Everything you need to know about marriage in San Marino

16 Aug 2023·20 min to read
Everything you need to know about marriage in San Marino 01

Over 200 marriages are performed in San Marino annually by both Sammarinese and foreign spouses. San Marino is a country in Europe famous for its historic architecture, natural attractions, and tourism. The country is dominated by Christians; however, there is no official state religion. San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world, and both religious and civil marriages are legally binding in the country. To perform both types of marriages, there are interviews that will be conducted as well as conditions that must be met by both partners. These marriages also involve the submission of certain paperwork. Weddings in San Marino are colorful and vibrant ceremonies that are performed with a high level of importance. 

There are various traditional ceremonial rites that are infused with those from the western culture to have a great time. Civil marriages are usually performed only by non-Catholics in the country. In essence, if the couple are Catholics, they generally do not need to concern themselves with a civil marriage. Couples who have no religious affiliations often perform symbolic weddings. These types of weddings do not have a legal presence on their own, and they must be civilly registered in the country for them to be legally recognized. Families in San Marino are typically close-knit and often multigenerational, with grandparents playing an important role in the upbringing of grandchildren.

In many cases, marriages in the country may last for several days. It all comes down to the financial capacity of the spouses and their respective families. Some couples may decide to have multiple wedding ceremonies. It is possible to contract a civil ceremony so as to obtain a marriage certificate, then perform a symbolic wedding after. The rest of the article will show you more about the types of marriages in San Marino as well as the various marriage customs and traditions in the country. Let’s get started.

Civil marriages 

Civil marriages are performed by state-authorized registrars, and they are held in a civil registry. However, the civil authorities in the country are flexible when it comes to the location where the marriage may take place. Couples have the option of having their wedding ceremony performed in a location of their choosing; however, such a location, whether outdoors or indoors, must be approved by the concerned marriage authority. The marriage procedure begins with the submission of the declaration of intent to marry by both spouses. The declaration must be provided at the city hall to the civil registrar where the marriage will take place. The official language spoken in the country is Italian, and the marriage ceremony will be officiated in this language. 

Spouses who do not speak Italian will be required to provide a registered interpreter during the marriage process. Foreign spouses may be required to obtain certain documents from their home country; however, these documents may be issued in other languages. They must ensure the documents are translated by an accredited translator into Italian. Also, all foreign documents must include an apostille, which is an authorization stamp issued by concerned authorities in the home country of a spouse, to show the document is legitimate. Once the documents are submitted, the marriage officer will carry out some verification to check if all the information provided is legit and accurate. 

Upon the successful confirmation of the details both partners submitted, the wedding date will be scheduled. On the wedding date, both partners must provide two witnesses who are of legal age in the country. The minimum age for marriage in San Marino is 18 years for both partners; however, male and female spouses may be allowed to get married if they are between the ages of 16 and 18 years. Both partners must provide valid documents, such as a photo ID and birth certificate, that show they are both unrelated and eligible for marriage in the country. Foreign spouses may be required to provide a certificate of freedom to marry in the country. This certificate may be obtained from the registry of the home country of a foreign spouse. The documents that must be submitted by spouses getting married civilly in San Marino are stated below.

Documents Required 

  • A national ID card or a valid passport must be submitted by Samoan or foreign spouses, respectively.
  • Government-issued birth certificates for both partners must be provided.
    Written parental consent This applies to partners who are between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • Divorce papers or a death certificate. Previously married partners must provide either of these documents to show their previous marriage was legally terminated. Female spouses whose previous marriage ended in the past 300 days will be required to obtain a waiver from the Italian district attorney's office.
  • A court-sworn affidavit or certificate of freedom to marry must be provided by foreign spouses to show they are permitted to contract a marriage in San Marino.

Religious marriages

Religious marriages are very popular in San Marino, and they are recognized and protected under the laws of the country. Over 88 percent of the total population are Roman Catholics. The rest of the population practices Judaism, Islam, or has no religious affiliation. Church marriages also include various ceremonial rites that are performed by spouses. To get married in the Roman Catholic Church, there are some conditions that must be met by both spouses. 

Some of the marriage conditions are synonymous with those of civil marriages. These include the provision of witnesses, marriage between partners who are unrelated, and so on. Church weddings usually last for 2 to 3 hours, and there may be prenuptial mandatory classes before couples are allowed to solemnize their marriage in the church. The documents that must be submitted for Catholic church weddings in San Marino are stated below.

Church Marriage Requirements

  • Baptismal certificates of both spouses
  • Confirmation certificates 
  • Nihil Obstat, a letter stating that there is no impediment to marriage
  • Certificate of first holy communion
  • A written letter of permission to the parish priest
  • Proof of attendance for prenuptial classes
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Marriage traditions in San Marino

La Serenata

La serenata is a traditional pre-wedding custom in San Marino where the groom serenades the bride on the night before the wedding. He usually sings romantic songs, accompanied by friends playing musical instruments, under the bride's window or in front of her house. It's a way to express his love and devotion before the wedding.

Rice Throwing

At the end of the wedding ceremony in San Marino, it is customary for guests to throw grains of rice at the newlyweds. This tradition is usually performed as a symbol of good luck, wealth, and prosperity for the couple, and it is still widely performed in Sammarinese weddings.

La Befana

This is a unique Sammarinese ceremonial rite that is still widely performed in the country. The night before the wedding, the groom's family brings a small gift to the bride's family, traditionally in the form of sweets or toys for the couple's future children.

Same-sex marriages 

In San Marino, same-sex marriages are not recognized; however, there are provisions for same-sex partnerships and unions. Homosexuality and same-sex sexual activities have been legal in the country since 1864. The country legalized unregistered cohabitation of homosexual couples for immigration purposes in 2012. In 2019, civil unions between same-sex couples became legal, allowing same-sex couples to enjoy some of the marriage rights and benefits available to opposite-sex spouses in San Marino.

Polygamous marriages 

In San Marino, a man or woman is not allowed to be married to more than one spouse at a time. Polygamy is prohibited in the country. There are not many cases of polygamy in San Marino, in both rural and urban areas, because most people are Christians and polygamy is not allowed under the religious principles of Christianity.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties


In San Marino, the laws of marriage are encoded in the family law, which guides how marriage is carried out, the requirements, etc. Anyone who wishes to be married in San Marino must give his or her free and willing consent to marriage. Any marriage contracted without the permission and full consent of the couple or one of the couple would be considered void. The use of force, violence, or threats to contract marriage is against the law in San Marino. 18 years is the legal age for marriage in San Marino. Anyone who wishes to be married must attain the stipulated age before marriage can take place. Generally, minors are not allowed to contract marriage in San Marino. However, under extenuating circumstances, the presiding judge may authorize such a marriage, but both parties must be at least 16 years old. 

Marriage between same-sex couples is not allowed in San Marino, but they are allowed to contract civil partnerships, where they get to enjoy certain benefits and protection from the government. Marriage in San Marino must be between two people who have a stable and sound mind. If either of the couples is not in a stable or sound state of mind, the marriage would not be allowed to take place. The law requires couples to be single at the time of marriage. They must either be unmarried, widowed, or divorced to be able to contract a new marriage agreement. If any of the spouses is widowed, he or she is required to submit the certificate of marriage and death of the former spouse. The law requires any couple who is divorced to submit a copy of the original divorce decree certificate to the appropriate authorities. 

The law does not allow a divorced woman to contract marriage until after a waiting period of 300 days has been observed. In San Marino, both civil marriages and religious marriages are legally recognized. Other forms of marital unions are allowed, but they do not hold any legal value. Marriage is not permitted between people who are closely related. The couple must not share any form of affinity. The couple is required to provide at least two witnesses at the time of marriage. The witnesses must be at least 18 years old or older. They must have valid documentation. Marriage between foreigners and mixed marriages are allowed in San Marino. However, the foreign spouse must be eligible for marriage in his or her home country to be able to contract marriage in San Marino.


The Family Code not only spells out the laws of marriage in San Marino; it also mentions the rights couples enjoy by virtue of marriage. The husband and wife have the same rights in marriage, so they get to exercise these rights without any limitations. They have the right to raise children according to the religious and moral inclinations of the family. Marriage provides couples with the right to file joint tax returns as one unit. Unmarried people do not have this right because they must file taxes separately. 

The husband and wife are granted the right to legal guardianship of the children as well as the right to exercise parental authority when necessary. Anyone who is married in San Marino has the right to be actively involved in economic and financial activities. The couple has the right to be involved in financial activities such as opening bank accounts, investing, etc. They are both granted the right to freedom of movement. None of the spouses has to seek the permission of one another to be able to move around or even travel outside the country. They are both granted the right to file for divorce once the marriage is perceived to be irretrievable. 

They have the right to file for divorce based on mutual consent or on the fault of one of the couple. After the divorce has been finalized, the couple has the same right to obtain custody of the children. Upon the death of one of the spouses, the surviving spouse has the right to inherit. If there is a written will, the inheritance would be divided according to the dictates of the will. In the absence of one, the surviving spouse automatically inherits all the properties and non-land assets of the deceased spouse.


A wedding in San Marino can cost anywhere from 5,000 euros to 30,000 euros or more. It all depends on the couple's choices and how much they are willing to spend on the event. The cost of a wedding in San Marino often includes expenses such as the cost of the ceremony and reception venue, catering, flowers, photography and videography, wedding attire, and entertainment. It is important to note that costs can vary greatly depending on the location and type of ceremony, with a religious ceremony typically costing more than a civil ceremony. 

A destination wedding in San Marino can also be more expensive than a wedding in the couple's home country, due to travel and accommodation expenses for the couple and guests. An average hotel room costs around 80–105 euros per night, depending on the location and reputation of the hotel. It is recommended that couples do research about different venues, vendors, and packages, create a budget, and stick to it. Also, couples should consider hiring a wedding planner who can help navigate the costs of the ceremony.


The duties of married couples in San Marino are also encoded in the family law. The law specifically defines the duties and responsibilities of the couple in marriage. These duties are not distributed according to traditional gender norms. The responsibility of the household rests on the shoulders of both the husband and wife. The husband and wife are obligated to give much attention to the welfare of the children in the home. 

The husband and wife are expected to provide a safe and conducive environment for the development of the children. They should be able to meet the material and nonmaterial needs of the children according to their means. The couple should ensure that the children have a good educational and moral upbringing to ensure that they become upstanding citizens of the country.

The husband and wife are both responsible for the economic and financial wellbeing of the family. They are required to jointly contribute to the wellbeing and welfare of the family. The husband and wife are obligated to love and respect one another, be committed to the marriage, and provide mutual support and assistance when necessary. They are also both responsible for the domestic and general welfare of the home.


The process of contracting a marriage in San Marino is relatively simple and straightforward. Couples looking to have a destination wedding in San Marino can choose from a variety of venues, including historic palaces, charming churches, and scenic outdoor locations.

Spouses must ensure all the documents provided at the civil registry are valid and accurate to avoid delays. Same-sex partners may only form a civil union in San Marino. This type of union allows them to enjoy some marriage benefits, such as adoption. Some popular venues include the Palazzo Pubblico (the historic seat of government in San Marino) and the Basilica di San Marino (a beautiful medieval church). This article includes everything you need to know about marriage in San Marino.

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