Chamonix-Inspired Mountaineering Elopement in Tirol – Ben & Sai

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Ben & Sai wanted their elopement to be inspired by how they got engaged – on the summit of Mont Blanc in Chamonix. As die-hard mountaineering fans, they wanted that high alpine feel, with snow, glaciers dramatic mountains and an overnight stay in a mountain hut. However, instead of returning to Chamonix in France for their elopement, where legal ceremonies aren’t possible, they chose Austria instead. There was just one challenge to overcome – they wanted to get married on an auspicious date in the Hindu calendar, and the only date they could find was at the beginning of June.

If you’re someone who also loves mountaineering, you might know that early June in the Alps is still very much spring. There is often still snow on the high trails, and for that reason, many of the mountain huts don’t open their doors until later in the month. Because of that, there weren’t many options of trails and huts that I could suggest to them, but after a lot of searching, I found the perfect hut – surrounded by glaciers and opening on the exact day they wanted to elope. However, being the cautious person that I am, I told them to be prepared for the unexpected, as I’ve experienced huts delaying their openings before due to the weather and snow conditions.

All winter, the Alps recieved very little snow, so I was hopeful that there wouldn’t be too much snow on the trail to the hut. But then April came, and with it a huge amount of new snowfall. In the days and weeks leading up to their elopement, I watched the weather and webcams like someone obsessed, as the snow just seemed to hang around.

The Risks Of Planning An Alps Elopement in June

The Friday before their elopement the following Tuesday, I decided to visit the location and test the hike. A diversion right from the start meant a longer hike, but the access road had been cleared of snow so I was optimistic. But at the point where the trail left the road, the snow began. With the hut still being closed, nobody had yet hiked the trails, so we were left postholing on steep mountainsides.

As a hiking guide, I knew that this trail wasn’t safe or suitable for us. And if it was just a group hike, not an elopement, I’d have said NO instantly when I saw the state of the trail. But knowing this was their elopement, and it was their dream location, I’ll be completely honest and say that coming to that decision was HARD! I felt the responsibility for their happiness, and I knew this location was exactly what they wanted. But the rational side of me knew it was too risky, and taking them (and the videographer & makeup artist) up there would be irresponsible.

So the decision was made – we weren’t going to the original hut. So with just a few days to plan a backup, I sent them over a couple of options, and on their feedback, I went and tested out the trail to their preferred backup. And it was free of snow. So plan B was a GO!

High alpine views to resemble Chamonix, bride and groom stand in the snow in down jackets over their wedding clothes

Ben & Sai’s Story (in their words)

Tell me about how you got engaged?

The mountains have always been such a special place for us. Our souls feel most at peace when we are in the mountains. We have both been passionate hikers and climbers our whole lives. In the summer of 2022 we visited the Alps together for the first time and sumitted many mountains around Chamonix and Zermatt in preparation for our ultimate goal of climbing Mont Blanc. We were very lucky with a weather window at the end of a hot summer and successfully climbed Mont Blanc. At the summit in very high winds Ben knelt down and proposed (not that Sai could hear much in the 80km/h winds!). Our guide, Jordi Tosas, had been with us for seven days and knew from the beginning of the tour of Ben’s secret plan. He warned Ben of the risk of leaving the proposal until the final summit but it is testament to his experience and skill that he was able to safely get us to summit and give Ben his moment. He was able to take a great photo as well!

Any funny stories leading up to your elopement?

The day before our elopement our “easy and relaxing” 4 hour hike in the Pitztal Valley accidentally turned into a 12 hour day when we got slightly lost in the snow! Despite this we found ourselves so relaxed at dinner because we knew Cat had made the whole experience so seamless and organised. In no other circumstance would a bride go on a 12 hour hike the day before her wedding day!

How did you decide on your location?

We love being off the beaten track away from people and exploring every part of the mountains, especially the ones that are less well known. We also wanted to get legally married and, as Australians, this narrowed it down to Italy and Austria. We knew we wanted a high altitude location in the snow and near glaciers. Luckily there was late spring snow which meant there was snow at lower altitudes. We will be forever grateful for Cat’s guidance and expertise in scouting locations that were amazing and fit the brief. She knew we were happy to hike to the most remote locations and as a hiking guide herself she was keen for this as well.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in planning your wedding/elopement?

Being Australian and wanting to get legally married was challenging and required being organised and took about 6 months to prepare documents. Luckily Cat put us in touch with a wedding planner, Stephanie, who guided us every step of the way and was even there to facilitate on the day of our civil ceremony.

What is your favourite moment/memory from the day?

Sai – stepping onto the snow at 4.30am for sunrise vows and watching the sunrise over the distant mountain peaks. Hearing my fiancé read his vows in Tamil (my mother tongue). I also loved that it was minus 5 degrees and I was wearing a strapless dress!

Ben – seeing my fiancé for the first time in her incredible dress, surrounded by the mountains in their sunset Alpenglow was absolutely incredible and something I will never forget.

Is there anything you are really glad you did? Or didn’t do?

  • We are actually so happy and proud that we didn’t tell family beforehand – this allowed us to keep the experience so personal and intimate. It allowed us to be present and we totally immersed ourselves in each others company and in the mountains
  • We brought printed photos of family members with us and spent an evening in the Rifugio sticking them into our vow books. This made us feel like we had family with us
  • We are glad that we didn’t get emotionally attached to our location – our location changed 3 days before our elopement. Ironically due to the snow we wanted! Cat executed her backup plan seamlessly and by embracing the entire experience without any preconceived ideas it didn’t stress or affect our enjoyment or happiness on the day

What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

Listen to your gut instinct and follow your heart. Do something that you are really passionate about and stick to your values.

The bond of marriage is between two people and so far from all of the extra things that a wedding day entails. Definitely consider an elopement! You will remember every minute of it. And for the internationals – be organised with your documents!

What was your favourite thing about working with Cat?

She is so genuine and is a down to earth person who takes huge pride in her work and her world. She brings a wealth of local knowledge and experience of the Alps into her elopements and this allows her to execute very personalised, adventurous and secure, safe plans.


Photographer & Hiking Guide – me 🙂
Videography – Aneta Lehotska
HMUA – Die Schminkerei (Day 1) and Andrea Lener (Days 2-3)
Legal ceremony assistance – Stephanie from Dreamotions

The Photos

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