Elopement in Wengen, Switzerland

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Amanda and Kayla had a vision for their Swiss elopement. They wanted to become one with the environment and nature of Wengen.  For them, it was important that while they could enjoy the spectacular scenery they wanted to do so respectfully.  

When local Wengen videographer & photographer Emma from Story of Your Day worked with them on planning the location, she realized the biggest challenge would be getting to there in their wedding gowns. But she had a cunning plan…

On the day of their elopement in Wengen, local farmer Hans not only granted the couple access to his land high up in the Alps and overlooking the Jungfrau and the valley beyond, but he also drove them to their location on his tractor, dressed in his traditional Swiss Trichler (Bell Ringing) costume.

After a beautiful hand-tying ceremony, with Hans the only witness, the ladies hiked through the forest and visited lots of beautiful spots along the way.

Wengen elopement film by Story of Your Day

Why should couples consider Wengen for their elopement?

Emma: The Bernese Overland overall is absolutely stunning and the Jungfrau Region within it offers the most spectacular mountain views as well as crystal blue lakes in the valleys below.  Wengen is often overlooked because more people know of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.  But Wengen is a traffic-free village, it’s everything you think of when you think of a Swiss mountain village.  As well as being a popular ski resort it’s now equally as popular in the summer months for hiking.

Whether you’re thinking of a wintery elopement on skis for an adventure, hiking in the beautiful mountains or just want stunning, jaw-dropping views then Wengen in Switzerland is an absolutely perfect elopement location.

Do couples require any special permits or permissions from landowners to get married here?

Emma: The simple answer is YES!  While it’s fine to stay on the hiking paths and official walking routes … holding your elopement or proposal is strictly not permitted on private land, without permission.

The exact spot where Kayla and Amanda actually ‘tied their hand-fasting knot’ was on the private land of a local farmer who is also a family friend.  At the time there were no cows in the field because he had kindly relocated them for us and also brought down the fences so we could stand in the field for the perfect position with spectacular views as the backdrop.

The second location, where we filmed and photographed a short portrait session, was further down, a little lower than the village of Wengen.  Around this spot it is known for its views and again the same permissions apply. Stick to the official walking or hiking routes but respect the private surrounding land. 

Two brides have their elpoement wedding ceremony in a greeen meadow in Wengen in the Swiss Alps

What sustainability considerations are particularly important in this area?

It’s so important to appreciate that this area comprises lots of private land used by the local farmers.  They do not want the spring grass trampled down just before it’s due to be cut and nor do they want the local nature and beautiful flowers in the area ruined by tourists.  And that doesn’t just mean those hiking in the area but also those seeking beautiful elopement spots.  It’s essential to work closely with the local community to understand what areas are affected. 

 Unfortunately, many photographers come from out of the area and concentrate only on the shot and the background (and not where they have to be to get that perfect shot).

The other problem that is happening increasingly in the area is the fact that some people are having so-called elopements that are in fact intimate weddings – with between 6 to 20 guests. They find a spot to have their ceremony and not only are they on private land, but so too are their guests.

As a local videographer and photographer in Wengen, I am often contacted by the farmers to ask for my help. I can only urge others to show respect for the land, and ask permission, and if no permission is sought, then do not go there.

Secondly, when you leave the area, in then it’s vital you ‘leave no trace’ … this is another way of respecting the local environment and nature in the area.

Further down the valley in Lauterbrunnen, the Gemeinde (council office) is currently putting a task force in place to stop what they call the one-day tourists who violate the land. As a local ‘Swisstainable’ elopement photographer and videographer, I am helping them with their mission. 😉

Two brides stand on a gravel road with green meadows on either side. In the background are mountains of the Swiss Alps

Emma’s Top Tips for Eloping in Wengen

– Work with a Local Supplier for Best Outcome

Collaborating with local suppliers who are well-versed in the area is invaluable. They have insider knowledge of secret, picturesque locations that may not be known to outsiders, access and permissions that non-locals might not be able to attain, and can usually be more flexible to work around the weather. Insider information can make your elopement truly unique and unforgettable.

– Prepare for All Weather Conditions – Know Your Seasons

Switzerland on the whole can be unpredictable when it comes to weather and in mountainous regions, even more so.  Your local supplier will know the weather patterns and when to plan for the best outcome.   Whatever the season, it’s crucial to prepare for various conditions, even if you’re planning a summer elopement. Pack appropriate clothing, have umbrellas on standby, and be ready for sudden changes in weather. Research the best seasons for your desired experience, whether it’s a snow-covered wonderland in winter or lush meadows in spring and summer.

– Be Prepared to Hike for Secluded Spots

Are you a ‘hiker’ or a ‘HIKER’ – this is something I establish very early on with my clients to understand their limitations.  To find the most breathtaking and private elopement locations, be ready for a bit of adventure. Hiking and walking can lead you to hidden gems away from the tourist crowds. Ensure you have comfortable footwear and are physically prepared for these outdoor excursions – any good elopement photographer and videographer will help you prepare.

– Avoid Peak Season in Summer (June to August)

While the summer months offer stunning landscapes, they also attract the most tourists. Consider eloping during the shoulder seasons or even in the off-season to avoid crowded areas and to have a more intimate experience with nature. Spring and early autumn can offer quieter moments with less foot traffic.

Two brides walk hand in hand down a street in the village of Wengen. There are traditional Swiss wooden houses on obth sides of the street.

– Budget for Lift Passes

If your elopement involves accessing higher-altitude locations, such as mountaintop vistas, be sure to factor in the cost of lift passes. These passes can grant you easy access to otherwise hard-to-reach places and provide stunning panoramic views for your special day.

– Avoid Tourist Traps

Steering clear of tourist traps ensures that your elopement remains a personal and intimate experience. Seek out lesser-known, authentic spots to create a more genuine connection with the region and its culture. Working closely with local suppliers can help you discover these hidden locations.

Any other advice or tips you would like to share based on your experience?

If you want to get the best out of an area, always use a local supplier who knows the place inside and out, has good connections, good access, and good relationships with locals. Not only that, they will always be more flexible to work around the weather. I often give clients a three-day window and we choose the best day to film and photograph.  This amount of flexibility is often tricky for a supplier from outside the area.

If you don’t like the idea of tame and want more extreme hiking it’s well worth knowing that in the area there are many more adventurous trails that lead to overnight huts.   Spending a night in one of these huts can allow you to witness breathtaking sunrises or sunsets in remote, high-altitude locations. Just make sure to plan accordingly and book hut accommodations in advance.

Vendor Credits

Photography & Videography – Story of Your Day
Celebrant – Marylin Rebelo

The Photos

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