If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable place for your wedding, Italy is it! It’s a place where even one visit is not enough because of its stunning natural scenery, delectable cuisine and wine, art, and fashion.

You will undoubtedly return for more of its velvety tiramisu, bubbly melting cheese on a fresh pizza, and smooth cold taste of gelato, but it’s not just about the food. Italy has the most breathtaking scenery you could ever imagine.

From cobblestone streets, historic cathedrals, scenic vineyards, beaches, finest Italian wedding villas and venues, it’s the best place to tie the knot. So when you want to create a “wedding experience” that’s unforgettable, you need an area that has it all - and Italy is it!

With a Catholic wedding in Italy, you’ll experience Venice's perfect Instagram filter-like golden glow, the elegant style of Roman boutiques, sunlight splattered across olive trees, and its delicious foods.

These are just a handful of the numerous explanations for why Italy is the best wedding location. So, we’ve put together this helpful guide to help you plan your Catholic wedding in Italy.

Italian Catholic Wedding Traditions You Should Know

Italy is recognized as the country of love, from the seductive sound of water lapping against the walls of Venice's medieval palazzi to the seductive aroma of citrus blossoms in Sicily. To keep things traditional, you should be familiar with the most common Catholic wedding traditions. 

Long-standing practices abound in Catholic wedding traditions, but they go well beyond reciting a few verses from the Bible and having a priest officiating. Thankfully, a lot of Roman Catholic wedding customs are generally known. With the help of this guide, you'll know what to anticipate while planning your Roman Catholic destination wedding. Here are just a few Catholic wedding traditions in Italy.

Wedding Date

Fridays are rarely used for weddings in Italy since it is said that on this day, evil spirits are formed, and being married on a Friday will only bring you bad luck. The best day to get married is Sunday since it is considered lucky and represents fertility and prosperity.

Good Luck

In many Italian weddings, the bride and the groom will take every precaution to ensure that the union is blessed with good fortune. The groom must have a tiny bit of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits. And to bring in luck, the bride will make a little rip in her veil.

First Look

We’re not talking about the first look where the couple sees each other before the ceremony…In some Italian areas, the bride is not permitted to look in the mirror before the wedding. Wow! Now that’s an interesting tradition. But luckily, she can take a peek if she takes off a glove or shoe first. 

No White

You’ve probably heard the wedding tradition where no one can (or should) wear white to a wedding. This Catholic wedding tradition will probably last forever, so yes! Even if the bride isn’t wearing white, tradition states no guest should wear white to an Italian wedding. 


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The Bridal Bouquet

In Italy, the groom is expected to pay for the bride's bouquet as his final gift to his sweetheart before she becomes his wife. The groom must pay for the floral arrangement and ensure that it is brought to the bride on the wedding day; she can choose the flowers and colors the groom must pay for it. 

Catholic Marriage Certificate

The newlyweds receive a Catholic marriage certificate as proof that their union was "solemnized" (a ceremony occurred). That’s it! It’s just one document that is needed to complete the requirements for a “legal Catholic marriage.” But, for a private catholic wedding, only getting a Catholic marriage license is insufficient. In most locations, you must still obtain a formal marriage license from the town hall or registrar's office before the wedding.

Catholic Marriage Requirements

A Catholic wedding ceremony differs significantly from a traditional wedding in many ways. Therefore, couples embarking on this magnificent, sacred journey must be aware of the traditions and rules of this type 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.

You may believe that the typical Catholic marriage preparations take a month or even a few months, but many churches have a long waiting time of up to several months! Here are some of the Catholic marriage requirements for your wedding in Italy.

Church Ceremony

Most of the time, a Catholic wedding must take place within a church. The couple must feel close to God throughout the ceremony because it is unique and sacred. Hence the ceremony shouldn't be held somewhere else, like by the beach or in a vineyard.

If you dream of an outdoor venue for your wedding, we’re sorry, but for a Catholic wedding in Italy, you’ll have to skip that in favour of a blessed church wedding. Also, remember that Catholic wedding ceremonies do not have custom vows written by the couple; instead, the priest will recite traditional vows, and the couple repeats them.

Inside church bench with flowers for a Catholic Wedding In Italy

The Interview

The first step toward walking down the aisle is often for the couple planning to get married to schedule an appointment with the priest before Pre-Cana (or pre-wedding). If you decide to get married in a Catholic church, many parts of your wedding may change, including your clothing, your bridal party, and the locations, so consult your parish priest as soon as possible.

Prenuptial Investigation

The canonical interview may be followed immediately or accompanied by a church investigation. According to the church, the goal of this study is to determine how prepared you and your spouse are for marriage. Divorce is still not encouraged!

Following the initial consultation, a couple will go through the Prenuptial Investigation, a one-on-one discussion with a priest conducted under oath. The investigation aims to determine how well they comprehend marriage's four fundamental [tenets]: that you join into it voluntarily, that it is a lifetime commitment, that it is exclusive, and that it is open to children.

Required Documents For Church Weddings Abroad In Italy

Different churches may have other requirements for marriage. Many will need documentation of confirmation, communion, and baptism. You can ask the individual church where you received the sacraments for a copy because most churches keep records of attendance at these ceremonies. Don't worry if that's not achievable. Many priests will accept two witness affidavits for each sacrament.

Catholic Wedding Pre-Cana

When planning a beautiful catholic wedding in Italy, you must do the Pre-Cana. Couples will go through Pre-Cana, the church's mandated program for marriage preparation, after completing their paperwork. The Pre-Cana program may have a variety of criteria, depending on the diocese, including many sessions with a priest, attendance at a required event like a conference or retreat, and more active participation in church activities.

The sessions with a priest make up the majority of Pre-Cana. In addition to providing guidance on what the church teaches about marriage, during these hour-long counseling sessions, couples will be questioned about existing and potential problems in their union, such as how to handle money, how to deal with potential in-laws, how to behave in public or any other issue that might be impeding faithfulness or fulfilling one's role as a spouse.

Before continuing with the marriage preparation, the priest has the right to suggest a session with a psychologist to address specific difficulties if he discovers any "impediments" to marriage or carrying out the spousal function.

Getting Married In A Catholic Church

While getting married in a Catholic church in Italy may require a few extra steps, the experience and the memories will be worth it. But, if you feel like the process seems too much to handle on your own, hire a wedding planner. They will help keep you on track and on budget and make sure nothing that is required is missed. They are worth every penny spent, especially when you're getting married abroad. 


Useful reading chosen for you: How to Get Married in a Catholic Church in Italy


Outside church door with flowers for a Catholic Wedding In Italy

Catholic Destination Wedding Italy

A Catholic destination wedding in Italy is most likely the most unforgettable wedding you’ll ever experience. From the incredibly majestic natural scenery, culinary delights, rich culture, history, traditions, and of course, the memories you’ll create, it all sums up to be the best wedding ever.

And if you’re planning to have your wedding in Italy, be sure to hire a wedding planner to help you put all the pieces together. 

There are thousands of fantastic wedding locations in Italy. So, whether you are getting married in a Catholic church, on the Amalfi Coast, in Venice, in Rome, in a church, at a vineyard, or on the beach, the memories you’ll create with your forever love and family will be cherished forever!

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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.


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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:

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:

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 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

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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

Do Wear - For The Ladies

What Not To Wear To A Catholic Church Wedding

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!

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Weddings are happy occasions, but they may also be stressful for guests who don't know what to wear to the ceremony. But catholic weddings are distinct enough from other wedding ceremonies that wedding guests may require additional guidance on good manners. 

When attending your next Catholic wedding ceremony, knowing traditions, what to anticipate and the right clothes and behavior should help you relax and feel confident.

What is the dress code for a Catholic Church Wedding?

The Catholic Church doesn't have specific written rules about the "appropriate dress code" for church weddings. However, church ceremonies are usually more formal affairs that warrant proper attention to your fashion. 

Take your cues from the invitation, the time of day, and the event type.

For example, men should wear a shirt and tie for the church ceremony, while women should always go the modest route and bring a shawl to throw over their shoulders.

Do I Have To Dress Modestly At A Catholic Wedding?

When it comes to attending a Catholic wedding, you should be aware of a few dos and don'ts before the big day. What it means to "dress modestly" is one of the things you should educate yourself about.

Don't be fooled into thinking that dressing modestly equals dressing boringly. On the contrary, dressing modestly entails wearing wedding gowns that are both attractive and comfortable while also avoiding displaying too much skin.

For example, it is against church principles for women to wear an article of clothing that exposes the majority of their upper body. As a result, you should cover yourself with a trendy shawl once you enter the church. 

It's also good to stay away from short dresses or skirts. If the length of a dress or skirt is less than your arm's length when you rest it at your side, it's generally too short, and you should wear something else.

what to wear on a catholic wedding
Photographer: @julesbower

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Can You Wear Black To A Catholic Wedding?

The debate over whether or not black is suitable to wear to weddings isn't going away anytime soon. Is it permissible to wear black at a Catholic wedding? Yes, you can wear your stunning black gown. 

It's only logical that you'd think that wearing black to a Catholic wedding would be inappropriate. 

Wearing black to a wedding was once seen to be a passive-aggressive method of opposing the marriage. Given that we are in the twenty-first century, it does not appear rational to link the color of clothing to a marital objection.

People who have attended Catholic weddings will tell you that they have seen several black outfits, particularly on young female visitors, at one point or another. If you're still hesitant to wear black but want to wear your luxurious black ensemble, complementing it with colorful accessories may give you the boost you need.

Because conditions vary, it's also crucial to determine if there are any worries about wearing black to your wedding. Black may still be considered taboo in some places.

Even while wearing black to a wedding is generally fine, there are a few things to consider before deciding on your favorite black ensemble. Some of the things you should think about are:

When deciding if it's ok to wear black to a wedding, you should always consider how formal it is. If you're attending a black-tie or formal wedding, you can wear anything black. 

However, wearing a black outfit to a Catholic wedding in the casual countryside, where the bridal dress code is not formal, may appear overly solemn. Likewise, outdoor weddings can sometimes be less formal and demand more casual dress.

wearing on catholic wedding ivory shoes
Photographer: @evalindouglass

You'll also want to consider the time of day. For an evening wedding, wear black, and for a midday wedding, wear lighter colours.

Do I Have To Wear Sleeves In A Catholic Wedding?

Because Catholic weddings place a premium on modesty, guests are wary of wearing sleeveless attire. 

However, most Catholic churches now allow brides to wear sleeveless wedding gowns. In addition, if a priest permits a bride to wear a sleeveless dress, guests will likely be allowed to do the same. 

As a result, guests should not feel self-conscious about wearing sleeveless clothing in this situation.

Can I Wear Sandals in A Church?

Although wearing sandals is not prohibited in the Catholic church, it may be inappropriate if you are attending a wedding with a formal dress code. Also, avoid sandals that resemble flip-flops with straps and instead opt for those with a semi-casual vibe.

What Not To Wear To A Catholic Wedding?

Is digging through your closet trying to decide what to wear to a catholic wedding stressing you out? We get it! We know that churches have traditionally been pretty strict with their dress code requirements. But in modern days, what exactly does that mean?

Understanding what "not" to wear to a catholic wedding is an excellent place to start. Here are a few things that should never be worn to a catholic church wedding.  

Leggings Or Jeans

It seems like it would be an understood rule never to wear leggings or jeans to a catholic wedding, but with today's casual fashion craze, you'd be surprised. So, we're putting it out there!

It is not ok to wear jeans to a catholic wedding, and leggings aren't appropriate unless you have a nice, LONG shirt to cover your private parts. 

Cutouts Or Crop Tops

When it comes to a Catholic wedding, having cutouts in your dress around your abdomen and other regions is excessive.

Cutouts also allow you to flaunt your midriff. While it's fantastic to be confident, it's probably not a good idea to do so at church.

Plunging Necklines

The key to what to wear to a catholic wedding is to keep it modest. So, the last thing you want to do is wear something with a plunging neckline that shows too much cleavage. 

But, if that's your typical everyday style, then make sure to get a shawl or wrap to be dressed appropriately in the church and then remove it for the reception. 

Inappropriate Designs Or Graphic Tees

Anything having visual designs that might go against a Catholic church's beliefs should be a no-no. And this is not a good time to be making political statements with your clothes.

Wearing a graphic tee or attention-grabbing and compromising prints can be left at home for another more casual event.

Short Skirts

Ladies, please understand that what you wear to a catholic wedding says a lot about who you are and the level of respect for the church and the couple. So make sure to pay close attention to how long your skirts and dresses are. 

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the length of the skirt is mid-thigh (or longer) when sitting down. Yes! You need to test the skirt length when sitting, not just when standing.

Sweats & See Through Clothes

Do we need to explain?

Shorts

Shorts aren't acceptable to wear to any wedding, much less a catholic wedding. And this goes for men and women. 


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Catholic Wedding Guest Dress

For wedding guests, deciding what to wear may be a stressful affair. You may be concerned not only about the style of attire you should wear to the wedding but also about the colors you should wear. 

So, how should you dress for a Catholic wedding? 

Because most Catholic weddings are semi-formal, males should wear shirts and ties, if not suits. On the other hand, women can dress in skirts, dresses, or even dress pants. So, modesty is essential

Also, Catholic weddings aren't that dissimilar from other types of weddings. Pay attention to the wedding invitation to incite into how formal the event will be. 

Catholic Wedding Guest Dress For Men

Men attending a Catholic wedding should dress conservatively, with a shirt and tie at the very least, though a suit is ideal. Hats are not permitted for male visitors at the wedding, and cut-off shirts that reveal the arms, which are inappropriate for the occasion, should be avoided.

Catholic Wedding Guest Dress For Women

At Catholic weddings, women should wear modest attire. While in the church, it's advisable to cover your arms and back with a shawl or tiny jacket; these can be removed during the reception. 

Wearing a noticeably short dress at a wedding is also bad etiquette; the dress should not show the thighs when a woman sits down. Also, avoid wearing white—this is the color of the bride's gown.

If you hate wearing dresses, it's ok to wear tailored pants.

Churches may be one of the most prevalent ceremony locations. Still, when selecting wedding-day apparel appropriate for that environment, they tend to throw guests for a loop. 

In addition, dress rules might vary widely depending on the couple's religious affiliation and the type of church where the ceremony is held, so make sure you're familiar with the venue and what to expect before narrowing down ensembles. And when in doubt, ask the couple!

man set to wear to a cathlolic wedding
Photographer: @evalindouglass

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Finding a companion with whom you can spend the rest of your life is a gift. And if your dream is to marry in a Catholic Church, there are a few additional steps you need to know about. 

Because Catholics regard marriage as a sacrament, taking these crucial steps will help you prepare for the lifetime of love and commitment you are about to embark on. 

Choosing to tie the knot in a Catholic ceremony comes with specific expectations, restrictions, and additional requirements. 

You may be required to submit certain documents such as a Catholic marriage certificate,  participate more in church events, and go through an intensive marriage preparation procedure with a priest before being allowed for a Catholic wedding.

Frequently there are marriages between two baptized non-catholic members. Or even between Catholic Christians and a non-baptized Catholic member. 

The reality is that in cases of the latter, the consent of the diocesan bishop is required. When granted, the consent will permit a mixed marriage.

With that said, Catholic weddings are like any other kind of wedding in many ways. For instance, the church insured a credible catholic marriage certificate. 

And that will be our focus in this read. So what are catholic marriage requirements

Here, we will walk through everything you need to know about a marriage certificate. But before we get right at it, what is a catholic marriage certificate?

gold wedding rings on catholic marriage certificate
Photographer: Sandy Millar

 

What Is a Catholic Marriage Certificate?

A Catholic marriage certificate is presented to the newlywed couple as evidence that the marriage was “solemnized” (a ceremony took place). 

It is just one document that is necessary to complete the requirements for a legal Catholic marriage. 

However, simply having a Catholic marriage certificate is not enough. Before the ceremony, you are still required to obtain an official marriage license from the local government or registrar's office in most places. 

The Process of Getting Married in A Catholic Church

If you are planning to have your wedding in a catholic church, below are the following processes you will have to follow. 

The Interview 

The first process of getting married in a catholic church is an interview which the priest will grant. Couples will be subjected to this interview before the wedding. So here's the vital question: What are the things to expect? 

To start with, you must know that different aspects of your wedding may be affected if you intend to have one in a catholic church. Aspects like wedding dresses, bridal parties, catholic wedding venues, and more will be scrutinized by the priest. And these interviews come in different forms. 

The first is known as the initial investigation. The first interview entails required documentation, schedules with the priest, and all kinds of logistics. And the interesting part is that chances are the priest conducting the interview might not be the one officiating your wedding.

The second one is known as the prenuptial interview. A priest conducts this interview under oath. The purpose is to establish the understanding of the four basic principles of marriage, and that includes:

Requirements for a Catholic Marriage Certificate 

Before a marriage is considered valid before the eyes of the church, certain elements must be in place. 

Months before the wedding, the couples must attend several classes to duly inform the intending couples of their consent. These four requirements are:

Also, the Code of Canon Law demands that the wedding ceremony be held at the parish of the groom or bride. 


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Required Documents for a Catholic Marriage

You need to know that the required documents for a catholic marriage come in different forms. 

There are different sets of required documents set of couples like:

But below are the commonly required documents for a catholic marriage.

Pre-Cana

Now that the necessary documentation process is out of the way, the next on the list is Pre-Cana. 

Earlier, we mentioned that the couples will be required to attend a marriage class. The class is known as Pre-Cana. 

The church organizes the marriage-preparatory class. It comes with multiple sessions with a priest and other church-related activities. 

But the majority of the marriage-preparatory class has to do with your sessions with a priest. These sessions will cover the following:

Determining Wedding Date 

Determining the date is unarguably one of the most aspects of planning a Catholic marriage. It's no secret that Catholic churches often have an event-filled calendar. That is why it is advisable to have a calendar of events and holidays of your parish. Couples can get married any other day except on Holy Thursdays, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday. 

Proper Dress Code

Appropriate clothing and dress code are non-negotiable for catholic and non-catholic churches. 

Marriage is synonymous with purity and holiness. And the Roman Catholic churches would like to keep it that way.

Therefore, if you are considering having a Catholic marriage, your dresses and garments must be modest. 

Not just that, your dresses must have modest cuts. It’s best if you can avoid deep-back gowns, high slits, sheer panels, and plunging necklines.

Some Catholic churches make it mandatory that the shoulders should not be exposed. 

Ask your parish about the dress code to save you from all kinds of embarrassment and inconveniences.  If you must, keep the stylish dresses for the reception.

The Importance of Catholic Marriage Certificate

The importance of a Catholic marriage certificate is that it serves as proof that a wedding takes place. 

Although, the marriage certificate issued by churches might not hold much water for legal dealings. But to a large extent, a marriage licence is legally binding as well as Catholic marriage.

Also, since a Catholic marriage certificate is legally binding, you can use it for purposes such as:

The Dos and Don’t of Catholic Marriage Conclusion 

There are many dos and don’ts when it comes to catholic marriage. Here are some you should watch out for.

The entire Catholic wedding ceremony takes up to 90 minutes. 

spouses hands in hands reading the catholic marriage certificate
Photographer: Bastianoni Studio 

It includes a full mass and a holy communion which takes up to 60 minutes. The whole rite of marriage ceremony takes up to 45 minutes. 

The processional order for a Catholic wedding starts off with the groom and the best man entering first. Then the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk up to the aisle. 

This is followed by the entrance of the maid of honor. And lastly, the bride and her father walk up to the aisle.

Catholic weddings are not so different from the weddings you have attended in the past. The only differences are the little religious modifications. 

If you have been to Catholic weddings, you will know that they are always beautiful. Also, attending marriage-preparatory classes will also help your marriage in the long run.

Unlike other church wedding certificates, Catholic certificates are legally recognized. It can be used the same way court certificates are utilized. 

It can be used for change of name, proving your identity, filing taxes, applying for loan/mortgage, sharing health benefits, to mention a few.   

By now, I believe this read has done justice to understanding what is a Catholic marriage certificate, the process of getting married in a Catholic church, Catholic marriage requirements, and the perks of a catholic marriage certificate.

If you are searching for help for your Catholic Wedding, please let us know and send us a personal message, and let's begin your Journey.

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The diversity of sacred customs across nations and religions is one of the most attractive features of wedding rituals. For Catholics, marriage is considered a religious sacrament, and it often involves specific, time-honoured traditions.

Couples may be asked to submit particular paperwork, participate in more church events, and go through an intensive marriage preparation procedure (also known as Pre-Cana) with a priest before being allowed for a Catholic wedding.

While modern weddings are taking on new characteristics due to couples wanting to create unique experiences, having a Catholic wedding means you’ll be sticking to some age-old traditions.

There are many things to learn about honouring the Catholic marriage requirements, but today we’re going to focus on what is Pre-Cana and why it’s necessary.

What Is Pre-Cana?

Pre-Cana is a marriage preparation course, workshop, or consultation for couples planning to marry in a Catholic church. The name comes from John 2:1–12, when Jesus performed the miracle of changing water into wine at a wedding feast at Cana, Galilee.

All couples who wish to receive the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church must undergo Catholic marriage preparation.

Pre-Cana approaches can differ amongst Catholic dioceses and parishes. But generally speaking, a priest or deacon usually leads six-month sessions with the couple and the help of a married Catholic couple.

These discussions will be crucial for you as a couple in your forthcoming marriage, ensuring that you are both in agreement — or at the very least understanding — about each other's beliefs and values.

Topics that you can expect to learn about include “family of origin” (your existing family roles, expectations, and traditions derived from your own upbringing), financial considerations, career goals and practical issues, communication skills, intimacy and sexuality, conflict resolution, Natural Family Planning (NFP), and the theology and spirituality of marriage.

Your Catholic marriage preparation or Pre-Cana is typically done in person. Although parishes and dioceses deal with dwindling finances, geographically expanding communities, and deployed military couples, online programs have arisen as a viable alternative to gathered celebrations.

gold marriage rings on a book for pre-cana rite

What Happens During Pre-Cana?

Depending on your dioceses, you may have to attend sessions for six months where you’ll be given opportunities to learn about marriage and to discuss many topics that can be considered challenging to address.

Another option that many Catholic Churches allow is a weekend retreat. In this retreat, you would spend an entire weekend with other couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage.

The Catholic marriage requirements of Pre-Cana is a program that you experience in one of the following formats.

First, check with your local Catholic church to see their requirements and offerings.

Pre-Cana refers to all of the organized and systematic events that assist you and your fiancé(e) prepare for marriage. The church provides them as a tool to assist you and your fiancé(e) in better preparing for marriage.

hand in hand during wedding

Is Pre-Cana Mandatory?

Yes! Catholic Marriage Requirements dictate that the Pre-Cana is required for you to get married in a Catholic Church. And honestly, while it may sound like a headache or an invasion into your life, most couples find that they learn a lot.

It can be hard to talk about complex topics when you're in love. And, of course, many things can occur during a marriage that you may never even anticipate.

So, when you participate in this Catholic marriage preparation, you’ll be challenged to open your hearts and dialogue about some pretty in-depth things.

Part of the Pre-Cana many times includes you partnering up with a married couple, kind of as mentors. Their experience will help you talk through challenging situations so that you both can understand the other's beliefs and perspectives - or basically, how you would handle things.

A topic that might not have arisen in your relationship is “What if one of your jobs forced you to move? That’s probably not a topic you’ve talked about. Because for most people, it doesn’t happen. What if it happened, and one of you said, “I’m not going.” It’s important to know where you stand before marriage.

What if one of you got seriously injured or paralyzed? Do you know if your significant other would stand by you through it and take care of you?

Of course, we all like to think that married life will be a breeze and that challenging situations won’t happen. But, unfortunately, that is not reality.

It is so important, especially in today's modern times, that you both understand how the other would react and if the marriage could survive, especially in today's modern times. The Pre-Cana or Catholic marriage preparation will help you talk about these things to go into the marriage ready to tackle anything.

Why Pre Cana Rite is so Important?

Marriage preparation entails more than just knowing about the sacrament's religious, spiritual, and theological dimensions (even though these are essential elements present in every marriage preparation course).

Practical parts of marriage preparation include things that will assist the couple in the "day-to-day aspects" of building a new family.

For example, family of origin, finances, conflict resolution, intimacy and sexuality, and various other topics are crucial to discuss before and during marriage to help the couple deal with significant concerns that we frequently neglect to discuss.

Of course, knowing the religious, spiritual, or theological aspects of the sacrament of marriage is an integral part of marital preparation. The course also contains practical discussions to assist you with starting a new family's "day-to-day issues."

Family customs, money, dispute resolution, intimacy and sexuality, and various other topics to discuss will help you prepare for critical concerns that we sometimes overlook before and during the marriage.

holy bible on bookrest for pre-cana wedding

How Much Does Pre-Cana Cost?

Your Catholic marriage preparation course is not free. There is a fairly hefty fee for attending the weekend retreat — somewhere around $350 per couple, and the price can go up each year.

The six Pre-Cana sessions also cost money, but they are not quite as costly as the weekend. But, it’s always best to check with your local church as different demographic areas may be more (or less) expensive.

Does Pre-Cana Expire?

That’s a great question! If you have completed your Pre-Cana, you don’t have to worry about it expiring. Your certificate is valid for eternity. So when you’re ready to tie the knot, your certificate will be valid even if you postpone your wedding for two years.

When Should You Do The Pre-Cana?

Although specifics and criteria vary by parish, and it's essential to verify where you plan to marry with the parish, the Catholic Church generally advises that you finish your Pre-Cana program six months before your wedding day.

church view with trees during pre-cana
Photographer: @evalindouglass

Suggested for you: Best Catholic Italian Destination Wedding

Can You Take The Catholic Marriage Preparation Online?

Yes! Many websites do offer the Pre-Cana courses online. But, it’s best to check with your local diocese to ensure it will be acceptable to them.

What Do You Do After Pre-Cana?

There is an online survey that you must complete. It asks you a series of questions on what you talked about at Pre-Cana, and you can choose to agree, disagree, or remain uncertain. To avoid cheating on each other, you and your fiance must answer individually. The findings are then forwarded to your church. Next, you schedule an appointment with a couple from the church who walks you through the questionnaire before leaving you alone to mull over the responses.

This isn't meant to imply that you won't be able to marry. No matter how many of your responses match (or don't), the church will not intervene. It's only to show you any potential red flags that you should address. Better to be prepared, right?

You will only be able to see your findings at this time. You will not receive a copy of the test to compare notes later. They aren't going to be around in the future. You can't say anything like, "Remember at Pre-Cana you said..." and then bring the results out to look for proof of

flip-flopping. This is just a way for you and your fiance to chat; it's not anything you'll be holding over each other's heads later in life.

Do You Have To Do It Together?

Yes! Both of you must attend at the same time.

Is The Pre-Cana Worth It?

Absolutely! In today’s modern times, everyone is in a rush all the time. And we like to think that we really know someone without even having conversations about tough subjects.

Going into a marriage not knowing how your spouse will react to other successes and obstacles is a recipe for disaster.

We’ve heard stories of one spouse resenting the fact that the other earns more money, one whole-hearted will not move from their current location -ever, one likes to spend, the other is a penny-pincher and even stories of one spouse not wanting kids. Can you imagine?

Not knowing that the person you want to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t want kids, and you can’t wait to have them.

Sadly, this happens pretty often, and why? Because they never talked about it.

While this type of Catholic marriage requirement may seem extreme, we can assure you that there are many, many benefits.

No one likes to think their marriage is destined for divorce, right? No one goes into marriage thinking that.

Understanding who each other really is, what they stand for, how they will react, and the role that each one is comfortable being in are crucial to a successful marriage and lifetime commitment.

Dialogue is essential, and the Pre-Cana teaches you how to do it. Absolutely a must if you want a Catholic wedding.

A Catholic wedding ceremony differs in many ways from a typical wedding. For couples embarking on this beautiful, sacred journey together, it is imperative to be well-versed in the traditions and rules specific to a religious ceremony of this kind.

Unlike most other weddings, Catholic weddings may require a long period of pre-marriage counseling with a priest, particular documents to be made, and even attendance in certain church events.

You may think a month or even a few months is enough for standard Catholic marriage preparations, but many churches have a considerable waiting period of up to several months!

Therefore, inform the church of your impending nuptials at least 9 months in advance, so the priest has time to book pre-marriage counseling sessions with you and your fiancé. Know that these steps apply even if your to-be spouse does not belong to the Catholic faith.

Here below we'll show you what Catholic marriage requirements do you need for your church wedding.

catholic marriage requirement church view inside
Photographer: @davidbastianoni

The Wedding Takes Place In Church

A Catholic marriage ceremony has to occur indoors in the church in most cases. The ceremony is unique and sacred, and the couple must feel close to God, so it is not preferred for the ceremony to be held anywhere else, like by the beach or in a vineyard.

If you love outdoor venues for weddings, you’ll have to skip that in favor of a quiet albeit blessed church wedding. Also, remember that Catholic ceremonies do not have custom vows written by the bride and groom, but the priest will recite vows, and the couple repeats them.

The Interview & Investigation

An initial interview can clear up many logistical aspects of your wedding, such as listing the documents needed, how to book counseling, how to book the church for the wedding date, and so forth.

The priest who will act as an officiant at your wedding needs to be near you location-wise; otherwise, you may find booking problems. In many cases, the priest carrying out the pre-marriage counseling may not officiate and may appoint another officiant due to unavailability.

An investigation on the part of the church may accompany or come immediately after the canonical interview. This investigation is vital in the church's eyes because its purpose is to ascertain how ready you and your spouse are for marriage. Divorce is still frowned upon!

The couple must understand the four main pillars of a Catholic union, namely the marriage’s permanence, exclusivity, openness to offspring, and both parties entering the union without reservations or objections.

Bear in mind that particular churches have reservations about remarriages or conducting a ceremony for an individual who has been married before and their previous spouse is still living. Affidavits will be signed, so the church's process is quite formal and documented to ensure complete transparency.

catholic marriage requirements benches inside the church
Photographer: @davidbastianoni

What are the documents and requirements for a valid Catholic wedding?

Documents can vary slightly across churches, so make a point of inquiring about the exact documents you will need to submit and, in some cases, acquire to book your ceremony at your parish.

⮚   Baptismal and confirmation certificates.

Submit certificates from the church where your baptism occurred (this will not apply to a non-Catholic spouse, and there is no pressure to convert). Confirmation certificates confirm the baptism and need to be dated within the last 6 months. Some churches may require submission right away when you interview, and some may wait until a couple of months before the ceremony, but it is better to have them prepared and ready to go from the offset.

⮚   A marriage license

A civil marriage license obtained from your municipality is typically needed. The license needs to be valid for at least 4 months.

⮚   The affidavit of being free to marry is both a legal and a catholic marriage requirement.

It serves as evidence of your marriage and proof you or your spouse are not secretly married to another individual. It is usually referred to as a replacement marriage certificate as it proves a wedding took place in the legal world.

⮚   Marriage preparation course completion.

The bride and groom need to attend marriage preparation courses (also known as Pre-Cana). A certificate of attendance and completion is a vital document you need to present. This may even be done online in some cases if the couple is based abroad but want to return and be married from their local parish.

⮚   Marriage Banns Forms.

Every church does not require this, but ‘banns’ are declarations carried out on 3 successive Sundays in the church in the presence of a congregation to announce the impending nuptials. Traditionally it provides ample opportunity for new information to come forward or raise objections if there are any.

catholic marriage book in a bookrest and flowers
Photographer: @davidbastianoni

Related: The 7 Best Catholic Italian Destinations for your Wedding

A Guide To Pre-Cana

Pre-Cana is a meaningful and crucial part of Catholic marriage and is always required. It can take the form of classes or a course, but it can also be a series of consultations.

The term Cana comes from the Bible regarding the wedding feast in Cana, where Jesus changed water to wine. Most pre-Cana courses have some core topics and discussions that your priest may choose. The format of Pre-Cana can also vary according to your priest. Still, the primary purpose is to encourage conversations that are considered vital to the spirit of marriage and provide valuable Catholic teachings the couple may or may not know.

The Pre-Cana may be the first time a couple is getting training in having a shared perspective or reaching an agreement on issues such as the faith or upbringing of any children in the future. If your spouse is not Catholic, the pre-Cana attendance can also be a kind of primer course for them to learn some of the beliefs you hold dear. Even topics like intimacy or financial management may be discussed in this course because marriage is made up of many practical decisions and not just romance and love.

Visit your church to know the format they prefer for Pre-Cana. It can even be a weekend retreat you share with several other couples, a series of weekly consultations your priest schedules, or even an online course you are tested on. Know that pre-Cana is the name given to the accumulated knowledge you acquire from a priest or deacon to prepare you for your upcoming marriage.

The pre-Cana may also bring to light psychological issues that you or your spouse may be repressing or suffering from, so the course may include sessions with a psychologist, but that doesn’t happen in every case. If you are a younger couple, you may have the opportunity to be taken under the tutelage of what is known as a mentor couple, just to help you make the most of the course.

bride and groom in the church garden
Photographer: @evalindouglass

Is a Catholic Marriage Certificate a Legal Document?

While laws vary from country to country, generally, it is a sacramental document that needs to be attested and verified by the relevant civil authorities. However, it does offer proof of marriage. Therefore, in some countries, it is common for a civil official to be present at the ceremony so that the couple can sign those legal documents first and then proceed.

What You Can Wear

You are better off straying from a strapless number towards a more modest cut in your wedding gown for a church wedding. You can also wear a shawl or wedding cape to cover your shoulders as that is fashionable, especially if the fabric complements your wedding dress design. Generally, gowns that are deep V-necks or deep back cuts are frowned upon, so opt for a more classic and chic style that is both modest and stylish.

catholic wedding requirements ceremony in the church
Photographer: @davidbastianoni

Music, Pictures, And Cheer

Everyone has to be quite solemn in the church so even though it’s your wedding you probably won’t be able to play loud music or shout a lot. Leave the ‘shouting from the rooftops’ part for when the ceremony is over! There may be a choir in the church to add melody to the proceedings or an organist, but you definitely cannot have a DJ there or your favorite playlist of show tunes.

Remember, if you wish to sing a song yourself or a family member wants to sing one for the congregation, you need to have the express permission of the priest who is officiating (even for religious songs or hymns).

If you’ve hired a photographer you may have to ask them to take a bit of a backseat as a Catholic marriage ceremony must not resemble a photoshoot, and everyone must observe the sanctity of the proceedings. Your photographer can take pictures silently from the side or wait for the right moment, so there is no disturbance.

Many priests prefer to brief professionals like photographers on the etiquette of the church, so expect a no flash photography rule. Photographers may also only be allowed to a specific area in the church.

Falling in love and finding your soulmate is definitely one of the most joyous times in our lives. And when the time comes to make it official and join your two souls together as one in holy matrimony, it’s a celebration. Yes! There may be more hoops to jump through for a Catholic marriage, but it’s your faith, what you stand on, and it should be cherished, respected and celebrated as well.

Italy is a country with an unlimited amount of evocative landscapes from which lovers wanting to tie the knot may select their favourite setting: elegant or natural, inexpensive or expensive, well-known or unknown, old or modern, you just have to pick the one that speaks to your soul. 

And thanks to its vast history, natural richness, and incredible architecture, Italy is the perfect country for an unforgettable Catholic destination wedding and dreamy honeymoon. 

But with endless wedding venue choices and catholic traditions, you may find it challenging to choose one. 

So, to help you find the perfect place for your “I Do’s,” We put together this guide to the best Catholic Italian destination wedding locations

Santa Maria del Fiore catholic wedding Cathedral Florence
Photographer: Fede Roveda

The Best Locations For A Catholic Destination Wedding in Italy

Sorrento, Italy

Sunny Sorrento is located in the Campania region of southwestern Italy, which is known for its stunning coastline, old Roman ruins, and delectable cuisine

And with so much beauty and history everywhere your eye can see, Sorrento is definitely one of the best Catholic Italian destination wedding settings. In addition, it has a nice, temperate climate, making it an ideal venue for weddings, especially in the less busy seasons of Spring and Autumn. 

Hosting Roman Catholic destination weddings in Sorrento at one of these venues will be unforgettable. 

Catholic Churches In Sorrento Italy

Planning traditional Roman Catholic destination weddings means you’re going to want to say “I Do” in a church. And trust us when we say the Catholic churches in Sorrento, Italy, will not disappoint. 

Grand architecture, rich history, and ornate artistic treasures make these Catholic churches in Sorrento, Italy, the perfect backdrop to join together as one. 

Stunning, right? We think any of these churches in Sorrento are a dream setting and the best Catholic Italian destination wedding venues. 

catholic wedding church from the inside
Photo: sorrentoview.com

Tuscany

When we think of a romantic setting for a destination wedding, you better believe that Tuscany, Italy comes to mind. 

There’s something magical about the scenery, the scents, the history, and the culture that it’s purely spectacular. From quaint villas to luxurious resorts, chic hotels, the best Catholic Italian destination wedding venues can be found in Tuscany. 

Tuscany offers so many incredible venues and arguably some of the unrivaled vistas and cuisine in the world. And we have the best Italian wedding planners to design, plan and produce the most beautiful Italian Catholic wedding. 

All you need to do is select your favourite venues! Here are a few of our favourites. 

HotelBelmond and the garden
Photo: David Bastianoni

Venice

Ah, you know, Venice had to be on our best Catholic destination wedding location list. 

Venice is in the northeast of Italy, known worldwide for being a floating metropolis of extraordinary beauty. There are no streets or automobiles, only canals. 

All of the structures are surrounded by water, and the only modes of transit are boats and gondolas. Can’t you just imagine arriving at your wedding ceremony in a gondola? 

Here are some pretty unforgettable venues in Venice for your destination wedding in Italy. 

catholic destination wedding in Italy Villa Barbarich Venice
Photo: villabarbarich.com

Suggested for you: A Guide To Catholic Marriage Requirements


Amalfi Coast

Possibly one of the most breathtaking sceneries you will ever see. If romance and whimsy are what you want for your destination wedding in Italy, the Amalfi Coast is for you! 

Here are our favourite destination wedding venues on the Amalfi Coast. And if you need help planning your Catholic wedding in Italy, do not hesitate to contact VB-Events.  

wedding garden with table and chairs
Photo: David Bastianoni

Lake Como

This is simply one of Europe's most spectacular natural locations, and the sight of the small settlements strewn across the surrounding hills will undoubtedly delight you. 

There are numerous venues where you may have a spectacular Catholic destination wedding in Italy, but a Lake Como wedding is truly unique. 

Here are the best Catholic Italian wedding locations in Lake Como.

Here below the beautiful Villa Balbiano in Como lake.

catholic destination wedding in Italy Villa Balbiano Como lake
Photo: theheritage-collection.com

Rome

The eternal city cannot be overlooked when it comes to Roman Catholic destination weddings.

A wedding in one of its centuries-old Catholic churches in Rome, or perhaps in one of the villas in the adjacent hilly area, or even in the thermal sub-region next to Tivoli, would add an element of exclusivity to your wedding that not everyone can afford. 

So here are some of the best Catholic Italian destination wedding locations in Rome. 

inside view of a church for a catholic wedding in Rome
Photo: odescalchi.it

Sicily

Our list of the best Catholic Italian destination wedding locations could not be complete without including Sicily. 

Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and it is also home to Europe's tallest active volcano (Mount Etna). 

It is an iconic portion of Italy in the world's eyes, representing the history of blending civilizations (European and Northern-African, Catholic and Islamic). A true melting pot, Sicily is rich with culture, delectable cuisine, luscious wines, and breathtaking scenery. 

It's no wonder that this is one of the most sought-after Roman Catholic destination weddings for international guests. 

If you want to celebrate the most beautiful day of your life here, Taormina is a must-see. 

Here are some other great ideas if you want to have a Catholic wedding in Italy. 

Garden and villa Donna Carmela Sicily in the evening
Photo: donnacarmela.icastelli.net

Roman Catholic destination weddings foster the utmost sense of indulgence, and these beloved Italian wedding locations and venues will not disappoint! 

Couples who marry in Italy know a thing or two about breathtaking romance. From the waterside villas encircling George Clooney's Lake Como villa to the countryside estates amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany to the colorful coastlines of the Amalfi Coast, a catholic destination wedding in Italy is a dream come true and an unforgettable experience for everyone. 

Italy is a land created for lovers. From the sensual sound of water lapping against the walls of Venice's historic palazzi to the enticing scent of citrus blossoms in Sicily, Italy is known as the country of love.

And as the country of love, it is an extremely popular location for couples from around the globe to tie the knot.

But, of course, a huge part of what makes Italy so romantic is that Italy has plenty of sex appeal.

From fairytale castles, stunning beaches, and three very macho and unpredictable volcanoes,  Italy is the perfect location for your wedding.

And if you want to keep things traditional, you'll need to know the authentic catholic wedding traditions.

So, to help you plan the traditional Italian wedding of your dreams, we've rounded up everything you need to know about Italian Catholic wedding traditions in Italy.

No matter which part of the world you choose to get married in, you'll always find different and unique wedding traditions. This is because many different cultures make up the world.

For example, Italy and the Italian culture have some long-standing Catholic wedding traditions and some that may truly WOW you.

catholic wedding with bride and groom in the church scaled

Photography: @davidbastianoni

Italian Catholic Wedding Traditions You Should Know

Catholic weddings traditions are filled with long-standing customs, but they're much more than a few Bible words and a priest officiating. Fortunately, many Roman Catholic wedding traditions are well known. With this guide, you'll know what to expect when you sit down in that pew, whether you're a bride-to-be or a wedding guest.

Before The Wedding

Remove Gold Jewellery

There are some Italian regions where it’s believed that wearing gold jewellery, other than your wedding ring, of course, can bring bad luck.

No Pre-Wedding Glimpses

The age-old custom of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding is a tradition known worldwide, but in some Italian regions, the bride is not even permitted to see herself before the wedding.

La Serenata

This wonderful tradition dates back and is one of the most romantic Italian wedding traditions. La Serenata is the custom of having a pre-wedding night serenade under the bride's window.

To add intrigue to the plot, friends and relatives are informed of the precise time and moment while the bride is kept in the dark. Then the groom secretly brings musicians and instrumentalists to the bride's window, where they sing beneath her balcony. It's a mission completed' if she wakes up to the charming romantic music.


Suggested for you: Pre-Cana Rite: All You Need To Know


The Ceremony

Always In A Church

You'll need to get married in a Catholic church if you really want to stick to Roman Catholic wedding traditions. Many dioceses demand that marriage occurs in a physical church because they are "settings created for worship and prayer" that ensure Jesus Christ's genuine presence.

However, some couples might prefer to have their wedding outside or somewhere else, although exceptions are rare. An Italian wedding planner can help you plan your wedding in Italy.

How Long Does A Catholic Wedding Ceremony Last?

A complete mass and communion are generally included in a Catholic wedding ceremony, lasting up to an hour. However, some couples opt for a Rite of the Marriage ceremony (which does not include a mass) this type of ceremony can run anywhere from 30-45 minutes.

The Processional

First up are the guys. The groom and the best man will enter from the side of the church. Then the bridesmaids, or bridal party, and groomsmen escort each other up the aisle, followed by the maid (or matron) of honour, who enters alone. And last, and most anticipated, the bride and her father (or another male family member) make their grand entrance.

The Priest’s Greeting

In Italian Catholic wedding traditions, the priest generally greets the wedding guests and invites everyone to join in singing an opening hymn, usually "Gloria".

Once it’s over, the priest will say the opening prayer for the newlyweds. The wedding guests remain standing from the wedding processional through the hymn and opening prayer. Once the priest has finished, everyone may be seated.

Liturgy Of The Word

An authentic Italian Catholic wedding cannot lack liturgies and religious songs.

Traditionally, this is how it is done: it starts with the Liturgy of the Word, which consists of various readings performed by the priest or the couple's chosen friends or family members. It all starts with a reading from the Old Testament.

Frequently, couples select a reading from the book of Genesis, which tells the narrative of Adam and Eve's creation. Following that, the cantor and the entire congregation will either speak or sing from Psalms.

Responsorial psalms are the assembly’s reaction to the word of God; the cantor typically sings the verses, and the congregation, or wedding guests, sing the chorus.

This is followed by a family member or friend reading from the New Testament, and then the priest recites a passage from one of the Gospels.

After the readings will be the homily, where the priest will contemplate the readings and marriage. The assembly stands for the gospel only and remains seated for all other readings.

The Vows

Probably better known to Catholics as the rite of marriage, the vows serve as a declaration of intent and consent by both parties receiving the marriage rites.

In Roman Catholic traditions, it’s acceptable for the couple to memorize and recite the vows to one another, read the vows from a book, or have the priest read them aloud while they respond with "I do".

Wording may vary from church to church, but most follow a similar pattern. Some Catholic priests may allow couples to write their own vows or add a couple of lines to the traditional ones.

The wedding guests will stand for the duration of the entire vow exchange or Rite of Marriage and ring exchange.

Ring Ceremony

Following the vows, the rings will be exchanged and blessed as the priest's symbols of love and fidelity.

brde and groom are exchanging the rings in their catholic wedding

Photography: @wedding_photography

Nuptial Mass

If the couple opts for a nuptial mass, this is the point at which the wedding service begins to resemble a Sunday mass.

This starts with the preparation of the altar for the Eucharistic Liturgy,  or communion. The offertory, or the offering of gifts of bread and wine to the priest, maybe assisted by particular family members or close friends who are chosen ahead of time.

Lords Pray & Sign Of Peace

The Lord's Prayer is spoken or sung in unison by the entire congregation. The newlyweds will next kneel in front of the altar to receive the priest's blessing on their nuptial blessing.

The assembly may join in quiet prayer and offer the newlyweds their own blessings. The wedding party and guests then share a peace sign by shaking hands and saying, "Peace be with you."

Holy Communion

The couple may choose to include communion or the Eucharist; this event represents the Last Supper where Jesus broke bread with his disciples before his death.

Guests will leave their seats to line up before the priest and wait for their turn to receive bread and wine.

While non-Catholic wedding guests or those not prepared to receive communion may come forward for a  blessing, with arms crossed over their chests, or may choose to stay seated [or kneeling] while silently expressing good thoughts or prayers for the couple, only Catholics can partake in this particular in the Eucharist.

The Big Kiss

Although the kiss is not part of the religious ceremony, it is commonly practiced and a part of most rituals.

How The Catholic Wedding Ends

As the catholic wedding ceremony comes to an end, the priest will recite a final prayer and bless the new union and the entire assembly. The couple may choose to sign the marriage certificate at this time, and then the priest will dismiss the congregation.

At this time, the exit recessional takes place in the reverse order of the processional, beginning with the newlyweds and bridal party. The recessional can sometimes include the ministers, and it is usually accompanied by a song of the couple's choosing. A wedding reception, or cocktail hour, will usually commence shortly afterwards.

wedding cuople in the garden

Photography: @jez_dickson

What To Wear To A Catholic Wedding?

Are you wondering what is appropriate to wear to a Catholic wedding? On the fence about your outfit? Here are some tips on what to wear to a Catholic wedding and what not to wear.

What Is Acceptable To Wear To A Catholic Wedding?

Choosing the appropriate outfit to wear to a wedding may be a stressful experience for wedding guests, particularly those attending a Catholic wedding in Italy.

You may be concerned about the style of attire you should wear to the wedding and the colours you should wear. However, with some knowledge of the dos and don'ts, you should be able to attend that Catholic wedding confidently.

Because most Catholic weddings are semi-formal, guys should wear shirts and ties, if not suits.  

Women, on the other hand, can dress in skirts, dresses, or even dress pants.

When it comes to Catholic weddings, modesty is essential. Also, they aren't that dissimilar from other types of weddings. So, make sure to pay attention to the wedding invitation, the time, and the season of the wedding to determine if the event is semi-formal or formal.

For the ladies, it’s essential to understand that modesty also covers the length of your skirt, showing your shoulders in church, low backs, and of course, plunging necklines. So, don’t show up at church showing too much cleavage, have a wrap or shawl to cover your shoulders, and don’t show too much leg.

bride with flower on the balcony

Photographer: @photosantucci

What Is Not Acceptable To Wear To a Traditional Italian Catholic Wedding?

White Is A No No

This rule, of course, applies to the wedding guests. Whether the bride is wearing a white wedding dress, all-white attire is forbidden for anyone but the future wife.

Unless you want to commit a huge fashion faux pas, here are some other things you should not wear to a Catholic wedding.

Avoid Sweats

We’re not sure that sweats are ever acceptable wedding attire, but most certainly, they are not appropriate at a Catholic wedding.

Avoid Denim

Any type of denim is always fashionable and in style, but please don’t embarrass yourself by showing up to a Catholic wedding in denim.

Avoid See-Through Material

Uh! Does this need an explanation? See-through clothing shouldn’t be worn to ANY wedding.

No Shorts

While shorts might be acceptable at an outdoor, rustic wedding, or a barn wedding, they are not acceptable at a Catholic wedding.

Catholic weddings are a beautiful expression of love and faith.

But they are also filled with lots of time-honoured traditions, some Bible verses, and emotions.

So, whether you’re planning an Italian Catholic wedding, want to incorporate a few religious traditions in a less formal wedding,  or are attending a traditional Catholic ceremony, we hope you found this guide helpful. Stay tuned for more wedding inspiration!

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