Catholic wedding ceremony
Can there be any doubt that no other country hosts such an abundance of magnificent cathedrals and historic churches as Italy?
Of course not, and for a reason - it is not just a Catholic country, it is the cradle of Catholicism, its birthplace and center, both majestic and charming. Famous also for its long-lasting architectural traditions, with generations of ingenious masters adding to the beauty of countryside and cities, the Italy provides an amazing selection of sites for your unforgettable Italian Catholic wedding.
It may be a surprise for some people, but most of the historic religious locations in Italy are active and hold regular services. Just imagine getting married in Capitoline Hill Basilica in Rome or in Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Venice! And it’s not only grand places of historic importance – you may choose to hold the ceremony in modest but no less inspiring country chapels that can be found all over Italy.
Wedding is not only an event of great importance, but also a moment when human soul strives for the sublime and touches upon the supernal side of life. No wonder that people exert every effort to furnish the ceremony with best interiors and words. Amalfi coast towns and churches will be a praiseworthy backdrop for your Catholic marriage.
Amalfi coast Catholic churches for a wedding ceremony
The Amalfi Cathedral
The Cathedral of the town of Amalfi may be one of the loveliest and dramatic churches of the Coast. Situated on top of majestic stairs, it dominates the town’s central square and is famous for the breath-taking views from its top terrace. The great bronze doors, made in Constantinople as early as in 11th century, create a stately and lofty atmosphere, while Byzantine mosaics and romantic inner cloister will provide a distinctive Mediterranean touch for your best wedding photos.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano
The unique green and yellow majolica dome of this towering Cathedral can be seen from any part of the town. A masterpiece of Baroque, with its white marble interior and high-reaching ceilings with gilded ornaments, this church is full of light, delivering an unmistakably bright and joyful atmosphere to your Catholic wedding. The building prides unique Byzantine works of art on its walls and an original mosaic floor behind the altar, covered by a glass shield. It can hold as many as 120 guests and is known for a fine organ. Though some churches hold ceremonies via an interpreter, the local priest can conduct the ceremony in English.
Duomo of Ravello
A definitely romantic wedding with a slight but unambiguous medieval touch, reminiscent of castles and knights and princesses, can be held in this 11-th century cathedral famous for its complex interior carvings and great lions that uphold marble pulpits and columns. The cathedral is situated on the main square of Ravello village, a most delightful place with famous botanical gardens.
Church of Saint Francesco D’Assisi
Another place to hold an outstanding Catholic marriage ceremony is this Baroque church in the more private, secluded part of Ravello. The location houses most exclusive villas of the town and can be reached by a path that leads to the highest point of the town. The smaller church with a maximum capacity of 100 guests will bring the more confidential and arcane air to your very special Catholic wedding.
Requirements for a catholic wedding in Italy
Keep in mind that a wedding ceremony, especially one that is carried out abroad and includes a proper Catholic rite, is a complex event that suggests bringing together various people, sites and organizations, and thus involves quite a bit of paperwork. The whole process should generally be delegated to a carefully selected wedding planner that has long-established connections and positive experience. The following guidelines should help you to focus on the key points of planning your successful Italian Catholic wedding.
- Of course, at least one of the partners must be Catholic, receiving sacraments of baptism, confirmation and first communion, which has to be verified by certificates. In case one of the partners is not Catholic, certain additional paperwork has to be done.
- Please note that all the documents have to be presented in the original, as it is required to complete a Catholic marriage. Once you have obtained a document, first send a copy to your planner, and then be ready to send the original on request, with an absolutely necessary verification of mailing address. Do not send any original document if the mailing address if it is not properly verified.
- All church documents, regardless of the issuing organization, have to be sealed or stamped by your local Catholic Bishop’s office. Any sensitive matter or doubts should be resolved at the Bishop’s office as well. It is also the Bishop’s office where you should turn if some original documents are lost.
- All documents should be issued on the letterhead paper of the issuing organization.
- All documents have to be translated into Italian by a certified specialist.
- Some documents do not expire, such as, naturally, certificate of baptism, first communion and confirmation, or a civil marriage certificate. Other documents expire within 6 months. The complete paperwork should be presented at Italian Diocese (Curia) at least 2 months before the wedding date.
- It is possible to be civilly married at the same church wedding ceremony, although not all churches do that, which you should clarify in advance. If you don’t plan to register an official civil marriage at the ceremony, it is obligatory that you present the certificate of civil marriage, otherwise the wedding is not possible. In addition, remember, that a wedding license does not count, even if your jurisdiction issues such licenses.
- The two most important papers you have to obtain are a Parish permission and a Bishop permission. Both have to indicate the specific Italian church and the date you plan to be married at, and that nothing prevents you from getting married. The letter from your priest (the Parish permission) should also certify that the priest knows you, and that you have fulfilled all PRE CANA procedures, including the certificate that premarital classes have been attended.
- There is also a kind of special questionnaire that your local priest has to fill out and, as all of the church documents, stamped at the Bishop’s office, called the Prenuptial Inquiry. Officially it is issued by your local archdiocese.
- A special case is when one of the partners is not Catholic. Then you will need a document called “Permission of mixed religions”, which is usually issued by the Bishop’s office. Consult them, and they will tell you what to do.
- If any or both of you have already been married in the Catholic Church before and divorced, than you will have to present a document certifying the proper annulment of that marriage(s). Do not hesitate to consult your Bishop’s office and your wedding planner if anyone of you has been divorced in the Catholic Church.
There are also a few other traditions and rules that have to be followed at an Italian Catholic wedding, such as no bare shoulders for the bride, or sacred music only at the ceremony. We will definitely fill you in about all of them, and also there is no harm in asking! If the rules are too complicated or you have doubts whether you and your partner can meet all requirements, there is always a civil wedding ceremony for the two of you, which is no less solemn or magnificent.
Wish you a great and memorable Italian Catholic wedding!