weddings: you can choose to have the wedding reception in a castle, in a villa, in a luxury hotel or in a luxury hotel. In Tuscany you will find everything, besides nature and arts cities.
Popular destinations for a wedding in Tuscany are the region capital Florence, Siena, the Val d'Orcia, the Chianti hills. But also the Maremma and Versilia.
Getting married on the lakes of Italy
The villas and gardens of northern Italy's great lakes, such as Lake Garda and Lake Como, are prestigious venues for an elegant wedding. The Italian Lakes have a romantic atmosphere and offer fairytale landscapes as well as a particularly mild climate.
Here are some examples to inspire you, but of course there are many venues that specialize in organizing weddings and receptions.
Wedding on Lake Garda: Dogana Veneta in Lazise
Dogana Veneta is a wonderful example of a wedding venue with a view: one of the favorites for those getting married on Lake Garda. Dating back to 1300, the building used to be a lakeside customs house (a 🔊 dogana in Italian); today, restored, it hosts exclusive events, receptions and weddings. An exclusive location for a romantic and elegant wedding.
While the guests enjoy an aperitif, the bridal couple can reach them by boat from the lake. A scenographic detail for a classy wedding.
Getting married on Lake Como: Villa del Balbianello
Lake Como is also a popular wedding venue. One of the most romantic villas is Villa del Balbianello, which is located right on the shores of the lake.
It is an eighteenth-century villa, today protected by the Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano (the Italian Environmental Fund), but is available for receptions and weddings.
Also at Villa del Balbianello the bride and groom can reach guests from the lake on board a boat.
Getting married in Verona: the city of Romeo and Juliet
Verona has a reputation for being the city of love, thanks to Shakespeare who chose the city to set the story of Romeo and Juliet. Both the historic center of Verona and the hills to the north of the city are romantic and prestigious locations, which are among the most popular choices for the celebration of weddings.
A pearl in the Verona hills: Villa Pellegrini
Villa Pellegrini has a great history - it dates back to the end of the 15th century - but it is a gem that few people actually know, which is why we mention it here.
The large and sunny garden faces south; you can enjoy the view over the whole valley.
It is located in Romagnano di Grezzana, surrounded by lush Italian gardens, in a hilly landscape of striking beauty. A fairytale location for a special day.
What are the best months to get married in Italy?
The most popular months to celebrate a wedding in Italy are June and September: in Italy it is called the wedding season, (la stagione dei matrimoni). It's in late spring and early autumn, when it's not too hot yet, and not too cold.
In Italy, the climate varies greatly from area to area: on the Amalfi coast and in Sicily you will find warm days even in late autumn.
In the north of the Country, the snow makes some settings magical - think of the Dolomites; others just don't match well, like getting married in a vineyard in winter.
Wedding in Italy: the most favourite venues
Wedding in an Italian villa
The landscape of Italy is dotted with enchanting villas full of charm and history.
In the pages of All Italian dedicated to weddings in Italy we discover many of these, on the shores of Lake Garda and on the hills of Tuscany.
Celebrating your wedding in a villa is an elegant and intimate choice, in the prestigious halls and the gardens immersed in the green of the Italian countryside.
How much does a wedding in an Italian villa cost?
On average, Italians spend around 2,000 euros for the rental of a villa; a figure that excludes services such as catering.
And if you want to overdo it and rent a dream location like Villa Borromeo, one of the most prestigious villas in Lombardy, the price goes up and starts from a minimum of 3,000 euros.
Wedding in the vineyard
In Tuscany and central Italy, villas and castles are not the only setting for weddings. A growing trend is celebrating the wedding day in the vineyard (🔊 matrimonio in vigna in Italian).
Surrounded by nature, savoring healthy food with the traditions and rhythms of the Italian countryside. And with the renowned wine, such as the famous one from the Chianti valley. Weddings in the vineyard are also very popular in Umbria and Piedmont, among the areas where much of Italian wine is produced.
Of course, a wedding in the vineyard should not be celebrated in winter; the best seasons are spring and autumn, when the countryside takes on its characteristic colors.
Wedding reception in an agriturismo
Regions such as Tuscany are known for the many agriturismi. These are large farmhouses located in the countryside, surrounded by nature, where tourism is combined with rustic life.
In Tuscany, the old rural houses have been restored and transformed into elegant venues for events and ceremonies.
It is a formula that started in Italy since the 1960s and is becoming more and more widespread.
Hosting the wedding reception in an agriturismo has many advantages: lots of space for guests; the greenery and the hills, the perfect set for a photo shoot;healthy food of the farming tradition. And of course the typical wine of the region.
Beach wedding in Italy
Getting married on a beach in Italy, on the shores of the Mediterranean. In Italy you can get married with a symbolic ceremony in the locations of your dreams.
Moreover, since a few years the Italian law has allowed municipalities to celebrate civil marriages, therefore official unions for the law, even outside the halls of the municipality.
The cities of the Romagna coast and Lake Garda immediately welcomed the opportunity, and today you can officially get married in the most disparate locations, and even on the beach.
How much does the wedding ceremony on a beach cost? From 200 to 500 euros, on the Riviera Romagnola. The municipality will provide a civil officer to celebrate the ceremony, and optionally also place the chairs for the guests.
Furthermore, many wedding venues and hotels host ceremonial marriages, often on private beaches. The most beautiful beach locations are in Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia, Campania and Puglia.
Reviews of the most romantic wedding venues
In the pages of All Italian we share the areas of Italy where the landscape, climate and food are particularly suitable for an elegant wedding.
The specific locations that we mention are very beautiful, but serve as inspiration.
If you like a place, by the lake or in the countryside, we recommend that you look carefully for the farmhouses, villas and hotels in the area: in Italy there are so many.
We are not affiliated with this website, but you can read more about the locations (and especially the reviews from those who have been there!) at matrimonio.com.
Matrimonio.com is structured in a similar way to AirBnB: each venue has a page, with photos but also reviews of those who actually celebrated the wedding there. If you speak a little Italian, or with the help of the browser tools, you can certainly understand better if that location is the right place where you want to celebrate the wedding.
What are italian weddings like? Customs and traditions
In Italy, the organization of a wedding begins on average one year before the wedding day with the list of guests, the appointment of witnesses and then the search for a location.
As a guest, you will receive the invitation (🔊 le partecipazioni in Italian) a few months before the wedding.
A classic Italian wedding day
Religious weddings are celebrated in church, usually in the middle of the morning. The guests await the arrival of the soon to be married couple, and all together attend the ceremony.
The wedding ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church lasts about 50 minutes, and ends with the blessing of the spouses. At the end of the ceremony, the newly married couple is welcomed outside the church with the typical throw of rice: symbol of well-being and wish for prosperity.
At the end of the ceremony, the newly married couple is welcomed outside the church with the typical throw of rice: symbol of well-being and wish for prosperity.
Civil marriages are less pompous: at the ceremony, usually only the witnesses or a small group of guests are present.
After the wedding ceremony, it is time for the married couple to take photos; while the guests go to the vanue of the wedding banquet.
There they can enjoy an aperitif, with classic drinks like prosecco and sgroppino.
In Italian weddings the banquet, consisting of a large number of courses, can be particularly long. Guests are entertained by typical jokes and bizarre situations that are characteristic of wedding parties and that vary from region to region.
After the long banquet, a party is usually organized where guests are invited to have fun, chill and dance.
Wedding favors, the bomboniere
A 🔊 bomboniera is a small gift that the newly married couple gives to guests as a thank you: for being present at the ceremony and, implicitly, for the wedding gift.
The favor contains some confetti: small sweets contained in the favor in an odd number: 3 or 5.
The word 🔊 confetti in Italian means almonds covered with sugar glaze, typical of weddings.
What the British call confetti, for the Italians are known as coriandoli.
Do italian weddings have bridesmaids? The roles in a wedding in Italy
If you are attending a wedding in Italy, you might want to know the Italian names of the roles involved in the ceremony.
|🔊 la sposa||the bride|
|🔊 lo sposo||the groom|
|🔊 i testimoni di nozze||the wedding witnesses|
|🔊 le damigelle||the bridesmaids|
In an Italian wedding, the bridesmaids are usually the smallest members of the family, and are responsible for supporting the train of the bride.
What should I bring as wedding gift?
There is no specific gift related to marriage, and if you look at the online lists they all include items that you would also give in another context, such as a birthday.
The value? It depends on you and your friends of course.
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