From the green-carpeted hills to the burnished orange of terracotta roofs, the winding waterways and delightful cuisine – Italy is a lesson in romance. Who wouldn’t want to elope in Italy?!
Whether you choose to elope in Italy for its beautiful landscapes and cities or for other personal reasons, it’s hard to envision a more romantic elopement. There are plenty of quaint destinations to explore on your subsequent honeymoon too! Just imagining days out under the Tuscan sun makes me freaking excited; I’m sure it’s the same for you!
Of course, eloping in a different country requires a little more preparation. This guide will outline the basic steps to planning an intimate Italy celebration, including how to get an Italy marriage license. You’ll want all the legal claims filed properly so that everyone recognizes your marriage.
People call Italy the country of love for many reasons. It could easily become the country of your love story too!!
This step-by-step guide will take you through all the steps on how to elope in Italy, along with extra tips and guidance!
You might not have to deal with the hassle of reserving a venue years in advance (as larger weddings usually require), but you do need a space to host. Spend some quality time with your partner as you scout out the perfect dream location for an intimate wedding ceremony, elopement or vow exchange! Start by narrowing down where in Italy you would like to go – Venice, Florence, the offshore islands – and then choose what kind of setting fits you best.
You might consider places like:
– A church!
– A vineyard!
– Within a historical house!
– The gardens of an estate!
– On a beach!
– In a nature reserve or botanical garden!
– A clifftop by the sea!
– A villa!
The possibilities are endless! If it’s owned property, make sure to check if they allow private events and remember to obtain the permits you’ll need for these locations! Your elopement photographer and/or elopement planner should be able to help with this.
Eloping overseas isn’t the same as eloping in-country so familiarize yourself with the process. How do you get an Italy Marriage License? From contacting the U.S embassy to submitting the appropriate paperwork, make sure you check all the legal steps. You can find the information you need by clicking here!
OR you can get married at your home spot first! By that, I mean taking a quick trip to your city hall and signing all the papers and then have your elopement in Italy. Since you’ll already be married, all you need to worry about is planning the elopement ceremony and adventures itself without being stressed about the legalities of getting married in another country! (I WOULD PERSONALLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS OPTION!
Remember – get your marriage license before the elopement ceremony if you’re legally getting married in Italy instead of your home base!
Obviously your schedules come first when planning the perfect date, but try to pick the most appropriate season!
Spring, which runs from April to May, brings light breezes and mild weather. Fall is another great season to visit, especially between September and October. Since they’re shoulder seasons as well, you won’t have to deal with too many tourists photobombing your elopement!
Avoid going in the summer as Italy gets quite hot – you’ll be melting in your makeup and marinating in sweat. Winter limits outdoor venues with rather unpleasant temperatures; I wouldn’t recommend eloping in the winter season in Italy, especially if you’re planning to elope in the Dolomites! (However, if you’re DREAMING of a winter elopement, definitely try to plan for November or Early December!)
You’ll want to consider seasonal attractions as well. Since you’re traveling ALL the way to Italy, make use of the chance to check off your bucket list. What would you like to experience or see that is only available certain times of the year?!
This goes without saying! Book your tickets early so you can be there on your ideal date. You also want flight confirmations before reserving your Airbnb and booking your elopement vendors! You can use the following tools/websites to help look for deals on flights!
– Scott’s Cheap Flights
– Google Flights
If you can, try to get an Airline Credit Card with Rewards! I personally have the Gold Delta Skymile Credit Card and get cheap/free flights ALL the time! It’s so worth it!
Italy is all about enjoying the small things in life and taking it slow. Book yourself a romantic Airbnb around your elopement location to feel like you’re living the best life!
Having a private space to yourselves makes it all the more intimate. It’s also convenient to have a space to get ready in (especially since you probably won’t be renting a huge venue with bridal rooms). Who knows? You might even use it for part of your photoshoot! (Which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!)
“But why?” you might ask. You have your date and your location – but what is your vision exactly? Trawl through Pinterest or elopement blogs and see how others have done their ceremonies!! Here are some questions to get inspired with your elopement vision board:
For this step, I want you to dream as big as you possibly can!! THE MOON IS THE LIMIT!! There’s no right or wrong way to have an elopement, so if you want to go skydiving after you say your vows – freaking plan it! Your elopement will only happen once with your soulmate, so make the most of it!
Just because you’re not having a traditional wedding, doesn’t mean you don’t need extra hands to make everything perfect. Start researching and contacting elopement vendors that will help make your dream elopement come to life. Here are some elopement vendors you’ll want to research + book:
If you’re planning your elopement before flying to Italy (as you should); contact the vendors early. This gives you more time to plan around your trip + the actual day itself!
When choosing your elopement vendors, it’s really important to know if they will match your vision or not. Try to meet with them over the phone or on a zoom call and ask them questions! Vendors who specialize in elopements and not traditional weddings will be the most helpful, especially photographers and videographers!
Do I need to say more? This is the day you’ve been waiting for! With your marriage license successfully filed and your best friend, the love of your life, beside you, there’s only one last thing to do: love and let live.
Congratulations on getting married!
While riding on your high (and possibly the best experience in your life), take your spouse by the hand and explore your Italian haven.
If you’re not sure where to elope in Italy… well, I don’t blame you at all. Italy is beautiful everywhere and in so many different ways that the choices are quite overwhelming. To help you narrow it down, here are some of the most popular (and pretty) places in the country.
Never considered getting married in the mountains? The Italian Dolomites will change your mind! These famous mountains extend from River Adige to Piave Valley, gifting you with glacier lakes, thickly fir-ed forests, rolling green valleys and of course, dramatic ridges all around.
Luxurious ski resorts and charming towns would make a unique elopement location, not to mention honeymoon destination. Hiking trails are open all year round so you can access the beautiful landscapes. Early spring through May is the most comfortable time to visit, bringing mild weather and bursts of color through melting snow.
Tucked away along Italy’s Amalfi Coast is the fairytale-like village of Positano. Unlike the airy feel of the Dolomites, Positano offers a much more intimate vibe.
I’m in love with how it was built on a cliff, with steep narrow streets winding down to the pebble beachfront! If you’re all for off-beat charm like I am, you’ll be entranced by the colorful clusters of boutiques and cafés too! The majolica-tiled dome of Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta is a must-see, but the most breathtaking sea views are found along the Sentiergo degli Dei hiking trails. Positano was one of my favorite spots I visited while in Italy!
For laidback vibes and sweeping sea views, plan for a Sorrento elopement. The broad expanse of the Bay of Naples lures in plenty of visitors but what really sells it is the unique cliff-top development and busy marinas below. I mean, where else would you find stunning buildings right along the cliff top and literal plunges to the beaches below?
Sorrento is perfect for romantic photoshoots too – from its dramatic ridges to the characterful historic center. Better yet, you can take a day trip to the island of Capri for a smidge of “more exotic”!
One of the prettiest towns on Lake Garda, Malcesine would make a brilliant elopement destination. Nature aside, the historical architecture is extremely appealing, with just enough romanticism to match your purpose.
Don’t worry about climbing up Monte Baldo in your wedding clothes because there’s a cable car to the top! Or maybe you prefer the mountainside church of the Sanctuary of Madonna della? You can even get married in an actual medieval castle – the Castle of Malcesine or the Castle of Avio.
The island of Sicily is one of the region’s greatest treasures and full of Mediterranean charm! Rich history gifts us with a variety of architectural styles, from the monumental ruins of Greek temples to the Byzantine mosaics of Capella Palatina. There’s no end to awe-inspiring sights no matter which area you’re at.
Palermo comes with a colorful street market; Taormina and Mount Etna combines volcanic climbs and heritage structures. There’s color and life everywhere, making it the perfect location for your elopement.
Five villages make up the centuries-old Cinque Terre territory, spread out over the Italian Riviera coast. Like Amalfi Coast, it’s a popular tourist destination due to the stunning combination of sea views and quaint residences.
Best of all, these villages are connected by footpaths meaning you can easily access any of them. The Sentiero Azzurro trail is the most famous, doling out plenty of vistas. I’m in love with the colorful houses and steep terraces – you will be too. Just imagine harbors teeming with fishing boats, pesto-slathered sea food and vineyards in between!
If you’re looking for something a bit more elegant and upscale, Lake Como is definitely the location for you! Sitting below the Alps, this glacier lake is a whopping 145 square kilometers. Here you’ll find pretty mansions and villas right by the water, as well as luxurious resorts.
Choose between the resort town of Bellagio and the larger city of Como! What I love about the latter is the funicular that connects it to Brunate town. It’s just such a unique sight and experience – one you’re bound to appreciate.
Of course, you can also enjoy your elopement along the banks of the lake, most likely within a stunning estate.
We definitely can’t go without mentioning Venice! While it might seem like a tourist cliché, Venice has gained that reputation for a reason. This floating city – made up of over a hundred small islands – is one of a kind.
Gothic, Byzantine and Renaissance influences dominate the streets, peppering the city with gems like St. Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile and Rialto Bridge. But don’t overlook its lesser travelled islands as well! Burano is made for photographs, brightly painted houses a vibrant backdrop. The brownstone and industrial pickings at Castello are an edgy alternative. OR go for a classy on-the-water experience – there’s no shortage of canals after all!
If we’re talking about romance, then Verona is at the top of the list. Not only is it a vibe-y medieval old town with Adige River snaking through – it’s also where Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” takes place! There’s even a 14th-century home with a tiny balcony that people have dubbed Juliet’s House.
You can also appreciate the huge Verona Arena which dates back to 1st century! This Roman amphitheater is an amazing backdrop for photos. There are plenty of historical buildings that can host your ceremony too.
There is no end to the rich architecture and heritage sites in Rome meaning the possibilities for your elopement ceremony are limitless! From the lavish Neptune’s Fountain to the Coliseum, the circular Santo Stefano Rotondo church and ancient thermal baths – your elopement shoots will be epic.
With so much to see, you don’t even have to leave the city for your honeymoon. Just spend your days wandering through this marvelous ancient city.
For something more laidback and luxurious, Capri is your choice. Nestled in the Bay of Naples, Capri spoils you with rugged landscapes and upscale hotels. You can rent a yacht and circle the island, drop by the famous glowing Blue Grotto. You can lounge on the beach for days on end.
Imagine getting married on water with the dramatic mountain range behind you! Or saying your vows on the beach during sunset, with a light breeze to offset the happy tears.
If you prefer boho, eclectic charm, Puglia is a great romance. Not only does it have the longest coastline in Italy (perfect for those clifftop shoots!) but it’ll lure you in with centuries-old farmland too. Whitewashed towns are the norm, with colorful riots of flowers hanging from balconies.
I suggest visiting Lecce for its baroque architecture – it’s like experiencing Florence on a budget. The Itria Valley is worth a visit if you’d like to see the distinctive “trulli” stone huts. Of course, you can spend all your time along the coastline too!
Ravello is such a swoon-worthy elopement location thanks to its cliffside gardens. They’re intimate and beautiful like any elopement hopes to be!
Villa Ruflo is among the most well-known; a 13th-century estate that offers terraced gardens with stunning sea views. Another medieval villa is the Villa Cimbrone. Choose the best corner of its carefully designed garden to get the most romantic couple photo of your life.
WHEW! Now that you know about the important steps to take about how to elope in Italy, I’m sure you probably have a few more questions, but don’t go anywhere! I have found the answers to the most frequently asked questions just for you!
Luckily for all of us – yes! Unlike Paris, foreigners don’t even require legal residency in Italy. This definitely saves you a lot of hassle and makes the process much more straightforward. There are of course, some conditions and requirements that I will talk about down below!
Italy recognizes three types of religious and civil weddings.
Getting an Italy Marriage License is similar to getting a marriage license back home. The only difference is that you require a few more approvals and documents! For more details, visit the official site of the US Embassy in Italy.
I actually recommend you get married at a courthouse at home first and then having an intimate ceremony in Italy. Not only is the process more straightforward since everything gets sorted by the town hall, you save a lot of time, stress and money as well!
Every city has slightly differing requirements so give your town hall a call to double-check what documents you need!
If you decide to get legally married in Italy, there are some fees to take care of. Apart from paying for the ceremony and officiator charges, you also have to pay for the documents. Documents cost between €100 – €200 total.
Other fees may include local administrative fees or church-specific charges!
This is a big question! When budgeting, start with the obvious things you have to pay for:
Prices vary from season to season! Travel costs go from $300 to $1,500. Book earlier for cheaper prices or look check out deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, SkyScanner, Hopper, Google Flights, etc! Or look into getting an airline reward credit card, like the Gold Delta Skymile Credit Card! This is the one I use, and I’ve gotten multiple cheap/free flights!
Mid-range hotels in larger cities cost $125-250 per night while luxurious stays can cost up to $800 per night. There are plenty of family-run B&Bs, boutique hotels and Airbnb options that come in under the $200 mark. (Highly, highly recommend an Airbnb! Click here to look at the most romantic airbnbs in Italy!)
Restaurants can be expensive in Italy! Expect to spend between $25 and $75 a day for food and drinks! (P.S. You have to try the freshly squeezed blood orange juice from Conad’s! It’s the best juice I’ve ever tasted!)
Depends on the ceremony! Civil ceremonies cost between €500 and €9,200. This converts to $600 – $11,200! Meanwhile, symbolic ceremonies may cost a lot less – if you’re planning to legally get married in Italy. If you choose to get married in your home-town, you won’t necessarily have this huge expense!
An elopement with knowledgeable and expert elopement vendors costs anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. Since many photographers double as an elopement planner (like myself), they may charge $3,600 – $9,000! (But remember, photographers & videographers are the most important vendors to have for your big day!)
Expect to pay $450 – $800 depending on elopement location!
You don’t have to spend $3,000 on a wedding dress if you’re choosing to wear one! Check local bridal consignment stores, Amazon, Lulus, Baltic Born, Etsy, Ebay, or even Facebook Marketplace! It’s best to bring your own attire to Italy for you elopement, but if you decide to get one upon arrival, expect a low-end cost of $500 and upper-tier price of $3000! (Click here to check out these 6 affordable but beautiful wedding dresses under $250!)
There are many elements that factor into budget! It comes down to what you want to do, whether you prefer a simple ceremony or something more luxurious. Ask yourself: Are you willing to splash out for a private venue? What is the scale of the decor, if you’re going to have any? What kind of ceremony will you be having? Are you hiring an expert elopement photographer or a photographer that’s just in it for the pretty photos? How many guests are you bringing, if any? I suggest consulting an elopement planner or your elopement photographer if budgeting isn’t your forte!
Definitely during Spring or Fall! April to May and September to October gifts you with perfect weather for outdoor ceremonies – this way you can look and feel your best. Avoid summer at all costs or melt in the heat. Winter will be chilly, limiting you to indoor venues.
As an elopement photographer, I’m here to give you all the guidance, tips, and knowledge on how to make the most of your elopement AND how to make your dream elopement come to life! So here are a few additional tips we haven’t covered yet!
Planning is frustrating enough when you’re in the same city – imagine what it’d be like trying to coordinate with different contacts while in different countries. Be prepared for possible misunderstandings and remember to be patient and concise. I also suggest planning early in advance for this very reason!
Whether you’re making a list on what you need to elope or simply requesting the availability of a venue, it never hurts to double check! It pays to be careful with legal requirements especially. You might be asked for proof on intent to marry waaaaay ahead of your actual wedding date – you can read more about the requirements here! Remember, if you have a knowledgeable elopement photographer and/or planner, they will be able to help you with this research!
We tend to want to aim high and get EVERYTHING right, but I suggest setting a list of priorities just in case! This way, you can focus on the top 2 to 3 things you care about and let everything else fall in place. The point of eloping is to keep things stress free!! You deserve to have a stress-free elopement of your dreams!
Elopements are less expensive than your traditional wedding, but it doesn’t mean your wallet is off the hook! Take into consideration traveling costs (flight tickets AND commute on the day of), celebrant fees, any rentals and license fees. You won’t want to get through your elopement just to realize a huge dent in the bank. This way, you can also treat yourself to a unique experience with any leftover budget! (Helicopter tour, anyone?!)
Do glam yourself up for the day but be smart about it! If you’re wanting to be out in nature and do some hiking for your elopement, make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear! A lot of my couples will also bring a nice pair of shoes to put on WHEN we arrive at their elopement location! While many people end up wearing traditional wedding dresses and tuxes, some couples opt for more casual attire too! (Pantsuits are definitely a thing!)
Your elopement should be FUN and STRESS-FREE!! Take a deep breathe, relax, and just enjoy this season of life that you’re in!! You’re marrying the love of your life, your partner in crime, your rock, your everything! That’s all that matters at the end of the day. ENJOY IT!
Okay, chances are, you’re not going to Italy for like one day just for your elopement… right?! RIGHT! So here are some fun and romantic activity ideas to consider and possibly plan for your elopement day or the days before/after your elopement! (And I recommend bringing your elopement photographer/videographer along with you!)
Rome is such an iconic city in Italy, and is very well-known – it’s also a hella incredible, and romantic city perfect for a little dinner (or lunch) on a rooftop! Make your reservation just before sunset so you can admire the city in both the golden setting sunlight and at night. Some of the best Rome rooftop spots are the Raphael Hotel, Minerva Roof Garden, and Roof Garden Les Étoiles.
OKAY, THIS ONE’S STRAIGHT OUTTA THE ROMANCE NOVELS AND MOVIES. The Amalfi Coast is literally the “province of romance”. Book a sunset boat tour from Positano, and sip some wine as you admire how freaking stunning the Amalfi Coast is with your partner. This is probably one of the MOST ROMANTIC things you can do in Italy! (You will FOR SURE want your photographer & videographer for this one!)
Take a day to explore and relax in the most amazing thermal hot spring – Terme di Saturnia! It also makes for a lovely photoshoot location as well 😉
This one’s a classic, and probably what you think of when you hear the word, “Italy”! You have to take a gondola ride with your babe, through venice, preferably around sunset! Listening to your gondolier sing for you, taking in the beauty that is Venice, and all the things – how can you forget about this activity?
If you two love to hike and going outdoors, you should think about hiking The Path of Gods! It offers a STELLAR view of Positano, but can be moderately difficult depending on where you start! This hiking guide for The Path of Gods will help guide you!
Now that you have all the tools on how to elope in Italy, you can begin dreaming up your dream elopement day in one of the most romantic cities in the country!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Samantha Burke is a traveling adventurous elopement photographer for the wild and goofy soulmates that’s based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota! She’s also an educator for fellow photographers that are wanting to grow their business! Samantha is also a traveling addict that’s always looking for somewhere to travel too! Sam is also obsessed with Star Wars, Marvel, and Chai Tea! Please contact Sam if you would like to have her be your elopement photographer or if you have any questions!
I want to make sure we are on the same page!! We will be able to make your day absolutely MAGICAL, if we are on the same page! If you're screaming YASSSS after reading everything, then GET IN my inbox ALREADY!!!!!!!