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Trip Report Bilbo's wedding in Puglia, what could go wrong?

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Mrs Bilbo and I were sat on the Nile at Luxor on a steel barge around Christmas 2012 when I explained that for tax purposes and after being together for 31 years we should get married. After a debate we agreed that if we spent a bit of the tax saving we could have a good party and that we could even fit in a wine tasting, some cooking and drag some of our best friends and family to the end of Europe for a party. It sounded like such an easy plan.

Once back in the UK we investigated and began looking for a site, a date and a legal process that gets us married. Since Italy is one of the few countries that does not require any residency to issue a marriage certificate and because we had enjoyed a fantastic holiday in the the area we chose to wed in Puglia. So we also began looking for a Masseria in Puglia, a beautiful, friendly place in the heel of Italy.

In my years of working with different cultures around the world I've learnt that working with Italians is a noisy affair, often spectacular but they normally make one major mistake. Let's see if you can spot this one.

If the legal process bores you look away now.....

The UK/Italian marriage process,

1) go to your local registrar to prove you are free to marry (wait for the bans to be read for 6 weeks), 2) get a lawyer to confirm who you are, 3) get the documents sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth office, 4) get the F&G to confirm your lawyer is a lawyer, 5) get the documents sent to Italy, 6) get them translated and their translation's veracity sworn in a court, 7) deliver all of this plus a bunch of money to the Italian town hall of your choice. Then you can 8) book the wedding venue (if it is still available), 9) bank transfer the bill for the hire of the wedding venue and 10) send them a receipt proving that you paid the bill and 11) finally provide all the documents that prove who the witnesses are.

All this has to take place inside 6 months or you have to start again. If you are in any doubt I'd hire a wedding planner (starts about Euro500) but actually we found everyone wanted to help us succeed and went out of their way to help us. Still if the date and venue is a real must then you need someone on the ground holding your place open for you. Not speaking the language does seem to have been a problem.

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