You said yes to the love of your life, and now you’re engaged! But perhaps you’ve started wedding planning, and you’re realised you don’t want a big expensive wedding, full of people that you feel obliged to invite. Then perhaps a crazy idea pops in to your minds. Why don’t we elope? Eloping is one of the most exciting and intimate ways to get married and start your new lives together as a married couple. One of the best things about having an elopement instead of a traditional wedding is that there are NO RULES! You can do whatever you like, and go wherever you want. And if you are picturing yourselves going to a big adventure to somewhere wild and beautiful, the Dolomites in Italy might just be the dream destination you’ve been searching for. The Dolomites have it all; spectacular views, adventure and alone time that you have been craving for. If you’re looking to fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and your spirit with adventure on your wedding day, then the Dolomites have so much to offer. They are home to some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery in Europe, maybe even the world (although I am pretty biased)! Living in the Tyrol region (which borders the Dolomites) for almost 10 years, I’ve discovered some of the most beautiful locations that would be perfect for your elopement. Whilst some of these locations are known world-wide for their stunning beauty, many of these locations are off-the-beaten-path, and more of a local secret. Some are easy to reach and others require a bit of effort, but the views you’ll see when you get there will make it well worthwhile.
This Dolomites elopement guide is here to help you plan the most incredible day of your lives.
Dolomites Elopement Guide – All You Need To Know
Some Background On The Dolomites
The Dolomites are a stunning mountain range in northeast Italy, part of the Southern Alps. They stretch across a number provinces, including South Tyrol, Trentino & Belluno, and in 2009 they became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’ve already done some research in to the area, you might have noticed that some parts of the northern areas of the Dolomites have two names. he northern-most area sits in a region known as South Tyrol. This area borders Austria and used to be part of the Austrian Empire. The majority of people in this area speak German first and Italian second (as well as the local language, Ladin). When visiting South Tyrol you’ll notice how they Austrian (Tyrolean) culture is very much evident here. As you move further south in to Trentino & Belluno, you’ll notice more Italian influences, with Italian being the only language spoken.
How To Get To The Dolomites
Despite being in Italy, many people overlook Austria as being one of the easiest gateways to the Dolomites. The closest airports to the Dolomites (depending on which province you are visiting) are Innsbruck, Verona and Venice. However, these airports mainly serve short-haul European carriers. For long-haul airlines from the USA, Australia or Asia, you’ll probably want to consider either Munich or Milan. Getting to the Dolomites, and getting around with public transport is possible, although you may find yourselves feeling restricted. Trains can get you to the out-lying towns, but to really get in to the heart of the Dolomites, you’ll have to take busses, which in some areas can only be a few times a day. If you want to explore lots of areas around the Dolomites, hiring a car certainly can come in pretty handy. Plus, there are some incredible mountain passes that are so much fun to drive (as long as you don’t have a nervous disposition)!
Marriage Regulations in Italy.
Both civil and catholic ceremonies are recognized as legally binding in Italy. The best thing about the Dolomites is that you do not have to be Italian to get married here. You will however, need to submit your paperwork a few months in advance to ensure that everything is set for the wedding day. Most civil ceremonies take place at the local government office but it is often possible to request an outdoor location in some areas too, as long as the local authorities have pre-approved it. The civil wedding ceremony is conducted by the local mayor or another government official in either Italian or German. For couples that don’t speak Italian or German, a translator is required. However, if you aren’t too fussed about doing all the legal paperwork on the day of your elopement, you could do like many couples and sort the legal stuff out at home so that you can create a truly personal and unique elopement day. Unfortunately Italy doesn’t yet recognise marriage equality so that could be another reason to get the legal part taken care of separately.
(Alternatively, you could consider the region of Tirol in the Austrian Alps if you are looking for an LGBTQ+ civil ceremony).
When To Go
It is crucial to know the seasons in the Dolomites to determine the time of the year when you will get married. Winter usually starts around the end of November and ends mid-April, although there can still be snow on many of the trails until the end of June. Therefore, if you want a skiing elopement or have your wedding in the snow, the best time to go is between Christmas and Easter. However, it is crucial to note that many locations will not be accessible in the winter as they are during summer. Shoulder season is usually the period between mid-April to mid-June and mid-October through mid-December, and this is when many of the hotel, ski lifts and mountain huts close down. If you are dreaming of a hiking elopement, you’ll want to consider the end-June until mid-October, as this is when the trails are usually free from snow and the mountain huts are open. During the summer months you’ll also find lots of epic Via Ferrata routes and more adrenaline fuelled activities such as paragliding or climbing.
Picking The Perfect Location
The Dolomites have been gaining huge popularity on social media, with more and more visitors coming from around the world every year. Some of the locations in the Dolomites are easily accessible year-round by car and ski lifts such as the famous Lago di Braies and Seceda. However, the majority of these locations are super busy, and can lack privacy, which might not be what you are looking for for your intimate elopement. If you want to beat the crowds, there are a few tricks, such as visiting locations in the off-season, getting there for sunrise, hiking or finding an equally beautiful, but less “insta-famous” location. Or of course, you could charter a private helicopter!
The Right Photographer
An elopement isn’t complete without the right photographer to capture this incredible adventure for you. You’ll want to have an experienced elopement photographer, who is also a local expert, and that’s where I come in! I’m an award-winning adventure wedding & elopement photographer, and I’m based not far from the Dolomites. As a local expert, I’m here to help guide you through the whole process of planning your elopement in the Dolomites. From helping you find an epic location, sharing my local contacts with you and helping you plan the perfect elopement day timeline, I’m here as your Dolomites elopement guru!
Want to see some of my previous Dolomites elopements?
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