How to Elope and Get Married in the Alps [Updated for 2023]

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. 

Can You Get Married in the Alps?

The great news is, yes, 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 couple of different options for your ceremony. 

Legal Weddings in the Alps

The rules of how to get legally married in the alps change from country to country. As a general guideline, it is easier for EU citizens and residents to have a legally recognized wedding ceremony. Non-EU residents can get married in some countries but may require a special visa or minimum residency in others. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of what’s required to get legally married in the alps. 

Documents Needed for Your Legal Wedding in the Alps

Each country has its own required documents for legal weddings in the alps, but here is the most commonly requested paperwork: 

  • Passports of both partners
  • Proof of residency
  • Birth certificates
  • Documents verifying both parties are not currently married to another person (certificate of no impediment)
  • Financial Statements 

Generally, whatever country you get married in will want these documents professionally translated into the local language. 

Civil Marriages in Switzerland

Generally, only legal residents of Switzerland may participate in a civil wedding ceremony. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it depends on the canton and city you plan to get married in. If you’d like a civil wedding in the Swiss Alps, you’ll need to contact the local registry office for where you plan to get married. 

Should you choose a legal ceremony in Switzerland, your documents will need to be professionally translated into either German, French, or Italian and submitted to the Swiss Embassy. 

I suggest non-Swiss residents opt for a symbolic ceremony, so couples are free to hold their symbolic wedding in any location and save a few months of paperwork. 

Civil Weddings in France

If you’d like to get legally married in France, you can do so as a foreigner. At least one partner must have residency in France for a minimum of 40 days before the civil ceremony can take place though. Additionally, the residency needs to be in the same area you plan to get married. All the documents you’re required to submit for marriage must also be translated into French. 

Due to the minimum 40-day residency, most couples find it easiest to get legally married in their home country before or after holding their symbolic ceremony in France. 

Civil Weddings in Germany

In Germany, getting legally married as a foreigner is possible, but it requires a minimum 21-day residency in the country, and you cannot get married on a tourist visa. Additionally, it takes approximately 3 months to process all the necessary paperwork for a legal wedding ceremony in Germany.

All legal ceremonies must take place in German and a translator is required in case either partner is not fluent in the language. 

For the above reasons, most couples find it easier to get legally married in their home country and then enjoy a symbolic ceremony in Germany. 

Civil Weddings in Austria 

Having a civil wedding ceremony in Austria is quite simple, as Austria does not have any residency requirements. Foreigners can get married in Austria at the local registry office (Standesamt). There are some mountain hut locations that can hold legal ceremonies as well. To get married in Austria, you’ll want to contact the local registrar for where you planned to get married. In Vienna, for example, your marriage documents do not need to be translated into German, while other areas may require a German translation. Whether you’ll need to hire an interpreter can also vary depending on the area. It takes between 2-6 weeks for the legal paperwork to be processed and receive approval for a civil marriage in Austria. 

Civil Weddings in Italy

Holding a civil wedding in Italy is possible as a foreigner and can take place either in the local town hall or at another pre-approved outdoor location authorized to hold legal ceremonies. In Italy, you are not required to obtain residency before the wedding. Be sure to allow a couple of weeks to have the necessary paperwork processed before your planned legal wedding date. 

Civil Weddings in Slovenia

In Slovenia, legal weddings are possible to hold as a foreigner. There are also no residency requirements to hold a civil ceremony in Slovenia. To get married in Slovenia, you must submit the required paperwork between 6-12 months before your desired wedding date. Additionally, 8 days before the ceremony, you will be required to personally show up at the registrar's office to show your passport and translated birth certificates. Legal ceremonies take place in Slovene/Slovenian and an interpreter is required for those who don’t speak the language. 

Civil Weddings in Liechtenstein

As a foreigner, you cannot legally marry in Liechtenstein unless one partner is a resident of the country. Civil Weddings are quite regulated in Liechtenstein, so it is worth hiring a lawyer to sort out the legal details for you. 

Civil Weddings in Monaco 

Civil wedding marriage requirements in Monaco vary depending on your nationality. For U.S. residents wishing to marry in Monaco, you can hold a legally binding ceremony. Monaco does require at least one partner to reside in Monaco for a minimum of 30 days before announcing their intent to marry.

LGBTQIA+ Weddings in the Alps

The following countries legally recognize LGBTQIA+ weddings in the alps:

  • Germany,
  • France
  • Austria. 
  • Switzerland

I believe love + adventure is for *everyone*. You are celebrated here.

Symbolic Wedding Ceremonies in the Alps 

One perfect option for destination weddings in the alps is holding a symbolic wedding ceremony instead of a legal one. Any couple legally allowed to visit the alps can get symbolically married, and do so in any location they choose. When you choose a symbolic ceremony, you have the freedom to get married in the exact location you want, at any time of day (just imagine sharing sunrise or sunset vows!). Symbolic ceremonies allow you to skip the paperwork on your dream day, and focus on what really matters: the connection you and your partner share with each other and the stunning scenery that surrounds you. Whether you choose to hold your symbolic elopement wedding ceremony with just the two of you or hire a celebrant to lead, it’s certain to be memorable.

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. 

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, with the German Alps following closely behind (although I may be a bit biased since I live in Germany). For the unique and budget-friendly alps wedding locations, Slovenia takes 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 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. 

If there’s one thing that sets Switzerland apart from other alpine countries, it’s that there are incredible locations available at every adventure skill level that offer more seclusion overall. Alpine passes, scenic train rides, sunrise cable car excursions, and numerous mountainside hotels make this possible.

Privacy + Seclusion: During peak seasons, Switzerland can get crowded in a few select areas, but there are plenty of hidden gems. I also have some locations, tips, and tricks up our 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 on par with 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.

Swiss Alps Wedding Venues and Locations

Switzerland Wedding Venues

Here are some of the best venues for your Switzerland wedding 

Switzerland Wedding Locations

Below you’ll find some of my favorite locations for elopement weddings in the Swiss Alps 

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. 

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 and Locations

French Alps Wedding Venues 

Here are some of the best venues for your French Alps wedding 

French Alps Wedding Locations

Here are some of the best locations for your wedding in the French Alps 

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 glittering blue alpine lakes 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. 

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 September if you can.  

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. 

Italian Alps Wedding Venues and Locations

Italian Alps Wedding Venues 

Here are some of the best venues for your Italian Alps wedding 

Italian Alps Elopement Locations

Here are some of the best locations for your elopement wedding in the Italian Alps

Getting Married in the German Alps 

While not very well known for destination weddings, the German Alps are home to some of the most picturesque scenery in Europe and well worth visiting. 

Why You Should Elope in the German Alps: What I love about Germany is the variety of the area. The charming towns are painted colorfully, beer festivals are abundant,  and it’s not uncommon to look out your window and see paragliders sailing through the air. The German Alps are an attractive wedding location and also home to some of my favorite alpine lakes. If you want a cozy wedding, the German Alps is the perfect place. 

You can access my Germany elopement guide here.

Privacy + Seclusion: Moderate seclusion. In southern Germany, spending your free time outside is the standard. While tourists tend to crowd a few main locations, it’s not uncommon to share the trail with locals. In our experience, Germany is one of the best hiking elopement destinations. My husband, Scott and I, have shared countless sunrises and sunsets in total privacy on a summit. 

Cost: $$ Prices are similar to Austria. Lodging is one of the bigger expenses. 

German Alps Wedding Venues and Locations

German Alps Wedding Venues 

Here are some of the best venues for your German Alps wedding:

German Alps Elopement Locations

Here are some of the best locations for your elopement wedding in the German Alps:

* 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

Elopements in the Austrian Alps 

Elopement weddings in the Austrian Alps are slowly gaining popularity, and it’s no surprise why. From its sweeping mountain views, year-round glacier skiing, luxurious wellness spas, and rich history, the Austrian Alps have a little of everything. 

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 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. 

Austrian Alps Wedding Venues and Locations

Austrian Alps Wedding Venues 

Here are some of the best venues for your Austrian Alps wedding:

Austrian Alps Elopement Locations

Here are some of the best locations for your elopement wedding in the Austrian Alps:

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 by 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. 

Slovenian Alps (Julian Alps) Wedding Venues and Locations

Slovenian Alps Wedding Venues 

Here are some of the best venues for your Slovenian Alps wedding:

Slovenian Alps Elopement Locations

Here are some of the best locations for your elopement wedding in the Slovenian 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, August, and September 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. July, August, and September provide the most stable summer weather for mountain weddings and the trails are melted out. 

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, 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 Slovenia and Germany have begun to melt out in the alpine regions and the valleys fill with wildflowers. If you want to avoid peak tourism season and enjoy green meadows and snow-capped mountains, Slovenia and Germany make great Spring wedding destinations. 

Best time to hold a spring wedding in the alps: May, June

Summer Weddings in the Alps 

Summer weddings in the alps have to be 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 July and August being the busiest. If you have the flexibility, opt for late June 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 time to hold a summer wedding in the alps: Late-June, July, August, September

Fall Weddings in the Alps 

Fall Weddings in the alps require the most planning, since this time of year goes through a lot of transitioning weather. Additionally, Autumn weddings in the alps have a very short season. 

For the best chance of seeing fall colors on your wedding day, the last 2-3 weeks of October are generally the most brilliant, as long as there isn’t a cold snap. The best places to see fall colors in the alps are: 

  • Engadin, Switzerland
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Italian Dolomites
  • Julian Alps, Slovenia

It’s important to note that from October to early December, many hotels, resorts, cable cars, and other amenities in the region close or offer limited operating hours before the busy winter season begins. For this reason, if you want a fall wedding, you’ll want to do some research beforehand on your location and whether enough will be open for you to have your desired wedding. Autumn is a spectacular time for hiking though. 

Best time to hold a fall wedding in the alps: Mid to Late October

How to Plan a Wedding in the Alps (Step-by-Step)

1. Choose Your Elopement Wedding Date 

One of the first steps to getting married in the alps is choosing your elopement wedding date. Most vendors will require you to have a set date before booking. If you aren’t sure when, check out the section of this guide above that talks about the best times of year to get married in the alps! One of the most important factors is to consider what type of scenery and activities you want on your day. Still feeling stuck? Contact me to schedule your free consultation call and I can help give you my expert opinion based on your vision! 

2. Book Your Alps Wedding Photographer

Booking your alps Wedding Photographer or Photography Team is one of the most important vendors you’ll want to secure early on! As your alps wedding and elopement photographer, my services are so much more than showing up to take your photos. I help every booked couple each step of the way from providing exclusive planning guides, helping you choose the perfect elopement location, navigating what to pack, and building your elopement wedding timeline. I'm your local adventure expert! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, no matter how early on you are in exploring what your dream day can look like. I can help guide you through finding that vision! 

If you want to explore my pricing and packages, you can check them out by clicking here.

3. Brainstorm What You Want Your Day to Look Like

Once you’ve secured your dream alps wedding photographer team, it’s time to begin envisioning what your day can look like. Whether it’s a peaceful, sunrise ceremony, an epic hike to a summit, a romantic first look underneath towering peaks, or something else- I'm here to help you see the endless possibilities. My exclusive elopement guide for booked couples helps turn this brainstorming session into a fun date night! 

4. Decide on an Alps Wedding Location

After you’ve visualized what your ideal alps wedding day is going to look like, it’s time to choose an epic location (or locations). Through personalized questionnaires, I get your vision written down and then start getting to work on your custom location guide. In this guide, I take into consideration accessibility, types of scenery, seclusion, any restrictions on the location, and what time of day the best light is for photos. Upon receiving your wanderlust-inspiring list, it’s time to decide which jaw-dropping location is the one for you. 

5. Secure your travel and lodging in the Alps

Once a location is decided, it’s time to start securing your travel and lodging in the alps. Below you’ll find a couple of quick tips. 

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:

  • Geneva 
  • Bern 
  • Zurich 
  • Innsbruck 
  • Munich
  • Venice 

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 

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 

Throughout the alps, you’ll find a variety of accommodation options, from luxurious wellness spas to romantic chalets and cozy Airbnbs. Where you can stay can really add to your elopement experience. If you want great getting-ready images, I'd highly recommend taking the aesthetic of your accommodations into consideration. 

6. Plan Your Elopement Day Activities

Your adventure wedding in the alps has so many unique activity options. Whether you want to go sledding down a groomed track in the Bavarian Alps, stargaze at your igloo in the Swiss Alps, or plan a picnic in the mountains, it’s time to begin putting all your plans together.

7. Book Your Alps Elopement 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. 

For micro-weddings, I strongly suggest hiring an elopement planner early on in your wedding planning process. A wedding planner can help you secure a venue, decorations, and help arrange other details. I have a guide all about hiring a destination wedding planner that you can find here.

Gather Your Necessary Wedding and Travel Documents

Whether you’re getting married legally or symbolically in the alps, you’ll need to be sure you have all the necessary documents on hand for your trip. Be sure to pack your passports, confirmation of booked flights and lodging, etc.  

Since the pandemic, also be sure to stay up to date on changing travel regulations such as required vaccination documentation, negative PCR tests, or proof of recovery from COVID-19. 

Elope and Get Married in the Alps

It’s time to elope and get married in the alps! Your awe-inspiring day is here, and it’s sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. As your alps wedding photographer, you’ll also be sure to have incredible photos that document the experience. 

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?

Spectacular, Easy-to-Access Locations 

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. 

Breathtaking Views 

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
  • Glaciers

Unique Ideas for Your Alps Elopement 

Six unique ideas for your alps elopement adventure include: 

  1. 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.
  2. Climb a via-ferrata with a guide in the Italian Dolomites
  3. Spend a day relaxing at the lake before being whisked up Germany’s tallest mountain in a matter of minutes
  4. Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc and taste gourmet cheese and wine in the French Alps
  5. Toboggan down Switzerland’s longest groomed sledding run (it’s over 7.5 miles!)
  6. 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.

Elopement and Wedding Packages in the Alps 

It’s time to start planning your elopement wedding in the alps! If you need a team that will help make your alps elopement dreams come true, I'd love to help. You can view my Elopement and Wedding Packages in the Alps here

Contact me directly if you’d like to schedule a free consultation or receive a more detailed pricing guide for your destination wedding! 

Inspiration for your Alps Elopement

Want to get a glimpse into what your adventurous alps elopement can look like? Below you can see some inspiration for your alps wedding.

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