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Ultimate Guide to Eloping in The Dolomites 2024

LAST UPDATED December 4, 2023


Why You Should Elope in The Dolomites

If you’re looking for a breathtaking and romantic backdrop for your elopement, the Dolomite Mountains of Italy should top your list. With their jagged peaks, lush green valleys, and charming alpine villages, this UNESCO World Heritage site provides an astounding amount of variety for one region. One of the top reasons to elope is the freedom to choose a stunning locations, and the Dolomites are one of the most unique and awe-inspiring places in the world.

In this Ultimate Guide to Elope in the Dolomites, I’ll share all of my best advice and tips for planning your dream Dolomites elopement. As an adventure elopement photographer with experience in Italian elopements, I know how important it is to choose the right elopement location, and this guide will tell you everything you need to know to decide if a Dolomites elopement is right for you.

Dolomites Elopement Packages

I craft all my elopement packages to match the dreams of each couple – no two elopements are exactly alike! No matter which of my Dolomites elopement packages you choose, this is what’s included:

  • Starting at 6 hours of coverage for your elopement package
  • Personalized questionnaire to understand exactly how to craft your day.
  • Unlimited free consultations to help you craft your perfect day.
  • Full planning assistance
  • Fully edited hi-res photos available for you to download for free
  • TRAVEL FEES ALL INCLUDED. NO EXTRA OR HIDDEN FEES.
  • Sneak peek photos 

Packages Start at $6100

Reach out for a free chat to see how we can put together the best Dolomites elopement package experience for you!

Want A Free Consultation?

Couple at their Lago di Braies Dolomites elopement

Where to Elope The Dolomites

The Dolomites are a mountain region in the Northern Italian Alps featuring 18 peaks and covering over 6,000 square miles. It’s a region filled with stunning scenery, serene mountain lakes, and charming alpine villages. Here are some of my favorite spots for your elopement!

Seceda

Seceda is one of the most popular peaks in the Dolomites, and for good reason. Not only will you find one of the most stunning panoramic view in the region, but visiting this natural wonder requires very little hiking. You can take a cable car right to the top! This is a perfect choice for couples who are short on time and want a spectacular view without a long hike.

Lake Braies

If you dream of saying your vows on the shores of a pristine mountain lake, Lago di Braies is the place for you. The deep turquoise color and mountain background provides a stunning backdrop for photos. And for couples looking to get off the beaten path, a 2 mile loop trail circles the lake and provides plenty of secluded spots.  

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, translated as Three Peaks of Lavaredo, is known as one of the most beautiful hikes in Italy. For couples looking for more adventure, this 6.3 mile loop is moderately challenging, and passes 3 distinct mountain peaks.

Alta Badia

Known as a winter sports haven, the Alta Badia region is a popular spot for visitors year-round. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, this area is also a summer adventurer’s paradise, with many options for hiking, biking and climbing. After a day of adventuring, you can spend time in one of the six charming villages in the region, all of which are known for great local food and a laid-back vibe.

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Picture the quintessential Alpine village, and it probably looks a lot like Cortina D’Ampezzo. Located in the center of the Dolomites just 2 hours from Venice, this town makes an ideal home base for your explorations. The site of the 1956 Olympic games and again hosting the Olympics in 2026, this town has everything from world class skiing to hiking to a vibrant culinary and nightlife scene.

Couple walks at their Dolomites elopement

How to Elope in The Dolomites

So, you’re sold on The Dolomites as the perfect elopement location. Fantastic! Now for the logistics. Getting married in Italy is a little bit different than getting married in the States, so it’s important to know all the options and rules upfront.

The 3 Types of Italian Weddings

The first thing you need to know is that there are 3 options for your Italian wedding, and each has different rules and steps:

1.) Civil Ceremony

2.) Religious Ceremony

3.) Symbolic Ceremony

Civil and Religious Ceremonies in Italy

Civil or religious ceremonies require multiple steps. If you plan to have an official wedding in Italy, I recommend contacting an Italian Consulate office well in advance of your trip to fully understand what is required and ensure that you fully understand the requirements and timelines.

Generally, a civil ceremony will require the following:

  • An affidavit, Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giurata. This is a document sworn before a consular office of your home country. stating that there’s no legal impediment to your marriage in your home country
  • An Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses, attesting that there is no legal impediment to your marriage.
  • A declaration of intent to marry that will go to the civil registrar.

There is also a waiting period of up to 2 weeks from when you sign the affidavits to your wedding day. This waiting period can usually be waived for non-Italian citizens, but each locality is different. Be sure to check with the consulate and local officials as far in advance as possible to make sure you’re prepared. 

Religious ceremonies must be performed in a Catholic church, and require all of the steps for a civil ceremony plus whatever is required by the church. Typical requirements include proof that at least one participant is Catholic, both participants have been baptized, and may require documentation from your home church. If you are considering a religious ceremony, you’ll want to consult with the church well in advance of your wedding so you have time to gather all the necessary documents.

Symbolic Ceremonies in Italy

The easiest way to get married

Many couples find the requirements for a legal wedding in Italy to be a bit much, which is why I recommend having a symbolic ceremony (also known as a commitment ceremony), and then doing the paperwork to make it legal back home.

A symbolic ceremony, while not legally recognized, is a legit wedding ceremony. You can still do everything you might do in a legal ceremony – exchange ring, share vows and intentions – you just won’t sign legal paperwork that moment.

Saving the legalities until you get home makes the day easier and more relaxed, and gives you the space to be fully in the moment. I highly recommend considering a symbolic ceremony for Italian elopements.

Learn more about commitment ceremonies.

Couple at their Lake Braies Dolomites elopement

Do You Need a Permit to Elope in the Dolomites?

No! While many locations in the United States require permits for elopements and/or photography, no permits are required to have or photograph your ceremony in the Dolomites.

That said, it’s still important to take steps to respect the environment and other visitors during your elopement. I always follow Leave No Principles, and ask my couples to do the same.

These Are the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: It’s always a good idea to research your location beforehand so you know how best to prepare.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Always stay on marked trails. The ecosystem in Garden of the Gods is extremely fragile. Even one footstep outside of designated areas can cause damage that will last for decades. Note: You are not allowed to camp anywhere within the park.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: “Pack it in, Pack it out.” Dispose of all waste appropriately or carry it out of the park with you.
  4. Leave What You Find: Always leave plants, animals, rocks and other objects exactly as you find them. Never mark or carve any of the rocks.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Fires are not permitted in the park. If you are camping elsewhere, always keep your campfire small, use an existing campfire ring wherever available, and burn only dead or downed wood.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from afar and avoid disturbing them with loud noises or quick movements. Do not feed wildlife and be sure to store any food securely.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Help everyone enjoy their experience by keeping noise to a minimum and respecting others’ privacy.

Learn more about Leave No Trace at LNT.org.

Ideas for Your Dolomites Elopement

You are sure to have stunning photos at any elopement location you choose in the Dolomites. So, the next question is, what should we do at our elopement? Here are some of the popular activities you can choose for your elopement day:

  • Hike
  • Ski/Snowboard
  • Snowshoe
  • Go Climbing
  • Have a Picnic
  • Take a Scenic Drive
  • Ride in a Cable Car
  • Take a Helicopter Ride
  • Charter a Boat
  • Explore Alpine Towns

These are just a few ideas – the absolute best thing about an elopement is that there are no rules, so if the activity you are dreaming of isn’t on this list, reach out and we’ll try to make it happen!

Sample Dolomites Elopement Timeline

Each elopement is different, but here’s an idea of what a full-day elopement timeline might look like:

6:00 AM: Sunrise hike 

10:00 AM: Breakfast

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Rest or have lunch in an Alpine town 

2:00 PM: Take a Drive Through Gorgeous Scenery (or Ride a Cable Car to a Mountaintop!)

5:00 PM: Lakeside Ceremony

6:00 PM: Picnic Dinner

6:00 PM: Sunset

8:00 PM: Star Photos 

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in The Dolomites?

When compared to the typical traditional wedding, a Dolomites adventure elopement can save a great deal of money. Even with travel costs factored in, you could save anywhere from 15-20k just by eloping!

To understand how this is possible, let’s take the cost of a traditional wedding. According to theknot.com, a traditional wedding with 100 guests (which, in the world of traditional weddings, is not even that big!) is estimated to cost between $26,820 – $31,600.

Now, let’s look at the costs of a typical Dolomites adventure elopement. Like anything, you can go as big or as small as you want, but this is generally in the range of what my Amores spend: 

Travel: $2000 – $5,000

Photographer: $6100-$8000

Attire: $200 – $2,000

Bouquet: $100

Hair and makeup: $250

Officiant: $250

Activities: $0-$500

Food and drink: $100 – $500

Total for a Dolomites elopement: $9000 – $16,600

As you can see, it’s possible to have an epic Italian adventure AND the elopement day of your dreams for less than 1/2 of what you might spend on a traditional wedding! 

How to Get to Your Dolomites Elopement

Unless you already live in Europe, you’ll be arriving by plane. The two closest airports are:

  • Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
  • Innsbruck Airport (INN)

Both airports are a 2-3 hour drive away from most popular Dolomites locations, with Innsbruck to the North and Venice to the South. You’ll also want to rent a car to be able to explore all that the Dolomites have to offer!

When to Elope in The Dolomites

  1. Summer (June to September):
    • Summer is the most popular time for elopements in the Dolomites due to mild temperatures and longer daylight hours. The weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor ceremonies and activities.
    • During summer, the Dolomites come alive with vibrant colors. Alpine meadows are adorned with wildflowers, and the iconic peaks stand out against blue skies.
    • Summer offers opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the numerous trails and views.
  2. Fall (October to November):
    • Fall in the Dolomites brings a breathtaking display of colors. The landscape transforms into hues of red, orange, and gold, creating a warm and romantic atmosphere.
    • With peak tourist season over, fall offers a more serene and intimate experience. You can enjoy the beauty of the Dolomites with fewer crowds.
  3. Winter (December to February):
    • Winter elopements in the Dolomites are an incredible experience, with snow-covered peaks and alpine villages creating a magical setting. This season is perfect for couples seeking a cozy and romantic atmosphere.
    • If you and your partner enjoy winter sports, consider eloping in the Dolomites during this season. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing can add an adventurous touch to your elopement!
  4. Spring (March to May):
    • As the snow melts, Spring in the Dolomites brings lush greenery and blooming flowers.
    • Spring weather can be unpredictable, with some areas still experiencing snow at higher elevations. However, lower-altitude locations offer milder temperatures and colorful spring blooms.
Couple at thier lake braies elopement

Where to Stay When You Elope in The Dolomites

There are many lodging options in the Dolomites, so whatever type of accommodations you are dreaming of, you can probably find it! There are numerous large hotels in popular areas like Cortina D’Ampezzo and Val Gardena if you’re looking for a resort experience.

One thing to note is that your lodging will end up being a big part of your overall experience. You’ll want to be sure that the space you choose feels authentic to you as a couple. Because of this, I generally recommend trying to find an Airbnb that fits your style.

The right Airbnb can not only be a place to relax and unwind after your adventures, but could also be the perfect backdrop for your getting ready or intimate photos. You can find Airbnb’s in a variety of price ranges to fit just about any budget.

Here are just a few amazing Airbnb options for your Dolomites elopement:

Finding the Right Vendors For Your Dolomites Elopement

You may find that you need other professionals to help with the day of your dreams. This might include florists, hair and makeup artists, musicians, or guides. Each of my elopement packages includes a list of trusted local vendors who will make sure every detail of your day is perfect!

Meet Your Dolomites Elopement Photographer

Colorado Elopement Photographer stands next to a Jeep

Hi there! I’m Adam and I live for helping couples just like you make their elopement dreams come true. If you were inspired by this shoot and want to learn more about how to elope in Italy I’m your guy! I can help you find the best Dolomites elopement package and share all the best tips for your Dolomites elopement.

If you’re ready to start planning or just have some questions to decide if a Dolomites elopement is right for you, I’d love to hear from you.

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