25 Things to Know About Your Wedding in Puglia
1. There are two types of legally binding marriages in Italy – a civil marriage and a Catholic marriage.
2. Catholic marriages are the only kind of legal church wedding recognized in Italy.
3. If you are having a Catholic wedding ceremony which is recognized by the church you still need to have a civil marriage to make the union recognized by the law.
4. For a Catholic marriage the civil union can be performed either in the town hall (at any time preceding the church service) or the church can perform the civil ceremony for you as well.
5. A Catholic marriage in Italy is automatically recognized worldwide.
6. The only religiously binding Jewish weddings in Italy are orthodox and not reform. Thus Jewish weddings in Italy must conform to the rabbinical laws of an orthodox Jewish marriage.
7. A legally binding civil marriage in Italy must be between a single man and a single woman.
8. Same sex marriages are not legally recognized in Italy. Instead a symbolic wedding ceremony can be used as a valid, but not legally binding alternative.
9. A symbolic wedding ceremony is not legally binding in Italy.
10. A symbolic wedding ceremony can be preformed anywhere (except in a Catholic Church), any time and officiated by anyone.
11. A wedding celebrant is a professional who performs symbolic wedding ceremonies. A celebrant is usually certified to perform legal civil marriages as well.
12. Only a Catholic priest can perform a Catholic marriage ceremony.
13. The required paperwork to make a Catholic marriage religiously binding in Italy includes: certificates of baptism, proof of first communion and proof of confirmation all stamped by the Catholic Bishop of your home country. In addition you will need a letter of declaration from your parish priest in your home town, a Nihil Obstat letter printed on your Bishop’s letterhead and a Prenuptial Inquiry Form from the archdiocese in your home town.
14. If the bride or groom is not Catholic they need to show a Permission of Mixed Religion Certificate from the Bishop in your home country to have a Catholic wedding in Italy.
15. For a Catholic marriage if one of the couple has been previously married they need to show Rota authorization that their previous union was annulled and a Civil Reconciliation Certificate.
16. All legal and religious documents needed to wed in Italy must be translated into Italian and presented together with the originals.
17. For Catholic weddings the documents need to be sent to the Italian Curia at least 40 days before the ceremony.
18. The required paperwork to make a civil marriage legally binding in Italy includes: birth certificates, passports, the passports of your two witnesses and an Atto Notorio (a document from the Italian consulate in your country declaring that you are single). Once in Italy you must obtain a Nulla Osta (No Impediment to Marry) certificate from the consular section closest to your wedding destination.
19. For civil marriages in Italy divorcees will also need their previous marriage certificates and divorce certificate. Widowers will need to show the death certificate of their deceased spouse.
20. Couples from the USA must, in addition to the documents listed above for a civil union, have all documents stamped with the Apostille stamp by the US Secretary of State in your state of residence.
21. Couples from the UK must, in addition to the above mentioned documents for a civil union, present a Certificate of No Impediment from their local British registry office. This certificate is issued after the wedding Banns have been published for 23 days.
22. There is no required paperwork for a symbolic marriage in Italy as it is not legally or religiously binding. If you wish it to be legally binding you should have a civil marriage in the town hall before your symbolic wedding ceremony.
23. The required paperwork to make a Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox or Coptic marriage religiously binding in Italy includes: Proof of baptism or christening. You may also need to show proof of having been an active steward in your home church or a Chrismation certificate. Widows must show the death certificate of their deceased spouse.
24. For an Orthodox wedding where one of the partners has been married previously proof of an official religious annulment and a civil divorce must be shown.
25. If you are having a symbolic wedding ceremony in a church you can find private chapels or deconsecrated churches in Puglia.