REQUIREMENTS–To be married at the Vatican you must, of course, fulfill all of the Catholic requirements. Each application is reviewed individually by the Vatican marriage office and accepted accordingly. Both persons do not necessarily have to be Catholic but 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–About 6-9 months in advance of your desired wedding date you 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.
DRESS CODE–There is a very strict dress code for weddings at the Vatican. Failure to comply could result in your not being allowed to be married in St. Peter’s even if you have complied with all the documentation and procedures up to that point. 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. Since the overwhelming majority of wedding dresses these days are strapless, most brides resolve this problem with a bolero or wrap, which can be made of lace as long as it is not too transparent. The same dress requirements apply to the guests.
GUEST REQUIREMENTS–As of late the Vatican has not been accepting weddings where there are fewer than 15-20 guests in attendance. The reason being that they do not want to be viewed as an elopement chapel. They desire 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. In fact 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.