Reader question: ‘Can our wedding in Italy go ahead this year?’

Reader question: 'Can our wedding in Italy go ahead this year?'
Many couples who picked their rings out for 2020 are still waiting to say ‘I do’ due to the pandemic. Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP
As Italy looks at easing many of its coronavirus restrictions, couples hoping to get married in the country this year are asking what it means for their plans.

QUESTION: “We’re meant to be coming over from the UK to get married in Italy in July. Do you think there’s any chance it can go ahead? What is the Italian government saying about weddings?”

Since Italy announced the first easing of its strict lockdown rules from April 26th, we’ve received a large number of emails and messages from readers anxious about their wedding plans.

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, or are an international couple living in Italy, many who had planned to say “I do” in 2020 have already postponed until 2021 and are still unsure what their big day will look like.

A lack of clarity on when certain restrictions will be lifted means everything is still up in the air regarding weddings in Italy this year.

READ ALSO: Schools, restaurants, gyms, travel: Here’s Italy’s new timetable for reopening

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has announced that weddings will, at last, be on the agenda and decisions will be made on protocol and guidelines for ceremonies and receptions on Monday 17th May.

But it’s not quite time to throw the confetti yet, as he urged people to keep patient and reminded that a balance has to be struck between the economy and health.

Although the government is keen to help the wedding industry, a sector valuable to the country, with funds assigned from the Support Decree, the Prime Minister cautioned that weddings are places where people gather, which can cause a spike in new infections.

Weddings are likely to continue following the rules previously set in terms of distancing, mask-wearing and limits on the number of guests allowed.

What are the rules on weddings in Italy right now?

At the moment, wedding receptions – indoor or outdoor – are not allowed.

As there is currently no official protocol or date set for allowing receptions to go ahead, it’s currently impossible to organise an event that is in compliance with the Covid rules.

Both civil and religious wedding ceremonies are allowed, although with restrictions in place including capacity limits for venues, distancing, and the mandatory wearing of masks.

Weddings were allowed to go ahead in Italy with coronavirus restrictions in place in summer 2020. Photo: Miguel MEDINA/AFP

The maximum number of attendees allowed at wedding ceremonies currently depends on the venue and on local rules in the area in which you are getting married. 

But until clarifications on the protocol for both ceremonies and receptions are published, couples remain unable to plan their events with any certainty.

Will Italy allow travel this summer?

This has been the big question for many as wedding guests wonder whether it’s time to book flights and hotels or ask for time off work, perhaps for a second or third time.

The Italian government confirmed in early May that it would allow travel to Italy for any reason, including from countries outside Europe, to restart from mid-May using a new ‘green pass’.

The document would certify that the holder had either been fully vaccinated, had tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or had already contracted and recovered from Covid-19, according to the tourism minister. However many details of the scheme are yet to be published.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re exhausted’: What it’s like planning a wedding in Italy during the pandemic

However, whether or not wedding parties and their guests can travel also depends on the rules in their home countries.

Many brides- and grooms-to-be tell us they’re banking on summer 2021 dates for their Italian weddings, reasoning that travel restrictions for many countries were relaxed last year for the holiday season.

Would it be better to postpone our wedding in Italy until 2022?

It is still too early to say exactly what weddings will look like in Italy this year, and any decision to postpone or change wedding plans is a very personal one.

The health situation in Italy remains delicate, and the government does not expect to have most of the population vaccinated until Autumn – meaning it appears likely that testing requirements, masks, distancing and other restrictions will be a feature in any Italian wedding or travel plans this year. 

Capacity may be limited, as was the case at wedding receptions last year (with restrictions changing several times throughout the summer months) and travel to Italy is likely to remain complex, particularly from countries outside the European Union.

If you decide that the ongoing restrictions mean your day will be too different from what you wanted, from a financial point of view it may be better to postpone rather than cancel.

While many couples tell us they were charged fees for postponing last year, more venues and suppliers are now allowing people to change their dates without incurring any penalties.

For more information on the current restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).


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