Unlocking the Magic of Dolomites for Your Elopement

If you’ve embarked on the exhilarating journey of researching unique elopement destinations, chances are the Italian Dolomites have graced your screen more than once. Nestled in the northeastern corner of Italy, this mountain range is nothing short of spectacular. When it comes to elopements, I’m an advocate for crafting an experience around your day, and there’s no better place for an unforgettable adventure than the Dolomites. The scenery here spans epic mountain peaks, pristine turquoise lakes, and endless meadows. Even a casual drive or a stroll through town offers breathtaking vistas. If you’re considering a significant day like your elopement, this region is an exceptional choice.

In this comprehensive blog, I’ve packed it with all the information you need to kickstart your planning process.

Legalities of Marrying in the Dolomites

The question you might be asking is, “Can we legally marry in the Dolomites as foreigners?” The answer is a resounding yes! However, the process involves a few additional steps and considerations, such as translating your documents to Italian, submitting them in advance, possibly hiring an interpreter, and making an in-person visit to the town hall in Italy. But, if you plan your elopement well in advance, you can legally marry on your Italian journey. For those who prefer to simplify the process and have more flexibility with their plans, handling the paperwork at home and having a symbolic ceremony during your elopement is a common and hassle-free choice. Many of my clients opt for this, even when eloping locally.

LGBTQ+ Couples in Italy

Regrettably, same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Italy. However, hope remains that this will change soon. For now, a symbolic elopement ceremony is the only option for LGBTQ+ couples in Italy. If you desire a legal ceremony, consider the Austrian region of the Dolomites.

Navigating the Dolomites

To reach the Dolomites, you’ll want to fly into the nearest international airport and rent a car for flexibility and freedom during your stay. The Venice Marco Polo airport is the closest to many popular spots in the Dolomites, just a 2-3 hour drive away. While public transportation can get you to some major towns in the mountains, renting a car is highly recommended for exploring at your own pace.

Choosing the Perfect Season for Your Elopement

Selecting the ideal season for your Dolomites elopement depends on your preferences regarding scenery, crowds, activities, and overall experience. Each season brings its unique charm, so consider your priorities and dreams.

  • Summer (July and August): The most versatile time with clear trails, running cable cars, open mountain huts, and bustling local businesses. However, it’s also the busiest time of the year, making alternatives like the shoulder seasons enticing.
  • Fall (September and October): Still accessible, but with thinner crowds, this season offers stunning fall colors in the mountains. Some mountain huts and cable cars may close mid-October, so check the dates if you plan to visit specific locations.
  • Winter: Ski season and the holidays bring larger crowds, higher prices, and limitations on visiting certain snow-impacted locations. Winter elopements are best suited for skiers and snow enthusiasts.
  • Spring: As temperatures rise and snow melts, spring unveils the blossoming beauty of the Dolomites. While early spring may still feature snow at higher elevations, late spring offers accessibility, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds.

Top Elopement Locations in the Dolomites

The Dolomites boast iconic elopement spots, and while they may attract crowds, there are strategies to ensure privacy. You can:

  • Travel during the shoulder season to avoid the summer rush.
  • Plan your ceremony at sunrise for a quieter experience.
  • Opt for a mid-week elopement to avoid weekend crowds.
  • Choose locations that require a bit of hiking for more solitude.
  • For an ultra-private experience, consider booking a helicopter for a secluded ceremony.

Even if you elope in summer or don’t implement these strategies, rest assured, your experience will be beautiful, and fellow travelers often enjoy witnessing elopements in such stunning locations.

Elopement Locations:

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee):

This beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by mountains is probably the first place in the Dolomites that I ever came across a photo of – and in turn, sparked my desire to travel here one day. As insta-famous as it is now, seeing it in person is truly a magical experience!

Getting here is super easy as there are multiple parking lots to park in with just a short walk to the lake. Most people tend to hang out by the boathouse, but there is a trail around the lake you can walk as well to see it from different vantage points. Because it’s very accessible, this location does get very, very crowded. I only recommend visiting at sunrise, and even then you should not expect total privacy. I think the photos would be totally worth it though! A couple of other fun things to do while you’re here is stop at the little cafe by the parking lot for some pastries and rent one of the canoes at the boathouse and paddle around the water.

Seceda Ridgeline:

The views at this location consist of the famous rocky mountain ridge and contrasting grassy, green sloping meadows. It’s easily accessible by cable car, making it a pretty busy location, but a few ways to avoid the crowds are to hike up early before the lift opens or stay after it closes and hike down after dark. You can also take a private helicopter here after hours if you want to skip hiking altogether.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo:

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo (also called Drei Zinnen) are a group of three distinct rocky peaks that rise up on the edge of an alpine plateau in the Italian Dolomites. You can get a pretty amazing view with just a short walk from the parking area, but if you wander further along the 6+ mile trail, you have the chance to get away from the crowds a bit and see more of the surrounding scenery.

Cadini di Misurini:

Cadini di Misurini is another iconic group of mountains in the Dolomites characterized by its sharp peaks shooting up from the valley below. This spot is especially popular for elopements and photographers in general because of the unique viewpoint at the end of the trail. The viewpoint is basically a narrow ridge that slopes upward, and once at the top, you have an incredible view of the Cadini mountains before you. If you’re looking for epic mountain shots, this is the spot!

Getting to the viewpoint requires a little over a mile of hiking and it’s considered moderately challenging, with quite a bit of incline at the beginning of the trail. If you take your time, it’s well worth the effort. I wouldn’t try to have your ceremony on the actual viewpoint as space up there is limited and there tends to be a line of people waiting to get photos, but it’s totally worth stopping here for sunset photos. There are lots of spots nearby where you can have a more private vow reading and still have stunning views.

Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm):

The largest high-alpine pasture in Europe, Alpe di Siusi boasts green meadows, mountains as a backdrop, and a serene atmosphere. Cows and horses graze in the fields, and biking trails beckon adventurers. This location exudes romance and offers quieter surroundings compared to some other spots in the Dolomites. Arriving early to catch the sunrise is recommended. The road is closed to private traffic between 9 am and 5 pm, so you’ll have to take the cable car or bus if you visit during that time.

Passo Gardena:

This mountain pass in the Dolomites is renowned for its breathtaking scenic drives. Some of the trails in this area provide picturesque views, making it an ideal elopement location.

Cinque Torri:

A group of tall rocky towers uniquely situated together across a grassy hillock, Cinque Torri offers beautiful elopement spots. You can reach it via a cable car or a hike from the base of the cable car. Opting for a sunrise elopement here can help you avoid crowds.

Choosing Your Stay in the Dolomites

When selecting accommodation for your elopement day, consider places that add value to your experience. Look for options that offer fantastic views, as a balcony with awesome vistas is a fantastic spot for sipping coffee before you get ready or enjoying a soak in the hot tub after hiking. Prioritize lodgings with plenty of natural light, clean design, neutral colors, and ample space, especially if you have large suitcases and plan to invite a hair and makeup artist. The Dolomite area provides various accommodation options, including Airbnbs, mountain chalets, luxury hotels, resorts, and mountain huts for those seeking adventure.

Your choice of stay may depend on your selected elopement locations, but two prime areas to consider are Cortina D’Ampezzo and Val Gardena.

Curating Your Elopement Experience

Remember, your elopement day doesn’t have to be solely about saying your vows and taking portraits. It’s a full-day experience, and it’s essential to make it memorable from start to finish. Be intentional about how you spend your time together. This doesn’t mean non-stop activities or a day-long photoshoot. It simply involves thinking about how you want to spend your time, from dawn to dusk.

Before the Ceremony:

  • Walk to a local coffee shop or bakery for breakfast.
  • Witness the sunrise at a scenic viewpoint.
  • Pamper yourself with a professional hair and makeup artist at your Airbnb.
  • Take a cable car to a mountain restaurant for lunch with a view.

During Your Elopement:

  • Book a rowboat tour at Lago di Braies.
  • Explore the town you’re staying in or the area near your ceremony location.
  • Enjoy a wellness day at a spa.
  • Relax on your balcony in the morning while writing your vows in a special vow book.
  • Pack a picnic to savor at the end of a hike.
  • Book a helicopter tour to view the mountains from above and land in a private location for your ceremony.
  • Arrange for a private chef to prepare a delicious post-elopement meal.
  • Visit one of the many alpine lakes along your drive or in the mountains.
  • Savor a gourmet dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Don’t forget to indulge in gelato or dessert between your adventures.
  • Read letters from friends and family while basking in the last light of the sunset.

After the Ceremony:

  • Dedicate a day or two post-elopement to exploring Venice.
  • Continue your journey with more hikes in the Dolomites or venture to other parts of Italy, Austria, Germany, or any other place you desire.

Why Choose Me as Your Dolomites Elopement Photographer?

As a destination elopement photographer, my role is to travel the world and capture couples in beautiful locations. When you hire me, you don’t just get my services during our photoshoot; I’m here to support you throughout the entire journey. From brainstorming ideas to selecting your locations, navigating travel logistics, and finalizing details, I’m by your side every step of the way. Planning an elopement differs from a traditional wedding, and having someone who specializes in these experiences is invaluable. I’ll provide questionnaires and a wealth of resources to make your elopement as personal, unique, and adventurous as you desire.

FAQ: Can You Legally Work in Italy?

Yes, I can. I’ve consulted the Italian embassy and have confirmed the requirements needed to work legally in Italy.

Dolomites Elopement Photography Packages

Pricing starts at $8,000 including:

• Engagement Session 25% off (anywhere in CA)
• Up to 6 Hours Of Coverage 
• An online gallery with high-resolution images and a print store.
• Location list and scouting
• Unlimited Elopement planning and timeline guidance
• Permit & licensing assistance
• Vendor recommendations
• Champagne toast/sparkling water
• Printing rightsAn in-depth questionnaire to personalize your experience

  • All travel fees

Your Dolomites elopement is within reach, and I’m here to help you turn your dreams into reality. Let’s embark on this unforgettable adventure together!

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