I was in this city about ten years ago and it has stood out in my mind as the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to describe the magic of walking down a little side street, turning a corner, to be suddenly faced with the Duomo facade. So much beauty in one city! I was enchanted. If you’re considering Florence or the Tuscany area for your destination wedding, between April and October is the best time to go- although avoid August if you can as it gets hot and sticky in the city. So first a little look at the nitty gritty of legalities etc, and then on to the fun stuff like picking a venue! (We will be having a detailed look in the coming weeks about the legalities of getting married in different countries in Europe, so stay tuned for a lot more on this.)
DESTINATION WEDDING LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
The good thing about getting married in Italy is that there are no residency requirements beforehand. It’s still advised though that couples start looking into paperwork at least five months before the wedding date.
Legal documents you will need include:
- Valid passport
- Long-form birth certificate
- Divorce decree/death cert (if either are applicable)
- Certificate of No Impendium to Marriage (this can be obtained in Italy from your country’s embassy)
US and Australian citizens need a sworn declaration (Atto Notorio) from the Italian authorities, and Canadian citizens need an affidavit from a public notary in Canada, so make sure you go through the legal requirements for your specific country with a fine tooth comb before departing.
Here are some specific links:
RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES ✈ For a Catholic ceremony, one of the couple must be of that religion, and of course it must be in a Catholic church.
CIVIL CEREMONIES ✈ Civil ceremonies are performed by a designated civil registrar. The ceremony itself lasts about 20 minutes and can be customised with personal details added if the couple wish. Outdoor civil ceremonies will have to be performed at a place which has been approved by the local authorities.
SYMBOLIC CEREMONIES ✈ Symbolic weddings can be celebrated in many stunning locations in Florence; hotels, villas, palaces, gardens etc. Consider the Etruscan-Roman Amphitheater just a few minutes outside the city, with panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside. Symbolic ceremonies have no legal recognition so your legal paperwork will have to be arranged separately.
Basilica di San Miniato al Monte ✈ A romanesque church built on top of one if the highest points in the city, this has been recommended not only as the most beautiful church in Florence, but as one of the most beautiful in Italy (below).
Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi ✈ Beautiful and ancient artwork adorns the walls and altars.
St Marks ✈ Has a handy online application on the site’s Weddings page.
St James Episcopal Church ✈ For those that might be interested to know- David Bowie actually got married here.
San Martino a Mariano ✈ In Fiesole, about 20 minutes outside of Florence. Perhaps an option for those having their reception in one of the countryside villas.
WEDDING RECEPTION VENUES
Castello Vicchiomaggio ✈ This 14th century renaissance castle is available for exclusive use. The castle has its own consecrated Catholic church within its walls, or if you are having a civil ceremony, the town hall of nearby Greve can be used. The castle is surrounded by fields of its own vineyards and it lies about 40 minute’s drive from Florence itself.
Castello di Vincigliata ✈ The castle has several potential wedding reception areas including a courtyard, garden and large interior rooms. Being within 20 minutes from Florence and on an incline, it has excellent views of the city. Here’s a wedding at Castello di Vincigliata.
Villa Cora ✈ Recently renovated, the Villa Cora’s “Mirror Room”, which opens out onto the gardens, can hold receptions of 80. The more intimate “Moorish Room” can hold parties of 24. This hotel has 46 rooms in total. The roof terrace has panoramic views of the city, and the hotel also has a spa.
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze ✈ With a choice of two ballrooms (Conventino ballroom pictured below) this hotel has capacity for weddings of 2 up to 200 guests. The beautiful Duomo View Garden or the Conventino terrace are perfect for an outdoor wedding.
St. Regis Hotel ✈ A good choice while in this ancient city is to emerge yourself in antique Florentine décor (below). Renaissance grandeur abounds in this opulent hotel situated in a palace designed by Brunelleschi. Pricey but worth it!
Palazzo Corsini ✈ This 350 year-old baroque palace is still owned by descendants of the Corsini family and has fantastically ornate interior decor. Weddings here are always offered with exclusive use, and the palace and can cater for wedding parties of 10 -1000. Situated in the heart of the city, its ‘Salone del Principe Andrea’ overlooks the Arno river with access to a terrace with beautiful views.
Palazzo Borghese ✈ The palace can cater for a wedding with just the couple, to parties of 500. Reception meals range from €80 – €100 per person, with a private wedding dinner for two in the palace priced at €500. Since the palace is quite large, they do allow partial rentals of several rooms instead of renting the whole building.
Villa La Vedetta ✈ This villa has absolutely jaw dropping views of the city from their private gardens (as above). We have come across this venue a few times and it looks amazing. Here’s an example of a wedding at Villa La Vedetta. Pretty stunning!
Villa di Maiano ✈ This villa is the main house set on a completely organic olive growing estate and has a terraced garden with panoramic views overlooking Florence (below). The maximum number of guests for a wedding here is 300, with the average being 80-100. External caterers are used for weddings at the villa. There are five salon rooms in the villa itself and it is available for exclusive use for weddings, with accommodation for guests in 12 recently renovated apartments on site also.
Villa Vignamaggio ✈ This beautiful villa is 45 minutes from Florence and has a sunken garden feature where wedding receptions are often hosted. To get a better look, here’s a wedding at Villa Vignamaggio.
Villa Gamberaia ✈ Situated on a hill about 15 minutes from the city centre, this villa has panoramic views from its gorgeous gardens (below). There are three other guest houses on the property which means that the villa can accommodate up to 40 guests on site.
Teverini Banqueting (site is in Italian)
Francis Flowers ✈ Francesca has excellent English and is amazingly accommodating (bouquet by her below).
There is a flower market at Piazza della Repubblica outside the post office which is worth checking out. It is open on a Thursday.
Alma Project ✈ Live bands, DJs, most types of music- Website has music samples.
Firenze Classica ✈ Classical ceremony music.
Wedding Couple Transport:
Chianti Valdarno Travel ✈ Have vintage cars also- not on their website but contact them for more info.
Wave Active Beauty ✈ Also does hair.
There are cultural sights in Florence to keep guests busy for a month! I would recommend letting guests wander the streets (gallery visiting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and simply walking around Florence is a joy in itself)- but if you want to put a little list of must-sees together to be helpful, here are a few:
✈ Visit Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo.)
✈ See Michaelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery.
✈ Food shop (and grab lunch) at the Mercato Centrale.
✈ Stroll the Uffizi Gallery.
✈ Visit the Medici Palace.
✈ Cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge, allegedly the only Florentine bridge not destroyed by Hitler in WWII because of its beauty.
And finally of course, what a perfect place for a honeymoon… make a pact to come back every year for your anniversary! If you know something that you think should be on our list, feel free to drop us a line. Florence is such an amazing city! Special thanks to my on-site experts Francesca from Francis Flowers, Elena Giorgetti from Boutique Italy Wedding, and the ever-talented Cinzia Bruschini for their kind help with this guide.
Images: National Geographic | Rylee Hitchner Photography | Cinco Quartos de Laranja | Ann Street Studio | Museums in Florence | Castello di Vincigliata | St. Regis Hotel | Rosapaola Lucibelli via Fly Away Bride | Villa Maiano | Villa Gamberaia | Lisa Poggi via Elizabeth Anne Designs | Lelia Scarfiotti via Style Me Pretty | National Geographic | Francis Flowers | National Geographic | National Geographic