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Welcome to the enchanting world of elopements in Switzerland, where majestic mountains, picturesque lakes, and charming villages create an idyllic backdrop for your intimate celebration of love. In this Switzerland elopement guide, you’ll find all the most important information that you need to plan your dream elopement adventure.
This guide is written for you, by three Swiss elopement expert photographers. So, whether you dream of exchanging vows on a snow-capped peak, by a serene lake, or within the historic charm of a Swiss chalet, this comprehensive guide is tailored to ensure your elopement becomes an unforgettable and seamless experience.
From crafting the perfect itinerary to curating personalized touches that reflect your unique love story, let us assist you in creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime amidst Switzerland’s natural splendor.
Meet Your Local Switzerland Experts
6 Reasons To Consider Switzerland For Your Elopement
Diversity of Landscapes
Morgane: Swiss nature has everything you could wish for for a beautiful day (apart from beaches maybe?). The landscapes are really diverse, from huge mountain ranges, to forests with all different kinds of vibes, hills, wildflower meadows, and of course stunning alpine lakes. The really big plus is that to get those views, you don’t have to hike for 6 hours most of the time. Swiss people made it their goal in life to get you as high up as you want, as easily as possible. There are cable cars and mountain trains in a lot of areas, and most of the time you can also drive up there, which makes it really convenient.
All kinds of Accomodation
Morgane: Whether you want to treat yourself with a really nice hotel overlooking a lake, or get the traditional Swiss vibes in a rustic mountain hotel with the sounds of cows to wake you up, we have an option for you. This also means that you can really prioritise things based on your budget!
Centric Location Within Europe
Morgane: Switzerland is really at the center of Europe, which makes it easy for you to make the most of your overseas trip, and discover other neighbouring countries. France, Italy, Germany and Austria are all easily reachable via train!
Switzerland’s Alpine Lakes
Christine: If you’re a sucker for beautiful alpine lakes, you should consider eloping in Switzerland. Switzerland has countless glittering blue lakes to choose from, and dozens of possible activities. Whether you want to take a boat tour, rent a SUP board, go swimming, or even rent your own hut tub boat, there are so many possibilities!
Amazing Elopement Locations to Choose from
Christine: One incredible reason to elope in Switzerland is there are so many amazing elopement locations to choose from. Switzerland’s extensive cable car, cogwheel train, and funicular systems offer easy ways to access breathtaking elopement spots. You don’t have to walk or hike far to experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps.
Switzerland’s a Great Place to Honeymoon too
Christine: Eloping in Switzerland provides the best way to combine your wedding and honeymoon trip into one. For starters, Switzerland packs a variety of scenery into a small geographical area, meaning you can easily experience glaciers in one day and relax by palm trees on the next (yes, really!). On top of that, Switzerland is centrally located, making it perfect for honeymoon travel. Switzerland makes a great base if you want to explore nearby countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, or France, without any complicated logistics.
Planning Your Trip To Switzerland
How To Get To Switzerland
Main Airports and Train Stations
Switzerland has several airports that connect with other European cities, as well as overseas. Thos are Geneva, Zürich, and Basel. By train, there are direct connections to Paris, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam,Vienna, and other cities as well. Night Trains are being added also, to offer eco-friendly alternatives to the plane.
How To Travel Around
Christine: Switzerland has a robust public transportation, making travel within the country quite simple. Most trains runs every 30-60 minutes, and there are buses that run regularly too. If you’re coming from abroad, it’s worth checking out the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Travel Pass gives you free travel by train, bus, and boat, on top of cable car and excursion discounts. With that being said, I do recommend renting a car on the day of your elopement, especially if you’ll be in the mountains. Driving is still the most efficient way to get around. Renting a car makes it easy to go out early for sunrise, or stay out late and watch the stars, despite the trains and buses being done for the day.
Morgane: It all depends on your needs!. Switzerland really has one of the best train systems in Europe, which is generally reliable, and can get you anywhere. There are also lots of cogwheel trains and cable cars, especially in touristic areas. But careful! Those usually go down the mountains around 5pm and no later. This means that if you want sunset pictures, your photographer will have to take that into consideration. Most touristic companies also close for a few weeks before summer and winter season. If you plan on moving a lot, and have lots of luggage (especially with your wedding attire in it!), sometimes renting a car can be a good idea too!
>> Related Reading – How to Elope With Kids
What’s The Best Time of Year To Elope in Switzerland?
Spring in Switzerland
Morgane: There’s beauty in every season! For your spring elopement, I’d recommend visiting in May, as it’s usually a sunnier month, and it’s where the wildflowers are in full bloom. A lot of mountain roads and cable cars are also closed before May. The weather is generally nice, not too hot, and not too cold.
Malin: Spring in Switzerland can be absolutely amazing with it’s flowery meadows, but there are a few things to consider. It’s hard to predict in advance when the snow line has gone up enough for your location. It’s good to pick a spot where you have the possibility to go low if the snow is melting slowly. You should contact your photographer/planner before picking a date and a spot. And be prepared for a plan B.
Summer in Switzerland
Malin: Summer in Switzerland with its inland climate can be very hot, sometimes 30 – 35 degrees. In peak season I recommend going high as temperatures are more reasonable. If you want to avoid the crowds and fully booked hotels come outside of the school holidays that are usually July to mid August. This is the time to elope if you want mild sunrise and sunset experiences.
Morgane: If you like warm weather more, summer will be your first choice! It can get really hot in cities, and the temperatures are better in the mountains, which makes it a perfect time for your elopement. We have really frequent summer storms though, so planning for a sunrise adventure might be a good trick to avoid them, as they can get pretty intense.
Fall in Switzerland
Morgane: Autumn/fall is of course magical, with the trees turning orange and yellow, which makes an amazing contrast with the blue water from alpine lakes when it’s sunny! The weather can get pretty moody, and I’m all about that vibe. I’d recommend visiting in October, as this is when the colours look the best, and mountain roads are still open.
Malin: Switzerland in the fall is great as you have much less people around and amazing glowing landscapes with it’s orange larches (depending on area – do check with your planner/photographer where to go) . The larches glow most of the time around October. It can be a little risky to go that late as you never know in advance when the first snowfall will come. September can be a good compromise and a generally mild month but the first colder periods might come at that time so be prepared for really chilly mornings and evenings.
Winter in Switzerland
Malin: If you love snow and cold, this is the time to go! Perhaps you are a passionate skier and want a skiing/snowboarding elopement in one of the cute resorts. Crisp, snowy landscapes are magical for elopements. Perhaps combining a bath in a jacuzzi with a view of Matterhorn?
Morgane: If you’re not afraid of the cold, a winter elopement might be for you. The Alps really do get stunning in that season, and it makes for a magical experience. Imagine hiking in the snow, and finishing the day in a cosy chalet! To maximise chances of snow, I’d recommend booking your elopement in the months of January or February, as this is when it usually snows the most.
Trip planning resources for your visit to Switzerland
How to get married in Switzerland
Legal marriage ceremonies in Switzerland
Morgane: Securing a date for your legal wedding in Switzerland can be pretty difficult, even when you live in Switzerland, as the administrative side can be laborious. From what I’ve seen and heard, I would recommend getting legally married in the country you live in, and doing a symbolic ceremony here. Getting married officially requires you to be in a certain place at a certain time of day, and you need two witnesses, which can take away the freedom of doing an elopement in the first place.
LGBTQ+ Marriages in Switzerland
Malin: Same-sex couples can marry in Switzerland from July 1st 2022 and the country is generally a country that protects the rights of LGBTQ people and other human rights.
Top Swiss Elopement & Wedding Locations
8 Top Elopement Locations in Switzerland
- Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Lausanne, Switzerland
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Grindelwald, Switzerland
- Oeschinensee, Switzerland
- Gstaad, Switzerland
- Appenzell, Switzerland
How to choose perfect location for your elopement
Malin: Definitely trust your photographer/planner about this. It all comes down to which landscapes you are dreaming of, what activities you like, wishes and if you have special limitations in movement (or your guests).
How to avoid the crowds in Switzerland
Morgane: Avoiding the crowds is easier than you may think! One major tip is to choose a location that isn’t very heavily advertised for tourists. You can definitely ask your photographer for suggestions of secluded locations if that’s important to you. The other way to avoid the crowds is to do a sunrise elopement, as there probably won’t be anyone else on top of the mountain at 6AM! Some locations are also accessible mostly by cable car, which close after 5PM, but there sometimes is a way to hike down, which means that most people will be gone after 5PM.
Malin: You avoid the crowds by staying up in a mountain hut on the mountains during the week. Do your ceremony at sunset or at sunrise. Also pick a date that is outside of the school holidays. If you want to elope daytime and if you are not looking for the most known/epic locations you can also find beautiful locations that are a bit more off the beaten track.
How much does it cost to get married in Switzerland
Malin: Your wedding is a once in lifetime experience and a memory you will keep forever. While big weddings cost a fortune, you can get the costs down a lot with an elopement. The advantage is that you spend the money on an adventure rather than on decorations and food.
Morgane: While big weddings cost a lot because of guests, and thus food and venue, elopements can really adapt to your budget. As there are less people involved, you can decide to splurge on a luxury day, or not! If you want to treat yourself to a 5* hotel, a designer dress or suit, and other small luxuries, go ahead! But you can also make it more budget-friendly, shop second-hand for your attire, sleep in a rustic mountain hotel, or have a pic-nic if you fancy it. As long as the focus of the day is on what’s important to you, you do you.
Switzerland Luxury Elopement Costs
Below are some rough costs for a luxury elopement in Switzerland, based on what past couples have spent on luxury elopements in Switzerland:
- Business Class Flights from the USA to Switzerland – $5000
- Hotel, 2 night stay, luxury – $900 USD (750 CHF)
- Photographer – $9,500 USD (8000 CHF)
- Videographer – $8000 USD (7000 CHF)
- Hair/makeup – $800 USD (750CHF)
- Helicopter Tour – $2000 USD (1500 CHF)
- Wedding Dinner – $500 USD (600 CHF)
- Bouquet – $475 USD (400 CHF)
- Floral Decorations – $6000 USD (5000 CHF)
- Celebrant/Officiant – $3500 USD (3000 CHF)
- Transportation (car rental or train) – $475 USD (400 CHF)
- Private chef – $575 USD (500 CHF)
- Musicians – $1150 USD (1000 CHF)
- Dress – $3000 USD
- Suit – $2000 USD
Total – $43,000 USD
Switzerland Affordable Elopement Costs
You don’t have to have a 5* hotel or a helicopter tour to make your elopement in Switzerland utterly memorable. Below is a breakdown of the average costs of a more modest elopement in Switzerland:
- Flights from the USA to Switzerland – $3000
- Rustic Mountain Hotel, 2 night stay – $300 USD (250 CHF)
- Photographer – $7000 USD (6000 CHF)
- Hair/makeup – $800 USD (750 CHF)
- Wedding Dinner – $175 USD (150 CHF)
- Bouquet – $250 USD (200 CHF)
- Celebrant/Officiant – $3500 USD (3000 CHF)
- Transportation (car rental or train) – $475 USD (400 CHF)
- Musicians – $700 USD (600 CHF)
- Dress – $1000 USD
- Suit – $500 USD
Total – $18,000 USD
Biggest Switzerland Elopement Planning Mistakes Couples Make?
Not Packing Warm Enough Clothing
Christine: One mistake a see couples frequently make is to underestimate the weather, specifically temperature, at their elopement location. During the summer, you may be tempted to only pack light, summery clothing. In the mountains, it’s not uncommon to have summer temperatures drop to 0°C overnight, making for chilly mornings and evenings. I always suggest packing a puffy jacket.
Prioritising a Specific Elopement Date over Experience
Christine: When heading to a mountainous elopement destination like the Swiss Alps, selecting your elopement date can play a large role in the type of experience you’ll have. For example, many couples envision getting married during the spring time, but don’t realize that the majority of locations aren’t accessible during this season due to snow, slush, and mud. Other couples hope to go in the off-season, when there are fewer crowds and prices are cheaper. In doing so, they don’t realize hotels may be on break, and mountain transportation such as cable cars are closed. I’d highly recommend prioritizing your elopement date based on the type of scenery you’d like most and what activities are available, over a specific number on the calendar.
Morgane: To add to what Christine says: really do ask your local photographer on the initial call before getting your mind set on a specific date or time, they’ll know which questions to ask to get an idea of what your needs and wishes are!
Not Realising How Much Time Everything Takes
Morgane: A lot of the time, couples tend to only want a few hours of the day documented. What you have to realise, is that EVERYTHING takes more time than you think on an elopement day. Getting ready, preparing your bags to head out, hiking in wedding attire,… Plus, you’ll really want to have time to enjoy the day, as you probably decided to elope to have a more chill kind of day!
How To Make Your Swiss Elopement More Sustainable
Visit outside of high season
There are certain months where tourism is much higher in Switzerland, which can put a strain on local resources as well as causing overcrowding in some popular locations. Traveling outside of the peak season will help reduce the impact you have.
Avoid The Most Heavily Touristed Locations
As with traveling in high season, some locations in Switzerland get a LOT more visitors than others, contributing to over-tourism. While it can be tempting to plan your elopement in these desirable locations, Switzerland has so many incredible places to see, that you can experience with much more privacy than if you were visiting one of the hotspots.
If you do have your heart set on one of the more famous locations, consider visiting outside of the peak season, and outside of peak times (such as early morning or later in the evening).
Especially if you’re flying to Switzerland from overseas, plan to extend your stay, spend your honeymoon here too. The carbon emissions from your flights often represent a significant portion of the overall emissions associated with a trip. If you stay in a location longer, you’ll distribute the emissions from the flight over a more extended period, making each day’s emissions lower on average.
Travel by Train
Since you’re staying longer, why not plan to see more. Switzerland is known for its fantastic rail network, so why not make use of it while you are here. You could also travel to other neighbouring countries, such as Austria, France, Germany or Italy by train too, as there are a number of international train connections throughout Switzerland. Opting for economy rather than first class tickets will also help lower your carbon footprint.
Work With Local Vendors
What is the benefit of working with local vendors in Switzerland?
Christine: One of the top reasons you should work with an experienced Switzerland elopement vendor is that they’ll know the ins and outs of helping you have the adventure you’re dreaming of. A local vendor will know the best places to visit, how to find more privacy at your location, where to avoid, and unique seasonal considerations. A local vendor is also more likely to be familiar with less-touristed locations, fun activities, and even general travel advice while you’re in the area. Local vendors are passionate about the areas they work, and are excited to share them with you!
The Knowledge and Help of a Local
Morgane: The undisputable advantage of working with someone local, is that they’ll really know the intricacies of the country. It’ll be reassuring for you to navigate your elopement with someone that lives in the country where you want to elope. If anything happens, they’ll know what to do, who to call, etc. They’ll know what the weather is like, how to pack for every specific time, and so much more.
Knowing the Hidden Gems
Morgane: You can probably find all the main elopement locations of Switzerland online, on touristic websites. But you won’t find the true hidden gems on there, as someone that lives here would. Local photographers also use tools to search for locations that may be used only in the country.
Name: Christine Madeux
Business Name: Made in the Mountains Photo
Based in: Germany
Business Type: Photography + Videography