How to Get Married in a Catholic Church in Italy

July 18, 2022

Italy is one of the most beautiful and romantic places on earth, which is why so many couples choose to get married there.

You'll fall in love with la dolce vita as soon as you step onto a cobbled piazza or watch the world go by from a gondola, and if you need to pop the question, there is no better place than Italy to make the occasion even more special.

And while there are thousands of beautiful settings to say “I Do” in Italy, getting married in a traditional Catholic church is one of the most popular. 

But, when you’re planning a Catholic wedding in Italy, there are a few extra hurdles that you have to go through. Luckily, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you plan an unforgettable wedding in Italy, whether you live here or abroad.

Why Getting Married in a Catholic Church In Italy is a Good Choice?

Numerous differences exist between a traditional wedding and a Catholic wedding ceremony. Therefore, it is crucial for couples starting this lovely, sacred journey together to know the customs and guidelines unique to this form of religious ceremony.

Contrary to most other weddings, Catholic marriages may call for extensive pre-marriage counselling with a priest, the completion of specific paperwork, and even participation in specific church functions.

If you’re looking for a romantic destination for your wedding steeped in tradition and religion, Italy is it! And don’t forget, along with the jaw-dropping scenery, the culture and cuisine are incredible. So, the overall wedding experience will be something everyone will enjoy and remember for a lifetime. 

Get married in a catholic church in Italy

Catholic Marriage Requirements

Before getting approval to marry in a Catholic church in Italy, you must fulfil some basic requirements.

First, no matter where you are from, you must present official documentation of your and your spouse's identities to get married in Italy. You will also need an "Atto Notorio" document signed by two witnesses to establish the same thing, as well as an affidavit from a consular office in your home country stating that there is nothing legally preventing you from getting married there.

But that’s not all.

Having a Catholic wedding and getting married in a beautiful and historic Catholic church does require a few extra steps. After fulfilling all the requirements, you can get approval to get married in a Catholic church in Italy. 

Catholic Church Requirements To Marry In Italy

Parish Permission

According to the Canon law, the marriage should be held at the Parish of either one person from the couple, whether at the groom's Parish or the bride’s Parish.

This is one of the main reasons why couples choose to marry in their hometown. But, if tying the knot in your hometown isn’t your idea of a dream wedding, don’t worry. You can request a formal letter from your Parish to marry at another Catholic church.


Related: Best Catholic Italian Destination Wedding


The formal letter will contain permission from your parish to get married in any church you want to choose. The specific time and date of your wedding ceremony in Italy should be clearly mentioned in the formal letter by your parish.

The most important thing in your formal letter is fulfilling all the Pre-Cana procedures. So, ensure a permission letter from your parish with clear statements. 

Permission from Bishop

Another essential requirement is to have a permission letter from Bishop. Your priest needs to secure the letter from the bishop of the parish. It must state the same things as in the Parish priest's formal letter. 

Make sure to get this letter on the formal letterhead of both parish and the bishop. The formal letter from the Bishop holds vital importance for getting married in a Catholic church in Italy, so always make sure your letter states the following points:

  • You do not have any obstacle or objection to getting married in a Catholic church in Italy. You also must specify the church's name with the date of your marriage.
  • The letter must be written on the Bishops’ office’s letterhead to ensure its credibility.
  • The letter must show that you are approved by the authority over the priest that has written the first formal letter.

Prenuptial Inquiry Form

The third document you need to submit is the original prenuptial inquiry form. The prenuptial inquiry form is the investigation that includes your personal details and some specific data according to your religion. This is a type of questionnaire that needs to be filled out with your priest. 

Make sure to have the inquiry form stamped and sealed by your local Bishops’ office. And also, the letter must be issued from your priest. 

Documents

After getting all the necessary letters, you also need to submit some documents before getting married in a catholic church in Italy. These documents include:

  • Certificate of Baptism,
  • First communion 
  • Confirmation

These documents must be sent with the prenuptial inquiry form to make sure you can get married in a catholic church in Italy. Your local bishop’s office should stamp and seal all these documents. 

Permission of Mixed Religion

Another thing that might be needed is the permission letter for the mixed religion wedding. This is necessary when one of the people is not Catholic. So, you need to have the permission letter for mixed religion before getting married in a catholic church in Italy. 

These were all the documents you needed to send before getting married in a Catholic church in Italy. Now let’s move toward the process of preparation for a catholic wedding, i.e., Pre Cana.

The Ultimate Guide to Pre Cana

In the Catholic marriage requirements, one of the most important prerequisites is pre-Cana. So you might be wondering what a Pre Cana is. 

Pre Cana is a course or consultation for marriage preparation. This is required for couples who are going to get married in a catholic church. 

  • In Pre Cana, you need to take numerous sessions with your priest.
  • You must always participate in the maximum church activities like conferences etc.

In the sessions with the priest, the priest will guide you all about the wedding in a church. He will discuss all the problems you are facing in your relationship. It may include financial issues, handling in-laws, or any other potential issue that might disturb your marriage. 

If the priest finds any issue or hindrance to fulfilling your role as a spouse, he will send you to the psychologist to address your issues before proceeding with wedding preparations. This will help you in the best possible way in your married life. 

Different Ways of Delivering Pre-Cana Courses

  1. The one-day event, along with the group of engaged couples.
  2. The full schedule of meetings may end in 4 to 8 weeks.
  3. Guided sessions with the couple who sponsor the course and will act as mentors.
  4. Blending learning is also an option for Pre-Cana.

These are how you can prepare yourself before getting married in a Catholic church. There is more than one option, so it may be easy for you to choose according to your routine and preferences. 

When to Start Pre-Cana Course?

The requirements for the pre-Cana course vary from place to place and church to church. But in general, many parishes recommend you to complete your pre-Cana training six months before your wedding. 

Holy Bible and rosarium in a church italian wedding

Others have also read: What Is a Catholic Marriage Certificate?


What to Wear to a Catholic Church Wedding?

Weddings are joyous events, but guests who are unsure what to wear to the ceremony may also feel stressed. But Catholic weddings differ sufficiently from other wedding ceremonies that attendees might need more instruction on manners.

Knowing what to expect, dressing appropriately, and acting appropriately should make you feel at ease and confident when you attend your next Catholic wedding ceremony.

There is no specific dress code for attending a catholic church wedding. But, as the wedding is inside the church, it’s best not to wear anything disrespectful as communion will also be part of the Catholic wedding. 

Check for the Dress Code

Sometimes people set a dress code for their Italian church wedding so their guests won’t be confused about what to wear to a Catholic church wedding.

So, always ensure to read the invitation card for the dress code. But, if the invitation doesn’t include details on what to wear, it’s best to follow the general guidelines outlined below.

Do Wear - For The Guys

  • A suit, tie, and button-down shirt
  • For an informal Catholic wedding, dress slacks, a shirt, and a tie are acceptable.

Do Wear - For The Ladies

  • Dresses or skirts that are long (at least close to the knee)
  • Modest tops
  • Shawls or wraps to cover shoulders

What Not To Wear To A Catholic Church Wedding

  • Anything skimpy
  • Low-cut shirts or plunging necklines
  • Short skirts or dresses
  • Shorts
  • Leggings
  • Jeans
  • Cutouts or Crop tops
  • T-Shirts including graphic tees
  • Sweats and sheer or see-through clothing
  • Low back or backless

Follow the Color Scheme

Try to follow the colour scheme of the invitation card; you will know which colour scheme is the theme of the Italian church wedding. 

Shoes

As far as shoes are concerned, the women can go for modest heels while the men can choose to wear closed-toe shoes. 

Hosting or attending a wedding in Italy is probably one of the most magical and memorable experiences you’ll ever have. It’s a country filled with romance: love, history, and tradition. So, if you have a chance to host or attend a Catholic wedding in Italy, you’re going to love it!

Are you struggling to plan your wedding? Download our Ultimate 12 months Wedding Planner Guide

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