Can I Get Married In the Catholic Church in Italy and Then Have A Civil Ceremony in the U.S.?

My fiancé and I would like to get married in Italy through the church and are taking all the courses need to do so through the catholic church here in the U.S. Since we would be excluding many family members and friends by having a ceremony it Italy we wanted to come back to the U.S and a month later have a civil ceremony is that possible? The lady at our church said it wasn’t because in the churches eyes it “belittles” the sacrament. So my question is can i get married through the catholic church in italy then come and have a civil ceremony in the U.S without the church knowing or having to file in any way my civil marriage?

This question asks a few things to consider. But mostly, it asks about the celebration of marriage proper in the Catholic Church. Some things to note: First off, your marriage in a church in Italy constitutes a legal marriage in the eyes of the civil authorities–so I believe that you would not be entitled to have a second marriage in a civil ceremony.

However, what might be a nice idea is to work with your local pastor on having a ceremony where you renew your vows in front of family and friends upon your return to the United States. This would not be a second wedding but rather a simple ceremony that could even take place in the context of a Sunday mass or some other entity. Essentially it’s a simple blessing for married folks where they are asked to renew their marital promises again to remind us and each other of those promises.

Check with your local pastor as this should be able to be done with ease and with proper decorum.

Mike Hayes
Senior Editor

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."