You must fulfil all of the Catholic requirements in order to be married at the Vatican. The Vatican marriage office reviews each application individually and then decides whether to accept the request or not. They prefer that both spouses are Catholic. Catholic protocol for marriages must be followed in addition to other requirements by the Vatican. We can help guide you through all of the steps. The requirements are more tedious rather than difficult but professional assistance for getting married at St. Peter’s is highly recommended.
SETTING THE DATE
A request can be made for a wedding about 6-9 months in advance of your desired wedding date. We will submit a request to the Vatican weddings office with your first three choices of dates for your marriage, in order of preference. They will confirm your eligibility for being married at the Vatican and give you the date that is available from among your choices.
DATES, TIMES OF WEDDING
Weddings take place in the Chapel of the Choir, which is a small side chapel within St. Peter’s. It is accessed by entering St. Peter’s as you normally would. Weddings take place at 10:30 a.m. every day except for Wednesday and Sunday and certain holidays.
There is a very strict dress code for weddings at the Vatican and consequently failure to comply could result in your not being allowed to be married in St. Peter’s. The bride must have her shoulders, upper arms, back and knees covered. The veil does not count as covering and any bolero or shawl that does cover cannot be too sheer. Most brides resolve the dress problem with a bolero or wrap. It can be made of lace as long as it is not too transparent. The same dress requirements apply to the guests.
As of late the Vatican has not been accepting weddings where there are fewer than 15-20 guests in attendance. The Vatican does not want to be considered an elopement chapel. The Vatican prefers that the couple is surrounded by their most intimate family and friends on this most special of days. They have not entirely grasped the destination wedding concept. You are welcome to bring your own priest to celebrate the wedding or we will be happy to find you an English speaking priest here in Rome to celebrate your wedding at the Vatican.
RECEPTION AFTER THE CEREMONY
After the ceremony we arrange for the bride and groom to go off on their own to have their photos taken while we arrange transportation for all of the guests from the Vatican to the reception location. Afternoon, luncheon receptions are very festive and fun and there are several excellent locations in Rome that are perfect for this, on top of a hill or on the top floor of a palazzo with excellent views over Rome.
If you are not getting married in the warmer, summer months, then a morning wedding with afternoon reception allows you to use the best part of the day for your celebration. Many people are concerned that an afternoon reception will be less special than an evening celebration but I can assure you that this is not the case. It does tend to be a little less expensive, though, depending on the location selected for the reception, which is always welcome.
Do not be frightened off by what seems to be a difficult process of getting married at the Vatican. With the right guidance it is not a difficult process, as long as you meet all of their requirements. If, in the case that you are not approved for a wedding at the Vatican, we can arrange a wedding for you on that same date in one of Rome’s gorgeous, historic churches.
Click HERE to see details of a wedding that we planned in St. Peter’s Basilica.