Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Italy. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Barbie Carpenter
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
There is no residency requirement in Italy. After a couple declares their intent to marry, banns (announcements) are posted, notifying the public of the marriage. The length of time that these banns are posted varies, however, and is often waived for noncitizens.
Intent To Marry
Americans marrying in Italy must appear before the civil registrar in the city in which they will marry at least three days before their wedding. They must bring two witnesses. At this time, the couple declares their intention to marry and provides legal documentation for their marriage. If neither party is an Italian citizen or resident and speaks Italian, a translator is mandatory. Once the couple has declared their intent to marry, banns are posted in the commune, or town hall. The length of time the banns, or marriage announcements, are posted varies from one day to several weeks depending on the city. In many cases, banns are waived or shortened when neither individual is Italian or a resident of Italy. Couples should contact city hall for details.
Civil ceremonies take place at city hall and are performed by the mayor or one of his or her assistants. The couple must bring two witnesses to a civil ceremony. A translator is required if the couple does not speak Italian, but one of the witnesses can serve as the translator. Religious ceremonies take place in churches or synagogues and are performed by priests, ministers or rabbis. If a Catholic priest performs the ceremony, a separate civil ceremony is not necessary as long as the priest registers the marriage. However, there are special requirements for non-Catholic officiants, so a separate civil ceremony is suggested to ensure the marriage is legal.
The Marriage Certificate
After exchanging vows, couples can request certified copies of their marriage certificate. The U.S. Department of State recommends requesting multiple copies. Couples must take their certificate(s) to the legalization office of the Italian Prefettura that has jurisdiction over the city in which the couple was married. Here, the office affixes an apostille (stamp) to the certificate, which legalizes it.
Individuals marrying in Italy must submit a Nulla Osta form -- along with a $50 fee -- that verifies that they are free to marry. They must sign the form in front of a consular officer. Both the bride and groom also must obtain an Atto Notorio, an oath sworn in the presence of two witnesses and an Italian consul, which states that "there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in the United States." Both the bride and groom must provide their passports and birth certificates. In cases of remarriage, the divorce decree or death certificate of the former spouse must be provided as well. Documents issued in the U.S. that are in English must be translated into Italian and authenticated by the Italian Consulate. Couples should contact the Italian Consulate in the city in which they will marry to verify documentation requirements, as there are some variances among consulates.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Italy. In April 2010, the Constitutional Court of Italy upheld the country's ban on same-sex marriage.
Religious ceremonies in Italy, which are often Roman Catholic, do not have to follow the guidelines outlined for civil marriages. The priest will register the marriage with the state. Couples having a religious marriage in Italy should contact their church, as there are often requirements established by the church that the couple must meet before exchanging vows.
View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Italy.