Winter Elopement Packing List – Everything You Need For A Winter Elopement

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While some of the couples I work with who book a winter elopement in the Alps are die-hard winter sports fans, and already have a winter wardrobe ready to go, I also work with a lot of couples who are coming to the Alps to experience snow for the first time, which is so incredibly exciting!

Especially for the couples who are eloping in the snow for the very first time, knowing how cold it’s going to feel or what is the right stuff to pack, can get pretty overwhelming.

That’s where I hope this guide can come in handy. I’ll explain the most important things you need to bring with you, and my top tips on what to look for when buying (or borrowing) your gear.

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

Packing for a Winter Elopement 

The most important thing to remember when choosing gear and clothing for a winter elopement is that it needs to keep you warm and safe. Temperatures in Austria & the Dolomites can drop down to -15°C and often feels even colder with a wind-chill. 

The biggest mistake I see couples making when they elope in winter is choosing winter accessories based on their look over their functionality.

In my guide to winter elopement accessories, I talk about some cute additions to winter elopement outfits, however, many of these things are more about style (and how they look for the photos) than about actual warmth. In this guide, I’m taking the other approach – I’m going to explain the types of clothing you should bring in order to keep you warm and dry, and if you choose to also bring some pretty winter accessories too, you can always change into them for the photos.

Two brides stand in the snow by a wooden mountain chalet in the Dolomites for their elopement ceremony

Winter Elopement Packing List Overview

Whether you are getting ready to hit the slopes on ski’s and a board, or head out on an epic snowshoe or winter hiking adventure there are a few things you’ll definitely want to bring with you:

Dress in Layers

Having lots of layers is important, including layers that you can wear under your wedding wear, and also put on over the top to keep you warm in between taking photos.

Base Layers

For underwear, including pants and socks, I recommend Merino wool for its warmth and sweat-wicking ability (because you still sweat when you hike in the cold). This is perfect for those days around your elopement when you might be exploring or trying out some fun winter activities like skiing or tobogganing.

Recommend brands for merino baselayers include:

Fleece Leggings

If you’re wearing a dress or skirt for your elopement, then I recommend wearing skin-tone fleece leggings underneath. You can pick up a pair pretty cheap on Amazon (and they are getting more inclusive in their skin tones yay). They add an extra layer of warmth that you’ll be extra grateful for. And if you are someone who gets cold easily, get 2 pairs and double up!

Winter Elopement Jackets

If you search online for winter wedding coats, you’ll probably see a whole array of cute white winter jackets and shrugs, made of material such as wool or fur (hopefully it’s faux fur because we love animals). While these can look cute, in terms of keeping you warm, they’re about as warm as drinking ice coffee in a blizzard – stylishly frozen, but utterly useless when it comes to warming you up!

If you already own ski gear, such as an insulated ski jacket or a down jacket and waterproof outer shell, then there shouldn’t really be any need for you to buy a new coat just for your elopement.

However, if this is your first time in the mountains in winter, you have two main options:

1. A thick winter coat
2. A down or primaloft jacket plus a wind & water-resistant outer shell

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Opting for a single coat means you’ll probably choose a winter coat that has both insulation for warmth and ideally waterproofing against snow and rain (such as Canada Goose-style jackets although for ethical reasons I don’t recommend this particular brand). These can be extremely warm and are much quicker to get on and off than if you are wearing multiple jackets. The disadvantages, however, are that they can be quite big and bulky, and that they are really only suitable for very cold winter conditions.

The other option is to use the layering system. (This is the most popular solution for winter sports). The outer-most layer will be a waterproof and windproof shell jacket. Underneath this jacket, you can layer up depending on how cold or warm the weather is. For really cold temperatures, you can wear a puffy down or Primaloft jacket (synthetic down) underneath, as well as an additional fleece if you need to. The benefit of this system of layering is that you have the potential to be able to use all of the layers again – either together if it’s cold, or separately – such as when you need a waterproof hiking jacket.

Some examples of winter ski jackets:

Some examples of different jackets you can combine to layer:

Winter Elopement Footwear

Footwear is also essential to keeping safe (and having a great time) whilst you are out in the mountains. Trails can often get compacted snow and ice over them and having the right kind of footwear can make or break your enjoyment.

Snow Boots vs Hiking Boots

One of the most common reasons people slip over in winter conditions is because they have chosen unsuitable footwear.

Snow boots are designed to keep your feet warm and dry in cold and snowy conditions. They have insulation to provide warmth and are often waterproof or water-resistant to protect against snow and slush. Boots such as UGG Boots, Sorels or Moon Boots are super cute and stylish, and they can be great for just wandering around the resort, but for anything more active, I recommend wearing proper hiking boots instead.

Hiking boots are designed for walking on various terrains during hiking or trekking activities. They provide support, stability, and traction, and are generally more breathable than snow boots. Hiking boots come in different types, such as light hiking boots for day hikes and heavy-duty hiking boots for rugged terrains and longer trips.

Most hiking boots aren’t usually winter-specific (although some brands make them). The main difference between a winter-specific hiking boot, and a standard hiking boot is usually just the amount of insulation in the shoe. If you’re unlikely to use a winter hiking boot outside of your elopement, pick an all-round hiking boot and wear slightly thicker wool socks (and possibly add some stick-on heated insoles) for extra warmth.

A good pair of hiking boots will be one you can wear year-round. They will have good ankle support, be waterproof (e.g. GoreTex), and most importantly, have a deep tread profile. Without good tread on the sole, slipping on even the thinnest layer of snow can be highly likely.

A good pair of hiking boots will be suitable for the following activities:

  • Winter hiking
  • Snowshoe hiking
  • Tobogganing
  • Paragliding

Boot buying tip – when buying hiking boots, I prefer to go half or a full size larger than my regular shoe size so that my toes don’t touch the end of the boot. This gives me some air around the toes, which means your toes don’t touch the end when you are walking downhill (otherwise it’s bye-bye toenails) and you can wear thicker socks. Having a bit of air around the toes can also help keep them warmer in colder conditions.

Examples of winter-specific hiking boots:

Examples of year-round hiking boots that are also great for winter:

Winter Accessories


This is another area where many people make a mistake. While knitted gloves or mittens are really cute, they have zero waterproofing and little protection from a cold wind. If you want to do any type of winter sports activities, they will also end up with holes in them pretty quickly.

Choose waterproof and insulated gloves (or if you are prone to cold hands, mittens) so that your hards will stay warm and dry all day. They might not be the most attractive item of clothing (they are pretty bulky) but you’ll be so much more comfortable if your fingers aren’t freezing.

Additional Items to bring if you are snowshoeing:

  • A well-fitting backpack is especially important. Having your hands free to use poles can really help your balance, especially if you’ve also got a wedding dress to be aware of.
  • Snow Shoes (Owned or borrowed, with good waterproof hiking boots)
  • Trekking poles (You’ll usually be given these when you hire snow shoes, but you can also bring you’re own, especially if you have poles with snow baskets.)
  • Map & phone
  • GPS Navigation/GPS Watch (optional)

Additional Items to bring skiing/snowboarding:

General packing list items you don’t want to forget

Outside of your active gear and hiking boots there are a few essentials that you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed and got with you. Whether it’s the personalised details that you have made ready for the day, or the travel documents you need to get you there.

Elopement Details to remember 

  • Vow books 
  • Gifts for each other 
  • Cards and letters from family and friends 
  • Any signs or decorations 
  • Your rings 

If you’re looking for tips and advice on elopement details and where to buy them I’ve written a blog post with some of my favourite recommendations.

Legal things to remember

  • Tickets, travel money (lots of mountain huts only accept cash), passport visa documents 
  • Travel details and tickets 
  • Holiday/accommodation/ski hire details
  • Insurance details
  • Relevant documents if you are having a legal ceremony whilst you are away.

I hope this blog has helped you to find all the kit you need and get ready for your epic elopement wedding. Let me know if there’s anything else you think I should add to the list.

And if you’re getting ready for an elopement with me I can’t wait to see you there!

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