How to Elope in Italy: Your ultimate guide! Everything you need to know from How to Get Married in Italy, to Italy Elopement Locations (including some you might never have heard of). I’ll also answer How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Italy, and share with you how to Get Started Planning Your Italian Elopement.
So you’re planning to elope in Italy!! Or perhaps it’s just an idea playing in the back of your mind and your curiosity has gotten the better of you? No matter where you’re at, this guide to Planning your Italian Elopement has a little bit of everything, and in some cases, is brutally honest. After all, there’s no point pretending getting married legally in Italy will be a walk in the park (good thing you don’t have to!), or that Positano won’t be crowded. Still, Italy has so much endless beauty to offer, and a chance to have a truly unique wedding experience. You could have lunch under an oak tree handmade by a local Nonna in Puglia, or share vows at a lakeside location used in world-famous films, and everything in-between.
Not sure yet why you should trust me? Fair point! I’m Rhianna May, a destination wedding photographer who called Italy home from early 2017 to early 2022. These days, I divide my time between Italy and Australia, where I’m from, photographing weddings for laidback lovers and the wild at heart all year round. I’m endlessly passionate about hidden Italy – the one you thought you could only dream of – and I’d love nothing more than to share that with you.
So, let’s dive in! Your very own ultimate guide to How to Elope in Italy…
Yes! Of course, you can elope in Italy! Whether you want to have a small elopement just you and your love, or you want to bring 10 of your favourite people along for the ride, it’s 100% possible.
The amazing thing about eloping, whether you elope to the fabled shores of Italy or the expansive landscapes of Australia, is that there are no rules. All that matters is that you travel there with your love, with the intention to commit to one another through thick and thin. The precise location, the time of year, and whether or not you invite some friends or make it legal at that moment are all up to you.
Don’t stress though – I’m here to help guide you through How to Elope in Italy, in whichever way fills you with joy, one step at a time.
When people ask me How to Get Married in Italy, my answer is to simply plan your perfect day. Just forget about the wedding part for a second and think about what your dream day in Italy with your love would entail. Add in some time to share your vows, to celebrate committing to each other, and that’s it. Emotionally, it’s the commitment and the promise that matter. Of course, this is a very simplified version – and it doesn’t involve getting legally married in Italy. It is what a lot of my couples choose to do, though.
Some have flowers and a celebrant and 10 of their favourite people there to witness. Others make up their vows in the moment, I declare them married, and we have an epic day celebrating together. Almost all of them have already gotten married at the registry office or town hall in their hometown, or have plans to do it when they get back.
Why not just make it legal in Italy? Well… Italy’s bureaucracy is infamous for a reason, and this applies to getting married, as well. If that’s important to you though, we can absolutely make it happen.
NB: Feel free to skip this part and head straight down to Italian Elopement Locations if you’re happy to do the legal part at home!
First thing first, if you want to Get Legally Married in Italy, don’t try to do it alone. The rules and forms you need will differ based on your citizenship as well as the Comune, or council area, where you get married. I suggest you start by enlisting the help of a local, English-speaking celebrant who can help you with the process. As an added bonus, they will probably know a few of the people who’ll be responsible for saying yes or no to your requests! Not sure how to find someone? I’m happy to share my favourite celebrants with you!
The celebrant will help explain the process to you, and help you file to get all the documentation as much as they can. You’ll need a ‘nulla osta’ from your home country’s embassy in Italy, which is an official document from them allowing you to marry in Italy. You’ll also need an ‘atto notorio’, which is a declaration that there are no obstacles to you marrying, from the Italian embassy or consulate in your hometown. You’ll need to get this before you leave for Italy, but to do so, you’ll need to make sure you have all the correct documents required by the town hall in the Italian city where you plan to marry. Uff.
Once all the paperwork is sorted, you’re more or less good to go! You might just need an official interpreter if one of you doesn’t speak Italian, and you’ll need to make sure you get married at a council-approved location.
Or you know, take all the stress away and just make it legal at your local registry office or town hall before you fly out to Italy!
The fun part – it’s time to choose your Italy Elopement Location! But oh gosh, where even to begin? Italy has a little bit of everything, from spectacular rocky coastlines to luxurious lakeside villas, breathtaking rolling fields punctuated by tall cypress trees to uneclipsed wild mountains, ancient art-filled cities to sweet little medieval farming villages… the list goes on (and on and on).
But at the end of the day, your Italian elopement shouldn’t be about getting that perfect Instagram shot (trust me, we’ll make that happen anyway!). Your wedding should be about the two of you celebrating your love in the very best way possible. So, when choosing your Italian Elopement Location, ask yourself:
All of these questions will help you to decide on the right location, and of course, I’d be more than happy to put some ideas together for you. And now, without further ado…
Living in Milan for 5 years meant Lake Como was practically at my doorstep – it was a favourite for day trips to escape the city and enjoy a little nature. It wasn’t until I spent a whole month there photographing weddings in 2022 though, that I really got to appreciate Lake Como for all that it is. This destination, famous for luxury villas and celebrity glamour, actually has a whole lot more going for it (not to mention glorious evening light!).
Oh Tuscany – what is there not to love? From the art-lined streets of Florence to its medieval villages, rolling hills and cypress-studded country roads, to its secret hot springs that seem out of this world. Not to mention the food… the food (although not so much the bread)! If you’re a lover of art, food & wine, and you aren’t too fussed about being by the sea*, then Tuscany is the place for you.
*That said, I know an amazing Airbnb that would be perfect for an elopement on the Tuscan coastline. If that spikes your curiosity, get in touch!
I have a lot of feelings about Positano – it’s famous for a reason, yes. This cascading, colourful coastal down is jaw-droppingly beautiful (really truly – a beautiful bride of mine once sat with her mouth agape and just stared at it for a few minutes from our boat. The captain was worried something had gone wrong!). But are you choosing to get married there for the right reasons? Positano is expensive, and difficult to get to & navigate, but if you truly love it, then it really is like nowhere else in the world and I’d love to help you experience that.
Want to know a little more? Check out my guide on How to Elope to Positano or, for a unique spin on a Positano elopement, Lauren & Shay’s Full-Day Amalfi Coast Boat Elopement.
There’s no reason to explain why Lago di Braies, or Prager Wildersee, has become the Instagram-famous hotspot it is. This place is epic, in every sense of the word. If you choose to have your Italian Elopement here, be ready for an early morning wake-up call (and we should definitely carpool), but like all of Italy’s most famous destinations, I promise it will be worth the hype.
Lake Garda is Lake Como’s lesser-known sibling, and it’s one of my favourite places in the world. At the southern end you’ll find Sirmione with its long sprawling town and spectacular white cliffs. In the north, Riva del Garda with gorgeous views over the Baldo mountains and wonderful swimming spots. Here, you’ll find far fewer crowds and a lot more peace than Lake Como.
If you dream of eloping along the Amalfi Coast, but you find the price tag and the crowds a little off-putting, Cilento might be for you. Located just a little further south along Campania’s coast, Cilento has all the views and all the culture but is just a little quieter and a little less well-known.
Umbria is one of Italy’s many well-kept secrets, although I’m not sure how long that’s going to last. This small region shares a border with Tuscany, as well as many of Tuscany’s most famous traits – think beautiful hilly landscapes and medieval villages – but it remains relatively ‘undiscovered’ by foreigners, and has a whole host of amazing things that make it wonderfully unique (hello truffles, native wine varietals and the flowering of the lentils!). If you dream of the dolce far niente and an escape away from it all, then let’s talk about making Umbria your Italy Elopement location.
I’m not sure the Dolomites still count as ‘something a little different’ when it comes to Places to Elope in Italy, but then again, it’s still a relative unknown to so many, so I had to include it here. The Dolomiti boasts some seriously epic mountain scenery, and there are hikes for every level. Plus, it tends to be a lot cooler here in the hot summer months than down on the plains.
Oh, my dear Apulia! I love this region with everything I’ve got. When I one day get a little place of my own in Italy, I’m already so torn between here and Sicily. Apulia, or Puglia as it’s known to the locals, is rich in culture and history, has world-class beaches, and of course, the food is something truly special (I say this about everywhere but it’s because it’s true!). You could elope to a beautifully renovated Trullo in the Valle d’Itria, or rent a Masseria (an old farmhouse) in Salento for you and all your favourite people!
I mean… what is there not to love about Sicily? The wild, rugged coastlines and gorges, the salt pans of Marsala, the old tuna plants that have been turned into picture-perfect accommodations, the granita for breakfast, or the pasta with pistachio and red prawns for dinner. If you’re looking for an Italian Elopement Location that is wild yet luxurious, and home to good food, a rich culture, and dreamy Mediterranean vibes, look no further: Elope to Sicily.
For a little idea of what this might look like, why don’t you check out my mini guide to Noto, or Flaviana & Antonio’s gorgeous Noto Sunrise Portraits?
Sardinia, or Sardegna, is one of these places that feels like a dream realised. It’s slow living embodied, from the untouched beaches to the villages where locals still live as if industrialisation never happened. This place is something special, in a way that feels almost impossible to put words to. People who’ve been to Sardegna share knowing looks, and everyone else can only imagine. If you’re happy to rent a car, get lost on roads unknown, and spend whole days lazing in crystal clear waters, then Sardegna is for you.
I’ll admit, I haven’t explored Italy’s lesser-known islands. It’s one of my many plans for 2023. From what I hear though, these are truly something special. There are islands off the coast of Italy nearly nobody talks about, apart from Italians and a few in-the-know travellers. Procida and Ischia off the coast of the Amalfi Coast, Ponza off the coast of Rome, the Isole Eolie off the coast of Calabria & Sicily. If you’re really looking for an adventure, and for an Italian elopement story like no other, let me know. Together, we can create something incredible on one of Italy’s secret islands.
Of course, the Best Time to Elope in Italy depends on how you want to spend your elopement. If, like me, you love the sunshine, exploring new beaches, and relaxing at a little table outside sipping on a spritz and watching the world go by, then summer it is. That doesn’t necessarily mean high summer though!
As an overarching rule, I’d say the Best Time to Elope to Italy is between the months of April and September. Italy is deceptively large, and the weather can change drastically from the north to the south. Where many in the south are going for their first seaside dips in April, in the north, you might still need a jacket.
If you plan to elope to one of the classic Italian Elopement Locations I mentioned earlier, then I’d say it’s also a good idea to steer clear of the summer vacation period (mid-June to the end of August). That said, I stayed on Lake Como for the whole month of August 2022, photographing a number of weddings, elopements, and engagements, and it was really beautiful – cooler than the south, and easier to find pockets of space (if you know where to look).
Really though, the Best Time to Elope in Italy is whenever suits you. Italy has something unique and memorable to offer in every season. And if you’re unsure, and have some flexibility, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to help you choose the best time to elope in Italy for you.
I’m going to level with you here – it can cost as much or as little as you’d like. I’ve photographed elopements for couples who hire luxury villas on the Amalfi Coast for them and 10 of their closest friends, with private chefs and villa managers whose only job is to ensure they have the best time. I’ve had clients who did the whole thing for under €5000 (not including flights). There’s no easy answer to this question – especially because elopements are so varied and so unique.
Accommodation can be anything from €200 (or less!) per night, to thousands per night. Your wedding day outfits will depend on your style and likely where you’re coming from. A bouquet should be €200 or less, depending on the flowers you choose. A private boat tour on Lake Como will set you back €400-1000+, on the Amalfi Coast it’s €500 and up, on Lake Garda it could be as little as €300. Celebrants start from €300 for a symbolic ceremony, and I’ve seen hair and makeup artists charge anything from €250 to well over €500.
The only thing I can speak to definitely is your Italian Elopement Photography, and only if you choose to trust me with documenting your day for you.
I offer 3 main packages for couples planning to Elope in Italy, starting from €3000, with an average spend of €3500 – and this doesn’t just include your Italian Elopement Photography! All of my packages include help planning your day, whether you just need to book in a boat tour and find a florist, or you still haven’t decided where to elope in Italy and you’d like me to help you figure out the whole thing.
I want your Italian elopement experience to be something you look back on with so much joy, and not just your elopement day itself! I want you to fall in love with Italy the way I have, and so I’ll be there to help you out, from sharing city guides I’ve created exclusively for my clients, to talking to your waiter on the phone when they can’t figure out how to translate something in the days before your elopement (true story!).
I hope you’ve found this blog post inspiring, and that you’re unbelievably excited to dive right in to Planning Your Italian Elopement. And if you’re still unsure where to get started? Well, that’s easy! Just get in touch!
I’d love nothing more than to help you plan a unique and beautiful Italian Elopement celebration, that you’ll look back on for life.
“We would not have had the elopement of our dreams without Rhianna. From the moment we met, she started working on helping us create our day. She had all the resources to help us tailor everything exactly how we wanted and documented all of it so perfectly. Not to mention having her around all day was an absolute joy. Not only does she just take the most amazing photos and be the best reference for planning your elopement and trip around Italy, but you’ll also leave hoping to stay friends. Thank you, Rhianna, for the most incredible trip of our lives!”Lauren & Shay, Conca dei Marini, September 2022
Want to know more about How to Elope in Italy? Or are you ready to start planning your Italian Elopement now? I’d love to help you plan something unique and perfect for you. Just get in touch!
Would you like to know more about Eloping in Italy? Or are you curious what an elopement actually is? Check out my page that talks all about what an elopement in Italy can look like!