How to Plan a Ski Wedding in the Dolomites (2023) - Alps Adventure Elopements

How to Plan a Ski Wedding in the Dolomites (2023)

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A family stands in a line on the slopes wearing skis and wedding attire for a Dolomites ski wedding. They are holding their ski poles up and cheering.
Pro Tip: the tuxedo tee shirts are a crowd favorite πŸ˜‚

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Go ahead, skip ahead to the content you need!

  1. Time – how much photo coverage to book for a ski wedding
  2. Dolomites ski wedding sample timeline
  3. Renting your skis
  4. Finding the right hut or hotel
  5. Working around the weather
  6. How to choose a dress or suit for a ski wedding
  7. How to warmly style your wedding attire
  8. How to find makeup artists, florists and other vendors
  9. What and how to pack for a ski wedding
  10. How to get amazing nighttime and twilight photos in the Dolomites
  11. Other locations in Europe for a ski wedding or elopement
  12. Choosing the right photographer for your Dolomites ski wedding

Overview

There are a lot of moving parts (literally) to ski weddings. If you’re a bit stuck on how to plan a ski wedding in the Dolomites or anywhere else, this blog is for you. While it may be intimidating at first, it’s no more difficult than planning any other type of wedding, there are just a few niche things to keep in mind.

Use the table of contents above to skip to the information you need most!

Budget

Expect to spend around €12,000-15,000+ total for a ski wedding with the main expenses being flights, hotel stays, car rentals, lift tickets and photography.

The main things to consider when planning a Dolomites ski wedding

Wedding couple during their Dolomites ski wedding near Cinque Torri stand embracing, smiling at the camera. It is after sunset and the moon is in the sky above them. They are holding glowing lanterns and big bouquet.

Time – how much photo coverage to book for a ski wedding

Time is the most important thing when planning a ski wedding for a couple reasons. First, consider the amount of time lift rides take, including lines. On a normal ski day, how many runs do you typically get in? You can easily plan to half that amount to account for setting up photos along the way. Now factor in that most lifts don’t begin running until 8:30 am, and stop running around 4:30pm. That’s 8 hours in the best case scenario.

Next consider time for lunch and working around bad weather. If you’re planning a day with guests, average in at least one run where everyone goes a different direction and gets separated at different lifts. You’re now down to maybe 5-6 hours of active skiing. Half of that is spent on the lifts.

Don’t forget that it’s wintertime, and the average day from Dec-March has roughly 8-12 hours of daylight! Even posing off the slopes during this time of year has a time limit.

READ MORE: 2 Day Dolomites Adventure Elopement at Tre Cime

Dolomites ski wedding sample timeline:

7:00 | SUNRISE VOWS

7:00-9:30 | POST VOW ADVENTURE

9:30 | BREAKFAST

10:00-10:30 | FAMILY CEREMONY

10:00-12:00 | FAMILY SKI

13:30 – 16:30 | FAMILY MICHELIN STAR LUNCH IN CORTINA

16:30-18:00 | AFTER DINNER CAKE CUTTING AND SPARKLER EXIT

In my experience, this timeline is also extremely hopeful. This is an ideal timeline if everything goes perfectly. Ski elopements are an ideal scenario for booking more time than you think you need.

READ MORE: How to plan an elopement in the Dolomites for every budget

Renting your skis

Ski rentals in the Dolomites are really easy to organize. There are ski rental locations everywhere, including at most major lift bases. You can easily reserve rentals online far in advance, and the quality of skis and boots is generally really good. You can even upgrade to better skis if you feel you need to. Helmets, poles and other accessories are also available for rent, so you can leave all your bulky gear at home.

Lift Tickets are also simple to book and pick up using the Dolomites Superski website. Daily passes for the entire Dolomites ski area are around €65 euro per ticket; if you book early online, you typically get a 5% discount as well.

There are ticket pick-up sites about everywhere where you simply go up to the machine and scan the QR code in your booking email. It prints immediately! Don’t forget to put the ticket in your ski jacket right away.

Dolomiti Superski Map, Cortina D'Ampezzo
Dolomiti Superski Map, Cortina D’Ampezzo

For more maps and ski routes in the entire Dolomites area, go here.

Finding the right hut or hotel

First ask yourself: what am I looking for in an overnight stay?

If you want luxury and to be pampered, Cortina d’Ampezzo has multiple 5 star wellness resorts and hotels. There are also numerous Airbnb options for families or higher guest counts.

If you want direct access to high elevation views and to ski out onto the mountain in the morning, an alpine hut or “rifugio” is absolutely the way to go.

I highly recommend staying overnight in a hut at least one day, if not purely for the experience, then also for the ease of being on the mountain for sunrise and early skiing first thing in the morning. You can have sunrise vows on the mountain long before the lifts start running, while it’s serenely quiet.

Finding the right hut for an overnight stay is a crucial step in how to plan a Dolomites ski wedding, so do your research! Make sure you choose one that has the right amenities and views. I love the Scoiattoli Rifugio located near Cortina d’Ampezzo. It’s a family run rifugio with amazing views, access to other huts and many popular runs, including the Super 8 Ski loop. Their hut is known for the great food and hot tub with awesome views of the famous Cinque Torri rock pillar. Stays are €90 per night per person and the hot tub is €180 to book for your group. Check out booking information for the Scoiattoli hut here.

Working around the weather

What do we do if the snow levels look bare?

Sadly, it’s becoming more frequent in the Alps now for warmer days, especially in Dec and Jan. If valley conditions look bare, check the webcams at the top of the lifts. Often, above 1,500 or 2,000 meters (5-6,000 ft.) temperatures stay much colder and there’s plenty of snow.

What do we do if there are overcast skies?

Actually, overcast skies are better for photography purposes, specifically midday. Bright sunlight is harsh and difficult to work with, especially with the intense reflections off ice and snow. Don’t be worried about overcast skies!

What do we do if it’s really cold?

Wear appropriate clothing and plan for more frequent breaks at huts. It’s fortunately not super common in the Dolomites for temperatures to be extremely cold (in comparison to the US/Canadian rockies).

What do we do if there is a blizzard or strong winds?

Make the most of it and get some fun photos in the blowing snow! Depending on how severe the winds are, lifts may close for safety reasons. If this happens, we’ll discuss a backup plan/activity.

How to Choose a Dress or Suit for a Ski Wedding

Couple stands on a snowy mountain during their Dolomites ski elopement. They are visible from the waist down, wearing warm winter boots and wedding attire. There are impressive mountain peaks in the background.

Choosing a dress: choose a dress with a simple cut and train. Make sure you’re able to bustle the back so you can carry it above your skis. Choose a dress with flexible fabric, and ideally nothing with stiff arms or mermaid cuts. Warmer fabrics like velvet are also not a bad idea!

Choosing a suit: choose a suit with flexible fabrics, and consider you’ll need to tuck the hem of the pants into your boots. Try to tailor the pant so it has a slim fit in the calves, otherwise the bunched up fabric in your boot will rub and create painful pressure points. A slightly higher waist will keep your shirt tucked in when bending and moving, and suspenders are a very functional accessory. A vest to layer under your jacket also means you can change up your look if the weather is good!

How to find makeup artists, florists and other vendors

The Dolomites is packed with incredibly, talented vendors to add to your day. You can and should consider having a custom cake made, picking up a bottle of niche local wine or champagne, or ordering a bouquet/floral crown/arch. The area is also packed with incredible restaurants that cater, as well as Michelin star chefs offering impressive 7 course meals sourced locally.

A great way to find local vendors is honestly Instagram – search hashtags for the area and check captions for vendor names when you see something you like!

Hair and makeup is the only difficult thing to plan logistically if you have a very early day or stay in an alpine hut, but at a price, everything is possible.

Of course, for couples who book with me, I help with vendor research and have a list of trusted vendors I can refer you out to.

What and how to pack for a ski wedding

βœ… DO leave the bulky stuff at home. Don’t bring anything you don’t want to carry your entire trip.

βœ… DO pack smart layers. A base layer, fleece, puffy and a hard shell will cover all your bases for all kinds of weather.

βœ… DO pack those warm hiking boots. I know they take up a ton of space and weight, but if you’re out walking around, you’ll really want them. The snow is deep and there are so many tempting trails around the huts to explore. Ski boots are just too awkward to hike in, even for a short while.

βœ… DO bring extra socks. If you’re skiing multiple days, you need at least two pairs of ski socks to cycle through. You always want to have a dry pair nearby.

βœ… DO bring a backpack. You may need to pack your outfit in your bag to change on the slopes.

βœ… DO bring your ski goggles.

❌ DON’T underestimate the cold. Better to have all the layers you might need, than be too cold.

❌ DON’T bring your skiis/boots/poles from home. You can rent everything here!

How to warmly style your wedding attire

Base Layers: wear a base layer, especially under your dress! I recommend white leggings or thick fleece tights.

Outer Layers: with your dress or suit, bring a second jacket which goes well over your dress. There are lots of options with synthetic fur or suede which pair super well with a wedding look.

Accessories: white beanies, white gloves, white earmuffs, faux fur shawls and white leggings pull together your outfit in a functionally cute way.

See the photo of the bride below for warm and cute ideas on how to style your winter wedding look.

READ MORE: What to wear for a Dolomites elopement

How to get amazing nighttime and twilight photos in the Dolomites

First, you need to book a night in one of the alpine huts. This is the best way to get direct access to high elevation views without hiking or being in the cold too long. One of the distinguishing things about European skiing is the culture of alpine huts and apres ski. There are multiple places on the runs to stop, eat, warm up, get a drink or stay overnight. It’s a truly authentic experience in the area!

Nights in the Dolomites are typically dry and clear, so your chances for start shots are high. If it’s possible, book a time near the new moon when the moonlight won’t overpower the starlight. Bring warm boots and hand warmers!

Other locations in Europe for a ski wedding or elopement

Austrian Alps

pros: really expansive, wide ski areas like the Stubaier glacier

cons: not many! It’s an all around great option!

Swiss Alps

pros: luxurious amenities everywhere, incredible views like the Matterhorn

cons: most expensive

Finnish Lapland

pros: unreal, fluffy snow conditions, northern lights and famously beautiful sunsets

cons: distant and remote from the rest of Europe, very short winter days

SEE FULL GALLERY: The Perfect 2 Day Dolomites Ski Wedding

Choosing the right photographer for your Dolomites ski wedding

Ski weddings are some of the most complicated events from a photography perspective. Mainly, there is a lot of gear to carry up and down the slopes, as well as a range of difficult photography techniques involved. Working in the bright snow with extreme temps as well as being able to handle gear while on skis is not something everyone can do.

Make sure you hire a photographer with experience in ALL those conditions, as well as someone athletic enough to keep up. A photographer who has answers to all your burning “how to plan a Dolomites ski wedding” questions will make things a lot smoother.

Austria and Dolomites ski wedding photographer Mariah Arianna

Inspirational words from a couple who planned an epic 2 day Dolomites ski wedding:

“Mariah!!! These are all seriously so so amazing!! I’m obsessed. We’re obsessed. We can’t thank you enough. We definitely relived the day through these this morning. You really captured it all exactly how we envisioned it. They are perfect. I have already looked through them so many times and I have a new favorite every time I look. I’m excited to share them with everyone who will look at them! Thank you for running around in the snow with us for two days, we had so much fun with you guys and you made us so comfortable the entire time (which we were nervous about)!”

– Callie & Eric 

Couple stands on the slopes during their two day Dolomites ski wedding. He is wearing ski goggles with his hiking boots over his shoulders and she is sideways holding ski poles, kissing the side of his face.
Callie & Eric during their 2 Day Dolomites Ski Wedding

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