Photo of a bride and groom kissing with mountains behind them and a reflection of them from above from the mirrored glass of the IceQ restaurant modern architecture
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Micro-Wedding in Sölden, Austria

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Why Is Sölden A Great Elopement Location?

Sölden, and the Ötztal valley in general, makes for a great base for a mountain elopement adventure. Sölden is a world-famous ski resort, hosting the first World Cup race of the winter ski season. In the summer it’s an adventurer’s dream, with countless hiking, mountain biking, and climbing opportunities. For the adrenaline seekers, there’s also white water rafting and kayaking here too.

The town of Sölden probably is the most popular town to stay in the Ötztal valley, and offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury spa hotels to rustic farmhouses.

The Ötztal valley isn’t only for adventurers though. With Austria’s highest gourmet restaurant IceQ, the 007 Elements installation and the AquaDome thermal spa, there are plenty of things to do that won’t make you break into a sweat.

I personally love Sölden because you can see glaciers in almost all directions when you’re standing on the top of the mountain. You really get that high-altitude feeling up here.

Cat, Photographer

Can You Get Married in Sölden?

Yes – and that’s what makes it such a great elopement location. Anyone can get legally married here if that’s what they want. Austria supports marriage equality too, so it’s a great place for anyone, including LGBTQ+ couples who want to get legally married abroad.

However, for many couples, having their legal ceremony abroad adds some extra costs (and stress) to the day. Paperwork must be translated into German and needs to be submitted in advance of the wedding day.

Bride and groom stand close together with the groom's arms around the bride's waist. They are looking off into the distance with the mountains of Sölden in Austria in the background behind them.

Sölden Elopement Planning Tips

Decide if you want a legal ceremony

While it is possible to get legally married in Sölden (and other areas in the Ötztal valley), there are only a small number of mountain locations where it can take place. Otherwise, you’ll need to go to the local government offices to sign the paperwork. While some couples choose to make things legal on their trip, many opt to sort the legalities out separately and enjoy a bit more freedom in planning by skipping the red-tape and planning a symbolic ceremony instead.

Consider Guests Ability

If, like Sarah & Glen, you want to celebrate with your friends and family, make sure their abilities and general comfort are considered when choosing your location. Anyone with limited mobility, or small children may find some locations too difficult to access, so it’s important to not only work with someone who knows the area, but also in some cases check it out yourself in the days beforehand so you know if it’s suitable for them.

Close up of a wedding party toasting with champagne glasses

Bring warm layers, even in summer

If you’re up on the top of the mountain, which is 3000m above sea level, even in the height of summer it can get really cold if there is a strong wind. Make sure you (and any guests) have a warm, windproof jacket just in case.

Mountain Lifts Offer Easy Access but Limited Privacy

If you want those super high mountain views, but don’t want to hike to get them, then you’ve got the option of taking one of Sölden’s mountain lifts that will fast-track you high into the mountains. But with this ease of access comes one major drawback. It’s easy for everyone else too. So don’t expect to find much privacy. If you want to get away from other people, take the first lift up at the start of the day, and be prepared to walk a little but away from the spots where most people gather.

Bride and groom walk hand in hand towards the top station of the Gaislachkogel cable car in Sölden. There is a summit cross in front of them.

Tips for a More Sustainable Elopement in Sölden

Public Transport Is Great

The whole valley can be accessed fairly easily and conveniently with public transport – which is just what Sarah & Glen’s families did. From the city of Innsbruck, you can take a train to Ötztal Bahnhof at the opening of the valley, and from there change to a bus service that takes you into the valley.
– Check out VVT for public transport information.

Leave No Trace

When adventuring out in the mountains, it’s important to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines. Not only does this help protect the natural environment, but it also is a sign of respect to the local communities and will help to keep you safe.

Some common areas to pay attention to in the Ötztal area include:

  • Grazing cattle – transhumance has been practiced in the Alps for hundreds of years. In many alpine meadows, you’ll likely come across grazing cows, goats, and sheep. While they may seem friendly and curious about you, it’s important to keep your distance.
  • Altitude – Sölden and the villages at the end of the valley are some of the highest villages in Tirol. It’s important to remember that altitude can affect everyone, and even at 1500m above sea level, the effects can be noticed. You’ll dehydrate quicker, the effects of alcohol can be felt faster and more strongly, and the sun will burn you quicker (even when it feels cold).
  • Mountain weather – It’s important to keep updated on the mountain weather and be flexible with your plans. High winds and storms can sometimes close down the whole mountain, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got backup plans in place and don’t get caught up on the mountain when the weather turns.

Vendor Credits

Photography – Wild Connections Photography
Hair – Friseur Grüner Sölden
Dress – Luca Sposa
Suit – Belance Tailors
Venue – IceQ Sölden
Photoshoot location – 007 Elements
Flowers – Kapferer Längenfeld
Hotel – Vaya Sölden

The Photos

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