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Marrying in Europe: An Overview for Destination Weddings in Europe

Why Here?

A villa in Tuscany? A Scottish castle? A romantic restaurant in Paris? Whether you want to honor your Dutch heritage or simply consider yourselves inconsolable Francophiles, tying the knot in Europe guarantees a spectacular setting -- and a one-of-a-kind experience for your guests.

What to Know

  • Consider planning your wedding during the shoulder season -- such as May and September. The weather's still beautiful and guests can take advantage of low season airfare to Europe.
  • Many castles and villas can be rented for a week or more, allowing you to host most of the festivities and the wedding guests, if you're so inclined.
  • Every country has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to marriage, so research the requirements very carefully. Some, like France, require a longer than average residency requirement so strategic planning is key.

Marriage Requirements for a Few European Hot Spots

England & Wales
Residency requirements: 7 days; 15 day waiting period
Necessary documents: Passports or certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable).

For more info: Visit Britain, (800) 462-2748; British Consulate General, (212) 745-0200; or britainusa.com

Greece
Residency requirement: None
Necessary documents: It is possible to use an American marriage license -- but only if it meets certain requirements; passports; certified birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); certificate from U.S. consulate in Athens or Thessaloniki, stating that there is no impediment to the marriage; two announcements in local Greek newspaper (one announcement for each person)
Note: Greek tourism officials advise that gathering and preparing required documents could take a few months. All documents must be translated into Greek by the Greek consulate in your area. The Greek National Tourist Organization, (212) 421-5777, will help in arranging weddings for foreigners. Greek law does not provide for religious ceremonies for certain interfaith marriages such as Christians to non-Christians or Jews to non-Jews. Proof of religion, such as baptismal certificates, may be required.

For more info: Greek National Tourist Organization, (212) 421-5777, or the Greek Consulate, (212) 988-5500

Italy
Residency requirements: None
Necessary documents: Passports or armed forces ID cards; certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declarations "atto notorio" sworn by four people before and Italian consulate officer attesting that they know of no reason to object to the marriage under the laws of the couple's home country; declaration sworn to by both parties that there are no obstacles to the marriage under U.S. law.
Note: Certain documents must be translated into Italian with special "apostille" seals from the secretary of state from the state from which the documents originated. Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy. Requirements may vary by region and city. It is highly recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly. A translator may be required to attend the wedding if neither the bride nor the groom speaks Italian.

For more info: Italian consulate nearest you; the Italian Government Tourist Board Office, (212) 245-5618; the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Italy,www.usembassy.it

Scotland
Residency requirements: None
Necessary documents: Passports or certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); certificate of no impediment.
Note: Notice must also be sent to the registrar at least 15 days (but no longer than three months) in advance of the wedding. Either the bride or the groom must also meet with the registrar in advance.

For more info: Visit Britain, (800) 462-2748; British Consulate General, (212) 745-0200; or britainusa.com

Photo: Courtesy of Anne Nixon-Ellery

See More: Destination Weddings