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Married in Italy - any stories to share?

Old Jul 18th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Married in Italy - any stories to share?

Some good friends of mine are planning to get married in Italy this fall. They are basically eloping - no friends or family are coming with them. But they are finding it overwhelming to plan even a simple ceremony over there without having been to Europe before. They are planning a three-week trip and are mostly doing it themselves.

I did a quick search here and didn't find anything quite appropos or at least recent enough to help. Anyone have any stories or tips to share about getting married in Italy (both American citizens)? Of course, Italy is a big country, so I apologize for being a little vague, but I'd welcome your feedback!

Andrew
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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ttt
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Hi Andrew, I am sure not an expert but I believe that your friends will need some kind of a wedding planner as I think they will have to have an someone interpert the legal papers etc. as Italy is really big on legal documents etc.

I would suggest that your friends go to www.travel/state/gov. for information. They should also go to the Italian Embassay webpage also. They can access that through Google.
Best wishes to them.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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My husband and I got married in Florence almost 5 years ago. Fall is a great time of year in Italy. We got married on a gorgeous October day.

We just did the civil ceremony at the Palazzo Vecchio, which was brief (about 15 minutes) but nice. (Everyone has to do the civil ceremony to "make it legal," but then you can choose to get your marriaged blessed at a church.) A few friends came on their own to join us, but it was basically "eloping." We were all for keeping it simple and low-stress for us, so my comments reflect that.

I HIGHLY recommend they use a planner, as they'll need/want someone to coordinate local paperwork and scheduling, as well as if they want things like flowers, tuxedo rental, transportation, photography, a special meal, etc. We did all our arrangements with the coordinator via email, which was really convenient.

The help the coordinator provided with paperwork was key. When being driven around town to file all the paperwork a few days prior to the ceremony, we never saw a computer. Everything was done on typewriters with carbon copy, put in ledgers, rubber stamped, etc. This is not a process you can just do by email and fax by any means. Another interesting note about the paperwork: There were a couple things where my husband and the witness signed the paperwork, but not me.

Also, our planner provided a translator who took us around the city to get paperwork done...there's NO WAY we could've navigated all of that process on our own. The same translator then coordinated the day itself and translated the ceremony, which was nice. Hired witnesses were also provided as part of our fee. (One looked just like Peter Falk as Columbo...trench coat, hat, the works.)

I'd also recommend for simplicity's sake that your friends consider having the ceremony in a city, like Florence, rather than the countryside. My understanding was that the process to complete the paperwork would be much more complicated if the wedding was in a rural area and that it added to the cost.

If we had to do it all again, we'd do it exactly the same way. We have many great stories...too many to share here. If your friends would like recommendations on a planner, I can send information.

Best of luck to them!

DGKP

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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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There have been some posts here on this recently. Maybe search under wedding planners.

From what I gather there is a significant amount of documentation needed from the bride and groom - which all has to be translated into italian and approved or notarized by government officials. I really doubt they can do this (not even planning a wedding - but just pulling off a marriage ceremony) without professional help on the ground over there.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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Me again. I forgot to post that one of the practical reasons people choose to get married Italy over other countries is that their laws only required about 24 or 48 hours of "residency" in the country before you can wed there. Other countries have much longer requirements (at least as of 5 years ago...I think France required like 40 days of residency at that time!). I believe Scotland is another country that has a briefer residency requirement, making it easier to wed there.

Just more food for thought.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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We got married in Italy last September. We did the same thing...just the two of us with no family joining us. We got married in Positano and we had never been there before - though we had been to Italy once before. It is possible to plan it yourself. If your friends are considering Positano for a wedding venue, have them e-mail me. I have all of the details on the paperwork, translator, photographer, driver, city hall, florist and such. I am happy to help. [email protected]. Ciao!
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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My husband and I renewed our vows in Venice for our ten year wedding anniversary in the summer of 2003. We hired a consultant over there to help us with the logistics and everything went perfectly. She was wonderful to work with. However, we did not have to go thru the red tape of documentation since we were already legally married and I know that can be tiresome without some assistance in the region you are traveling to.

If your friends are thinking of marrying in Tuscany, I can highly recommend Chandi Wyant at http://sogniitaliani.com/ She referred me to the consultant that we used in Venice.

You can find my report of our vow renewal trip at the following link. We spent four days in Florence and then four days in Venice, so the actual vow renewal ceremony is near the middle of the report.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34437042

Congrats to your friends!
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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Just to throw in another option, we (Brits) got married in Malta and it was pretty easy. We used a planner who arranged everything but kept things very simple, just as we wanted. There is a minimal residency requirement (1 day I think) and the ceremony was in English. Our marriage certificate is bilingual (English and Maltese), which is very helpful when using it as documentation back home.
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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I'm reposting this from a previous thread where I provided this information.

My wedding in Italy was in 1989, but I think the paperwork still works the same way. We got information from the US State Department on the documents necessary. We also had friends in Italy who verified the information for us. We did not hire a wedding planner.

Document 1) We had to get a document here in the United States from the Italian consulate. I forget its name, but basically it states that the two parties are allowed to marry, that they are not married to anyone else, that they are not leaving children behind. You must bring 4 friends with you as witnesses to this document. (Since I live in NYC there was a consulate close at hand. Even Italians who marry in Italy must get this document from their local authorities.)

Document 2) We obtained Italian translations of our birth certificates. We were told we would need these though I'm not sure that anyone ever really did use them.

Document 3) We took these documents to a US consulate in Italy. We chose Milan since we planned to wed in Venice, so Milan was the closest. (In the US, we had been told we would need two witnesses at the consulate, so we had two friends, Italian nationals, come along--and it ended up their presence was unnecessary. Fortunately, since they are Italian they understood the system of misinformation and shrugged it off.)

The US consulate generated a form (sorry, again the name escapes me) that then had to be notarized by the Italian Prefettura. We'd heard horror stories about trying to align opening and closing times--Apply for form at US consulate in morning, return for form in afternoon; oh joy, now Prefettura is closed for the day and we must wait till the next day. We'd also heard horror stories about chasing down the correct marcobolli, official stamps needed for the documents. Happily, we were told that the notarization could take place in Venice, so we didn't have an unplanned overnight in Milan. And the Venice Prefettura had the correct marcobolli, so no chasing to tabacchi for stamps.

Document 4) We went to Venice two days ahead, got our notarization at the prefettura, and then took all the documents to the marriage bureau for a marriage license. Since we were foreigners, there was no need to post banns and no residency requirements.

Two days later we were married in the town hall by an official magistrate (in ceremonial sash), in the City Council room overlooking the Grand Canal. (I had called the Venice marriage bureau 4 months earlier to reserve our wedding time. We had guests coming from the US and wanted to give them a definite day and time.) We did not need a translator, because the woman (Sra Fuccillo) then at the marriage bureau spoke English. The magistrate said his part in Italian, and then Sra Fuccillo would read the English translation of the same section. Most of my guests couldn't understand her heavily accented English, but I had no problem.

We were issued a marriage license on a form that was in (I think) four different languages. We paid for an extra copy of the license, since we figured it might be difficult to obtain another copy if needed later.

We ran into two other American couples getting married during the same few days. One couple had tried to get married in Florence, but were told they didn't have the correct papers, so they called around and ended up in Venice, where there was no problem.

This may sound involved, but it was a lot less involved than planning a large wedding in the US.
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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ellenem, the humorist Dave Barry defines a "formal wedding" in the US as "a wedding involving as much planning as a hydroelectric dam, but costing more."

Andrew, maybe I'm missing something here, but why is it so important for the legal aspects of the marriage to be formalized in Italy? That's what causes all the paperwork. Why not just have a quicky marriage at the city hall, to take care of the US legal formalities, and then have whatever sort of party/ceremony/whatever you want in Italy to celebrate the occasion?

Friends of mine had a big formal wedding in Spain, where the bride's parents lived. But since she was not an American citizen at the time (her fiancé was), she would have had difficulty getting back into the US after a trip to Spain, based on the type of Visa she had. So they had a quiet wedding in the local city hall in the US, which gave her additional rights she would not have otherwise had regarding being re-admitted to the US (once she passed an investigation to determine that this was a real marriage, and not a sham marriage just to get her a green card). Another result was that there were no issues of paperwork, waiting periods, or anything else to worry about in Spain. They just went ahead with a large, formal wedding ceremony and celebration.

(The US city hall wedding wasn't as quiet as she had planned. She let word of it slip in her citizenship education class, and most of her classmates spontaneously showed up for the brief ceremony.)

- Larry
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Old Aug 4th, 2005, 02:30 PM
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My fiance and I are also hoping to get married in Italy in April. Our top choice is Florence. I've contacted a couple of wedding coordinators, but most are unresponsive. The one that was responsive wanted to charge us $5000 (including the basic photography package). That seemed pretty unreasonable to me for eloping just the two of us. Is this the average price?
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Old Aug 5th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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jhlong1, have you contacted Sogni Italiani in Florence? I have their contact info in my previous post above.
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Old Aug 5th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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My friend got married in Rome in the catholic church in the Vatican that is mostly for Americans living there. Santa Theresa I think is the name. They did all their paperwork thru their Priest here. He even went there and performed the ceremony. However, to forego the massive amount of paperwork thru State Dept. etc, they had a quick civil ceremony here in states with no family etc. The real wedding was the religious one in Rome. She planned everything herself, with my help. About 30 friends and family attended.
We met before the wedding in St. Peter's square, all dressed up, and took pictures in front of the fountain. Then we all hopped on hourse drawn carridges to ride to the church. We booked an entire small restaurant, Coriolono's, for the reception. They had a set menu, appetizer, pasta, main and dessert and provided a fabulous wedding cake. We opted for only one red wine and mineral water, but it was all you wanted, no limit. The morning of the wedding she and friends visited a florist and they made beautiful boquet of calla lillies for the bride, simple rose boquet for bridemaids, single flowers for the men, and a beautiful long stem ribbon wrapped rose for each female guest. It really was a fairytale wedding in my opinion. We did it all per internet and fax. Only had a few phone calls to Rome.

We all had several group dinners and sightseeing together before the wedding. Afterwards, the bride and groom went to Greece from
Rome for their 2 week honeymoon.

The civil ceremony in the USA really cut down on the stress and mess of planning.
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Old Aug 21st, 2005, 05:04 AM
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My husband and I would like to renew our vows in the Vatican City or one of the surrounding cities and so far have had no luck with any information regarding this. We can't really afford a wedding planner and were wondering how simple it would be to organise ourselves. Any advise would be appreciated.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 12:35 AM
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You may want to contact the Church of Santa Susanna, the English-speaking parish in Rome, which has contacts at St Peters (i.e. the Vatican). They arrange marriage ceremonies at the Vatican, and should be able to assist with vow renewals. They also have suggestions for wedding planners and even restaurants. Take a look at

http://www.santasusanna.org/weddings...dingsRome.html
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Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:20 AM
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Thanks for the advice and links, it was very helpful!
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