What it was like getting married in Italy during the pandemic

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.

What it was like getting married in Italy during the pandemic
Photo by Julia Solonina on Unsplash

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).

Member comments

  1. 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.
    You can rely on Italy to give joyful surprises when it comes to the weather.

  2. 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.

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Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.