Are you dreaming of eloping and getting married in the alps? If so, you’re in the right place. This is the only alps Wedding and Elopement Guide you’ll need to start planning your adventurous destination wedding. This is a resource you’ll want to keep coming back to, so be sure to bookmark it!
In this guide, I cover:
- How to get legally married in the alps
- Where to get married in the alps (including an overview of venues and locations)
- How to choose the best alps destination to get married in for your (based on scenery and budget)
- What time of year to get married in the alps
- Step-by-step how to plan your wedding in the alps
- Why you should get married in the alps
- Unique ideas for your wedding in the alps
- ...and more!
If you’re reading this and already feel excitement pumping through your veins, don’t hesitate to contact me now to schedule your free alps elopement photography consultation call.
Where are the Alps?
The European Alps, often referred to as the alps, are a chain of mountains that stretch across Central Europe. These towering peaks spread across 8 countries: France, Monaco, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. While the Swiss and French Alps are the most famous, each country is full of breathtaking landscapes and dramatic scenery.
Why You Should Get Married in the Alps
What makes the Alps the best place to hold your wedding? Find a few of our favorite reasons below!
The Alps are the Ultimate Adventure Wedding Destination
The Alps are the ultimate adventure wedding destination. In the Alps, you can find hiking, rafting, paragliding, canyoning, glacier-trekking, mountaineering, zip-lining, and just about any other activity imaginable. If you’d like to learn more about this: 22 Epic Ideas for Your Adventure Honeymoon (although they’re totally applicable to wedding activities too).
Fun fact: Did you know that Red Bull was founded in Austria?
Accessible Locations for Every Ability Level
Not a big hiker, but still dreaming of a spectacular elopement wedding location? You’ve got it! From stunning alpine passes to cable cars, snowmobiles, and helicopter rides, there are so many ways to reach your ceremony in style without skimping on the scenery.
Many spots can be reached with less than 1-2 miles of walking.
The Best Place to Honeymoon
Roll your wedding and honeymoon all-in-one by making a vacation out of your alps destination wedding! Since the alps are centrally located, traveling throughout Europe couldn’t be easier.
No matter where your alps wedding takes you, you’re sure to have breathtaking views. In the alps, you’ll find:
- Gorgeous Alpine Lakes
- Meadows and Wildflowers
- Mountain Vistas
Unique Ideas for Your Alps Elopement
Six unique ideas for your Alps elopement adventure include:
- Book a helicopter ride over the alps to your own private elopement location. I have a post about planning helicopter elopements that you can read here.
- Climb a via-ferrata with a guide in the Italian Dolomites
- Spend a day relaxing at the lake before being whisked up Germany’s tallest mountain in a matter of minutes
- Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc and taste gourmet cheese and wine in the French Alps
- Toboggan down Switzerland’s longest groomed sledding run (it’s over 7.5 miles!)
- Arrange a stay at a luxury igloo overlooking the Matterhorn
If you're still looking for more unique ideas for your alps elopement, I have a blog post with 22 epic ideas for your honeymoon that are also totally possible for your elopement day! You can find that blog here.
Can You Get Married in the Alps?
After reading about how epic getting married in the Alps is, one big question you may have is, ‘’Can I get married in the Alps if I'm traveling from abroad?’’. Yes, you can! The great news is anyone who is able to travel to Europe can get married in the Alps. When choosing to elope and get married in the alps, you have a few different options for your ceremony.
If you’re traveling abroad and would like to get married in the Alps, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, depending on which country you get married in, you may only be able to hold a legal ceremony if you are a resident of that country. If you'd like a ceremony in the church, you also may need to be registered to pay ''church tax''. With that being said, anyone on a tourist visa can still hold a symbolic ceremony. Just about all of our couples choose to get married in the alps with a meaningful symbolic ceremony. Then, they take care of the legal paperwork in their home country either before or after the wedding. Below you’ll find an outline of what you need to consider as a foreigner for civil, religious, and symbolic wedding ceremonies in each destination.
Where to Get Married in the Alps
Where should you get married in the Alps? Narrowing down where to get married in the Alps can be challenging when every destination has so much to offer! If I had to choose a top destination to get married in, it would be the Swiss Alps or German Alps. For the unique scenery and more budget-friendly Alps wedding locations, the Italian Dolomites and Slovenia take the cake.
Let’s be honest, though, I love all of the regions for different reasons. Below you’ll find a summary of the best places to get married in the Alps based on the scenery you’ll find, amenities, privacy and seclusion, and cost. You’ll also find Alps wedding venue and location suggestions.
Destination Weddings in Switzerland
If you want to have the quintessential alps wedding experience, go to Switzerland. Just do it and don’t look back! I have a deep-dive guide all about eloping in Switzerland that you can read here.
Why You Should Get Married in Switzerland: In Switzerland, you can get married with the Matterhorn as your backdrop, sleep in hotels overlooking glaciers, and walk among giants such as the Jungfrau mountain (you can even take a cogwheel train to the top of this 13,651-foot peak!). Switzerland is also home to the Lauterbrunnen valley, fondly known as the most beautiful in the world. The valley walls here rise as high as Yosemite’s El Capitan. In every season, Switzerland truly has it all.
Privacy + Seclusion: Switzerland can get crowded, especially during its peak seasons (December + August). Some hotspots, especially around the Bernese Alps (i.e., Lauterbrunnen, Bachalpsee, and the Oeschinensee) are locations we now recommend avoiding. With that being said, there are countless hidden gems for couples looking for something out of the ordinary. I have plenty of locations, tips, and tricks up my sleeves to find privacy.
Cost: $$$ Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries to visit. Cable cars, in particular, tend to cost about 30-50% more than in other areas. Food is one other area that tends to be much higher, also averaging 30-50% more than Austria or Germany. Nice accommodations tend to be about 25-30% more than that of other alpine countries. Wedding vendors such as florists and HMUAS can be pricier. If you have your heart set on Switzerland, be prepared to pay premium prices.
Getting Married in the German Alps
While not well known for destination weddings, the German Alps are home to some of the most picturesque scenery in Europe and are more than worth the visit. If you want to plan something both epic and unique, don't miss getting married in Germany's Bavarian Alps!
Why You Should Elope in the German Alps: First off, it's absolutely stunning. The German Alps have so much variety in their landscapes too. Whether it's the rolling hills dotted with cows, or towering rocky mountains and gushing waterfalls, Germany is simply put, gorgeous. Bavaria also is charming, with its picturesque, colorfully painted villages. The German Alps are an attractive wedding location and also home to some of my favorite alpine lakes. Whether you want something epic and adventurous, cozy and intimate, or both, the German Alps make the perfect destination.
Privacy + Seclusion: Germany is the ideal hiking elopement destination, where you can find reasonable privacy and seclusion. You're far more likely to run into locals quietly enjoying your location, instead of the tourist hubs so common in places like Switzerland and the Dolomites. We call the German Alps home and have shared countless sunrises and sunsets in total privacy (and know of so many perfect places waiting for you!).
Cost: $$ Prices are similar to Austria. Lodging is one of the bigger expenses.
German Alps Elopement Locations
Here are some of the best locations for your elopement wedding in the German Alps
- Berchtesgaden National Park
- Oberstdorf and the Allgäu Mountains
- Murnau am Staffelsee
- Neuschwanstein Castle *Please note you can’t actually get married inside Neuschwanstein, but the towns of Füssen and Schwangau offer beautiful viewpoints of the castle and surrounding mountains
Weddings in the French Alps
Weddings in the French Alps are nothing short of spectacular, and you're sure to be dazzled by the charming landscape, food, and culture. You can't miss Chamonix, it's jaw-dropping!
Why You Should Get Married in the French Alps: The French Alps make a great destination wedding location for those passionate about skiing, hiking, mountaineering, biking, and world-class scenery. If you want a similar feel and landscapes to Switzerland, yet a little more budget-friendly, elopement weddings in Chamonix are a great option to explore.
Privacy + Seclusion: Crowds depend on the time of year, but you can expect towns such as Chamonix to remain moderately popular year-round. Hiking and helicopter elopements are a great way to find seclusion.
Cost: $$-$$$ Weddings in the French Alps can still add up, but you’ll find the food to be inexpensive in comparison to Switzerland. Lodging, vendors, and other activities are on par with the typical cost of most alpine countries.
French Alps Wedding Venues
Here are some of the best venues for your French Alps wedding
Eloping in the Dolomites and Italian Alps
Eloping in the Dolomites and Italian Alps is one of the dreamiest ways to get married for both adventure-seeking couples and those seeking a relaxing, romantic wedding.
Why You Should Elope in the Dolomites and Italian Alps: There are dozens of reasons you should elope in the Italian Alps, but one of my favorites is the craggy, unique peaks and other-worldly scenery that greets you at every turn. The spires of the Italian Dolomites are truly unbelievable. You’ll love getting married in the Italian Alps if you are dreaming of a location both chic and rugged. One great part about the Italian Alps is the numerous Alpine passes that can be driven, offering some spectacular elopement locations that require minimal hiking to get to. Italy is also the best place for helicopter elopements in the alps.
Privacy + Seclusion: The Dolomites and Italian Alps spread over a wide area, with locations ranging from secluded to very popular. August is the busiest month to get married since everyone is on holiday. I'd recommend opting for July or September if you can. Be sure to avoid Lago di Braies, Alpe di Siusi, and Seceda, which are crowded year-round, from sun up to sun down.
Cost: $$ Italy is fairly inexpensive overall. While the cost of lodging is somewhat similar to its neighboring countries in the Alps, you’ll find food, drinks, and excursions to be cheaper on average.
Elopements in the Austrian Alps
Elopement weddings in the Austrian Alps are slowly gaining popularity, and it’s no surprise. From sweeping mountain views, year-round glacier skiing, luxurious wellness spas, and rich history, the Austrian Alps have a little bit of everything (while boasting nonstop post-card-worthy views).
Why You Should Elope in the Austrian Alps: If you want to feel like you’re in the Sound of Music, go to the Austrian Alps. The mountains are tall, and the valleys run deep. In summer, animals graze peacefully in the pastures. Dotted along the mountainsides you’ll experience quaint villages and hospitality.
Like Germany, Austria is a great hiking elopement destination. One edge Austria has over Germany is there are some alpine passes that make great ‘’minimal hiking’’ wedding locations.
Privacy + Seclusion: Moderate seclusion. Like all places, there are some tourist hotspots (think: Hallstatt). On the other hand, there are many quiet corners well worth a visit. For the most privacy, visit smaller, local ski resorts in the winter and consider exploring during the weekdays in the summer.
Cost: $$ Prices are similar to Germany. Lodging can be one of your bigger expenses.
Getting Married in Slovenia’s Julian Alps
Last on the list of amazing alps wedding destinations in Slovenia's Julian Alps. Getting married in Slovenia is the perfect choice for those who want a unique, off-the-beaten path elopement.
Why You Should Elope in the Slovenian Alps (Julian Alps): Slovenia’s Julian Alps are an amazing location to elope, and still unknown to many. It’s also the most budget-friendly wedding destination in the Alps. Slovenia’s Soča Valley boasts some of the bluest water you’ll ever encounter. In Triglav National Park, you can hike the valley of 7 lakes and also summit Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s tallest mountain. If you’d prefer a little more wedding day relaxation, paddling along the shores of Lake Bled is an exciting choice, or going to explore a nearby waterfall.
Privacy + Seclusion: In Slovenia, you’ll find moderate to large amounts of privacy in comparison to the Alps' more popular counterparts. While the area is slowly gaining more awareness, it’s still quite secluded as a destination overall.
Cost: $-$$ Slovenia is a fairly budget-friendly destination and one of the least expensive places to elope in the Alps.
What Time of Year Should I Get Married in the Alps?
Choosing the right time of year to get married in the Alps is crucial for ensuring your elopement goes as planned. While each season and location has its own considerations, generally, January, February, July, September, and October are the best months to elope in the alps. This is because, during the colder months, all the cable cars are open and winter is in full swing. Our favorite months are January, July, and October, which all provide the best weather conditions for their given seasons while avoiding peak tourism times.
Winter Weddings in the Alps
If you want a winter wedding in the alps, you can plan on finding the longest winter season in the Swiss and French Alps, where the elevations are high and the glaciers plentiful. Normally around mid-October, skiing is beginning to open up. Austria follows closely behind. By January and February, snow has settled into nearly all the mountainous regions. For winter weddings in Italy, Germany, and Slovenia, there is less snow and milder temperatures overall. Italy’s Dolomites are vastly underrated in the winter and make a great unexpected ski destination.
Best time to hold a winter wedding in the Alps: January, February, and March
Spring Weddings in the Alps
Spring weddings in the Alps often mean snow! Through the month of May, snowstorms are still common, and in Switzerland, France, and Austria ski season is still in full swing. By mid-May, you’ll find some beautiful, low-lying mountainous regions have begun to melt out and the valleys fill with wildflowers. If you want to avoid peak tourism season and enjoy green meadows and snow-capped mountains, Germany; Eastern Switzerland; and Tirol, Austria make great Spring wedding destinations.
Best time to hold a spring wedding in the Alps: Late-May, June
Summer Weddings in the Alps
Summer weddings in the alps are some of my favorite. The temperatures remain somewhat mild in the high-alpine, the lakes are refreshing, and everywhere you look there are cows, sheep, and goats grazing in the mountains. Summer is the best for getting married in the alps because mountain accessibility is easiest during this time. One challenge of summer elopement weddings is the crowds though. Many Europeans get one month of vacation time during the summer, with August being the busiest. If you have the flexibility, opt for late June to mid-July, or early/mid-September, so you can get not only the best of what summer has to offer but also a little more seclusion.
Best times to hold a summer wedding in the Alps: Late-June, July, early-September
Fall Weddings in the Alps
Fall Weddings in the Alps are underrated, and a spectacular time to get married. You'll also have far more privacy at this time of year. For the best chance of seeing fall colors on your wedding day, the last 2-3 weeks of October are generally the most brilliant. This is especially true if you select a location with larch trees, which have needles that change from green to bright yellow and burnt orange. The best places to see fall colors in the Alps are:
- Engadin, Switzerland
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Italian Dolomites
- Julian Alps, Slovenia
Best time to hold a fall wedding in the alps: Mid to Late October
How to Plan an Elopement Wedding in the Alps (Step-by-Step)
Ready to start planning your elopement in the Alps?? Below you’ll find my simple process for making your Alps elopement a reality. As part of your Alpselopement photography and videography team, my husband and I are here to help you throughout each step.
We recommend couples allot 6-9 months to plan their Alps elopement or destination wedding. It is possible to plan on much shorter time frames though, and we've helped couples make their adventure a reality in as little as two weeks.
Choose an Elopement Date
Before you can dive deep into planning your Alps 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! Be sure to select your date based on the right time of year to see and do what you're envisioning (i.e. summer and fall for hiking, winter for skiing).
Book Your Alps Elopement Photographer and Videographer
Hiring your Alpselopement photographer and videographer is one of the most important steps in the planning process. The right photographer or photo/video team will be a key player in helping guide you through the process of getting married abroad. They’ll also be sure your day is not only documented beautifully but also that you have the experience of a lifetime.
As the Alps' leading adventure elopement photo and video team, we specialize in helping couples craft unique, awe-inspiring, outdoor-centered wedding experiences. We know the Alps like the back of our hands (seriously, we’ve done 150+ peaks in just the last three years), and use our expertise to help you each step of the way. If you're up for an adventure, contact us now!
Visualize What You Want Your Day to Look Like
If you don’t have a vision of what you want your Alps elopement to look like yet, 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, and afternoon helicopter tour, the possibilities are endless.
Our booked couples receive an exclusive guide that goes over prompts and questions that can help them find clarity in the dreaming process.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, at the bottom of this guide, we have multiple elopement days blogged that include real timelines, helpful info, and more.
Decide on an Elopement Location in the Alps
Choosing your elopement location in the Alps is an exciting task that we love helping couples with. When choosing a location, you’ll want to consider:
- What time of year are you eloping in?
- How popular is the location?
- Are there any restrictions on the location?
- What time of day has the best light?
Your Alps wedding photographer (hey, it’s me, Christine!) will have advice for all of this. Location scouting is one of my biggest strengths (beyond taking stellar photos and making sure you have an amazing experience). This is something I help our booked couples extensively with.
If you are planning an elopement with guests or a micro wedding, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner to help with securing a venue or permission to hold your ceremony at specific locations.
Book Your Alps Travel & Lodging
Now that you know where you’re eloping in the Alps, it’s time to book your travel and accommodation.
How to Get to the Alps
Getting to the alps is easy, as there are numerous large international airports located throughout Central Europe. Some of the easiest cities to fly into include:
It’s worth noting that some alpine locations do require 2-2.5 hours of driving from the nearest airport (but the scenery is incredible and more than worth the road trip!).
Getting around the Alps (Trains and Buses)
Once you’ve arrived in the Alps, there are numerous ways to get around. For your elopement wedding day, I highly recommend renting a car for the greatest flexibility. During the rest of your travels, there are extensive networks of trains, buses, and trams (and even helicopter taxis!).
Lodging in the Alps for Your Wedding
The Alps offer 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.
Book Your Alps Wedding Vendors
Are you booking more than a photographer and videographer for your Alps wedding or elopement? Some couples may opt to include a wedding celebrant/officiant, hair and makeup artist, a private chef, or maybe even a mountain guide.
Vendor Pro-Tip: We provide every booked couple with our exclusive English-speaking vendor suggestion guide.
Plan Your Elopement Day Activities
Activities are what help make your Alps elopement into an experience! This is a great time to consider what small (and possibly) big things you may want to do to level up your day. Some activities may include reading letters from family and friends, stopping by a mountain hut for lunch, renting a boat, going for a swim, stargazing, embarking on a helicopter tour, or booking a guided via-ferrata tour.
Once your locations are selected, and activities booked, this is the time to put it all on paper and build a timeline of your Alps wedding. That way, you know there’s room for everything. We’ve helped countless couples build custom timelines of their adventures (including multi-day ones!).
Gather Any Necessary Wedding and Travel 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 folder. If you’re flying, be sure these stay with your carry-on luggage.
Elope in the Alps!
Your elopement wedding in the Alps 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 and videographer (oh hey!) will be sure you have amazing photos to help document the experience.
Elopement and Wedding Packages in the Alps
Are you ready to start planning your elopement or destination wedding in the Alps? If so, why not start with your Alps elopement photographer and videographer? You can view our Alps elopement pricing and packages here, or contact us to get a more detailed pricing guide.
We help guide each couple through the eloping process and make sure they get the epic coverage their day deserves.
Are you ready to have the experience of a lifetime?
Hey, we're Christine and Scott, and there's nothing we love more than capturing rad couples’ adventures in the places and spaces that matter most. Love what you see on the site? Hit the contact button below to start making your adventure a reality!
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