CEREMONIES THAT BIND & DOCUMENTS TO SIGN
Before picking a ceremony site, you may want to determine if you want a civil or symbolic ceremony. What's the difference? A civil ceremony is legally binding; it is the moment you are officially married by law in Italy and the US. A symbolic ceremony is a religious ceremony (or one that is done by your own provided officiant) for two people that already have a marriage license in their country of origin. We decided to go with a symbolic ceremony, as the requirements were more feasible for our situation and travel plans. Read more about the differences in paperwork below as well as options for churches and town halls!
In Italy, you can have a wedding ceremony valid in Italy & the US even if you aren't an Italian citizen. Can you get to the local consulate 10 days before your wedding date? If you'll be in town early, this may be the option for you.
Are one or both of you Catholic? Do you want to get married in a Catholic church? This article outlines the paperwork and processes within the church. Note: symbolic ceremonies can be done outside of churches as well with your own officiant.
Featured Church: Chiesa di San Giorgio
Consecrated in 1313, Chiesa Di San Giorgio is considered a masterpiece of 14th century Lombardian architecture. Located in Varenna's main piazza, it is a stone's throw from Villa Cipressi, Royal Victoria, Hotel Du Lac, among many more local restaurant/venue options, limiting the need for transportation. It has medieval frescos, marble, and altarpieces along with a bell tower that rings when the bride is walking up to the church (how charming is that??). We loved this church because the ambiance is quite spiritual and the detail work inside is so outstanding that decorations felt small in comparison. As you can see above, the wedding on the left (not ours) sprung for flowers in the pews, and on the right (our wedding) we only did flowers on the main altar. And, we did floral garland, not even a main centerpiece or end pieces (which can run you 250-1000 EUR!), and I still think it looked beautiful. Keep in mind, in many cases, the flowers you decorate the church with are considered a gift and you cannot take them and repurpose them for the reception. Overall, Chiesa di San Giorgio's grandiose interior paired with its small town feel makes it the is the perfect quintessential Italian cathedral for a wedding ceremony.