Civil ceremonies in Italy can take place at the town halls, which in most cases are beautiful historical buildings or in other enchanting places such as castles, palaces, villas, manors, gardens, panoramic terraces, or beaches. You only need to choose your favourite location and venue from hundreds of amazing possibilities!
In general, each venue has a fee that varies according to each single location and often may also vary depending on the period of the year or day of the week. A week day is usually cheaper than weekends.
Some venues are quite popular and busier than others, this is why it is preferable to book them a year in advance. In some cases, it is possible to book through an online system. However, in other cases you might need to contact the registry office of the town where the venue is located to ask for the booking procedure.
The Registry office has to receive the documents from the couple at least one week or ten days prior to the wedding. You may be requested to deliver the documents even earlier, if the office is busy. In many cases the couple has to go to the registry office one or a few days prior to the wedding to sign the sworn declaration. Knowing this is fundamental when planning your arrival in Italy. The official from the registry office will acknowledge the identity of the future spouses and if they do not speak Italian, they must be assisted by an interpreter. Upon the completion of this procedure, the registry office will then prepare The Act of Marriage for the wedding day.
The civil ceremony itself is performed in Italian by the Mayor or one of their delegates or the Registrar. It lasts approximately 20 minutes and if one or both spouses do not speak Italian, it is compulsory to have an official translator for the common language that both spouses understand.
According to the Italian law, each spouse has to have one witness who can be anyone; the only restriction is that these persons must be at least 18 years old.
The ceremony has the introduction where the personal information of both spouses is read. Then the Minister will read three articles of the Italian law that define rights and duties of the matrimony. Pronouncing the consent and the exchange of the rings comes after this. After that, the Minister will read the formal Act that then is signed by the spouses, witnesses and Minister.
The ceremony is concluded with the couple receiving one or more copies of the marriage certificate (Italian or international version)
Please be aware that according to the Italian law, a woman who has been previously married and obtained a divorce, has to wait at least 300 days before remarrying.
One must remember that there is a difference between the symbolic and civil ceremony, as well as between the Celebrant and Minister.
The symbolic ceremony does not have any legal value and it is celebrated by a Laic/humanist celebrant who does not represent the state. A symbolic ceremony can be performed directly in your chosen language (not necessarily in Italian and translated), anywhere without any restriction and can be personalised by the spouses.
The civil ceremony, on the other hand, is legally binding in Italy and in any other country.
It can be celebrated in places and venues designated to that by the Municipality and being an official ceremony cannot be modified or personalised in any way. It is performed by the Minister who can only be a person recognised by the Italian law.
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