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Bride and groom happy on board of their boat during their Lake Como Elopement | Italy Elopement Guide

Italy Elopement Guide | The complete guide on planning an elopement in Italy

Every year thousands of couples decide to tie the knot in one of the most iconic countries on earth, Italy. Why is Italy often the top pick in couples’ bucket list? The answer is pretty easy! In Italy it’s possible to choose between so many different unique locations, backdrops and vibes for your own wedding: adventurous mountains, romantic hills, little old villages built in front of the sea, historical cities, etc… 

If you are thinking about having your intimate wedding or elopement in Italy this guide is definitely for you! Let me guide you through the how, where and when to elope in Italy.

HOW TO ELOPE IN ITALY

1. Pick your location

You need first of all to decide where you want to celebrate your wedding. Are you envisioning your wedding adventure in an eternal city like Rome, Venice, Florence? Do you prefer to hike, explore and live the mountain vibes? Or maybe you are looking for an unforgettable experience at sunset in front of the Mediterranean Sea or a boat experience in Lake Como?

Some of the best places to elope in Italy are:

  • Dolomites
  • Lake Como, Lake Garda
  • Tuscany (Val d’Orcia)
  • Venice, Rome, Florence
  • Amalfi Coast, Positano
  • Apulia, Sicily

We’ll discuss these locations later on in our guide and we’ve also made a more in-depth guide about the “Best Elopement Locations in Italy” here. Have a look and find some inspiration for your Italy elopement!

2. Decide on a date

Once you’ve decided your elopement location, it is time to set an approximate date for your wedding. It may be a date with a meaning for you, like an anniversary of the day you met, or simply a date when you can truly enjoy your elopement experience.

Every season offers so many possibilities in terms of elopement locations in Italy. Scroll down here to see some tips about when to elope in Italy.

Bride and groom hugging in front of Lavaredo in the Dollomites during Italy Elopement

3. Choose the ceremony type

Different types of ceremonies involve longer or faster planning processes. When planning your elopement in Italy you can basically choose between two options:

a) Symbolic Ceremony

This is the ceremony that most couples decide to go for. It is easy to plan and requires little paperworks.

Planning a symbolic ceremony involves being already legally married before your elopement day. It is usually easier for couples getting married in their countries and then flying to Italy to have their wedding celebration. The idea behind a symbolic elopement ceremony is to exchange vows with each other in an intimate atmosphere, exchange rings and often to pop champagne celebrating the new bound.

A symbolic ceremony can include a celebrant to guide the couple during the ceremony, while other couples decide their ceremony to be focused only on the two of them.

b) Civil / Religious Ceremony

This is the only way in which a couple can legally get married in Italy. There is one main difference for foreign couples based on their legal residence in Italy.

  • Foreign citizen non-resident in Italy
    Both foreign citizens have to sign a report stating that there are no marriage impediments (it. nulla osta). It must be emitted by an official authority of your country of origin, showing: your first name and surname; date and place of birth; the names and surnames of both your father and mother; your citizenship; place of your official residence.
    If not written in Italian, the document must be translated by any institution with official recognition. 
  • Foreign citizen with residence in Italy
    In addition to obtaining the nulla osta, the couple must request the banns of matrimony (it. pubblicazioni matrimoniali) to the Municipality of the city where you reside or to the Municipality of residence of your spouse.
    To request and obtain banns of matrimony, you need to show to the Municipal officer: ID document with international validity (or passport); Birth certificate; Certification of no impediment, the so-called nulla òsta.

    An Atto Notorio is required only for Canadian or US citizens, further confirming the lack of legal impediment to the wedding. Once these steps are done you can choose between two legally-valid options for your ceremony:
  • Civil ceremony: it is performed by the mayor or one of his deputies. Two witnesses and, if necessary, an interpreter must be present at the ceremony.  Witnesses may be of any nationality, but must be over 18 and possess valid photo identification.
  • Religious ceremony: it is considered valid if performed by a Roman Catholic priest, otherwise it is required a civil ceremony to be performed prior to the religious one to ensure the legality of the marriage.

For further information, look at the website of your country’s embassy or consulate in Italy (for example, official information for American citizens getting married in Italy)

In both the options, you may decide to have guests attending the ceremony or not.

Bride and groom at loggia in Villa del Balbianello during Italy Elopement

4. Book your accommodation

So once you have picked up a location and a date, it is time to book your accommodation for the elopement. It may be a hotel, an AirBnB, a chalet, etc.. Have a look at Google Maps or Booking.com for some ideas nearby the selected elopement location.

This is however an important step that some couples underestimate. You may want to find an accommodation close to (or ideally in the center of) the main spots you want to visit / explore during your elopement experience.

Also, take into account that usually photographers and videographers will start the day by capturing you getting ready. So be sure to find a cute room/accommodation with natural light coming in if you want cool photos and memories. Finally, a third advice would be to find an accommodation that could ideally work as plan B in case of bad weather.

5. Find wedding suppliers

The next move is to find and book all the wedding suppliers you wish. 
Always start by enquiring and booking photography & videography, since usually most of us are booked way in advance for weddings dates. Secondly, enquire and book florists and MUA & Hair. 

If you have decided to include a celebrant for your ceremony, then start reaching out to some of them. According to your vision, you may wish to have a musician for your ceremony. Are you thinking of including transportation (jeep service, car rental, boat tour, helicopter)? Are you also planning to have an intimate dinner after your elopement? Again, you may want to book all of them in advance.

Do you prefer to be less stressed out by not reaching out and booking all the vendors personally? In this case the help of a wedding and elopement planner can be useful for “All-Inclusive Elopement Packages Italy”.

Groom huggin bride in the forest in the Dolomites during Italy Elopement

6. Decide your outfit

Most of the tasks have been done, so now you can focus on your wedding dresses. Your final decision really depends on your tastes as well as the location and the season you have chosen.

Are you planning to hike for your mountain elopement? Then maybe plan to wear some layers of clothings (or at least bring them with you) in order to be ready for different weather conditions/wind and go for leather boots for walking. If you are planning to explore a city for your elopement then be sure to wear comfortable shoes to really enjoy your adventure.

In general Italy is warmer, hotter and drier in summer while rainier and colder in winter (see more below). So as long as you are planning outdoor activities you need to keep these factors in mind.

7. Set your timeline

Your timeline will define which activities you will enjoy during your wedding day. It can be challenging to set the timeline all by yourself, because you will probably want to do many activities but don’t really know how much time to plan for each of them and in between.

We as elopement photographers & guides always take care of creating a custom timeline for couples to let them be sure to have time for all what they love. Usually an online call (Zoom, FaceTime) with the couple is highly suggested just to be sure to check what all the other vendors are planning to do, and to find the right timing for everything.

Ask yourself: “If I have to spend an entire day just with my soulmate, which activities would I love to do?”. Try to discuss with your photographer / planner which of them to include in your timeline. Find out “Why you should plan a full-day elopement experience” in another blog post we’ve published here.

Remember, your elopement is your wedding day: make something meaningful and memorable!

Bride and groom facing two different directions with lanterns in Tuscany during Italy Elopement

WHERE TO ELOPE IN ITALY

Where to plan your elopement in Italy really comes down to your preferences. This beautiful country offers you so many different options but if we want to summarise a little bit, these are the best elopement locations in Italy with unique backdrops and vibes:

MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT – Dolomites

LAKE ELOPEMENT – Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Braies (and others in the Dolomites area)

CITY ELOPEMENT – Venice, Rome, Florence

BEACH / SEASIDE ELOPEMENT – Amalfi Coast, Apulia

RUSTIC / COUNTRYSIDE ELOPEMENT – Tuscany, Apulia, Matera

We’ve created a more in-depth guide explaining where to plan an elopement in Italy. You can read it here.

Bride and groom sitting on a rock at Seceda in the Dolomites during Italy Elopement

WHEN TO ELOPE IN ITALY

Of course there’s no specific rule about when to elope in Italy. Typically we experience four distinguished weather conditions throughout the year and so every season has some factors to keep in mind.

1. Winter (December – January – February)

This is for the brave ones. During winter you can expect to be snowy and cold in the mountains, especially in the northern area. It is also the time in which days are shorter, meaning less time for outdoor activities. It is highly recommended to wear layers of clothes + comfortable and warm boots, in order to be ready to face any conditions.
If you are looking for an unconventional intimate wedding, planning your elopement in winter is totally for you. In turn you will receive unique wedding photos! Suggested locations: Matera, Dolomites

2. Spring (March – April – May)

Spring usually marks the beginning of the wedding season. It is usually weather-unstable so you can have both rainy and sunny days, it’s hard to plan it way in advance. It’s always smart to have a plan B. Perfect time for wild-flowers lovers and for those who prefer colorful landscapes.
It is also the time where tourists start coming to Italy but usually the main locations are not yet overcrowded. Suggested locations: Tuscany, Main cities, Apulia, Amalfi Coast (May)

Bride and groom exploring Duomo di Firenze at sunrise during Italy Elopement

3. Summer (June – July- August)

In summer you will experience the longest days, meaning more time for your outdoor activities. Most of the weddings and elopements are planned in summer so many vendors may be busy or already booked. So if you are planning an elopement in summer it is smart to start enquiring and booking as soon as possible. 
Ideal time for Dolomites and mountain elopements, while it can be very hot in cities and Southern Italy. It is the tourist peak season, so it can be really hard to find empty locations. It may be wise to plan sessions at sunrise to avoid crowds. Suggested location: Main cities, Dolomites, Tuscany, Lakes, Amalfi Coast (June)

4. Fall (September – October – November)

As always, fall creates an incredible atmosphere for elopements and intimate weddings. The weather is quite stable and typically sunny in September and October while November is usually rainy and colder. Especially in October you are going to experience incredible colors in the mountains and lakes. There are usually less tourists, decreasing especially in October and November. Suggested locations: Dolomites (Sep-Oct), Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Apulia, Main cities

PEOPLE MAY ASK…

  • How much does it cost to elope in Italy?

    On average eloping in Italy could cost about € 6.000 | $ 7.000. This is just a starting point. You can expect to pay more if you are going to book a venue (i.e. an hotel, a villa, etc..), include musicians, celebrant or planning to have an intimate dinner with guests. In this case you can expect to spend about € 10.000 | $ 11.500. What to include in you elopement and how to budget your day at the end, really comes down to what you value the most.

  • Is it easy to elope in Italy?

    Planning an elopement is usually way easier compared with a big traditional weddings. Most of elopement photographers also offer planning assistance or guidance to make sure your process go smoothly. Finally, having a simbolyc wedding ceremony in Italy doesn’t require paperwork and it’s not necessary to ask for permits to elope in most of the iconic locations.

  • How do you elope in Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, Venice?

    Reach out to local or experienced elopement photographers / planners. They will help you finding the best locations, timing and helping you in the planning process. Feel free to contact us for some help and guidance.

  • Is it hard to get married in Italy?

    It is definitely easier to do all your paperwork in your country and celebrate your love in Italy with a symbolic ceremony. Other civil or religious ceremony involve a longer process which is described in this guide.

Bride and groom at Lake Braies in the Dolomites with boats on the lake during Italy Elopement

ITALY ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER & GUIDE

If you are now dreaming of eloping in Italy, we’d love to guide you through your planning process and capture your authentic love. You may have other questions or simply need some advice. We’ve helped hundreds of couples to celebrate their intimate wedding in Italy and we’ll be glad to share our expertise with you. Feel free to fill out the contact form here below to get in touch and let’s start the balls rolling!

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