How To Plan A Ski Resort Winter Wedding In Europe

Is the idea of spending your hard-earned dollars on a wedding killing you, when you’d much rather be spending it on an awesome ski trip? I feel you! After my first snowboarding trip to the French Alps, I was so addicted to the mountain life that I came back to England and quit my job, and jumped on a plane to the Austrian Alps to spend a winter season in a ski resort. When your highlight of the year is your annual pilgrimage to the ski slopes, it’s hard to imagine spending your savings on anything else, especially a wedding. BUT it doesn’t need to be a choice between one thing or the other. What if you could plan a winter wedding in your favourite ski resort in Europe? Well, guess what – YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN! And I’m going to show you how.

Bride walks in ski boots to her wedding ceremony by Wild Connections Photography

How To Plan A Ski Resort Winter Wedding In The Alps

Which Ski Resort?

There will probably be a few factors that will be key in deciding which ski resort is the ideal location for your winter wedding. Things you’ll want to consider will probably include:
1. How easy is it to get to?
2. Can we/do we want to have our legal wedding here?
3. The costs involved
4. Are there activities for non-skiers?

Ski Resorts In Austria

Mayrhofen / Zillertal
Zell Am See / Kaprun
Kitzbühel / Kirchberg
Obergurgl / Sölden
St Anton / Lech
Innsbruck / Stubai
Pitztal

Ski Resorts In Switzerland

Wengen
Grindelwald
Zermatt
St Moritz
Davos
Engelberg
Verbier

Ski Resorts In Italy

Aosta Valley
Val Gardena
Cortina d’Ampezzo
Courmayeur
Alta Badia
Livigno

Ski Resorts in France

Val-d’Isère
Chamonix
Méribel / Val Thorens
Morzine
Alpe d’Huez

For some more information about wedding venues & wedding planners in the Alps, check out this Alps Wedding Planning Guide

Seefeld Wedding bride and groom kiss under the cable car which transports guests up the ski slope by Wild Connections Photography

When Is The Best Time To Plan A Ski Wedding?

Unfortunately, climate change is making the seasons increasingly hard to predict. As I’m writing this post, it’s mid-November in the Austrian Alps, the mountains are white and I’ve already had my first ski day of the winter season. BUT it isn’t always like this. For the last few years, winter has arrived late. Extremely late. It’s no longer a given that Christmas and New Year in the Alps will be white, so coming between mid-January and mid-April mean you’ll have the best chances of great skiing conditions.

Dates to Avoid In The Winter Season

February/March:

Whilst you might be inclined to think that the UK half-term week in February might also be a week to avoid, this isn’t always the case. The busiest weeks to avoid during the ski season are the weeks that coincide with Fasching (Carnival). This period before Lent coincides with Austrian, Swiss, German, Dutch & Belgian holidays (though rarely the UK holidays) and is always incredibly busy across ski resorts. If you’re unsure when the carnival period is just search for Fasching 2019/2020… for example.

Other Dates To Avoid:

Some ski resorts in host big festivals, such as Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria and Tomorrowland Winter in Alpe d’Huez, France. If you’re looking for a low-key setting for your wedding, avoiding these resorts/dates is the best way to go.

Bec and Dan posing with their skis in the snow on the wedding day in Austria

Ski Resort Wedding Logistics

How To Choose A Ski Wedding Venue

Picking the right venue for your ski resort wedding can have some logistical challenges that don’t come with your average wedding venue. Some of the most unique and authentic venues to give you that rustic ski chalet vibe are in the most stunning locations, usually up on the mountain in the middle of the ski resort. So planning how you are going to get everyone there (and home again) can be the biggest challenge. Getting there might be fairly straightforward if all of the people you are inviting can ski or snowboard, but often, the biggest challenge is getting everyone back down again. Most ski lifts close between 4-5pm, meaning that if you want to keep the party going through the evening in your mountain wedding venue, you’ll need to find an alternative way of getting back down. Different venues have different options, from paying for an evening ride on the ski lift to getting ski-doo or piste basher to transport everyone back down. One thing you’ll need to think about when choosing a venue on the mountain like this is that everyone will have to leave at set times, not simply when they are tired and ready to go home. That’ll also be the case for your vendors – you may need to keep them on for longer hours simply because they can’t get down until the first transport is arranged.

Guests arrive at the ski wedding by Ski-dooVinage ski wedding guestbook for this Zell Am See wedding in Austria by Wild Connections Photography

How To Go Skiing or Snowboarding In Your Wedding Clothes

1. Make Sure You Buy Outfits That Allow You To Move With Ease

When choosing your wedding outfits, keep in the back of your mind that you might want to hit the slopes in them. When you ski or snowboard you’re usually quite active in your movement, so just as you want clothes that won’t restrict you on the dancefloor, think about how you move when you’re on skis too and if you’ll be able to do that easily.

2. For Snowboarders

Think about how wide your stance is. For girls, a tightly fitted dress, or for guys tighter trousers may stop you from being able to stand in your usual wider stance, so make sure you test this when shopping for your wedding clothes. For brides, you’ll probably also want to re-think having a train on your wedding dress, as you could end up getting it stuck under the board every time you go for a heelside turn.

3. Research The Lift Situation

Chairlifts or cable cars are always preferable above drag lifts as not only are they more comfortable, but there’s less chance, especially for the bride, of getting the dress caught up in something.

4. Don’t Forget The Accessories

Whilst you might not want to put on a helmet and goggles, don’t forget to pack at least sunglasses if it’s going to be even slightly sunny, as there’s nothing worse than snow-blindness. And remember to pack a pair of socks so you don’t get blisters and have a jacket handy in case you need to cover up and keep warm.

5. Have A Competent Friend/Family Member Come Along

If you’ve got a jacket, bouquet or anything else that you want to bring on the shoot with you but perhaps not wear the whole time, having a competent skier or snowboarder in the wedding party who can tag along and hold stuff can be really helpful.

And don’t forget your lift passes!

A ski and snowboard wedding in Austria by Wild Connections Photography

 

Click on the links below for some real winter ski resort wedding inspiration

An Intimate Igloo Wedding in Mayrhofen
A Wedding On The Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel
A Snowboard Wedding in Zell Am See
An Apres-Ski Inspired Wedding in Jochberg

Ready to start planning your winter wedding in the Alps?

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