Is it possible to have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Italy after having a simple civil marriage in the US?


My fiance and I are both Catholic. I live in the United States and he’s from the UK and the plan is for my fiance to move to the states after we’re married in the church. My parents are really concerned about getting him over here and they realize that the immigration process is long and difficult. They’d like us to just get a simple civil marriage done ASAP so that we can get paperwork started in order for him to be able to move here, hopefully by summer of 2020. I’m still in school and he’s working, so if we do have a civil marriage soon, we wouldn’t even be living together until after our catholic wedding which would hopefully be in the summer of 2020 after I graduate. Neither me, my fiance, or our families would consider the civil marriage as us being truly married, but everyone’s on board with us going through with it so that the timing will be okay and he’ll be able to actually move here once we are truly married in the Catholic church. I’m just wondering if anyone’s gone through with this or if this is going to be problematic in the future when trying to get married in the Catholic church. Honestly, the civil marriage would just be a legal thing and we’ll still be living our lives on the opposite sides of the world, so neither of us would consider that as a true marriage. If anyone has any insight regarding this issue, I’d greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts.


I don’t understand why you don’t just get married in a church to begin with.


It seems like they want to get married in 2020 in a Church but are concerned they would have to live apart afterwards if her husband couldn’t get permission to immigrate right away.


Hmmm. I didn’t get that from the OP. It sounds like they are using the civil marriage to leverage his coming here legally so they can have a destination wedding in Italy.


You really need to run this by your pastor. The Church may see a civil wedding quite differently than you do.


I don’t understand this either.


I suggest you talk to an immigration attorney rather than rely on what your parents think.

Again, talk to an immigration attorney.

Everyone including your priest and your immigration attorney?

As for whether it is possible to have a Catholic marriage ceremony in Italy which is really a convalidation of a civil marriage, I suggest you contact Santa Susanna parish in Rome, which is the English speaking parish in Rome and hosts many Catholic marriages from those abroad.


They may only marry in the parish of either the husband (to be) or wife (to be). The may not get married anywhere else without the express permission of their own parish priest.


Talk to your Priest.


You need to speak to an immigration lawyer. You say after the civil marriage you would live apart but do you mean in different countries? To get a “Green Card” you need to prove you are living together as man and wife (they ask you personal questions such as how your apartment is arranged, what your daily routine is etc.) so I don’t this is quite as simple as you think.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit