The luxury elopement experience by Rochelle Cheever is a boutique design and photography studio based in San Diego, California and Rome, Italy.

Elope to Rome_Piazza Navona

Elope to Rome


Elope to Rome! You’re engaged and you’re thinking of eloping. Visions of Rome pop into your head: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, spaghetti, gelato, vino. Rome is the city of romance. And if you love art, architecture, history and exquisite food, it’s a no-brainer to choose Rome for your destination elopement.

Although Rome has so much to offer, it’s not for everyone. Like most big cities, it can be chaotic and overwhelming. It’s alive with bustling people and the streets can be clogged with bumper to bumper traffic. So if you are dreaming of eloping to some quiet place, skip Rome and head to Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast or even Provence.

I know Rome like the inside of my pockets. I have dual citizenship (Italian & American),  also grew up  and got married in the eternal city. My three my kids were all born there. It’s city I know best. I’ve photographed more than a hundred weddings in the Eternal City, and I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world, hands down. But to enjoy the city, you need to know the ins and outs. As they say “When in Rome do as the Romans do…”

I’ve listed a few ideas & tips to smooth your ride through a complicated city and make your big day everything you dreamed of and more.


Elope to Rome_Colosseum

1. Three types of Elopement Ceremonies to choose from:

Civil: There are three city halls in Rome: Villa Lais, Caracalla, and Campidoglio. You’ll need to hire a wedding planner who knows both your native language and Italian.

Religious: There are 1000s of churches of all dominations in Rome. I suggest you speak to your local church and find out what paper work they need or if they can refer you to a priest or church in Rome. I suggest hiring a local planner for this.

Symbolic: This is not a valid wedding license, but a symbolic one. Many couples choose this type of ceremony as it is the simplest. To do this have a legal wedding back home, then renew their vows in Rome. You can choose from a large variety of locations, private villas to public parks. Some places require a photography permit, but many do not.
Elope to Rome_Pantheon

2. Rome Wedding Planners & Vendors:

In Italy, it is easy to get married, but if you want a valid wedding license, I highly suggest getting a local wedding planner to do your paper work. Make sure they know your native language and, of course, Italian. If you cannot meet them in person, try a Skype appointment. You can hire a wedding planner just to do the bureaucratic work, to organize the whole day — flowers, makeup, venue, dinner, cake — whatever you don’t want to do. If you do choose to hire a full-service wedding planner, ask to look at their portfolio and see who they suggest for makeup and hair stylist. If you like her the stylist, you might ask to speak to him or her, as well. Same goes for whoever your photographer will be and all the vendors.

Remember, both your photographer and wedding planner will be with you throughout your wedding day so make sure you like them and like their work.

Tip: Do not feel compelled to choose a photographer or any other vendor (florist, makeup, hair) suggested by the planner if you don’t like their work. You can choose an outsider. Unfortunately, a lot of wedding planners and vendors in Italy, get commissions for referrals. So make sure you like everyone on your team. I’m lucky enough to work independently. I’ve have been asked many times to give a percentage to a planner who tries to book a wedding for me. For obvious reasons, planners push members of their own team so that they can make more money. I’m not in favor of this system. It’s your big day, so you should be able to hand pick everyone who provides a service. The best weddings I’ve seen and photographed have been planned that way, rather than booked as a cookie cutter package. Your wedding, so live your dream!

Tip: If possible avoid July and August as it is super hot and very touristy:)

Tip: Make sure all your wedding vendors speak your native language and Italian.
Elope to Rome

3. Where to stay in Rome:

I recommend you either rent an apartment or find a boutique Hotel. In Rome, there are many to choose from, too many to list here. My main tip is to try to stay as close to the center as possible,The Spanish Steps is the heart of Rome. From there everything is within walking distance. The Trevi Fountain is a ten-minute walk, so are the Pantheon and other iconic locations. Investing in an apartment near the center or a hotel, might be a bit more expensive, but you will save on taxis.

Tip:If you rent a private apartment with a panoramic view of Rome’s rooftops, you can have your elopement ceremony on the terrace, create a stunning table with flowers, go around Rome for newly wed photographs at iconic locations and return to your cozy apartment for a candlelight dinner for two. Elope to Rome_Spanish Steps

4. What to Wear:

Rome is an elegant city, and one tends to dress up. Clothing is a personal choice and since it is your big day choose something you love. Rome’s backdrop colors are mixture beautiful earthy colors, and personally, I prefer an off-white, champagne or nude color wedding dresses. White is a bit too harsh. Walking is not the easiest as many streets are cobblestoned. If you plan on walking a lot (and Rome is meant to be walked), I highly suggest breaking in  your shoes, and unless you are used to walking in high heels, wear a lower heel. Some brides even bring a pair of low heels in their bag in case they want to change. High heels do look great in photographs #hint #hint!
Elope to Rome_Cobblestone roads

5. Photo Must-haves!

You will want to share your elopement with family and friends when you get back as well as save your memories of the most beautiful day of your life. I highly suggest booking your photographer for at least four hours: One hour for pre-wedding details, one hour for the ceremony, and at least two hours around Rome for newly wed photographs. If you decide to have a romantic dinner with cake-cutting, then you will want to add hour or two, depending on what you ideally want to be covered.
Tip: Some iconic places to have newly wed photographs are below:

Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain

Choose one of the iconic locations in Rome & then venture off the beaten path. This city is over 2,000 years old and there is so much, much than the famous monuments. For me Rome’s hideaway gems are my favorite. Again, too many to list here and my preferences change depending on the season, the day of the week and the time of day.

6. It’s all in the Details

Just because it is just the two of you, it doesn’t mean you can’t have your ideal wedding. Splurge on a beautiful bouquet, your dress, hair & makeup (or whatever is important to you) and end your day with a romantic dinner on a rooftop terrace. Make sure you book early to see the sun set and have an “apertivo” before dinner. Food is always a good idea in Rome, and there are many Michelin starred restaurants in the city with some of the best food you will ever find.  Add your personal touch to everything you do and make your dream wedding come true.

Tip: Some of my favorite rooftops restaurants filled with good food and romance are Imago at the Hassler, Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi and Mirabelle.
Tip: If you want to DIY your own bouquet go visit Campo dei Fiori (Flower market). I have seen few brides who were designers/florists make their own.
Elope to Rome_Campo dei Fiori

How to Elope in Rome, Italy the eternal city of beauty, love and art. Click on the link for ideas for a Roman Elopement and download THE ELOPEMENT GUIDE for more inspiration.
How to Elopement Guide for Rome, Italy the city of art, beauty and love. Learn the secrets of Rome from a Roman and to have a stress free and romantic elopement.

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