The land of romance, art, and good food! It doesn’t surprise me that you are thinking to elope in Italy! It is such a beautiful and warm country with infinite options! But where to start? When you don’t live in a place it can be difficult to figure out how to plan everything, and obviously the question comes up: How to elope in Italy? I got you!
I am Emily, an Italian elopement photographer, and I would love to help you out!
This article is a comprehensive guide that explain how to elope in Italy STEP BY STEP!
Ready? Let’s go!
The first thing to do before contacting vendors and going digging into Pinterest for inspiration is: Dream up your perfect day!
Attention here, I am not talking about your wedding day, but in general.
Close your eyes and imagine your perfect day, with all those things that you love, that make you feel good and happy. Where are you? How is the weather? What are you eating? What are you doing?
This is a very important step to do before starting the planning part.
In this way you will have a clear idea of the things you want from your day, and once decided, you are ready to start!
Deciding who to invite to your wedding is not an easy thing, there are many factors to consider, and it is even harder for those who want an elopement rather than a traditional wedding.
Tell me if you see yourself in this little story:
You start thinking about the most important people in your life, and you already have a more or less clear idea of who really can’t miss. But then you pause a moment, and you are assailed by a thousands of doubts, like:
What happens if someone I didn’t invite gets hurt?
What if my parents are against the idea of us getting married alone, and they feel offended?
We invited my sister, so we should invite my auntie too…
And if we invite auntie Mary, then we have to invite my cousins too. And then…
Your brain is already melting right?
This is something that happens to many couples who decide to elope or have an intimate wedding. It’s ok, you are not alone!
I perfectly understand how you feel, and I really want to invite to consider this:
Your wedding day is a day made FOR YOU.
It is not your parents day, neither your auntie day, nor your cousins.
My dispassionate suggestion would be to choose without bonds or obligations, but to follow what YOU feel is right for YOU. And think that who is talking here is a people pleaser!
Listen deeply to your heart, choose without any fear who you really want to be present on your special day. The others will understand the situation and will be happy anyway for you.
A last thing that maybe you didn’t know about elopements. Nobody said you can’t invite your family and close friends if you elope.You can have a beautiful intimate wedding!
Just make sure that your guests are in line with the spirit of the day, and that they have a clear idea of what you want to do. Remember that having guests requires extra organisation, and can bring limits depending on what are your plans.
To make an example, let’s say you like hiking, and dream about a ceremony on the top of a mountain. Are your guests physically able/prepared to do something like this?
This is only an example but you can apply it for every scenario/activities.
In case you decide to go for “Just the two of us”, but at the same time you still want a celebration moment, you can always plan a party later!
You can even put together a second symbolic ceremony if you feel like.
Where to elope in Italy? Options are really infinite!
Depending on what type of scenario you are looking for, there are spots more suitable than others. One thing is for sure. There are places just perfect for you!
I created this little list of the most popular ones, based on the scenario.
Let’s have a look at it together.
A very Italian gem! A city overlooking the sea, built on the rocks, which boasts of having one of the most beautiful coastal scenery.
Also known as “Divina” or “Divine” in this magical place not only the beaches are amazing, but you will be inebriated by the lemons perfume spreading everywhere, and saltiness.
Visit the historic centre, and above all take a walk in its tiny little streets scattered all over the town, they are enchanting!
Enjoy the ancient towers view, the monuments, and churches.
Among these, the most famous is called “Duomo di Amalfi”, where from its porch you can access to the “Basilica del crocifisso” and “Chiostro del paradiso”.
Sicily is simply a paradise made of sun, untouched nature, and history.
The island is the biggest in Italy, situated between Africa and Europe. Especially for its position that historically attracted the desire to colonise it, Sicily has been invaded and occupied by many different civilisations, starting with the Romans, the Normans, the Arabs and the Phoenicians.
History apart, this is the reason why this island is characterised by small towns and ancient buildings with a Roman, Arabic or Byzantine architectural style. A feast for the eyes!
Have a tour in the characteristic markets and the squares. There you will really get to know the “Italian Spirit”. Not only art, but a lot of beauty and nature with its breathtaking islands, beaches with uncontaminated seabed, and active Vulcans!
To name one, Mount Etna, close to Catania, is one of the biggest in the world!
Apulia, situated on the south east part of Italy, is really interesting as it is bathed by two seas: The Ionian Sea and the Adriatic.
Famous for its enchanting beaches, covering more than 800 Km of coast, particularly the ones in Salento are considered the cleanest in the country. This land will steal your heart, with its cities made of houses in white lime, the masserie in the countryside surrounded by olive trees, and wild beaches.
The most beautiful and popular ones are concentrated in the area of Salento and Gargano.
Hospitality and traditions are very strong values here, and obviously connected with our delicious food!
Sardinia has always been considered a real earthly paradise! Bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, you will find it on the west part of Italy , under Corsica.
This little piece of ecstasy it’s the second biggest island in Italy, and beats the hell out of Apulia for its coastal development with its 1840 Km of coasts! The island is mainly mountainous, and shows mountains, long sandy beaches with crystalline waters, woods, and rivers. Because of its variety of scenarios that you can find here, it is considered a micro continent.
Here you can enjoy the view of the little coves scattered all over, mystical caves, and feel like you are in the Caribbean!
It’s useless to say that the food here is spectacular! Sardinian are very proud of their typical specialty called “Porceddu” which translates to roast pork.
Another spectacular place for the beach lovers!
Calabria, known for its candid beaches and clean waters, will surprise you. Yep, because this county combines sea and mountain.
If you look at the map you can see that all the central part is mountainous while the lowland areas are on the coasts. Everything is easily reachable with one hour of travel by car!
In addition to the beaches there are lovely historic villages, situated on the mountains or on the coasts. These places are rich in history and culture with a unique variety!
Ever heard of the term “Bronzo di Riace”? That’s where it comes from!
The region of Trentino is and always will be in my heart. I still remember the days spent hiking with my family when I was a little girl.Not by chance I put it in the first place.
This place, divided in two parts, called South Tyrol in the north and Trentino to the south, has so much to offer! High mountains covered by pure snow, untouched nature, huge lakes of glacial origin, and long rivers to enjoy.
Speaking of lakes, the most popular one is Garda Lake, which is simply magnificent. Here you can have a great time with walking or bike excursions, and adventurous activities!
If you are sport lovers, it doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, this is the place for you! Aosta Valley is one of the most beautiful places to practice skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and much more!
Its strong point is of course the mountains, which are the highest in the Alps.
To mention the important ones: Mount Rosa,Gran Paradiso, the Matterhorn Mountain, and the magnificent Mount Blanc with its 4,810 m of altitude! Definitely, if you are looking for high peaks, you just found them!
Abruzzo Campo Imperatore
You probably have never heard of this place, generally when it comes to talking about mountains, we always think that everything is up north.
Luckily, Italy has regions offering 3 different scenarios in the same county just a few hours distant from each other! One of these is Abruzzo, my land.
Campo Imperatore is in the heart of the Gran Sasso National Park, and it is nicknamed “The little Tibet ” for its similarity with the Tibetan landscape. This dreamy site extends for 20 Km of length, and it’s so special!
You won’t find only mountains, but rather a mix of peaks, valleys, and hills. It is really an interesting variety that gives a sense of surreality.
Imagine how cool it would be to walk and lose yourself in the beauty of this place, admiring the view of the local fauna including sheep, cows, wild horses, deer and wild boar!
Last in the list, but not for this less important: The Dolomites!
It is not one place, rather a series of mountain ranges, situated on the north east part of Italy. These mountain ranges are a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, not only for their beauty, but for that pale white color that characterises them.
Why pale white? Because the rock of which they are composed is called “Dolomia ”, and thanks to her we can admire one of the magic that only mother nature can give: The Enrosadira. It’s that phenomenon that happens at sunset or at dawn, where the sunlight touches the high peaks of the mountains and makes them shine with a warm and reddening light.
The ideal destination for a luxurious and elegant elopement!
Situated about 80 Km from Milan, Como Lake is the deepest of the country, and named third in the list for its extension. In the past it was the holiday destination of the noble Italian families, and that’s exactly why you will be amazed by the luxurious beauty of its villas that rise right on its shores.
Limpid waters, enchanting gardens, historical villages, and sport activities create a perfect mix for those who desire a relaxing Italian experience.
The lake lends itself well for many aquatic activities like windsurfing, rowing, kite-surfing, and much more!
Another pearl for the water lovers is Garda Lake.
This glacial lake is the biggest in Italy, and it is divided in 3 regions: Veneto, Lombardy, and Trentino Alto Adige. Its original name was “Benaco” and it dates back to the time of the ancient Romans, who called it so, in honour of the god Neptune.
The mild climate has contributed to creating this oasis of peace and colours.A huge lake surrounded by ancient hamlets, medieval castles, vineyards and natural parks!
What else do you need?
Also here you can practice many different sports like mountain biking, windsurfing, sailing, fishing or diving.
Maggiore Lake, similarly to Garda Lake, has a coast dotted with castles and monumental villas, surrounded by beautiful gardens. You will also find a nice climate here, due to the protections of the mountains and hills.
The peculiarity of this place are the islands surrounding the lake, 11 in total! You can have fun exploring them with the ferry or boats, they are one more beautiful than the other!
If you are a sports enthusiast, here you’ll be spoilt for choice.Trekking, mountain bike, golf, and horse riding, are just some of the most common activities, without forgetting the aquatic ones! The waters of this lake are perfect to practice sailing, yachting, and water skiing.
The Italian capital. The biggest historical and cultural centre of the country. A marvellous open air museum that deserves to be part of the Unesco World Heritage List.
The perfect city for the romantic ones and history fans.
Here you will find archeological sites scattered everywhere in the centre, and countless museums showing pieces of art dating back to the most ancient times until our days. Admire the majesty of the Colosseum, have a walk in the suggestive market called “Campo de Fiori”, and don’t miss the famous Trevi Fountain, symbol of the movie “La Dolce Vita”.
I have been living in this city for many years, and I can honestly say: sunsets here are the most beautiful I have ever seen.
The cradle of the Renaissance. The city of Dante Alighieri. A wonderful city that maintained all the splendour of the past.
Walking through the streets of Florence is like leafing through a history book.Every square, every monument, every church hides years of culture known worldwide.
This romantic city has everything you need for an enchanting city elopement!Visiting the centre will give you an unparalleled sense of vitality, starting with Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge”, known for its goldsmith shops, witnesses of the skilful Italian art craft.
The city for the hopeless romantic! Not surprisingly it is considered the most romantic city in the world.
Only by looking at its pictures you can understand why…
A city built on the lagoon, with its coloured houses divided by the canal waters, the buildings and monuments finely decorated, and the fascinating squares. To mention the most famous one: “Piazza San Marco” or “St. Mark’s Square”, the most elegant drawing room of Europe!
Inevitable the iconic “Giro in gondola” or “Gondola Tour”, and make sure to pass under the “Bridge of Sighs”. Legend says that if a couple is under it at sunset time, exchanging a kiss at the exact moment of the bells striking, their love will be eternal.
Depending on what kind of day you are imagining, there is a specific time of the year that works better than others.
As many of you may think, summer would be perfect, but actually it is not true.
The months of July and August are the hottest and torrid, plus sometimes temperatures can rise till 40 C! Definitely not a good moment. Also, those months are the most popular for holidays, and Italy is invaded by tourists from all over the world, populating cities, squares, and.. well they are pretty much everywhere! Based on this it might be difficult finding intimate places for a bit of privacy, if for example you want an outdoor ceremony in a natural location.
In addition, consider that summer months are the most expensive, due to the high volume of tourism.
The best moments to elope in Italy/ get married are Spring (from April till May) and Autumn (from September till November). If you feel brave and like the heat, you can try June or July, but keep in mind that going in the south part of Italy, temperature can be up to 26/30 C.
Winter is cold, especially up north, probably not the best time for an outdoor elopement.
But you can opt for an indoor location, if you love the snow and dream of a winter elopement. I would suggest you do it in December, as January is the coldest month of the year!
This is a little tip about the date. If you book a venue/B&B/Hotel, and you are pretty flexible, try to get a middle week date, which is less expensive.
How do you want to get married? What kind of ceremony are you imagining?
That’s an important decision to make, and depending on what you choose there will be more or less things to do.
There are 3 options available:
The first two require a bit of preparation and documents to get in a specific period of time, and allow you to have a wedding ceremony that is considered legally binding.
The third one does not require much preparation, but to choose the place, the celebrant, and little details like music, views, special moments. This one is called Commitment ceremony, or symbolic ceremony.
Choosing a commitment ceremony, you can think about the legal part before or after the trip. It is not legally recognised as unfortunately in Italy it is not possible to get married wherever you want (thanks Vatican). The good part though, is that you get to choose the scenario in total freedom, and personalise your ceremony in any way you like!
My personal advice is to opt for a commitment ceremony, and for many reasons.
First of all you will save time and energies, you would have much more freedom of choice for the location, and personalisation.
If you are curious to see an example of what I am talking about, have a look at this styled shoot: Elopement on the Sea
If you come with friends and families, you could even ask your friend to be the celebrant!
So, what do you have to do to get married and make it legally binding?
This is a list of the basic documents you will need to get:
A catholic wedding, might require some more documents:
Those documents are a general list, but they can vary depending on your nationality.
The first thing to do is to contact your country’s consulate in Italy. They will explain to you all the steps.
Then you will need to submit your declaration of intent to marry to the local marriage office in the city’s town hall where you will get married. After your intention is declared, you can start setting a date.
Make sure to start the process at least 5 months before the wedding date. The sooner the better, especially when it comes to Italian bureaucracy.
Some useful links:
For USA citizens
For British citizens
For Canadian citizens
For Australian citizens
Information source: Exclusive Italy Weddings
Once the bases are ready, you can start planning the details.
When you are booking, make sure to arrive in Italy at least a couple of days before the wedding date. Your elopement will be amazing, but it will also be a busy day! Take some time to rest, especially if your travel is long, and involves the famous “Jet Lag”.
If you collected some travel points, this is the moment to use them! Another thing you can do is to set a notification system that will show you offers or affordable dates to travel.
These are some website you can use:
The place where you will be sleeping is part of your experience, before and during the elopement day. Choose something that is in line with your personal tastes, and also consider its aesthetic, especially if you are getting ready there.
Here there are some ideas:
Read the reviews, watch the photos, and ask yourself “Does this place reflect the vibe of our day?” “Is there enough light?” (This is more for us photographers).
“How far is it from the ceremony spot?”
This is a very important question! I would personally advise you to book something not too far from it,(max. 30-40 min.) so you don’t waste time travelling from point A to point B, especially if you planned activities after the ceremony.
The first thing I would like to clarify about vendors is this:
It is not a must. You don’t have to book make-up artists, hair stylist, florist, etc.
This is a personal choice, and the beauty of eloping is that there are no rules!
Read the reviews, and if you can, have a phone/video call. If your vendor is going to be physically present during the day, it’s important that you choose someone you feel comfortable with. Read the contract carefully, and ask if there is something unclear.
Here there is a little list of vendors that are generally used for an elopement/small wedding:
If you don’t know where to begin looking, you can use some research platforms like Google, Pinterest, Instagram using hashtags, or groups on Facebook like this one called “ITALY destination weddings”.
Alternatively I would be happy to help you out by giving you my personal list of vendor suggestions, which is part of my process.
I will never get tired of repeating this.There are no specific rules when you elope! Your elopement dress, exactly like your elopement day, can be anything you want!
It doesn’t have to be necessarily white, or have a long trail. It can be coloured, or even black!The important thing is that you feel beautiful when you wear it, and that reflects your personality and tastes.
Consider only few things before buying:
When you have it on, how do you feel? Can you walk normally? Can you do big steps with it? Can you turn or seat?
You are going to wear it all day, it is very important that you feel comfortable with it, and able to move easily. This applies whether you are planning a city elopement, and even more if it is going to be an outdoor elopement maybe with sport activities like hiking or cycling.
If you buy online, make sure you do it months before, so you can return it if you changed your mind, and have enough time to fix some parts if needed.
Where to buy your elopement dress
Below there are few suggestions to buy your elopement dress online:
Tips for choosing your elopement/wedding attire
For you future groom, my advice is pretty similar. Think outside the box! Pick something that represents you, that makes you feel handsome and reflects who you are! Don’t like classic, elegant style? Then go for something casual or even transgressive. Don’t forget accessories! A hat, suspenders, an old watch, even the smallest detail will make your style unique and special.
Consider the possibility of leaving a bit of space under the trousers, for an extra layer, in case you are going to have a winter elopement in a cold place outdoors.
Where to buy your elopement attire
Here comes the fun part!Yep, cuz the beauty of elopements is also this! Having time to dedicate to activities that make you have fun, excite, or even relax why not! The important thing is that they reflect you and your personalities.
The questions you should ask yourself are pretty simple.
“What do we like to do together?” “Is there an activity that we never did and that we would like to try?”
Need some suggestions?Here I put together some ideas for an Italian elopement:
Activities for elopement with family and kids
Make sure that the location is not too far from the ceremony spot, especially if you elope in a big city like Rome. For this kind of city, getting from point A to point B can take more than one hour, even if you use a car.
Let’s party! Time to uncork the champagne (or anything you want) and celebrate!
There are many alternatives for your elopement celebration, and they vary depending on your personality, the location, and if you are going to have family and friends with you.
Elopement Celebration Ideas
If your families and friends are with you, and you are looking for a simple solution, just book a dinner in a restaurant or a diner. Even better there are a lot of wedding venues offering wedding packages for every kind of event, also small weddings.
You could for example book a villa where to hold the ceremony and the party. Everything in a single place, without bothering to move.
Remember, you can always opt for some solutions I gave you before, like hiring a private chef or catering. If you are booking for example a B&B to accommodate everyone, and there is a kitchen available, it is totally doable.
How much does it cost to elope in Italy? The total cost of an elopement in Italy varies and depends on many factors.
From where are you arriving? What place did you choose to elope? How many vendors do you want to include, and what kind of activities you want to do?
I want to reassure you about this topic, and tell you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful day, and anyway the cost is not going to be so high as for a traditional wedding.
To give you an idea, depending on your budget, I created 3 different examples.
Total: 3,555 €
Total: 8,885 €
Total: 18,965 €
As you can see, the budget changes depending on the services, quality, and personal tastes. Also note that I did not add the cost for the flight, that depends on where you are coming from, and how far in advance you are buying.
I have created for you a list of min. max. prices, to give you a general idea. The currency is in euro, you will have to convert it.
From 250 € to 500 € per person
From 800,00 € to 1,300 € per person
From 1,200 € to 1,700 € per person
My elopement packages
I will be officially based in Tuscany from September 2022! So if you are planning to elope in Italy after that period you can refer to the starting price list below instead of the public one on my website, which still has pricing with travel included from the UK.
What’s included with my packages?
Curious to know more?
Make a timeline! This will help you to have a general overview of the day, and gives you a base to understand what and how much to add.
I am telling you this because when you imagine your wedding day, you are emotionally involved, and you might want to do a thousand different things! That’s perfectly normal, but I invite you to follow my advice, as writing timings, travel time, and understanding the dynamics of the place where you will be, you will have a clear and realistic idea of what it is possible to do, and what would be better to avoid.
I am saying it because I would never want to see you running from one place to another, just to do everything you planned, with the risk of getting tired and not really enjoying the day. If you want, I am here to help you out with a personalised timeline.
Sample of Timeline for Elopement in Tuscany
That’s what I mean with “General Overview”. Remember to calculate the needed time to get to a place from another, and the duration of the activities you want to do.
Where, how, and when should I change my currency? This is one of the most common questions that every tourist asks.
My advice is to avoid the services in the airport, they are always ready to charge you high fees for it. Withdraw a minimum amount before coming in euro currency, something around 250 €.It can be useful in case you have unexpected expenses before having the chance to change them in Italy.
Use the ATM associated with the official Italian banks, using your debit/credit card. Even better if you have a debit card, as they could charge you fees and interest with the credit card. If you want to be very prepared about this topic, have a look at this article, which is also the source of my knowledge:
Depending on where you go, public transportation can be averagely good, punctual, and cover a big area like Rome for example. Be aware anyway, that in many little towns in Italy, public transportation doesn’t pass so often, and it could take you hours to get to a specific point. The best thing to do would be renting a car, in this way you are free to explore everything with comfort.
The only city where I don’t feel like recommending you to use a car is Rome. Not really for the travel time, but for the parking. Rome has significant problems with space for cars, and often tariffs for parking in the centre are very expensive.
Using your mobile data in another country can cost a lot, if you are not prepared with an alternative solution. I would advise you to buy a portable WIFI device that allows you to stay connected wherever you are. Alternatively you can buy an Italian SIM card, but note that to use it you have to unlock your phone.
In this article you will find more detailed informations about it:
In the most tourist locations in Italy you will certainly find services with professionals speaking English, but it may happen to find yourself in very little towns, where unfortunately people don’t speak or understand it. It might be useful to learn a word or two, just to be able to order something, or ask for help.
Here there are some basic useful sentences:
Where can I find a place to eat something?
How much is it?
I am sorry, I don’t speak Italian very well.
Can I see the menu’ please?
Where is the bathroom?
Feeling brave enough to study more words? Then this article is for you:
Have fun! You planned everything in detail, now you just have to enjoy your elopement in Italy! Above all, remember on your special day that not everything can be controlled, and inconvenient can happen. Don’t let this ruin your day, it is just a little detail but you will have so many beautiful, unforgettable moments to share with your partner!
Be flexible, and open to the possibilities of life.
I hope with all my heart that this guide will be helpful for you to plan your elopement in Italy. I am so excited for you, and proud of your brave choice!If you ever feel overwhelmed and need extra help, I want you to know I am always here, and I would be honoured to be part of your special intimate day.
I love helping my couples plan their day, my job doesn’t consist only in shooting elopements/weddings, but to guide you through all the process from the beginning till the end.
Feel free to contact me to have a chat, info, or just to get to know each other better and see if we are a good fit.
Contact me now
& let’s get planning!