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The Ultimate Guide to a Planning a Destination Wedding in Switzerland

Switzerland is a country abundant with stunning landscapes, majestic mountains, picturesque lakes, diverse flora, and distinct seasons. It is the perfect location to plan your destination wedding or elopement. Although endless amounts of hikes and mountain adventures are available, gorgeous alpine vistas and settings are also very accessible to the couples who enjoy a more relaxed, laid back or luxury experience.

Aside from the scenery, Switzerland is also known for a few other things. Here are some quick facts:

  • Known for its cheese: Fondue, Raclette, Croute...order any national dish and it's bound to involve melted cheese!

  • Known for its chocolate: even if you were not a fan of chocolate before, you might be a convert!

  • Known for its wine: this is a tricky fact because Switzerland does not export its wine at all!

  • Known for it's variety of national languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh

  • Known for rich cultural traditions: for example, come for a Désalpes festival, usually in September each year in various mountain towns, where the cows, adorned by their most beautiful bells and crowned with flowers, are paraded back down to the valley for the winter season.


To make it legal or not to make it legal in Switzerland


If you want to get married in Switzerland, I would recommend that you skip the complexities of a legal foreign marriage and handle the legalities back in your home country. This allows you to come to Switzerland and focus on your celebration and exchange of vows!


However, if you are thinking about making it legal in Switzerland, there are several things to keep in mind. The legal process can be different from canton to canton so be sure to check the specific requirements and procedures for your chosen location. Only civil mariages are legally recognized.


In addition, same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ weddings were legalized in Switzerland in September, 2021!


Requirements

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age

  2. If you are not Swiss, you must have the correct entry visa for your country of origin in order to stay in Switzerland legally until you are married.

  3. Notify the civil registrar office in the location where you intend to be married and submit the required documentation

    1. Photo Ids which meets the official Swiss requirements

    2. Birth certificates

    3. Passports

    4. Certificates of marital status; notarized affidavit stating that you are free to marry


Once these documents are submitted, your wedding "dossier" is complete and an approval of your marriage license will be received and is valid for 3 months. A civil marriage can then be scheduled and is eventually conducted with two witnesses in the registry office. Religious weddings can only be done after a civil marriage has been completed.


A civil ceremony fee can range from CHF 300 to CHF 400. However, if you choose to have the ceremony outside the registry office or on a Saturday, additional costs may apply.

Where to get married in Switzerland


There are venue options ranging from luxurious hotels, to mountain top resorts, to charming chalets. And of course, the option of your ceremony venue being a mountain-side with jaw-dropping view of the Swiss alps and lakes. Here are some of my favorites:


Beautiful wedding venues in Switzerland in the canton of Vaud


Free intimate, outdoor wedding or elopement locations in Switzerland for a ceremony with a view

*this list favours southwest Switzerland since this is where I live (canton in parentheses)


Lac Retaud (Vaud)

Lac Arnensee (Bern)

Creux du Van (Neuchâtel)

Col de la Croix (Vaud)

Prafandaz viewpoint, Leysin (Vaud)

Tine de Conflens Waterfall (Vaud)

Jardin botanique, St.-Triphon (Vaud)

Oeschinensee, Kanderstag (Bern)

Top overall wedding and elopement locations in Switzerland


  • Zermatt and the Matterhorn - With its iconic "Toblerone" or "Disneyland" mountain backdrop, Zermatt offers breathtaking views and a luxurious, romantic alpine setting.

  • Lake Geneva - Surrounded by vineyards and charming towns, this location offers stunning lake views and a serene atmosphere. Specifically try a vineyard venue in Lavaux/Lutry, a UNESCO world heritage wine region

  • Lauterbrunnen Valley - Known for its dramatic cliffs and picturesque waterfalls, this valley provides a fairytale-like setting, which is quintessentially Swiss.

  • Lucerne and Lake Lucerne - With its historic architecture, crystal-clear lake, and the iconic covered Chapel Bridge, Lucerne is perfect for a romantic and scenic elopement.

  • Interlaken - Nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is ideal for couples who love nature and picturesque landscapes.

  • Kanderstag and Lake Oeschinschee- This charming village offers stunning views of the mountains and the dramatic stunning turquoise lake, accessible by cable car and a short hike.

  • Gstaad - This hidden gem of a village is famous as a hideaway for celebrities and the bourgeoisie, known for its many luxurious resorts and stunning alpine scenery, Gstaad is perfect for a sophisticated and elegant elopement.

  • Montreux, Vevey, and the Swiss Riviera - With its mild climate, beautiful lakeside promenade, and stunning views, Montreux is ideal for a romantic escape.

  • Grindlewald - This picturesque mountain town offers stunning views of the Eiger and a peaceful atmosphere for an intimate elopement.

Best Time of Year to Get Married in Switzerland


One of the great things about a destination wedding in Switzerland is that it is breathtaking in every season. In spring, the wildflowers are on abloom at every turn; in summer, the lush green landscapes are quintessential; in the fall, the leaves are alight with vivid colors; and in winter, the snow transforms the landscape into a true wonderland. No matter which season you choose, a destination wedding in Switzerland can not disappoint.


Keeping that in mind, there are a few months which are less ideal for getting married in Switzerland. These months are April, August, and November. In April, there is still a lot of snow in the mountains and many lift systems are closed. In August, it is peak tourist season and is more expensive and very busy. In November, much of the foliage has already turned brown or is beginning to fall off the trees, the weather is turning cold and it may even start to snow. For more details and recommendations, be sure to check out my full blog post on this topic!


Book your Swiss vendors


Planning an intimate wedding or even an elopement from a distance can be a challenge, particularly in a country where you don't speak the language. Hire a professional wedding planner to help you! If you are in Vaud, Valais, Geneva region, I would highly recommend Stephanie Besse, from Sassy Wedding.


Find a photographer who you vibe with and book them right away. Photographers, like myself, usually offer elopement or destination packages which include assistance with planning, timeline, advice, and location scouting.


Some couples may also opt to include a wedding celebrant/officiant, hair stylist, makeup artist, or maybe even a mountain guide or helicopter company.


I hope this has been helpful for you, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you are in need of a wedding photographer in Switzerland. I'd love to chat with you and hear about your plans!












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