I’m in love with Austria. But that’s probably not a surprise because that’s why I moved here from the UK almost 10 years ago and became a wedding photographer. Austria is a hugely overlooked destination when it comes to planning an elopement in the Alps, even in Europe. Most people look at the Swiss Alps and the Dolomites first, as they are perhaps better known worldwide. But there are so many reasons to elope in Austria, and more specifically, the Austrian Alps. I believe that the Austrian Alps are definitely somewhere you need to consider if you are looking for a mountain elopement in Europe, so I’ve created this guide for you to help you plan your dream wedding in the mountains.
How To Get Married In Austria – A Comprehensive Guide
[Updated For 2021]
Four Reasons To Elope In Austria
It Hasn’t Risen To Instagram Fame (Yet)
If you are an Instagram user, you might have seen posts from famous locations that have become popular for their “Instagramability”. Sometimes you get a peek behind the scenes that show you the sobering reality, like in this article, where queues of people line up to take a photo in what looks like a serene, secluded location. A location that you might think would be perfect for an intimate elopement if you didn’t know that you’d be sharing it with groups of other people. Thankfully many of my favourite elopement locations in Austria are still pretty unknown on Instagram, and I’ve yet to experience crowded trails there like I have in some of my favourite spots in the Dolomites.
It’s Cheaper Than It’s Swiss & Italian Neighbours
Switzerland is renowned for being expensive, and in many of the popular locations in the Italian Dolomites, you might also find yourselves paying a hefty price for accommodation if you want to stay in the most popular resorts. Austria is definitely more budget friendly but without skimping on the luxury if that’s what you are dreaming of.
You Can Get Legally Married Here
Whilst you can’t get legally married on the top of a mountain in most areas (there are a few exceptions), if you wanted to sign the legal paperwork whilst you were in Austria, you could do that. You don’t need to be a resident here to get married. And Austria supports marriage equality, so it’s definitely worth considering if you are planning an LGBT wedding in Europe.
It’s Absolutely Beautiful
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because Austria doesn’t have the famous Lago di Braies lake or the Tre Cime peaks of the Dolomites or Switzerland’s famous Matterhorn or the Staubbach Waterfall in Lauterbrunnen, that it doesn’t have something equally magnificent to discover. The Austrian Alps are home to towering mountains, cascading waterfalls and turquoise lakes too.
Can I Get Married In Austria?
Legal Marriage Ceremonies In Austria
In Austria, the only option for a legally binding marriage is a civil ceremony. Civil ceremonies are conducted by a local Standesamt, which is usually housed inside the local council. A civil ceremony in Austria is usually rather short and matter-of-fact. They are usually conducted in German at the local registry office, last around 20 minutes and aren’t usually open to a whole amount of personalisation. However, there are an increasing number of locations around Austria where they are offering more flexibility in location and personalisation.
Since January 2019, same-sex couples can legally marry in Austria, which is amazing news! And even more great news is that you don’t need to be Austrian, or resident in Austria to get married here. You just need to submit the required paperwork to the local standesamt in the district where you want to get married before your appointment.
To get married in Austria, you must present the standesamt with proof of your eligibility to marry and proof of no impediment. You must submit these documents to the local standesamt no earlier than six months before your requested wedding date, who will then issue you with a certificate of marriageability, which is valid for 6 months. If you are not resident in Austria, they must be submitted via the Standesamt in charge of the First District of Vienna (Standesamt Wien-Innere Stadt, Schlesingerplatz 4, A-1082 Vienna). Approval usually takes around 2 weeks, but can take up to 6 weeks in larger cities.
Although each standesamt has their own specific requirements, as a general rule, the following documents are required, in original or certified copies, which must be accompanied by a translated copy in German from an Austrian sworn and certified translator. For some documents, an apostille may also be required.
– Passport or certified copy of passport
– Full birth certificate which includes the names of both parents
– Certificate of No Impediment together with an apostille and a translation
– Proof of residency (e.g. drivers license with address)
– Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address and occupation.
– If you are divorced – a decree absolute & previous marriage certificates
– If you have changed your name – deed poll
When registering your intent to marry at the standesamt, they will ask what name you will take after the marriage, so you’ll need to have decided this already when you submit your paperwork.
Here are some examples of elopements which included a legal ceremony:
Elopement Ceremonies in Austria
Fewer and fewer couples are choosing to have the standesamt civil ceremony in Austria on the same day as their elopement. More couples are choosing to sign the legal paperwork in their home country before travelling to Austria or having the standesamt ceremony the day before.
Going down this route means that you are free to plan your elopement day exactly as you want, without the restrictions of all the legal stuff. With the boring, legal bit taken care of, the day is free for you to have the best adventure of your lives. If your dream is to hike up a mountain, have a picnic by an alpine lake and say your vows to one another at sunset, you can absolutely do that!
You could choose to have a celebrant conduct a ceremony for you in your chosen location, bring your closest friends and family to officiate, or plan a private vow reading with just the two of you. The beauty is that possibilities are endless.
Here you can find some examples of weddings in Austria which didn’t include a legal ceremony:
Travel In Austria
How To Get To Austria
Austria has a number of international airports, with the largest in Vienna. Vienna is the only airport in Austria that has incoming flights from outside of Europe, but once you’re there, you’ve got amazing rail connections around the country which will get you to most of the places you might want to visit. However, if it’s a wedding in the Alps that you are dreaming of, flying to Innsbruck or Salzburg or Munich are your best options.
Travelling Around In Austria
Austria has amazing public transport. It’s super efficient and you’ll be able to get almost anywhere by train and bus, even to some of the more remote ski resorts. However, for total flexibility I highly recommend renting a car. Austria is part of the Schengen area, so it’s easy to drive to from other countries in Europe. If you are driving in from another country, and you want to drive on the motorway in Austria, you’ll need to buy a vignette. You’ll see signs for places you can buy these when you get close to the Austrian border. Most cities, towns and many larger ski resorts have taxis, but they can be quite expensive. At the time of writing this guide, there is Uber in Vienna but it isn’t common in other areas of Austria yet.
When To Visit Austria
If you love adventure, Austria is just as incredible in winter as it is in the summer. For skiing elopements and weddings in the snow, January to April is the best months to come. Sometimes there is snow from November already, but unfortunately, the seasons are getting more unpredictable. If you’re looking to hike for your elopement then June to October is perfect. The snow is usually melted from most of the hiking trails and many of the mountains huts are open for visitors.
Planning Your Trip To Austria
There are some great online resources for planning your trip to Austria. All of the different states in Austria have their own tourist office websites, and in Tirol and Salzburg, where tourism is a huge part of the economy, almost every valley/ski resort has their own website with tips for planning your trip. Below are the main tourist office websites for Austria and the different states:
Where To Stay
Austria has so much to offer in terms of places to stay, from 5* luxury wellness hotels to cute mountain chalets. Or if you’re up for a real adventure, you could consider staying overnight in one of the many mountain refuges in some of the most remote locations in the Alps. Whatever you are looking for, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Alpine Association Mountain Huts
Elopement Locations In Austria
Picking The Perfect Location
Living in the Austrian Alps for almost 10 years, I’m an Austria elopement expert. That’s because I spend all my free time outside hiking, skiing, climbing and exploring all around Tyrol. Whilst I keep my absolute favourite locations secret and only share them with the couples that book me, there are a number of areas that I think are must-see places in Austria. There are also some that, in my honest opinion, are slightly overrated, but I’ll come to that in more detail below.
Austrian Alps Wedding Venues & Chalets
There are so many amazing locations to choose from when picking your Austrian Alps elopement location. Here are some of my favourites:
Rössl Alm (legal ceremony possible)
Hohe Mut Alm (legal ceremony possible)
Berggasthoff Tenn (legal ceremony possible)
White Lounge Igloo
Ski Museum Restaurant St Anton
Pitztal Glacier Cafe 3440 (legel ceremony possible)
Ice Q Sölden (legel ceremony possible)
Can You Get Married In Hallstatt?
The small village of Hallstatt is famous across the world for its storybook-perfect setting. This village on the end of the Hallstatt lake is requested all the time by couples looking for the most idyllic setting for their elopement. However, Hallstatt isn’t a location that I’d recommend for an intimate elopement. Hallstatt is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Austria. This small village of 800 inhabitants receives around 8000 visitors daily, and you’re very likely to find yourselves waiting in line to take pictures in the popular locations. It’s definitely not an ideal location if you are looking for a quiet location for an intimate elopement ceremony. If you want your elopement to include a legal ceremony, this also isn’t possible in Hallstatt. For the legal ceremony, you’d need to travel to a nearby village where the only possibility is for a ceremony inside the town hall. One alternative location for a legal ceremony in this area is on top of the Feuerkogel mountain in Ebensee, but this is around 45 minutes from Hallstatt.
Summer Hiking & Climbing Elopements in Austria
Summer is awesome for hiking, via ferrata, climbing and mountain biking in Austria. From July to September, most of the mountain huts (Alpenvereinshütten) are open, giving you almost endless opportunities for adventures. For multi-day hiking elopements, following sections of some of the famous hiking trails such as the Adlerweg can be an epic way to start your adventure into married life together. There’s nothing quite like hiking up to a mountain hut the night before and waking up for a sunrise vow ceremony with the epic views all to yourselves. Even if you don’t fancy hiking to the top of the mountain, there are many cable cars that run from May until October that will also bring you to some incredible spots.
For more advice on how to plan a hiking elopement, check out this backpacking elopement planning guide.
Winter Skiing, Snowboarding & Snowshoe Elopements in Austria
For couples who love winter and the snow, you should travel to Austria between December and April. For the best conditions for skiing and snowboarding, I recommend January to mid-April, as over the last few years the snow has been coming later to the Alps and staying longer. The Austrian Alps are a paradise for anyone considering a ski touring or split-boarding elopement because many of the most iconic summer spots can only be reached by touring in winter. If you’re looking for a more mellow winter elopement in Austria, there are also a number of beautiful hiking and snowshoe trails to take you out into the magical winter landscape.
If you’d like to read more about how to plan a ski wedding, check out this ski wedding planning guide.
Get inspired by these real skiing & snowboarding weddings
Wedding Planners in Austria
Whether you are planning a big wedding celebration, an intimate destination wedding or an elopement in Austria, a wedding planner can help make the process streamlined and stress-free. In the last four years of working across Tirol and further afield, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of amazing wedding planners in Austria. These wedding planners all went above and beyond to create the most incredible days for their couples, and they are all absolutely wonderful human beings too.
Whether you are looking for a native English speaking wedding planner in Austria who specialises in destination weddings, or you’re looking for a local wedding planner who speaks English, the following Austrian Wedding planners are all amazing. I’ve worked with them all personally, and can highly recommend each and every one of them.
Nadia from Amulet Events is a UK based destination wedding specialist. Nadia loves creating unique destination wedding experiences for her couples, helping with everything from travel and accommodation to sourcing the best local vendors to make your wedding day the best day ever!
Theresa is based in Innsbruck, Tirol and loves helping her couples create an unforgettable mountain wedding experience in the Tirol region of Austria.
Based in Innsbruck, Stephanie works with couples from both Austria and overseas to make their wedding dreams a reality. Stephanie specialises in mountain weddings across Tirol.
Irene is based in Vienna and helps couples from all over the world to create a unique and luxurious wedding day, whether it’s an intimate elopement or a grand celebration.
Charlotte is a Dutch wedding planner living near to Kitzbühel in the Tirol area of Austria. A fluent English & German speaker too, her speciality is mountain weddings in the Tirol area, including ski and snowboard weddings in the mountains.
Austria Elopement Packages
Austria Elopement Photographer
Your Austrian elopement isn’t complete without the right photographer to capture this incredible adventure for you. You’ll want to have an experienced elopement photographer, who is also a local expert, and that’s where I come in! I’m a multi-award-winning adventure wedding & elopement photographer, and I’m based in Innsbruck, in the heart of the Austrian Alps. As a local expert, I’m here to help guide you through the whole process of planning your elopement in the Austrian Alps.
My Austrian elopement photography packages range from €3000 to €5250 and include helping you find an epic location for your intimate elopement ceremony away from the crowds, sharing all my local contacts with you such as wedding planners, florists, videographers and makeup artists, and helping you plan the perfect elopement day timeline so that your day is filled with adventure and excitement without having to feel pressured with time. I’m here as your Austria elopement guru!
Want to know more about eloping in Austria? Fill in the form below and contact me today to chat about the next steps on planning your Austrian elopement.