If you’re considering eloping in Austria, congrats, you just chose one of my favorite countries in Europe! You’ve probably got lots of questions, so let me answer the 5 biggest ones you should be concerned about:
It’s MUCH cheaper than Switzerland, and less chaotic and crowded than the Italian Alps. The country is compact, with a fabulous and reliable train system connecting it’s major cities. That also means it’s DENSE with jaw-dropping locations to explore, and they’re easy to get to.
Austria is also friendly to LGBTQ+ and same sex couples, and voted for marriage equality in 2017.
Finally, Austria is a four seasons kind of destination. Summer is crowded, but ideal for long, sunny days at higher altitudes. Spring and fall are ideal for more temperate, moodier weather, fewer crowds and a touch of snow. Winter becomes a ski and snowboard paradise with plenty of parties, festivals and Christmas markets if you choose December.
Austria has something to offer during every season. It’s a good idea to sit down with your partner and discuss what your perfect day looks like, and what each season brings.
If you want:
If you choose summer months, like June-August: BOOK EARLY. Those are crowded months and if you don’t book 9-12 months in advance, things book out quickly. Be prepared for surge pricing also, which is common in summer.
Are you eloping with guests? BOOK VERY EARLY. Finding accommodation for guest counts above 10 can be very difficult if you wait too long. The most popular spots book out months in advance. To make sure all your guests will be in the same location, don’t wait.
If having a proper legal ceremony (civil ceremony) in Austria is important to you, it is possible. Another positive aspect of Austria is that LGBTQ+ couples have the legal right to marry in Austria.
However, if you’re not an Austrian citizen, or don’t speak German, there are additional steps you’ll have to take to have official Austrian marriage papers.
Documents required for a civil ceremony in Austria (according the the Austrian Embassy) must be filed at least 6 months in advance:
b. Birth Certificate (original or certified copy)
c. Driver’s License or similar document that indicates the address of residence of the party concerned.
d. A residence registration form (“Meldezettel”) issued by the Austrian authorities after arrival, unless the applicants are staying at a hotel, youth hostel etc.
e. Documentary proof of dissolution of previous marriage(s), if any, e.g., final divorce or annulment decrees (Mexican divorces are usually not recognized in Austria) or death certificate(s) of previous spouse(s). The marriage certificate(s) of such previous marriage(s) is/are also usually required.
f. U.S. certificate of no impediment to marriage (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis)https://www.austria.org/marriage-in-austria
Another thing to consider if you want a civil ceremony is that the ceremony is only available in German. You will need to find, hire and pay for a certified translator. In my experience, they can at times be hard to find. The marriage paperwork is likely also not immediately valid in your home country, and will need to be translated, processed and approved at your own expense.
All that may sound like a bit much, so if you decide organizing all the paperwork in your home country is easier, then consider having a “commitment ceremony” instead. For a detailed description on Commitment Ceremonies, Vow Ceremonies and Micro Weddings, click here.
I LOVE commitment ceremonies. I truly believe they are the center point of your day, whether you have a legal ceremony or not. Even if you’re already married – even if you’re not religious – even if you thought you didn’t want one: YOU DO.
Here’s why: a commitment ceremony starts the clock on your marriage on your terms. You get to define your marriage in whatever way you want, outside any government, church or social regulations or norms. Your commitment ceremony is 100% yours and no one can dictate what it looks like except YOU.
Maybe it’s simple vows and an exchange of rings…
Or maybe you hire a helicopter, fly to the top of a glacier and dance to your favorite song! Maybe you pour sand, light candles, split a pastry, or any other number of things you love.
Planning a commitment ceremony is as simple as determining how you want to define, express and celebrate your bond. For more details on commitment ceremonies, vows and micro weddings, click here.
Eloping in Austria means you can take your pick of rugged peaks, rolling green pastures, icy blue glaciers and waterfalls. Moreover, it means you have beautiful and historic cities you can explore, like Salzburg, Vienna and Innsbruck.
Innsbruck – “the Capital of the Alps” is a fascinating mix of architecture, history and culture. Additionally, it’s also smack in the middle of the entire European Alps.
Tirol – one of the most famous areas of the Alps. It has the most impressive peaks.
Kitzbühel – within Tirol, Kitzbühel has world class mountain biking trails, ski hills and hiking trails.
Zell am See – One of the most popular lake areas within the Kizbühler Alps.
Zillertal Alps – there are more than 85 glaciers in this reason, some above 11,000ft. Need I say more?
Grossglockner Alpine Road – a stunning 30 mile stretch of road climbing Grossglockner, Austria’s tallest and most famous peak.
Salzkammergut Region – wild and untouched (by European standards) and home to “The Sound of Music.”
Most of these areas overlap, or are a short drive from one another. Consider planning 2 or more into your trip and opting for a 2 day adventure elopement!
The absolute basics of eloping with a photographer if you are coming from the United States or Canada (for just the two of you) consider the following costs:
Travel (with return, 2 people): $2,000 per person
Hotel/Airbnb 4 nights: $500
Rental Car (5 days): $600
Cable Car tickets: $100
Food (2 people): $500
TOTAL BARE MINIMUM COSTS: $7,300
The above cost is extremely basic and more or less a “starting at” price for eloping in Austria. It will cover reasonable food, about 4-6 hours of photography coverage, and decent accommodation with economy flights.
For those wanting a luxury experience, the sky is the limit. Austria has world class hotels, spas and restaurants.
Finally, don’t forget that inviting guests will exponentially raise costs. Budget that in fairly and be transparent about what you expect people to pay for vs. what you don’t!
Yes. See point 3 for more details, or visit Austria’s official embassy website.
Yes. Marriage equality was voted in 2017, and officially enacted January 1st, 2019.
Simply: you must be fully vaccinated (at least 2 doses), or recovered from COVID in the last 180 days, with proof. Mandatory masking has been lifted for all situations except public transport and essential shops, like pharmacies, supermarkets and post offices. For the most updated information, visit Austria’s official tourism website.
Eloping in Austria is a top choice for those who know: 1) they want to be in the Alps, and 2) they want a cheaper, less crowded option. Take into consideration the time of year you want to go, and remember things book out quickly and there could be language barriers. Factor in a basic budget of around $7,300.
Eloping in Austria, far away from home, is challenging. Most likely, no one you know has done something similar, and the logistics and planning can feel overwhelming.
But don’t stress, I’m here to help.
Figuring out exactly where to go in Austria for the best photos is easier when you know where to look. Therefore, hiring an experienced local photographer is crucial.
So if you find this article helpful, then let’s talk! Now that you know your main options, I’d love to help you plan the most amazing Austrian elopement ever.