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Austin + Galiya’s September Elopement in the Italian Dolomites was a special experience for my husband and I to document. We were already friends with the couple, and met while working for the same resort in Germany a couple of years prior. When Austin and Galiya moved back to the US, we stayed in touch. Not long after their move back to the States, Austin and Galiya started a family, and made plans to get married. Since the pair had loved their previous travels to the Italian Dolomites, they decided there would be no better way to celebrate their wedding than by coming back (and they booked us to document it)!
While adventuring in the Dolomites, Austin and Galiya invited their two close friends to also come celebrate, and also help out with their 1-year old, Elijah. I recommend anyone eloping with a baby to bring along 1-2 trusted family members or friends to assist. It will make your experience so much smoother.
Elopement Day Timeline
Austin and Galiya’s original elopement timeline in the Dolomites was centered around one long hike that stopped at a number of scenic spots. Winter came early though, which led us to change up plans and pivot. That way, we could spend more time at a lower elevation that was warmer and better protected from the wind. We also built in an afternoon break so the baby could nap. Ultimately, we hiked around two unique areas close by, and then had dinner in one of the villages.
- 6:30 am - Meet at Trailhead
- 6:45 am - Begin Hiking
- 8:00 am - Arrive at Ceremony Location + Get Ready
- 8:30 am - Exchange Vows
- 9:00 am - Coffee + Cake break at the mountain hut
- 9:30 am - Hike back down to the cars
- 11:00 am - Arrive back at trailhead, drive to second location.
- 11:30 am - Arrive at trailhead, take a snack break
- 12:00 pm - Hike, explore, photos
- 3:00 pm - Arrive back at the cars.
- Take a break before meeting for dinner
- 6:30 pm - Meet for pizza
Austin + Galiya’s Italian Dolomites Elopement Highlight Video
Austin + Galiya booked elopement photo and video coverage. You can check out their Dolomites elopement highlight film below.
Sunrise Hike and Ceremony Among the Craggy Dolomites
Everyone met at the trailhead at 6:30 am. Despite the early hour, we were all energized by the excitement of seeing each other. The brisk temperatures also made for a wake-up call. The sky was beginning to lighten, but it would still be hours before the sun rose over the tall mountains that surrounded us.
Our small group bundled up, and hiked along a winding gravel road. The uphill walk helped warm us, although snow piled atop the grassy meadows. After a steady 1.5 hours of hiking, we reached the ceremony spot. A beautiful panorama met our eyes, but we were also greeted by biting wind. While originally the entire group planned to be present for the ceremony, Austin and Galiya decided it would be best for Elijah to wait with friends at the nearby mountain hut. That way, he could stay warm, and Austin and Galiya could focus on their vows. As they had already had a small celebration in the US, they felt happy with their decision to hold this ceremony privately.
Their vows were short, sweet, and full of love. It was emotional to see our friends commit their lives together.
After the ceremony, we hiked back down to meet the others. At the hut, the group drank coffee and ate cake. When we were finished eating, we packed up and hiked back down to the cars. While the temperature was still hovering around freezing, things did feel warmer as the sun now broke through the clouds.
Exploring a Deep Valley in the Italian Alps
Although we had planned to continue hiking atop the mountain pass we were on, the cold weather led us to choose an alternative route. I knew of an idyllic, nearby valley we could explore that would be protected by the wind, and a bit warmer due to the lower elevation.
The valley honestly blew our minds. Insane spires jutted out in front of a wide path, and we were surrounded by peaceful forests and a small river. It felt like something out of a fairytale. Our group was so happy to be in this beautiful area. It was better than we could have imagined!
For a few hours, our group ate and hiked in this blissful valley of the Italian Alps. As the afternoon wore on, it was time to head back to the cars. We planned for a break before heading to dinner. That way, Elijah could take a comfortable nap.
When we rejoined for dinner, the sun cast a beautiful glow on the mountains behind our scenic restaurant. Austin and Galiya were able to order a heart-shaped pizza ahead of time, and the restaurant had even decorated it in flowers! Eating fresh Italian Pizza and reminiscing about the day was the perfect way to end their adventure elopement in the Dolomites.
Real Dolomites Elopement Experience: A review from our couple
‘’We couldn’t recommend Christine enough. We have been lucky to call her a friend for a few years so this photo shoot was something we were looking forward to for quite some time. She was with us every step of the way and responded so well when we had any questions. She helped us find the perfect location for the day and it was everything we wanted and more. One element we knew we wanted was a heart shaped pizza at dinner- and those turned out to be some of our favorite pictures. Another big part of our day was having our one year old with us. Christine was so flexible with our baby and his mood which made the day go so smooth and pictures with him so much easier. We were so grateful the role that she played in our vow exchange. And the pictures!!! Absolutely stunning and something that we will cherish forever.’’
-Austin + Galiya
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