When you get married in Italy, one of the key figures on your wedding day is the person who creates and officiates your wedding ceremony.  It’s the big moment when your guests all gather to see you commit to your soulmate.  Your wedding officiant in Italy tells your story to all those who have travelled so far to support your decision. The words put together in the ceremony script set the mood for the party that follows and that can make all the difference. Such a brief appearance that is powerful enough to kick off the rest of your event.  Consequently, choosing the right Italian wedding celebrant is crucial to the success of your wedding day. Here are some tips to help you choose the right wedding officiant in Italy.

The Golden Rule to Choose a Wedding Officiant in Italy

Set up an online video call before you commit. Planning a destination wedding in Italy has become much easier since you can meet all your local Italian vendors online with Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, Teams.  It’s free for everyone so there’s no excuse not to do it!

What qualities to look for in an Italian wedding celebrant

  • How well s/he speaks your language. Your celebrant should be able to speak English clearly and smoothly, with enough accent so they give an authentic Italian touch but not so heavy that the words of the ceremony are misunderstood.
  • Hear how their voice sounds and projects. If your group is small, about 20-30 guests, you may not need a P.A. system as long as the celebrant’s voice can be heard.
  • Ask questions spontaneously, just like in a job interview. See the following list of 10 questions to ask.

10 Questions you should ask your wedding officiant in Italy

  1. How many weddings has s/he celebrated? You may like to ask them to tell you about one that stands out;
  2. Does s/he perform special rituals like handfasting or lighting a unity candle?
  3. Is s/he comfortable with adding religious elements or readings? While a symbolic celebrant is not a member of the clergy, they are typically open to some spiritual wording.
  4. Can you include personal vows and does s/he help you write them?
  5. What material does s/he make available to help you create your ceremony?
  6. How long does the ceremony typically last?
  7. What does s/he typically wear for the ceremony? (color of robe, suit and tie, style of dress or pantsuit);
  8. What are his/her fees, cancellation policy, payment timeline (deposit, final balance) and methods of payment.  Also ask who pays any extra fees involved (PayPal vs bank vs cash). Some officiants outline all this in a letter of agreement or contract.
  9. What do their fees include in terms of travel expenses, resources (ceremony samples, props), personalized wedding certificate, rehearsal attendance and most of all, TAXES! Remember that many businesses in Italy add 22% IVA at check out;
  10. How many hours are included before and after the ceremony? If the bride is way behind schedule or guests are travelling from other locations to the ceremony location, you want to know if there is an extra charge for additional hours.

In the event you haven’t hired a planner, your celebrant may give you guidance on ceremony set up, logistics, and tips for your processional/recessional formation.  While your wedding officiant in Italy is not a vendor you would tip, it is a nice gesture to ask them to attend the cocktail hour.  This gives your parents and other close family members the chance to meet them.