Italy is home to a plethora of scenic landscapes, from coastal views on the Amalfi Coast to the rolling hills of Tuscany, meaning wedding location options are endless. However, hosting a destination wedding overseas can mean quite a bit of extra planning considerations. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a Canadian couple planning a destination wedding in Italy.
The best time to go: If you’re looking for fewer crowds and great weather, pick a date between April and June or September and October. Steering clear of the most popular summer months of July and August will save you money and you’ll avoid the scorching hot European weather.
The flights: Rome is an international hub for stopover flights, making it easy to find direct flights via Air Transat, Alitalia and Air Canada. If you are getting married further north or south, you may want to look into a non-stop flight or connecting flight to Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples or Turin.
The legal paperwork: Before jetting off for your big day in Italy, it is important that you have all the documents needed to prevent any problems along the way. First and foremost, if you and your partner aren’t Italian citizens, you must have a “Nulla Osta,” also known as a certificate of non-impediment. This is to certify that there isn’t anything in the way of the impending marriage. The Government of Canada doesn’t provide this certificate, but the Embassy of Canada can issue Canadians a declaration with the information needed. Canadian citizens must each complete and swear a Marriage Affidavit. If swearing the affidavit in Canada, it must be before a Notary public, or a person authorized to perform legal contracts for use in other jurisdictions. If swearing the affidavit in Italy, it must be at the Embassy or one of the Consulates of Canada. The sworn affidavit(s) should be submitted to the Embassy of Canada in Rome through mail or appointment at the embassy. Alongside the sworn affidavit, supporting documents must be provided, such as a certified true copy of your passport. A complete list of these documents can be found here. Keep in mind that there are fees for each declaration and each sworn affidavit. You can find more information here. After you receive your declaration, you must have it authenticated by a “Prefettura,” also known as a provincial authority. You can find a list of them here. You can then bring the authenticated declaration to the Marriage Office of the Municipality in Italy. You will then be asked to return in a few days with a witnesses and an interpreter for a declaration before the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the municipality. Only then can a date be arranged for the civil marriage ceremony, where two witnesses and an interpreter are required. After the ceremony, before you leave Italy, it is advised that you pick up several copies of your marriage certificate both in English and in Italian to be authenticated by the Prefettura and the Embassy of Canada in Rome.
To simplify the process, we suggest completing the legal paperwork here in Canada and performing a symbolic ceremony in Italy.
The local customs: One of the best parts of having a wedding in Italy is that it allows you to include the country’s wedding traditions. Consider breaking a vase or bottle at the end of your ceremony, where the glass is counted to symbolize years of marriage for yourself and your partner. For the reception, foodie couples should jump at the chance to serve Italian specialties such as prosciutto, specialty cheeses and fresh pastas. For desserts of the pastry variety, serve bow-shaped pieces of fried dough sprinkled with icing sugar, which are called wanda. Or, order a traditional one-tiered giant wedding fruit cake to slice into. After the dessert, adopt the Italian tradition of holding a satin bag, called la boursa, around your neck for guests to put envelopes and money in in exchange for a first dance. Finish off your reception by having your guests take home traditional favours of candy-coated almonds, which symbolize the sweetness of marriage.
The venue: There are literally hundreds of places to choose from, but if you’re looking for a venue that is both old and new consider Castello di Casole in Tuscany. Situated atop a mountainous hill, the venue offers a sweeping view of its hilly surroundings and lots of spaces, such as their rustic courtyard, for romantic wedding photos. Outdoor space among the vineyards can accommodate up to 200 guests, while an on-site restored church can fit an intimate gathering of 30. There are 41 private suites on the estate–perfect for all your guests, as well as three on-site restaurants to pick from.