How to get married in Italy legally: a civil wedding ceremony

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a wedding planner is “how can I have a legally binding wedding ceremony performed in Italy yet recognised in my home country?”. There are two possibilities:

  1. A civil ceremony: This is the easier legal ceremony to organise in Italy. The number of spectacular city halls and outdoor locations is certainly a great way to celebrate an unforgettable wedding. From frescoed city halls, rustic stone courtyards to a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the mediteranean….there is something for everyone.
  2. A Catholic wedding: Although the process is slightly more complicated, it is considered a full legal marriage recognised by the catholic church all over the world. In this case you are required to obtain both civil and catholic document requirements.

I’ll explain shortly the biggest differences between the two different weddings and what is required, how much it costs and the timing.

CIVIL WEDDING

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  • Must takes place in a town hall or a propriety belonging or rented by a town hall. This means that most of the time it is celebrated indoor, in ancient palaces or in a mediaeval courtyard.  There is the possibility to marry civilly in a few selected locations however it varies from tuscan town. Tuscania Events can assist in the search for locations that allow on site civil ceremonies.
  • The couple must complete the paperwork here in Italy prior to the ceremony. Tuscania Events will assist fully with this.
  • The bureaucratic process can vary according to nationality so it is important to mention both nationalities to be sure the necessary paperwork guidelines are followed. Tuscania Events can assist in the specific document needs and with navigating the cumbersome and often difficult Italian bureaucracy.
  • The couple should be prepared to be in Italy three or four days prior to the ceremony to finalize all the necessary paperwork.
  • The cermony lasts around half a hour and it is performed in Italian and translated in your native language by one of our interpreters. It is pretty straight forward and beautifully written and full of significance. The couple is free to add few readings, music, personal vows and the exchanges of rings.
  • Two witnesses are required: one for the bride and one for the groom. Usually it is two members of the bridal party or the parents. If you don’t have any guest present Tuscania Events will provide the witnesses.
  • Pricing: you will have to pay a rental fee directly to the town hall (with our assistance) that could be from 300€ to 5000€ depending on the Town Hall. For the paperwork expect to pay from 150€ up depending on your nationality.  If you need other services, you will also have to consider additional expense for the musicians, photographers, florist, photographer, etc.
  • We suggest that the process should begin around 6 months before the actual ceremony date.

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CATHOLIC WEDDING

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  • Must take place in a catholic church. Italian churches are usually ancient charming buildings. They can be simple stone chapels even 1000 years old, or frescoed magnificient churches depending on the style you prefer.
  • A Catholic marriage in Italy is not possible if one of you was previously married in a Catholic church and then divorced without a formal annulment from the catholic church.
  • The couple must complete the catholic and civil paperwork here in Italy.
  • Refer to civil ceremony above as the documents required for a civil ceremony are also required for a catholic wedding.
  • About catholic paperwork: it is basically the same for all nationalities. Around two months before the ceremony you will have to present your religious pre cana peperwork to the italian bishop. Tuscania Events will assist you and guide you through this process.
  • We will also provide you a parish that speaks your native language. You’ll have to meet up with the priest a few days before the actual wedding day. So the couple should consider being in Italy at least three to four days  prior to the ceremony.
  • The ceremony lasts around one hour. The wedding will be celebrated during the mass if both spouses are Roman catholic. If one of the two is protestant it is easier if they only celebrate the Rite of marriage without the mass. However this is decided also by the parish. In this case the ceremony will last around 30 min. and must be approved by your own Bishop that must give you permission in writing.
  • The mass is the same all over the world. Tuscania Events will provide you a parish priest that can perform it in your native language. You will have the possibility to add readings and music. Then there will be of course the personal vows and exchange of rings.
  • Four witnesses are required: two for the bride and two for the groom.
  • There is no rental fee for the use of the church but you certainly can not forget to make a donation that can be from 300€ for the church and from 100€ for the priest. You’ll also have to consider the expenses for the paperwork that are from around 150€ depending on your nationality. Then, if you need musicians, photographers, florist, photographer and other vendors, you will also have to consider the possibility of additional costs.
  • We suggest that the process should begin around 6 months before the actual ceremony.

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Whether you decide to have a civil wedding or a catholic wedding in Italy, Tuscania Events is available to guide you through the entire process and turn your dream of an italian wedding into reality. To find out more about the beautiful city halls, the panoramic terraces or the breathtaking churches please contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com

Ease of mind comes with an expert!!!

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How much does a wedding in Italy cost?

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a wedding planner is “how much does a wedding in Italy cost?”. This is certainly one of the most important things to think about when determining if a wedding in Italy is right for you. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Although I tried my best to be as accurate as possible, these price estimates should be used only as a baseline reference as there are many variables to consider.

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Location/Accommodation

It is very difficult to give an exact idea of what you may spend for accommodation as it all depends on type of accommodation  you choose. Generally the most budget friendly accommodations are self catering villas and the most expensive solutions being a full service luxury hotel. Prices for self catering villas can range from 50 euros per person per night and up and luxury hotels from 150 euros per person per night and up.  However prices for accommodation can greatly fluctuate depending on length of stay, amount of amenities available and location.

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If there is no on site restaurant on location which is the case for the majority of locations expect to pay from 90 – 130 euros per person. Then there is the 10% VAT tax to add. Within this per person price would include the following: an abundant cocktail hour, dinner (2 first courses and 1 second), wine and water, dessert, all tables, chairs, cutlery, glassware, linens, and wait staff (there may be some small increases per person if you have specific chair or plateware requests). Generally open bar is quoted separately. Food costs are lower if the location has an on site restaurant (prices from 75 euros and up). And I forgot to mention the most important part…Italian food is abundant and absolutely amazing!! You definitely get more for your money in Italy.

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Location Rental Fees
Location rental fees are additional fees charged for the use of indoor or outdoor areas for a reception party. Depending on the location you select you may pay zero (sometimes a rental fee is waived if you rent the location exclusively for a given amount of time using all their accommodations) to 5500 euros plus 22% VAT. The wedding rental fee obviously fluctuates depending on level of location (luxury location vs more rustic) and the day of the wedding (weekday celebrations will have a lower rental cost than a saturday for example). Also, additional rental fees may apply if there is an on-site chapel, special courtyard etc. These costs vary widely depending on location.
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Ceremonies
Civil weddings
Whether your civil ceremony is allowed on site or you select one of the many beautiful town halls you can expect to spend anywhere from 300 euros to 5000 euros. Above is a civil ceremony held in one of the Monumental villas in Lucca and below at the town hall of Volterra.
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Church weddings
There is not a fee per se for a catholic wedding but you certainly can not forget to make a donation. I would say a suggested donation should be approximately 100 euros for the priest and  300 euro donation for the church.
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Symbolic weddings
Symbolic weddings can be held in an area of your choice. The costs here could be a rental fee from the location or payment of the celebrant which can be from 250 to 1500 euros depending on several factors. Ministers will charge more than an ‘actor’ celebrant.
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Document Fees
There are some document fees involved to perform a legal wedding which are from 150 euros (but vary according to nationality).
Music
Music costs will depend entirely on what you like….live music vs DJ (DJ being the least expensive). You can expect to spend a minimum of 1000 euros for music to cover the entire day. There is also the obligatory Italian music tax or SIAI that needs to be paid which ranges in price depending on your location, type of music and number of guests but I would safely say a minimum of 250 euros.
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Photographers
Italy is cheaper than the US and possibly other countries and we have some extraordinary photographers on our preferred vendor list. From 1800 euros plus 22% VAT and up depending on hours of service and number of photographers.
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Flowers
 I love flowers and the amount you spend is based entirely on how important flowers are to your event. But I would say a minimum 1000 euros. You can obviously spend less if your group size is small or if it is a simple elopement. In general the costs of flowers I believe is pretty competitive with other countries. Same flower bouquets and using simple arrangements or planted flowers vs cut are a great way to cut back on overall floral costs.
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Printing
I can not give an accurate estimation on printing costs but in my experience printing costs tend to be cheaper in other countries so when possible you may want to think of printing as many things from home. Menu printing is often done by the caterer chosen and is sometimes included or priced separately.
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Favors
The cost for wedding guest gifts or favours all depends on what you select: a small bottle or oil, wine, watercolor painting,  something ceramic, etc. One of the great advantages here is that there are many Italian artisans to choose from. Pricing from 5 euros and up depending on gift choice.
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Hair & Make-up
In Italy it is less expensive to get your hair & make-up done in a salon vs an on site service. Salon rates are from 250 euros and up (Bridal hair & make up trial and on wedding day). On location from 400 euros (Bridal hair & make-up trial and on wedding day ).
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Additional Vendor Costs
Transportation
Transportation is too difficult to quote without my specific information as it all depends on guest number, type of vehicle etc. For a specific quote you can email us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com
Additional Rentals
Depending on the location you choose and environment you want to create there could be additional furniture rentals. For example, a very cool after dinner bar and dance area with couches etc. This is not a certain cost but only a potential cost depending on the venue and your preferences.
Wedding Planner
A wedding planner is never more important than when planning a destination wedding. Our knowledge of the local language, our assistance with necessary documents to perform a legal Italian wedding and our knowledge of high quality vendors of all budget levels are truly indispensable to ensure your experience is stress free. Since planner fees vary according to size of wedding, type of ceremony etc. it is best to email us directly for a free quote.
Again, this list should be used as an overall reference as there will be many variables that will affect the overall cost. In order to get a better idea of your potential wedding costs, feel free to e-mail us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com with your projected wedding date, number of guests and overall inspiration.
I would like to thank Jules for his wonderful photography and Tuscania Events couple Gaia & Marco for choosing us!
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Tuscan Hamlets: A perfect choice for celebrating an intimate and authentic Italian wedding

Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-76One of the best ways to have an authentic italian wedding is to celebrate in a tuscan hamlet. A hamlet or “borgo” is defined as a small hilltop village that in the past was typically comprised of old stone barns and farming sheds interconnected by winding footpaths sharing a common courtyard.  Generally these hamlets offer incredible views of the tuscan countryside creating a spectacular backdrop for wedding celebrations. Since Italian preservation law forbids major external restoration of these old hamlets they maintain the charm and allure that “old” Tuscany has to offer. Luckily, major internal renovations are allowed and some of these hamlets are restored into amazing luxury retreats offering everything under the sun from horse back riding to spa treatments. Tuscan Hamlets are an excellent choice for couples looking for an authentic Italian experience while providing maximum privacy for guests who will be located in the village but will have their own tuscan apartment within the hamlet.

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There are tuscan hamlets available for all budget ranges and group sizes.  Since finding an amazing luxury hamlet is quite easy I thought I would provide a great example of a Hamlet with a terrific quality to price ratio. Castle Florence 2 has all the characteristics of a tuscan hamlet yet includes a central castle, several small stone villas and an adorable on site chapel. This particular location can comfortably hold 31 guests in 13 apartments located within the villas. Indoor and outdoor areas can easily hold 100 guests making it an excellent choice for someone looking to enjoy a real tuscan experience in your own private hamlet. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-103This is the entrance to the on site castle and the front garden is generally where a wonderful cocktail hour can be organised with sweeping views of the tuscan countryside. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-91 The entrance  to the on site chapel is rustic, simple and authentic. In this case, less is more. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-93 The wood beamed ceilings, the terra cotta and the minimal decor creates a truly magical space. From a few wildflower arrangements to large formal floral decorations , the options are endless. Think of it as an empty canvas…. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-95 Castle courtyards provide the intimacy and the warmth of a tuscan celebration. Here you can let your inspirations and imagination go wild to create an unforgettable reception dinner. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-85 Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-87 Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-88 Apartments in hamlets offer your guests their own kitchen and a lot of space. Generally there are BBQ set ups available, a pool and outdoor lounge furniture to maximize relaxation. The best thing about hamlets is it provides maximum privacy for your guests yet it allows your guests to stay close to family and friends. Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-116Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-121Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-120Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-115 And there is certainly one thing I cannot forget……the details. Whoever said ‘it’s all in the details’ could not be more right.  The charm of a small window, the allure of hanging vin santo barrels, the colour of wild flowers growing in unexpected places… this is what exemplifies the true beauty of tuscany! Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-108Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-89 Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-110 For more information regarding this hamlet check out Tuscania Events or if you would like us to suggest a hamlet location appropriate to your guest number and budget, email us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com I would like to thank photographer and Tuscania Event client, Mick Habgood for choosing Castle Florence 2 and for capturing the beauty of the location with his fantastic photography! Habgood-Images-Tuscany,-Italy-101