Which are the best locations to get married in a church wedding in Sicily? Sicily has 1767 parishes, with hundreds of beautiful churches. How to choose the right one for your special day? The answer almost always lies in what the couple prefers and feels like their own. The church is an intimate place where the decisive yes – which will make your love official and eternal – will be pronounced.
It will be the place of the most profound emotions, both for you and your loved ones. Not only that, but it will also be the first scene, on your big day, that the guests will experience. This is why it must make a good impression on them! As they say, “whoever gets off to a good start is half the battle”.
Before listing the best 10 churches for a church wedding in Sicily, let’s see the points to consider to choose the perfect church.
The church: an important choice
As I anticipated, the choice of the church is one of the most important if you decide to celebrate your marriage with a religious-Catholic form (I talked about the particularity of the religious rite in this article). I advise my couples to choose the church based on the following elements.
The emotional bond
This could be the main rule to guide the choice, especially for spouses born and raised in the same city or neighbourhood.
I always ask my spouses if it is more important for them to celebrate their marriage in a beautiful church, even if it is unknown or, in a small one, perhaps modest but full of memories.
The answer almost always goes in favour of the second choice. And then, no church cannot be decorated in an adorable way!
The number of guests
This element is also not to be underestimated. Usually, the number of wedding guests is always higher than those who will attend the ceremony.
However, be careful not to choose a church that is too small!
It is not necessary to get married in a cathedral, but if we have 150 guests, the small – surely very pretty – community church may not be suitable.
Wouldn’t we like to leave most of our guests standing – or worse, outside ?!
On the other hand, if you’ll have an intimate wedding with a few guests, choosing a large church – where a lot of chairs will remain empty – could make your ceremony seems little attended.
The style of the wedding and the theme
This is a sore point that often, as a wedding planner, I can’t help but pin down to the newlyweds. If you choose a nature and boho chic-themed wedding, a baroque church may not be the best choice. More suitable will be something in the Romanesque style!
On the contrary, in the case of celebrating a glam wedding in an elegant banquet hall, a sizable Baroque church would be perfect.
The distance from the reception location
Last but not least is the importance of evaluating distances well. Distances of over an hour (to stay wide) can make even the most enthusiastic guests impatient. Let’s take this into account!
In short, sometimes it is necessary to reconcile love for one’s parish, number of guests, and marriage style.
But there are so many churches in Sicily to get married! Do you think we won’t be able to find the right one together?
Let’s start by seeing the churches of the province of Messina for a dream church wedding in Sicily!
Churches of Messina: ensured romantic wedding
It goes without saying that in the province of Messina we are spoiled for choice with regards to beautiful churches for your wedding. I have selected these four tiny big pearls that we cannot ignore.
Sanctuary of Tindari
The Sanctuary of Tindari, also known as the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, is located in the metropolitan city of Messina, in Tindari. Saying that it enjoys an excellent position would be an understatement.
The sanctuary is located at the top of the hill, where historically arose first the acropolis and then the fortress of Tindari. The view, over the lakes and the coast of the Marinello Nature Reserve, is spectacular.
The marvellous Byzantine interiors in golden and lilac colours are enriched by vivid stained glass windows and ancient frescoes.
In a nutshell: an authentic pearl.
The only cons? The position, a bit remote and with curved and uphill roads. But it’s really worth it!
Madonna of the Rocca of Taormina
We’ll change the style entirely for this other Messina church for weddings. We are now in Taormina, and the location is truly breathtaking.
It is not just a church but an actual cave. Yes, you got it right: the church was built using the natural conformation of the stone so that a part of the roof of the church is made up of live stone!
The church dates back to 1640…and it’s so tiny. A beautiful stone casket, suitable for small and intimate ceremonies, with a simple, frugal, authentic flavour.
Even from here, the sea view you can enjoy is fantastic – after all, we are in Taormina!
Church of San Nicolò Sevoca
Talking about having a church wedding in Sicily, we can’t miss this unique location, perhaps even unexpected for the place. It seems to take us straight back to one of those classic medieval movies recorded in France or Germany. Instead, we are in the sunny Sevoca, about 30 kilometres from Messina.
More than a church, this incredible construction has the appearance of a castle: battlements, candelabra and hard grey stone are its main features. A medium-sized church perfect for a village wedding or a classic Italian wedding with traditional and sober notes.
From here, the view is more verdurous and hilly, but a glimpse of the blue sea on the horizon is never missing.
Sanctuary of Maria Santissima of Catena
This tiny church, also called “Old Church of Lipari”, is perched on the highest point of Quattropiani, an equally small locality of Lipari. It is a lovely white building, which can accommodate a maximum of forty people. Traditional interiors and white walls with light blue details complete the evocative panorama, the real strength of the sanctuary.
If the location is great, it might be a little less easy to reach it.
However, I do not doubt that the natural terrace on which the church stands – and the breathtaking view of the Aeolian Islands – are worth the trip! (If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this Emanuel Raffaele video)
Church wedding in Sicily: Val di Noto
Now that we have ended – for now – the overview of the most characteristic churches in the province of Messina, let’s go to Val di Noto. I assure you that we will see some good ones here, too – in the true sense of the word!
Cathedral of San Giorgio of Modica
Although it shares name and style with the much more famous Cathedral of San Giorgio di Ragusa, the Cathedral of Modica is no less fascinating. If we have closed the Messina area with the sober and tiny Old Church of Lipari, here we are opposite.
A Baroque Cathedral, large and pretty rich in decorations, whose main feature is the large and high staircase that precedes it. 260 stone steps that have earned the Duomo its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In short, if your wedding is elegant and princely, this might just be the right church.
Church of Santa Chiara in Noto
The Church of Santa Chiara is another Sicilian Baroque masterpiece. Even if it is decidedly more intimate than the Cathedral of San Giorgio di Modica. The rectangular and classic external façade does not suggest the sizable white stone columns and the wealth of decorations that explode inside.
This church can be reached via a small staircase and could be perfect for all traditional weddings in which the bride and groom wish to maintain a typical sober elegance.
The big benefit? We are in the centre of Noto, which alone is a marvel for the eyes!
The baroque dream: Church of San Bartolomeo in Scicli
If the baroque we have seen so far is not enough for your dreamy wedding, the Cathedral of Scicli will satisfy you. Built in 1400 in full Neoclassical Baroque style, it stands in the historic centre of Scicli surrounded by a large square. The interiors are rich, from white, black and red marble floors to the walls decorated in Baroque style and majestic paintings.
A wedding that will certainly not be forgotten by your guests!
Church wedding in Sicily: Byzantine style in Palermo
Let’s now go to the perfect churches for a wedding in the province of Palermo. Here the main feature will be the precious Byzantine mosaics and a rich Arabian style. Are you ready? I anticipate that we will not talk about the Palatine Chapel in Palermo, to whose splendour I will dedicate a special article. But we have other beauties to talk about! Let’s start with the famous Cathedral of Monreale.
Monreale Cathedral: UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Cathedral of Monreale cannot be explained in words. This is why I invite you to look at the photos and imagine yourself immersed in golden glitter, tiny – on your big day – under the immense vaults of the Duomo. On the outside, the appearance is that of an Arab fortress. Inside, the explosion of colour is almost dazzling.
Recommended for weddings with many guests – we are talking about a vast church – and with elegant and sumptuous tones with a note of freshness.
Here too, a UNESCO heritage site. The style is Byzantine, but the interior is more modest. Arched colonnade, dark wood ceiling, the appearance is halfway between a medieval fort, a Romanesque church and a Byzantine pearl. The wide staircase allows a fairytale entrance, and the palm trees that precede the facade warm the environment.
Here too, the spaces welcome many guests in a sober, young and modern wedding.
Church wedding in Sicily: the importance of knowing the region
The choice of the church is a fundamental moment in your wedding organization, and – as we have seen – there are many factors to consider. Although some are well known, most of the churches I have told you about in this article are local pearls, often a little out of the way, but which are worth the effort to reach them. For this reason, relying not only on a professional but on a local professional is essential.
I assure you that it will be an added value for your event!
How about looking together for the perfect church in Sicily to celebrate your dream?
Photo Credits: Alberto Cosenza;