You want to elope in the Alps but need more information? Don’t worry, I got you! This guide will answer all of the questions you have (and the ones you didn’t know you had).
The most beautiful locations
There are a lot of (Instagram)-famous places in the Alps, like Hallstatt (Austria), Lago di Braies (Italy) or Zermatt (Switzerland). Of course these places are incredibly beautiful, but being that famous also means that they are usually very crowded. Do you want to get married in a famous place that looks good on Instagram or do you prefer eloping in a more private (but equally breathtaking) place without anyone around?
I won’t write down a list of locations here, because I usually only share them with my couples. But once we start planning your elopement, I will make sure to help you find the perfect spot for you.
Which season is best to get married in the Alps?
That totally depends on you and your taste. All four season are beautiful and have their perks.
Winter in the Alps is really magical. The snow-dusted mountain trees, the majestic snowy peaks, the winter walks, the skiing adventures and the hot chocolate in front of the roaring fire. If you like the more romantic, cozier time of the year, then this might be a good time for your elopement. The best time in winter is probably December to February because that’s the time when the gondolas operate and the ski regions are open. If you come in December, you will also be able to visit the traditional Christmas markets.
If you love hiking (or taking a gondola to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view), warm summer nights with a cold drink in your hand, swimming in mountain lakes or just having an ice cream while strolling through town, you should definitely visit the Alps in Spring/Summer. One big advantage of Summer weddings are the temperatures. You can get up to 35 degrees (a little less in the mountains) which means you can have your ceremony and reception outside without freezing or having to put on a lot of extra clothes. I would recommend planning your elopement between June and September, to make sure the snow will be gone on the mountain top. This will also be the time where the mountain huts are open.
Can foreigners get married in the Alps?
There are country-specific restrictions. In France for example, you and your partner must be resident for at least 40 days before marrying in the country. This is one of those countries where a symbolic ceremony is often the most logical approach for foreigners (with a reading of the vows for instance). Germany also has residency requirements. Switzerland welcomes foreigners who want to get married in the country – however, the rules can vary from area to area and even town-to-town. A wedding planner can’t submit the documents to the local registry office on your behalf, you must file them at a Swiss embassy or consulate. Austria and Italy are more relaxed. There are no residency requirements, it is simply a matter of a visit to the local registrar.
If you want to get married in Austria, these are the things you need:
- Birth certificate
- Residence registration form (unless you are staying in a hotel)
- Certificate of Freedom to Marry
- Proof of dissolution of marriage if you have been previously married
All documents need to be translated in German by a certified translator. I would also recommend making a reservation for a date and time at a registrar (“Standesamt”) up to six months before your desired date.
You can find more info here.
Can you get legally married on top of a mountain?
Civil weddings are usually conducted in town halls or register offices. However, there are some event locations that will allow a legal civil wedding in the mountains, such as the Café 3.440 (which is the highest register office in Austria at 3400 meters sea level). If you already have a venue in mind, I would recommend reaching out to them to get all the info.
What a lot of couples do (to avoid stress and paperwork abroad) is getting married in their home country and doing a symbolic ceremony in the Alps. This way you can have the ceremony exactly as you want – for example with a family member or your best friend officiating.
The best time of the day for your elopement
You might have heard the term “golden hour” before. It’s the hour right after sunrise and right before sunset. The light is super soft and flattering and perfect for taking photos.
The advantage of sunrise is that you will have more privacy. Apart from some hikers that sleep in the mountains to see the sunrise there won’t be anyone around at this time. The weather is usually also more stable in the morning. The disadvantage is that you will have to get up quite early (sunrise is usually between 5 and 6 depending on the date)
The advantage of sunset is obviously that you don’t have to get up super early. Sunsets on mountain tops can be incredibly beautiful, but keep in mind that in Summer there’s a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoons/evenings. They can be very powerful and usually pass through as quickly as they came (and often bring a breathtaking sunset right after).
Keep in mind that the gondolas usually operate between 8 and 5, so the first gondola is too late to reach the top for sunrise and the last one is too early to go down. There are different options: You could find a place where you can sleep (like a mountain hut), you could hike to the ceremony spot and back or you could find a location that’s accessible by car.
Here is a list of different wedding venues in the Alps. In some of them you can even have your legal ceremony.
Best airports to get to the Alps
It totally depends on your destination of course, but here are some of the most important airports of the Alps:
- Innsbruck, Austria (it’s a small airport, but it is right in the center of the Alps and has some great connections from/to Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, etc. It is also known for the incredible mountain views while taking off / landing)
- Munich, Germany (it has many connecting flight options around Europe and is just a short train ride away from Austria, Switzerland and Italy)
- Milan, Italy
- Venice, Italy (it’s the closest airport to the Dolomites and the city itself is worth a visit for sure)
- Zurich, Switzerland (it’s not only great to reach the Swiss Alps but it’s also very close to Austria and Germany)
- Lyon, France
As you can see, there are many options. Everything is pretty close and easily reachable so in case you don’t find a flight to the nearest airport, consider flying to another airport and taking the train from there. A few hours in the train are a really nice way to enjoy the landscapes and the beauty of the Alps.
Are you ready to do this?
Shoot me a message with any questions you might have. I would love to hear from you and help you make your dream elopement happen.