First off, we were very late getting started and I don’t recommend doing this. The usual “rule” of starting a year before is a good one to abide by, also because Italians love getting married on Saturdays and we quickly realized that all the Saturdays were already reserved at on-demand locations when we started inquiring. That was fine by us though since half the guests are coming from Canada and will be on vacation anyways, having a wedding mid-week was actually an acceptable option and we ended up choosing a Thursday. The restaurant is probably the most important thing to book early, then the church if you’re doing a religious ceremony. Keep in mind that if you’re wanting to get married in the church, you absolutely must do the marriage course which is typically offered at very specific times during the year and not more than twice a year in each parish. I’m Catholic and so didn’t have any issues (so far) with participating in the course and organizing the church ceremony so unfortunately I don’t have any insight with regards to options if you are of a different denomination. The course will last one to two months depending on how often you attend each week. We went on Fridays for a little more than three hours for two months.
After having attended the preparation course, you then have a whole bunch of fun bureaucracy to deal with as you need to present a myriad of documents to your comune of residence so that they are then able to “publish” your upcoming marriage on the town “bulletin board”. Being Canadian, one of the documents I had to present was an official testament (a nulla osta) from the Embassy of Canada stating that I have never been married in Canada and thus, there is nothing ‘impeding’ a marriage in Italy. Post-publication of your marriage, you are then required to take part in private interviews with a priest where you are asked a variety of questions separate from your partner. Apparently the documentation is then forwarded to Rome and also kept on file at your church forevermore. We haven’t yet done our interview part yet, it’s the last bit that we’re missing in this never-ending process. So basically in summary, as you can probably tell, just the simple legalities of getting married (especially if you’re doing a religious ceremony) are almost enough to make you not want to get married! It’s then made slightly more difficult if you’re not an Italian citizen and marrying one – our trip to Rome was actually to go to the Embassy of Canada to pick-up one of the obligatory documents, for example. I’ve actually begun to think that this is a brilliant tactic devised by the Italians to filter out who is serious and actually marrying for love versus those marrying for other, not so noble reasons!