WHAT IS IT?
A civil wedding in Italy, is a memorable and unique experience, thanks to the beauty of some Italian Town Halls. A declaration must be presented to the Town Hall prior to the wedding. This usually takes place one or two days in advance of the wedding. Sometimes, depending on when the couple arrives in Italy and how busy the Town Hall is, the declaration might take place on the same day of the wedding, just earlier in the day.
The planner/interpreter accompanies the couple to an informal room inside the Town Hall, where the details are handled.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are different rules for these procedures, depending on the country of origin of the couple. For some nationalities, the wedding planner will have provided the Town Hall with all the required documents. Those couples only need to bring their valid passports with them. For other nationalities, where part of the documents must be prepared in the couple’s country, the couple must bring those specific papers along with their passports. The declaration is made in front of a Registrar, who reads it in Italian. Then it is translated by the interpreter, who has sworn to fulfil her task “well and faithfully”.
The text is very simple. It confirms the will of the betrothed to be married in a Town Hall (without banns, since they do not reside in Italy). The particular data of the bride and groom are on it. At that time the document is checked for accuracy and spelling. Spelling is very important. Names must correspond to those on the passports, including middle names, since they will be copied into the final wedding certificate. The city of residence is also indicated there, as well as the date and place of birth of the couple.
Last but not least, the couple affirms that there are no impediments to their marrying. These “articles of law” are read aloud and translated, and you must attest to such things as not being close blood relatives, having no mental illness, etc. At this point, the certificate will be signed by all present. It takes less than half an hour.
When the day of the wedding arrives the Mayor or another officer, who represents the Mayor, will be present, in official dress. After the bride has made her entrance, the three articles of law from the Civil Code of the Republic of Italy, (with the translation of the interpreter) which relate to mutual rights and duties of married couples will be recited. Then the final certificate will be signed. The exchange of vows and rings comes next.
The whole ceremony lasts about half an hour.