Destination Wedding - Italy - Guide to Weddings in Italy

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Marriage is perhaps the most incredible journey two people can embark on. These days, more and more couples are choosing to begin their nuptial journey with an actual journey, holding their wedding in a far-off, exotic place. The reasons are myriad - a couple can begin their honeymoon early, share a favorite locale with guests, and enjoy more than just one day with their loved ones. In fact, the average couple saves over $2000 by hosting a destination wedding. Today, we will explore what it takes to get married in Italy, or il bel paese (the beautiful country), as it is affectionately known.

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Weddings in Italy

When Italian love stories come to mind, Romeo and Juliet are often the couple that comes to the forefront. Though the mythical couple met a tragic end, the passion, lush scenery, and beautiful settings of their romance are all still readily accessible throughout the country. Much like the fine wine the country is known for, Italian architecture often gets better with age. Picturesque locales abound across the country, easily accommodating any wedding fantasy of your dreams. Want to declare your love in a dreamy Renaissance garden? A gorgeously Gothic cathedral? A chic, fashionable hotel? Perhaps a more unique venue is more your style; many universities, monasteries, and estates can also be rented for your celebration. Transportation is also an important factor to consider; much of the Italian countryside is not accessible by public transportation. Unless you are planning to stay in a major city like Rome or Venice, keep in mind that you may need to rent a coach or bus to shuttle your guests to and from the ceremony.

Italian law requires a legal marriage license in order for a couple to wed. The process is lengthy and standard throughout the country. However, certain regions may be less strict about the documentation required for a couple’s license; make sure to research your destination’s policies. To begin the process, you will need an affidavit from the Italian government known as an Atto Notorio. This can be done either in your home country, at your local Italian consulate, or in Italy. You and your fiance will each need to present a copy of your birth certificate (translated into Italian), your passport, and your driver’s license. If either of you has been married previously, any divorce documentation must also be provided and translated into Italian. Two witnesses must approve your application and present their IDs, as well. Each form of identification must be verified with a form known as an Apostille. Once you arrive in Italy, the second step is another affidavit, one that must be sworn in front of an ambassador to your home country, then authorized by the local Italian Prefettura, or Prefecture. Once you have these two documents in hand, you are eligible to pick up your marriage license. If you plan to have a religious ceremony, bear in mind there may be extra steps in accordance with the traditions of the Catholic Church. (Italy is a predominantly Catholic country.) It is also important to consider that, while tourism is a large industry, many Italians do not speak English fluently. Unless you are a confident speaker, you and your fiance may very well have to hire a translator to help with this process.

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Regions of Italy

Spring, early summer, and fall are considered the best times to visit Italy. April through June and September and October boast pleasantly warm climes nationwide and generally smaller crowds. The later summer months can be stiflingly hot. August is also the month many Italians embark on their own vacations, so many businesses are closed. Italian winters are cold and rainy, with rain and snow dominating the northern regions. The south is a little less harsh, with temperatures averaging around 50F/10C. However, in if grey weather doesn’t deter you, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate for an off-season celebration! As with any wedding vendor, make sure to do thorough research and don’t be afraid to ask for a deal.

If you’re looking for a historical site and plenty of culture to enrich your guests’ experience, focus your search on Northern Italy. The city of Milan will tickle any fashionista bride with its many fashion houses and couturiers. The famous canals of Venice would make for unique, dreamy wedding photos. For oenophiles, lovers of wine, Venice is also the top producer of fine wines in the country. The food here is rich and reflective of the lush terrain. Hearty meat dishes, rich sauces, creamy pasta, and cured meats are common. Northern Italy is also home to the Lake District; Lake Como and Lake Garda are famous for their tranquil environs. Further North, the Italian alps are staggering in both height and in beauty.

Glamour and gorgeous scenery more your style? Head south! The Mediterranean coast is perpetually popular with celebrities, chic restaurants and glittering hotels as far as the eye can see. You can also spot several active volcanoes, including Mount Aetna, Mount Vesuvius, and Stromboli. Southern Italian cuisine tends to be lighter than its northern counterpart. Fresh produce and seafood are easily found here, as well as the best olive oil of your life. Naples is famous for the creation of one of the country’s most popular exports: pizza. Crusts here are thin and nearly charred in smoky, wood-fired ovens.

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Planning Ahead - Cost of an Italian Wedding

The cost of your Italian wedding isn’t limited to airfare and a dress. As with any wedding celebration, it is important to keep in mind the cost of your venue and vendors, as well as the number of guests. Destination weddings are often smaller affairs than hometown weddings, for a number of reasons - chiefly the cost for both the guests and the hosts. Depending on the number of guests you are expecting, it may behoove you to hire a destination wedding planner - especially if you do not speak Italian! A planner in this case can be much more than an organizer - the right one can also recommend the best vendors for your budget, advise on the smartest travel arrangements, and serve as a translator. Many hotels may also offer free or discounted planning services, in exchange for purchasing a comprehensive celebration package. The good news is that the current exchange rate of US Dollar to Euro is about 1:1, so budgeting will be fairly easy to figure out. Bonnie Marie of My Weddings and More estimates that a comfortable starting budget for an Italian wedding, including food, photographer, officiant and license fees, and venue rental is €25,000, or roughly $25,000. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is slightly higher, clocking in at around $34,000.

Remember, a currency specialist can help you plan your wedding expenses, including vendor payments, site rentals and even with regular money transfers. And perhaps, down the road, should you decide to purchase property in Italy not far from where you were wed - a currency specialist can even help you with automated mortgage payments.  Use our comparison tool today to find a currency broker that best suits your needs before you say "I do" in Italy!


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