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

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.

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

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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Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.