How to elope

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How to Elope in the Dolomites | Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents:

bride and groom holding hands dolomites landscape

In this post, I’ll tell you the most important things you need to know about eloping in this incredible mountain range – it’s your ultimate guide to how to elope in the Dolomites! I’ll list all of my favorite places as well as the do’s and don’ts for eloping here from an elopement photographer’s perspective! 

bride and groom holding hands boat dock

General Tips for Eloping in the Dolomites

Let’s start off with some general tips/FAQ’s about planning a Dolomites elopement!

What airport should I fly into to get to the Dolomites?

So the Dolomites are in northern Italy, and are pretty close to Austria and Switzerland! I’ve flown into Munich, Zurich and Milan, but I’ve always found the best prices into Munich from the US! Flying into another country ensures that you have an incredible road trip to Northern Italy! The routes are seriously STUNNING and I recommend doing the drive through Austria to Italy even if you aren’t flying out of there! Austria, Germany and Switzerland are all pretty close together so its pretty easy to drive through them to get to Italy!

elopement in the dolomites

Should I hike for my elopement or just drive?

So hiking in the Dolomites is an AWESOME experience. But Hiking isn’t for everyone! The Dolomites are still for you even if you don’t want to hike! There are plenty of places that you can totally drive up to, take a cable car up to, or take a short walk up to!

Some of the drawbacks of an easily accessible location is that they are often pretty crowded during the day, especially in the summer! If you wanted to go to one of these locations, I’d suggest doing it at sunrise before the crowds come!

The more remote a location is, the more intimate it will be! A hiking elopement is an amazing adventure, and will give you a better chance of finding a private location away from the rest of the crowds.

Another option is to book a helicopter tour and find a spot unreachable by cars and hikers! Specialized helicopter tours can provide you with a bunch of new locations that you haven’t considered before and will be an amazing experience! UNLESS YOU GET MOTION SICKNESS! I did one of these tours and got super sick so just be careful because you don’t want to spend your elopement day feeling nauseous!

Here’s a company that does helicopter tours!

bride and groom holding each other in boat

Do I need a permit to elope in the Dolomites?

No! You do not! Unlike most places in the United States, no permits are required to have a wedding ceremony or bring a photographer to document your elopement!

bride and groom kissing dolomites landscape

Best Time of Year to Elope in the Dolomites

The Dolomites have definite seasons, and each season has its own pros and cons based on what locations will be available. The winter in the Dolomites usually begins at the beginning of December and lasts until about April. The time from April to the middle of June is considered the shoulder season (or low season!) in the dolomites. The Summer last from Mid June to Mid October-ish, and then from that time until December is another shoulder season.

So depending on what you want to do during your elopement, the seasons all have different options for your location. If you want to go up a cable car (like the Seceda car!) or a ski lift to ride high up into the mountains, you will only be able to do this during a high season as they are usually closed during the low seasons for revision. In the late spring, the most snow is on the ground and many mountain passes may be closed until the summer. There is usually a ton of snow left in the high elevation, and a lot of those locations (like the gorgeous Tre Cime di Lavaredo) will be inaccessible until June or July. Many roads also close during the shoulder season and don’t reopen until summer.

If you were to ask my opinion on what time of year you should elope, I would tell you to pick early September! Most of the cable cars and rock climbing routes are still open at that time and the weather is more stable than the summer and less likely to storm! Sunrise elopements during the summer are UNBEATABLE, and you are must more likely to find some privacy and be able to enjoy the mountain views by yourselves.

bride and groom standing together dolomites landscape

Summer in the Dolomites

Summer in the Dolomites is usually pretty short and lasts from the middle of June to the end of August. Autumn is usually from then until the middle of October! Usually cable cars and rock climbing routes are open until the end of September, and the mountain roads will be open until mid october. During the fall, the cold weather begins, and it can even begin to snow in the mountains. It usually doesn’t stay though and won’t really last until October. The weather can be must more unpredictable during the last fall though, so there is no certainty as to what the weather will be! Its best to be prepared for every weather situation and to have several backup plans in place!

Winter in the Dolomites

In the Winter, many locations will not be as accessible as they are in the summer due to the surplus of SNOW. There can be a ton of snow in these mountains, and the pass and roads can close and tire chains will usually be mandatory. With so much snow, hiking and wandering around on the mountains becomes much more difficult, but if you want to elope at a ski resort and spend your honeymoon skiing or snowboarding, this is the perfect time of year for you! Some hikes turn into snowshoeing trails and are still accessible. Wherever you want to elope, do your research to discover what time of year would be the best for that location!

bride and groom reading vows dolomites landscape

Most Beautiful Dolomites Elopement Locations

There are SOOO many incredible places to elope in the Italian Dolomites that it’s extremely hard to narrow it down to just a few! That’s why I put together a whole separate guide to all my fav Dolomites elopement locations, because it would be too much info to fit into this guide. Pause real quick and read it here, or head over to it after you finish this one!

bride and groom kissing dolomites landscape

Where to Stay in the Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are basically a magical fairytale wonderland in disguise, so you bet your ass there are plenty of incredible fairytale-esque places to stay in the middle of these dramatic mountain landscapes. There’s a huge range of options for everybody and every type of traveler, whether you want to find a tiny home in the mountain valleys, hosted by an Italian farmer who will cook you an amazing farm-to-table brunch, or you’d rather stay in a leisurely resort with your friends & fam who will be traveling with ya. Here’s a list some of the best hotels & Airbnbs in the Dolomites (and there are plenty more that you can find on Google)!!

lago di braies engagement photos
elopement at lago di braies

Best Hotels in the Dolomites

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Best Romantic Airbnbs in the Dolomites for Couples

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Best Airbnbs in the Dolomites for Big Groups

bride and groom standing together
dolomites landscape

Best Mountain Huts in the Dolomites

One of my favorite types of accommodations in the Dolomites are the mountain huts that are high up in the mountains (rifugios!) or there are rustic farmstays (where you stay on a farm!). 

The mountain huts are such a cool place to stay, and there are about 140 mountains huts scattered through the mountain range! Some can hold up to 50 people and some are pretty small so plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance! These huts are the best place to stay if you’re considering a mult-day hike through the dolomites and don’t want to carry camping gear!

Here’s a list of all of the mountain huts in the Dolomites!

bride and groom standing together on mountain top

10 Incredible Day Hikes in the Dolomites

Best Dolomites Hikes for Beginners

If you’re somebody who wants to experience all the epic views of the Dolomites without much hard work, I got you! There are plenty of amazing hikes in the Dolomites that are easy, fairly quick, and will still take you to mind-blowing viewpoints, minus the effort + energy of a long hike 😉 Here are 5 of the best hikes in the Dolomites for beginners!

1. Cadini di Misurina

Hike distance: 2 miles round trip

Elevation gain: 690 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Average completion time: 1-2 hours (take your time to enjoy the view!!)

2. Seceda

Hike distance: 0.8-mile loop

Elevation gain: 360 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Average completion time: 30-45 minutes

3. Cinque Torri

Hike distance: 1.2-mile loop

Elevation gain: 430 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Average completion time: 1 hour

4. Lago di Braies

Hike distance: 2.5-mile loop

Elevation gain: 165 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Average completion time: 1-2 hours

5. Lagazuoi to Passo Falzarego

Hike distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation loss: 2,100 feet (downhill)

Difficulty: Easy

Average completion time: 2-3 hours

bride and groom rowing in boat

Best Dolomites Hikes for More Experienced Hikers

Now if you’re a more experienced hiker or are just looking for more of a challenge, here are 5 hikes that will fulfill allll your adventure cravings, but are still able to be done in one day!

6. Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Hike distance: 6.2-mile loop

Elevation gain: 1,600 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Average completion time: 3.5 hours

7. Corvara – Cascate Pisciadù

Hike distance: 5 miles out-and-back

Elevation gain: 1,200 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Average completion time: 2.5-3 hours

8. Piz Boè de Vallon

Hike distance: 4.5-mile loop

Elevation gain: 2,300 feet

Difficulty: Hard

Average completion time: 3.5-4 hours

9. Lago di Sorapis

Hike distance: 8 miles round trip

Elevation gain: 2,380 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Average completion time: 4-5 hours

10. Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail

Hike distance: 5.9 miles round trip

Elevation gain: 1,250 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Average completion time: 3.5 hours

dolomites landscape

What to Do in the Dolomites

So there are SO MANY things that you can do in the Dolomites. Usually the activities are planned around the mountains and the various activities that can happen there! Depending on where you are staying in the Dolomites, there are a few different things that you can do! An all day hike is always a good option and a great way to experience the mountains. Pack a picnic, bring some beers (and water lol) and watch the sun set together after a long day of adventuring! You can also explore the mountains via bicycle! 

You can ride through the valleys or even up specific mountain trails! Motorcycles are an even easier mode of transport to explore the mountains. Head off to a bunch of various outlooks or viewpoints and enjoy your day zooming around together! Another mountain adventure that you could try is climbing up a ferrata, which is a fixed iron rope climbing route. This could be a fun new adventure for you guys and a great way to experience the mountains with each other. If hiking isn’t your pace, you can visit many of the stunning lakes in the area, plan a picnic, or stop by a local vineyard for some wine tasting!

If its winter when you visit, you can go skiing or snowshoeing or go for a walk together in a winter wonderland!

bride and groom sitting together

Can Foreigners Get Married in Italy?

Short answer: yes, you can legally get married in Italy as a foreigner – but it may be easier to do a symbolic ceremony instead.

dolomites elopement
how to plan your dolomites elopement

Legal marriage ceremonies in Italy

If you want to get legally married in Italy, you’ll need to go through the process of getting an Italian marriage license. Italy recognizes two types of legal marriage, civil and religious, and also recognizes sam-sex relationships through “civil unions,” which grants you similar rights to the rights you get from marriage. To be honest, if you’re in a same-sex relationship, I would just get married legally back in your home country (more on that below) to make it easier on yourselves!

One of the difficulties that comes with legal marriage ceremonies in Italy (civil or religious) is that they must be performed in an approved location such as a venue or certain historical places around the country. They’re also conducted in Italian and are performed by a mayor or civil officer. If you want to get married in the Dolomites, I’d suggest having your legal ceremony take place beforehand in one of the approved locations, following all of the legal guidelines, and then have a symbolic ceremony in the Dolomites afterward.

dolomites elopement planner
how to elope in the dolomites
dolomites elopement

Symbolic marriage ceremonies in Italy

If you’d rather not have to deal with the process of getting married in Italy as a foreigner (because let’s be honest, it can be confusing af), you can do a symbolic ceremony instead!! This just means that you and your partner will get legally married (like at a courthouse, or through a small backyard ceremony with your closest friends/family) in your home country/state. Then when you’re in Italy (whether you’re already legally married or are getting legally married after your trip), you have a symbolic ceremony, where you just exchange your vows instead of having a legal ceremony with an officiant and a marriage license. It makes it sooo much easier and is still just as meaningful – you can still say the vows you wrote for each other, participate in a unity ceremony that’s special to you, and even have a reception with your loved ones if you want to! 

dolomites landscape

Dolomites Elopement Photographer

Dolomites Elopement Packages

Soooo now that I’ve shared all of my Dolomites elopement wisdom with ya, I’m ready to pack my bags & my passport and tag along on your elopement with you 😉 Documenting couples in this magical mountain range is one of my all-time favorite things to do so I’d love love to capture yours! You can learn about my Dolomites elopement packages here and inquire with me here so we can start planning your epic elopement in the Dolomites!

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