What it was like getting married in Italy during the pandemic

Karli Drinkwater
Karli Drinkwater - [email protected] • 7 Sep, 2021 Updated Tue 7 Sep 2021 14:52 CEST
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Travel restrictions, Covid regulations and extreme weather all stood in the way of our big day. Yet despite all the obstacles, getting married in Italy was, unexpectedly, more beautiful than any wedding planning could have predicted.


We said our vows in a mixture of English and Italian under the shade of a magnificent magnolia tree that overlooked folding vineyards all around.

As the draped ribbons fluttered in the breeze and we smiled through the picture-perfect ceremony, you'd have no idea of the stress and continuous changes that almost made us give up on the idea altogether.

Almost a year after our original wedding date and two postponements later, I'd made it down the aisle at long last.

Various lockdowns and travel restrictions kept our plans in flux and even though a quarantine was in place for UK arrivals, we decided to get hitched anyway as we couldn't keep waiting and remaking plans.


It was heartbreaking to let go of the day I'd imagined and accept that most of my closest friends and family wouldn't be there.

But with no idea of when travel rules would change and with testing for travel looking likely to remain for the foreseeable future, postponing wasn't an option - when would we gamble on yet another date?

Photo: Al Elmes on Unsplash


Just as I'd taken it for granted that my immediate family would be there, my mum revealed she'd caught Covid. It was a tense final week as we hoped she'd recover in time.

Three days before she was due to depart, she tested negative and we tearfully cheered when she was certified as fit to fly.

I saw my bridesmaids on the day of the wedding too - they'd met all the restrictions and could finally come to the venue. With my family and a full set of bridesmaids, I couldn't have asked for more.

There was no need to be worried that 90 percent of the wedding was my new husband's party and only a fraction came from England. On the day, everyone was there for us both and we celebrated with enough noise and colour for a wedding three times its size.

Ask an expert: ‘How can I still have my dream Italian wedding under Covid restrictions?’

Just like the wedding planner we spoke to told us, we loved being able to spend more time with each guest instead of trying to get round and speak to everyone for just a few minutes.

On the morning of the wedding, I was still hoping for one last miracle. After days of blue skies and sunshine, it rained all the day before as storms swept through the north of Italy and it was still raining as I sipped my coffee in my dressing gown embroidered with 'Bride'.

Photo: Taylor Harding on Unsplash


But we were given some reprieve after all the anxiety when the sun broke through just before the ceremony began. We could be outside for it all, meaning no green passes or masks were needed and there were no limits on dancing.

Which is just as well, since there was plenty of shapes being thrown on the lawn as festivities carried on into the night.

EXPLAINED: How Italy has tightened the ’green pass’ rules in September

So luckily, the celebrations felt pretty Covid-free. The only changes we had to make to comply with Covid were smaller amounts of people per table, which turned out to be a positive thing as the location seemed fuller. It even added charm, as there were more flowers and decorations as a result.

The 'aperitivo' had to be served by staff because buffets and self service aren't allowed. However, this could again be viewed as a bonus because your guests are taken care of while you go and have photos taken.

As for the people who couldn't make it, they still found a way to be part of the day. My bridesmaids had organised video messages to be played during the speeches, which was incredibly thoughtful and made it all complete.

We were considering holding a wedding part two in England when possible, but after the magic of the day and arriving to that point after months of frustration, we realised we'd had the perfect wedding day already.

Rules and restrictions couldn't take away our celebration of love and the promises we made to stick together throughout life.

And I'm pretty sure after all we've been through, we're prepared to carry that into our marriage and all the days of our lives.

If you’re planning a wedding in Italy or are a guest making travel plans, find more information about the current coronavirus-related restrictions on travel to Italy on the Foreign Ministry’s website (in English).



Karli Drinkwater 2021/09/07 14:52

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jo.el.sullivan 2021/09/10 16:33
We had my daughter’s wedding in Tuscany on the first day weddings were allowed—June 15. Of course that was after 2 postponements. I left everything in the wonderful hands of Ivana at Fattoria La Loggia. She knew the rules that had to be followed and she magically put on 3 days of food and celebration with no one getting Covid. It was magical.
katepima 2021/09/09 11:52
Thank you for sharing your story! Could not agree more with this post. We had our wedding 2 weeks ago in Italy and although we didn't have to re-schedule, it was still very stressful. Going ahead with smaller number of people can indeed make the wedding more enjoyable as there's more time to talk to everyone and less effort of coordinating people. And I understand the feeling of this being THE wedding day and not wanting to do anything additional in the UK. PS You can rely on Italy to give joyful surprises when it comes to the weather.

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