If you’re a couple wanting to get married in a place that’s not only stunning but also full of adventure, look no further than Germany.
I moved to Germany from America’s Pacific Northwest region, and I'm convinced this place can’t be beaten when it comes to elopement destinations. Keep reading the guide below to find out everything you need to know about eloping to Germany in 2022 and planning your Germany destination wedding!
Can You Elope in Germany?
Yes, you can! The logistics of getting married and eloping in Germany vary depending on your nationality, so I'll outline the main options below.
How Can I Get Married in Germany?
If you’re planning to get married in Germany, you have the option to have a civil marriage, a religious ceremony, or a symbolic ceremony. For most couples opting for a destination elopement in Germany, I recommend a symbolic ceremony. A symbolic ceremony will allow you to take care of the legal paperwork at home, so you can relax and enjoy your wedding.
When it comes to legally-binding civil unions in Germany, marriage is the only option available since 2017. Germany allows both heterosexual and same-sex couples to legally get married.
If you want your elopement wedding to be legally recognized in Germany, you will first be required to take part in a civil ceremony. It should be noted, to have a civil ceremony, you must be a German citizen, be marrying a German citizen, or at a minimum, have proof of residency in Germany. Additionally, the ceremony must take place in the German language, so if you’re not fluent in German, you’ll need to hire an interpreter.
Civil ceremonies can take a few months to plan since it requires a variety of documents to be prepared. When you schedule an appointment with the Rathaus (town hall) as part of the legal process, they will explain all the necessary documentation to bring on your wedding day.
Some of the documents will need for your civil ceremony include:
- Passports of both partners
- Proof of residency
- Birth certificates
- Documents verifying both parties are not currently married to another person
- Financial Statements
The cost of processing this paperwork can cost up to €200. If your documents are in any language besides German, they may also need to be professionally translated first.
Having a civil marriage in Germany requires quite a bit of work and most eloping couples opt-out of this option if they’re coming from another country. If you want a civil ceremony in Germany, I recommend doing it on a day separate from the one you want to have your elopement experience on.
In Germany, religious ceremonies are not legally binding, and they take place after the civil wedding (normally on the same day). Many couples in Germany do not have a religious ceremony, but instead, hold a reception or party after the civil wedding has taken place.
If you’re Catholic and want a Catholic wedding, you’re required to provide your Baptism certificate and Certificate of Dismission to the church you wish to get married in.
Symbolic ceremonies, often referred to as “commitment ceremonies”, really capture the heart of an elopement, and what I recommend to couples who are eloping abroad in Germany. When you craft your elopement day around having a symbolic ceremony, it gives so much more space to be creative and do your day exactly how you want to. For example, in Germany, a civil wedding must take place at the Rathaus (city hall), but if you opt for a commitment ceremony, you can get married on a mountain top, or in a forest. The choice is yours!
During your symbolic elopement ceremony, you may choose to:
- Read vows
- Have a handfasting ceremony
- Participate in a unity ceremony
- Play music for one another
- ...and so much more!
Whatever you choose, you can make it a special moment for just the two of you, plus anyone else you decide to invite into that safe space.
One more piece of advice: If you’re traveling from outside of Germany, you can do the legal paperwork to get married before or after your elopement day. I generally recommend doing it beforehand, so it’s not a task you have to worry about post-elopement.
Why You Should Consider Eloping in Germany
Now you know that you can elope in Germany, you’re probably wondering, “Why does Germany make such an incredible place to elope?”. Don’t worry-I’ve got that all covered for you! Trust us, Germany is definitely a place you should consider eloping in.
I might be biased since I live here, but the Bavarian Alps are one of Germany’s most underrated features. While many people hear the word, “alps” and picture Switzerland or France, Germany also has a slice of these incredible mountains. The German alps are less well-known than their more expensive neighbors. Rolling green meadows, countless alpine lakes, and craggy snow-capped peaks make Germany an incredible place to elope with beautiful scenery.
Exciting Culture and History
If you love history and architecture, Germany excels in that department. Germany has hundreds of enchanting towns that seem to come straight out of a fairy tale. Nuremberg, located in the German state of Bavaria is particularly well known for its charm. Wherever you choose to have your elopement wedding in Germany, you won’t be disappointed by the sites!
It’s the Perfect Honeymoon Destination
Since you’re already getting married in Germany, why not opt for a honeymoon in Europe while you're at it? Germany is not only a great honeymoon destination, but it also makes visiting Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and many other countries so easy to do!
Unique and Adventurous Activities
If you aren’t sold yet, here’s another reason you should consider eloping in Germany: Germany has endless unique and adventurous activities for just about any couple!
Unique Germany Elopement Wedding Activities Can Include:
- Brewery tours
- Wine tasting tours
- Visiting the Oktoberfest, or one of the many other festivals that take place throughout the year
- Relax at one of the many upscale day-spas or saunas before the big day
Adventurous Germany Elopement Wedding Activities Can Include:
- Climbing a Via-Ferrata
- Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on an alpine lake
- Visiting a mountain-top via one of the countless cable cars in Bavaria
How to Elope in Germany
It's easier than it sounds to elope in Germany. Below you'll find my simple process for making your Germany elopement a reality. I recommend couples allot two to six months to plan their destination wedding in Germany.
Choose an Elopement Date
Before you can dive deep into planning your Germany elopement, one of the first things you need to do is set a date. Setting a date will allow you to start booking the vendors that can help make your dream come to life!
Book Your Photographer
Once a date is set, hiring your Germany elopement photographer is the next step, and I'd argue, one of the most important. Hiring a photographer who is on board with capturing you as you truly are is so important. Choosing the right photographer also matters, because they’ll be a key player in helping guide you through the process of not only getting incredible images at the end of the day but also they’ll make sure you have the experience of a lifetime.
Dreaming of scaling a mountain? Make sure whoever you hire is someone who is capable of capturing that! Do you want a unique and secluded location? Hire a local or someone who knows the area well. In short, hire someone who is well-aligned with your goals.
In addition to hiring a photographer that's well-aligned with your goals, opting for someone local is a HUGE benefit! When you work with someone that knows your chosen destination like the back of their hand, you can feel confident you're in good hands. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but hi! Let's chat 🙂
Visualize What You Want Your Day to Look Like
Eloping is pretty new, and it’s likely you don’t have a lot of experience attending elopement weddings. You might not quite have a vision of what you want your Germany elopement to look like yet (and that’s totally ok!). This step is where you’ll really want to start thinking about what is most important to you as a couple, and how you want to honor that on your intimate wedding day.
Whether it’s spending the night stargazing before catching the sunrise from a beautiful location and exchanging vows, or enjoying breakfast in bed before a morning-first look, the possibilities are endless.
My booked couples receive an exclusive guide that goes over prompts and questions that can help them find clarity in the dreaming process. The entire guide includes more than that though- it's 100+ pages long and includes all the tips and tricks I've got up my sleeve to make your day unforgettable.
Pro-Tip: During this step, you may realize you have a dream so big, you need a little outside help. This would be a great time to book an elopement planner in Germany.
Decide on a Location
Choosing your elopement wedding location in Germany is an exciting task that I love helping couples with. When choosing a location, you’ll want to consider what time of year it is, how busy the spot is, any restrictions on the location, and what time of day the best light is.
Your Germany wedding photographers will have advice for all of this! I have a helpful resource you can find here about how to choose the best mountain elopement location.
Book Your Germany Travel & Lodging
Now that you know where you’re eloping in Germany, it’s time to book your travel and accommodations.
How to Get to Germany
Germany is a major travel destination, making it easy to get to from any large airport. Germany has 16 international airports you can fly into. If you’re planning an elopement in the Bavarian Alps (what I specialize in!), you’ll want to fly into the Munich Airport.
Traveling Pro-tip: Sometimes flights are cheaper to the Innsbruck, Austria Airport. Innsbruck is a similar distance from the German Alps as the Munich Airport.
Getting Around Germany (Trains and Buses)
Like most countries in Europe, Germany has an extensive train and bus network that makes traveling quite simple. I still recommend getting a rental car, at least for the elopement portion part of your trip though, since it makes getting around Germany a breeze. You’ll find this especially true in the mountain regions of Germany.
Lodging in Germany
Germany offers a wide variety of lodging options, from upscale hotels and ski lodges to quaint bed and breakfasts in the villages. Airbnb and similar rental property options are also popular. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a place where you can relax and isn’t too far from your elopement location.
Lodging Pro-tip: Choose a location with great natural light and that is clutter-free for the best getting-ready photos! If you want a “first-look” where you’re staying, also keep in mind what scenery is nearby and how everything will look.
Plan Your Elopement Day Activities
By this stage in the planning process, you should have a clear vision of what your elopement day is going to look like. It’s now time to put that all on paper and build a timeline of your wedding day, so you know there’s room for everything. If you find you need more time, most photographers will allow you to upgrade your elopement coverage.
Book Your Germany Wedding Vendors
Are you booking more than a photographer for your wedding in Germany? Once your timeline is outlined and all the activities nailed down, be sure to hire any other vendors you find you need.
These might include a wedding celebrant/officiant, a hair and makeup artist, a florist, a private chef, or maybe even a mountain guide.
Pro-tip on booking your elopement vendors: Having additional vendors is totally optional, but can definitely enhance your day. If you love food, an amazing, privately catered meal may be perfect for you. If you don’t want to worry about doing your own hair and makeup, an HMUA can take a lot of stress off of you the day-of. You can DIY-things, or go elaborate. The choice is yours!
Gather Any Necessary Documents
The documents you may need to bring for eloping can really vary, depending on where you travel from. Some documents you may need for your elopement include:
- Drivers Licenses
- Confirmation of booked flights
- Hotel/Lodging confirmations
- Any legal documents needed if you plan on having a civil ceremony
Pro-Tip: Be sure to have a list of everything you need, print out the documents, and keep them together in a binder. If you’re flying, be sure these stay with your carry-on luggage.
Elope in Germany!
Your elopement day is here! After all of your dreaming and excitement, it’s finally happening. Soak up every second and remember- these memories will last forever. Your photographer (oh hi!!!) will be sure you have amazing photos to help document the experience.
The Best Places to Elope in Germany
Germany has endless location options for your elopement wedding. From mountains to forests and castles to countrysides, below I've listed the best places to get married in Germany. This list isn't comprehensive though. In fact, each of my couples gets a custom Germany location guide built based on their elopement wedding vision.
If you plan on holding an elopement with guests or a micro wedding with guests, I'd consider getting some outside help from a wedding planner to secure your venue.
The Bavarian Alps
You will love getting married in the Bavarian Alps if you want beautiful ceremony locations and an outdoor adventure. After summiting over 100 peaks between 2020-2021, I can say with confidence that the German Alps are where it is at!!! Below, you’ll see some of the best regions of the Bavarian Alps to get married in.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen has to be one of my favorite wedding destinations in Bavaria (and Europe!). Even better, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is conveniently located just 90 minutes south of Munich. The town sits in a valley surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, and also offers stunning views of the Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain. There’s a year-round cable car that runs to the top of the Zugspitze, for any couple that wants to have the opportunity to get married on the peak.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is centrally located to a number of quaint towns like Oberammergau, great hikes, and a few castles. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has it all when it comes to beautiful wedding locations.
Berchtesgaden National Park
Berchtesgaden National Park is known for its fjord-like scenery and could be easily mistaken for Norway! For couples looking to have a little bit of everything, Berchtesgaden National Park is an amazing place to elope in. In Berchtesgaden, you can enjoy a boat ride across the famous Königssee, and hike to the picturesque Obersee. Other beautiful alpine lakes such as the Hintersee, or quieter Seeleinsee also make beautiful wedding locations.
Located just two hours south-east of Munich, and 30 minutes south of Salzburg, Austria, it’s easily accessible from either city and surrounded by both culture and jaw-dropping mountains.
The Allgäu region of the Bavarian Alps is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany and is home to the Allgäu Hochalpen (high-mountain) Nature Reserve. The Allgäu, known for its sprawling alpine meadows, colorful wildflowers, many lakes, and extensive mountain-hut system, is an adventure wedding paradise.
Reaching Oberstdorf, one of the towns most central to mountain access takes a bit more work to get to than some places, at nearly a two-in-a-half hour drive from Munich, but the drive is worth it. Because of its distance from Munich, it’s also less crowded than some other spots in the German Alps.
The Black Forest
The Black Forest is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Germany, and famous for its cuckoo clocks, folklore, thermal baths, and peaceful trails. If you’re looking to have a relaxed woodland wedding, the Black Forest is the perfect place. One stunning outdoor feature of the area is its numerous waterfalls, with Triberg falls being the largest, cascading down 163 meters and with 10 distinct drops. If you want to get married in the Black Forest, be sure to visit in the spring or fall when crowds are fewer.
Saxon Switzerland National Park
Saxon Switzerland National Park makes a great elopement wedding destination due to its unique features and still being a more “off-the-beaten-path” destination. The park contains the famous Bastei Bridge, arches, and canyons. Saxon Switzerland National Park has also become a climbing mecca. It’s safe to say, you could almost mistake it for a greener version of Sedona, Arizona.
Despite the park’s name, it is located in Germany and lies nowhere near Switzerland. Located just 60 kilometers from the city of Dresden and bordering the Czech Republic’s Bohemian Switzerland National Park, it’s an incredible area to experience both Germany’s natural wonders and its rich city life.
For couples looking to get married in Germany’s wine region, Cochem makes the perfect destination. Cochem sits next to the famous Moselle river and is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. If the wine isn’t enough, there’s also fantastic castles to visit at just about every bend in the river.
Burg Eltz, one of Germany’s most photogenic castles, is just a twenty-minute drive away from Cochem.
If you want to include a castle in your elopement wedding day, here are a few beautiful castles worth checking out. It's worth noting that most castles in Germany are heavily-touristed and may have some photography restrictions. If you'd really like to visit a castle, I'd suggest making it as a smaller part of your day, and not the main focus. This will allow you to find privacy and seclusion during your experience.
If you want to get married at Germany’s most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, make sure to plan in advance. While you can’t actually have a wedding ceremony at Neuschwanstein, you can explore the castle grounds and have portraits done nearby. Neuschwanstein is one of the most visited places in Germany since people flock from all over the world to visit what is otherwise dubbed, “the Cinderella Castle” as Disney modeled its castle after Neuschwanstein. Neuschwanstein is best visited during the off-season of Spring and Fall. If you want a mountain top wedding by the castle, consider the Tegelberg mountain, which has a hiking trail and cable car that leaves from nearby.
As mentioned previously, Burg Eltz is another incredible castle to get married at. The castle is dramatic and offers sweeping views of the vineyards, and the Moselle river. Burg Eltz is quite popular and should be visited during quieter times of the day such as sunrise, or during the off-season. Burg Eltz is closed for part of the year, and does have some restrictions involving photography since it's privately owned.
If you're looking for a destination that is not only beautiful but also allows civil and symbolic ceremonies, look no further than Schloss Callenberg. This fortress sits upon a small hill overlooking the countryside, surrounded by greenery and well-manicured grounds. For a large wedding ceremony, this castle is a regal location to get married at.
If you’re having an elopement wedding in Germany, including a castle as part of your day is far easier than you think. While some castles are busy or require renting a large venue, there are castle ruins you can get married at while avoiding having a big production.
Wedding Venues in Germany
If you want to include friends and family in your intimate German wedding, there are a multitude of small wedding venues to choose from. For example, in the Bavarian Alps, there are small huts located throughout the mountains that offer event services and make for beautiful ceremony locations. Some restaurants nearby lakes also double as wedding venues and can make the perfect spot for your micro-wedding or elopement. There are so many venue possibilities for your destination wedding in Germany.
What Time of Year Is Best to Get Married in Germany?
Summer is one of the best seasons to get married in Germany, I’d argue, due to the largest number of activities and venues being accessible. But, each season has its benefits, which I’ll share below.
Winter weddings in Germany are a snow lover’s dream. In particular, Bavaria is full of spectacular ski destinations for an adventure wedding. For non-skiers and snowboarders, you can try your hand at ice skating across one of the many frozen lakes or sledding down one of the many groomed sledding paths. Enjoying the luxurious saunas and wellness spas for a more relaxed wedding experience is also possible. While Germany does not get as much snow as its neighbors in Austria and Switzerland, if you time things right, you can elope in a winter wonderland.
Pro-tip: While snow can fall just about any time of year in Germany’s mountains, your best bet at seeing snow will be in January and February.
Depending on what part of Germany you choose to elope in, Spring can be a really nice time to get married. Most regions are lush and green by mid-May, making low-altitude locations perfect. Waterfalls also are running fuller from the recent snowmelt. If you’re hoping to have an adventure elopement in the German Alps, you’ll need to wait until later in the season.
Pro-tip: Some places are still ski-able in May if you want to combine the beauty of Spring with the fun of winter. Spring weddings are best from mid-May to mid-June.
Summer is the perfect time for a hiking elopement or Germany destination wedding. By late June and early July, just about every trail is fully melted out and alpine wildflowers are in full bloom. In the valleys, the lakes become perfect for swimming in. While summer is Germany’s high-season, the list of potential elopement experiences are endless due to the beautiful weather. Germany’s mountains are generally mild in temperature at higher altitudes, meaning the heat isn’t something you have to worry about as much.
Pro-tip: Get married on a weekday to find the most privacy during your elopement day.
Fall in Germany can be a bit unpredictable for weddings, with everything from snow to summer-like climate. If you choose to have a German wedding during autumn, consider whether or not your desired location will be accessible in the off-season. Some spots, such as castles, are the ideal location for a fall wedding because it is a quieter time of year. If you’re coming to Bavaria for your elopement, keep in mind that the Oktoberfest is happening from mid-September to the beginning of October and draws crowds from all over Europe + the world. Be sure to book accommodations early if you want to visit around this time of year.
Pro-tip: If fall colors are important to you, be sure to plan ahead of time where you’ll get the best foliage since some parts of Germany get more pigmentation than others.
What Does it Cost to Elope in Germany?
The average cost of eloping in Germany is around €7,500. Elopements can vary greatly in price because it depends a lot on what the couple wants to do on their wedding day and what types of vendors they decide they want to hire. Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly elopement or something extravagant, there are plenty of ways to elope within your budget.
For example, some couples may find wedding attire that costs less than €200 and suits them perfectly. Others may opt-out of having professional hair and makeup since they’d rather do it themselves atop a mountain. When it comes to desserts, Germany has no shortage of bakeries, and it’s easy to pick up a few slices of delicious, already made cake for under €15, or get something custom-made for well over €150. Lodging can range from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxury wellness resorts.
When choosing how much to spend on your elopement, make sure you invest in what’s most important to you. Whether it’s the photos, having your dream dress or custom made suit, or splurging on tickets to the top of Germany’s tallest mountain, don’t be afraid to create the day you’ve always dreamed of.
At the end of the day, how much or how little you choose to spend on your destination wedding in Germany won’t matter. What will count is how you choose to intentionally connect with your partner and honor what you value most.
Below, you’ll find some approximate numbers of the cost of eloping in Germany. Please note, these numbers don’t include travel and transportation costs, since these can widely vary, depending on where you’re coming from. Lodging and food have been averaged for two nights.
Germany Budget Elopement Cost
The cost of a budget elopement in Germany is €5,670
Expenses may include:
|Marriage License (free for symbolic ceremonies!)||€0-€100|
|Food and Drinks||€150|
|Photographer (Half-Day Coverage)||€4,800|
|Hair + Makeup (DIY)||€0|
Standard Germany Elopement Cost
The cost of a standard elopement in Germany is €7,925-€8200
Expenses may include:
|Marriage License (free for symbolic ceremonies!)||€0-€100|
|Hair & Makeup||€350|
|Food & Drinks||€300|
|Small Wedding Cake||€150|
|Photographer (half to full day coverage)||€4,800-€5500|
Luxury Germany Elopement Cost
The cost of a luxury elopement in Germany costs €18,900-€20,100
Expenses may include:
|Marriage License (free for symbolic ceremonies!)||€0-€100|
|Hair & Makeup||€450|
|Food & Drinks||€400|
Germany Elopement Packages
Are you ready to start building your once-in-a-lifetime elopement experience in Germany? To view the Germany wedding and elopement packages I offer, click here. For my full pricing guide, timeline examples, and scheduling your free consultation call, contact me!
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