Love, romance, breathtaking scenery, Italian warmth & generosity; have your wedding in Italy and these are just some of the things you are bound to experience.
Italy has long been a favourite location for couples getting married abroad, and with good reason. Catering to all styles and budgets, the land of Romeo and Juliet has a well established and professional destination wedding industry.
What to Expect
In a country with such regional diversity, it’s hard to paint a picture of a “typical” wedding in Italy. The atmospheres and even the traditions vary so wildly from one region to the next, it is impossible to give a catch-all description of what your day might look and feel like.
However, if you choose to get married in Italy, you can be assured of a handful of constants;
- The legal procedure is the same country-wide, and is relatively straightforward although you may need the guiding hand of an experienced wedding planner or co-ordinator to guide you through the process.
- You’re guaranteed the stereotypical Italian virtues of warmth, welcome, fabulous food and wine, and a laid-back approach that may be slightly frustrating if you like to be in control, or a welcome relief if you want to escape the intensity of planning a wedding at home.
With basics such as these, Italy is a fantastic location for a wedding abroad.
Cost of a Wedding in Italy
The feedback we receive is that it’s possible to get value for money if you have your wedding in Italy, BUT prices vary from location to location, what time of year you decide to get married and your personal preferences.
That being said, do not expect to have a full wedding for pennies! However, what comes as standard are breathtaking venues, delicious cuisine, amazing wine and fabulous service!
In the initial planning phase, we suggest obtaining between 3 and 5 quotes from the key suppliers. This will provide you with a realistic idea of the options available in your chosen location/locations and will also be a key factor in determining guest numbers.
For guidance, we recommend reading the Cost of Wedding Venues in Italy and the Cost of a Weddings in Italy, plus our Italy Real Wedding Budget Breakdowns. Finally, make sure you browse the Italy Cost and Budget Tips Section.
Good to Know
- Most Town Halls will waiver the residency requirement for foreign couples. However, it is advisable to arrive four days prior to your wedding day, particularly if you are undertaking the legal paperwork yourselves.
- In some parts of Italy the Comune – Town Hall request the couple do a Declaration of Marriage. This can be two or three days before the wedding. If the couple do not speak Italian an Interpreter will need to accompany the couple.
- If you are both British citizens, the legal requirements for civil weddings in Italy is relatively simple, however you must ensure that you follow the correct process and meet certain requirements. There will be variations to these steps if you are a UK expat or one of you is from another country (Australian, Canadian, USA, Ireland etc.) where the process is different, it is for the individual to fulfil the requirements of his/her home country.
- A divorced female is not permitted to enter into marriage until 300 days have lapsed on issue of the Decree Absolute. A special dispensation can be made to the Tribunale which may be granted in certain circumstances. This situation does not apply to divorced males – men can be married the next day!
- In May 2016 Italy became last Western European country to join the list of countries that have legalised same-sex weddings and it now recognises civil unions.
See Additional Information on Civil Ceremonies
Tips from Italian Wedding Experts
- Italy is a superb place to get married. With so much to offer is so difficult to choose whether you would like a villa by the lakes or on the hills of Tuscany, or even on the south sea of Puglia. My advice is consider the heat in the summer, late ceremonies are better and Autumn time is beautiful as well a great time for food and low season bargains. Booking local suppliers saves you money on the flights and expensive travel fees, looking for English speaking professionals based in Italy makes it easier. Make sure you have a hair and makeup trial, this will give confidence and calm you will have the look you want on your wedding day. – Amanda Tironi Bridal Hairstyling and Make-up
- There is no right or wrong in the wedding world. There is often pressure to fall in line with traditional wedding expectations. This day is about you, take the opportunity to take time to think how you wish to celebration seek advice from wedding experts and be confident in your choices. What matters is that you will look back on this day without regrets. – Accent Events
- Make sure to choose a photographer that you feel comfortable with. They will be with you throughout the whole day on this most intimate and special of days. You need to ensure you click to get the best results. Communication is important in terms of what you expect and what they, the photographer, need from you to achieve the results you are after. – Elizabeth Armitage Photography
- Take advantage of a pre wedding visit. See for yourself all the details and meet your wedding planner on site. You will feel so much more relaxed about it all. From this you will have a chance to discuss the legal documentation involved and pop into the local town hall with your wedding planner, should you wish to, just to run through the formalities. – Italy Bride & Groom Weddings
- SIAE is a music license that is required whether you have live music or a DJ and it is up to either the wedding planner or the villa/castle to get this for you. Cost depends on the region, city, location, amount of guests. The people responsible for getting this license for you will be able to provide you this information. – The B.I.T band
- When choosing a venue and you are uncertain, go for the one which has its own in-house chef and staff. This will save you money as you are not paying each single service but a unique all-inclusive fee. – Zia Cathy’s County House
Our Hot Tips for Getting Married in Italy
- Plan ahead, some of the more popular wedding venues can be booked up 12 to 18 months in advance.
- As soon as you know your wedding date, book your photographer.
- For those planning a DIY wedding, use our Digital Destination Wedding Planning Tool Kit to help you stay on track which comes free when you book a 90 Minute Personalised Planning Consultation.
- We strongly recommend that you get help with the legalities.
- To save on costs look outside the popular “hotspots”, watch for hidden fees, consider taking care of the legalities at home and having a symbolic ceremony in Italy.
- Have a welcome dinner or cocktails in a local restaurant or bar and organise a post wedding day brunch or activity.
- Having a reception in an Italian villa is an extremely popular option. Make sure you are aware of the subtle differences between the four different types of villa weddings.
- Provide guests with as much information as possible. Read our Guest Information Guide, and download our Guest Information Checklist which covers everything from guests expenses, to creating personal wedding websites.
- Our Italy Real Wedding Stories are not only about the beautiful imagery, they are also a great way to gain valuable first-hand advice from couples who had their wedding in Italy. You will find beautiful locations, gorgeous venues, supplier recommendations and importantly what worked well, what didn’t!
- When getting married abroad, the Grooms attire for a wedding in hot and humid weather can actually be quite tricky. We take a look at the options here.
Top Tips from Couples who were Married in Italy
In Italy if you stay away from tourist spots it is VERY reasonable and your money goes a lot further. Don’t try and take everything with you. Local florists have flowers that are true to the region and season which gives a more authentic experience. Let the location do the work. We paid very little for decorations because the restaurant had panoramic views of the countryside – all of our guests were wowed!
If you’re passionate and a keen planner it’s very enjoyable to plan it yourself. Everyone told me I needed a planner but I believed I could do it and found it pretty easy and fun!
They’re not for everyone but my advice would be to spend that extra bit of money on a wedding planner. For me, it was invaluable. At no point in the day did I have to worry about anything. We had complete faith in both our wedding planner and the venue who worked brilliantly together to ensure the day ran effortlessly.
Join websites and groups like Weddings Abroad Guide to find advice from past brides and grooms- they have the best tips. Buy fans for the guests if the ceremony is outside and in direct sunlight, we has some shaded parts but also direct sunlight which was hot for some guests.
100% go for it! Being in your favourite place with your favourite people is one of the best feelings ever, we will never have another week like it. Whilst planning the wedding ourselves was a little challenging, particularly as we don’t speak Italian, it was quite important to us to know that we were getting value for money and we were able to research lots of suppliers and find the ones we wanted to use. We found that some suppliers were really great at recommending others. For example our celebrant, recommended our harpist and hairdresser all of whom were fantastic and we would have struggled to find otherwise.
All the most significant wedding destinations in Italy are well served by low cost airlines which makes having a wedding in Italy ideal, particularly if you are sensitive to your guests’ budgets and their ability to travel. In fact with an afternoon wedding in Italy, it’s more than possible for a guest to arrive from the United Kingdom or Ireland on day of the wedding, stay overnight and return the next day. In a best-case scenario (if you book your wedding out of season and source some reasonable B&Bs), it is possible for it to cost under €150 for a guest to attend.
See Additional Tips and Advice from Real Wedding Couples
Real Experiences – Why Did You Choose to Get Married in Italy?
We decided to get married abroad pretty much immediately after getting engaged. We both have small families, some of whom we don’t get to see very often as they live overseas so we wanted to have more than just one day together with everyone. We are from Scotland where it rains all the time so we decided that Italy would be a much better setting! We chose to get married in Lucca as it’s our favourite city. We thought it would fit perfectly with the relaxed wedding vibe we wanted and loved the idea of bumping into all our friends in the middle of Lucca throughout the week. It is also really easy to reach being a 30 minute train journey from Pisa Airport.
The idea for our Tuscan wedding started in an Italian restaurant in Beijing with our German friends Frank and Astrid. A joint love of Italian red wine, prosecco and food made it an obvious choice. We both loved the idea that we could have a holiday with family and friends where one day we just happened to get married. My only reservation about getting married abroad was whether both my Granny’s would make it. In the end all six of our relatives who were in their 80’s including the two Granny’s made it over to Italy.
We wanted somewhere that all the guests could attend easily and with as little cost as possible, so it had to be no more than a two hour flight and serviced by a budget airline. Apart from that, I have good memories of Sorrento and think it’s a stunning and dramatic place. James proposed on top of Vesuvius, so there’s some continuity there as well!
We chose Italy because I had been there before and loved the food and people. Amalfi because it looked amazing in every photo and I had heard from others it was beautiful.
Better value for money and much higher standards of presentation and quality.
Nicholas & Jane, United Kingdom
We got engaged in Florence and fell in love with the area and fancied going back to get married – simple as that!
Karen & Dean, United Kingdom