Featured Elopement Location: Dolomites Italy, September 2023

If the idea of getting married in the Italian Dolomites lights a fire in your soul — or was already on your elopement bucket list — and the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! My dates for the Dolomites are currently flexible in the month of September 2023. Want to come with me? Let me know ASAP.

What is a featured location?

Before I get to the GOOD STUFF, I wanted to tell you about my featured locations. A featured location is somewhere I already have plans to be. If the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! (A $1,000 savings!) So yeah, you could technically count this as a reason to shuffle the budget and fit in an epic activity on your big day. That’s enough cash for a private chef, a private helicopter tour, or even a massive upgrade to wherever you’re staying!

What could an Italian Dolomites Elopement look like? Read on for all the details.

Written by the wonderful Sam Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

The Italian Dolomites are known across the world for their breathtaking beauty, wild scenery, rolling meadows, and mountain huts. When you’re surrounded by these towering mountains, wandering through an Alpine field, you can be your truest and most authentic selves. Eloping in the Dolomites is honestly the most romantic and adventurous location, and if you and your partner want that intrepid experience, look no further than a Dolomites elopement.  

As an adventure elopement photographer, it really doesn’t get any dreamier than capturing my couples, smiling and happy, with such unbelievable backdrops. If you’re considering a Dolomites elopement, there are a few things you need to think about. That’s why I’ve put together this complete guide to planning an epic elopement in the Italian Dolomites. 

Where to elope in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are so beautiful that it can be difficult to pick just one place to elope. If you want someplace wild with an epic backdrop, you will absolutely find your elopement location in the Italian Dolomites. 

If I had to write about all the most photogenic and breathtaking spots in the Italian Dolomites, this blog post would be around 5,000 words (at least)! But, in an effort to save your time, I’ve narrowed it down to some of the most insane spots for your Dolomites elopement. But if none of these sound just right to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can find THE spot. So, without further ado, the shortlist: 

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo area is absolutely stunning, but it’s only accessible during the summer season. You can reach the area by paying for a toll road, or taking a cheaper bus. Once you’re at the top, you’ll find countless beautiful hikes and photogenic areas. Consider stopping at the Rifugio Auronzo as a jumping off point (but don’t miss their amazing food!). From there, you can take a variety of different trails to some gorgeous locations. 

You can even link up with one of the other Rifugios (Rifugio Auronzo, Rifugio Lavaredo, Rifugio Locatelli) if you’re planning a multiple-day trip. If you do plan to sleep up there, we can get a head start before the tourists arrive and take some amazing photos. Word of warning: if you do plan to visit one of the rifugios, make sure to book months in advance. These popular little huts have very limited space and they book quickly. 

Alpe di Siusi 

If you love romantic alpine fields and rolling hills, Alpe di Siusi is PERFECT for you! This area is the largest high-altitude Alpine meadow in Europe, and it offers miles and miles of unparalleled views. If you want to elope in this area, we can plan to take a cable car up the mountain and pick a location in the meadows. This area is a great option if you want something beautiful, but you don’t want to do anything more than light hiking. Some of the more popular trails can get busy, but there are ways to avoid that of course! I can’t even explain how beautiful this place is, so you’ll have to take my word for it. 

Seceda 

You may never see any place as unique and totally unreal as the Seceda Ridgeline, an absolutely mindblowing spot in the Italian Dolomites. The peaks along this trail jut out in front of you like some ancient earthquake, frozen in time. Eloping along the Seceda ridgeline (or one of the many other nearby trails) will make for one of the most unbelievable and most special moments of your lives. This area, especially in summer, is truly one-of-a-kind. To get to this area, we’ll need to take the Ortisei-Furnes gondola followed by the Furnes-Seceda cable car, all starting in Ortisei. 

Parco naturale Puez Odle

Located in the Bolzano region of the Italian Dolomites, this natural park extends from the Val Gardena valley to the Val di Funes valley and the Alta Badia. This breathtaking area offers just about any scenery you can imagine, but I’m especially partial to their rolling hills and alpine meadows. There’s simply nothing as magical. 

Parco Naturale Sciliar-Catinaccio

This natural park, located in South Tyrol, is not as popular as some of the other locations listed here, and that’s why it’s a great Dolomites elopement location. The area actually covers Alpe di Siusi, but the park keeps going (in fact, it covers more than 7,000 hectares!). There are few places in the Dolomites that are as green and beautiful as this region. Because of the high clay content in the area, there are an abundance of streams and springs in this park. In the spring, this area has some amazing wildflowers, too! 

What to do on your elopement day in the Dolomites

There’s nothing more adventurous than exploring the Alps! If you want to plan an extra special elopement day, consider some of these activities to bring you closer together: 

  • Go hiking: Okay, so this one might be obvious… But the hiking in the Dolomites is completely unparalleled, and you won’t have enough time to cover even the most famous hikes. No matter your skill level, there’s something for you in the Dolomites. 
  • Do a Via Ferrata: Do you seek out adrenaline-fueled activities? If so, you just cannot miss the amazing Via Ferrata adventures in the Dolomites. A Via Ferrata is protected climbing with iron cables, ladders, and other forms of protection (like harnesses). Shorter Via Ferratas will be 150 meters of vertical gain, while longer ones are 1,200 meters or more. The Italian Dolomites have countless epic Via Ferratas
  • Take a road trip: If you’re visiting during the summer season, why not drive through the region? You don’t have to go hiking to explore the many beautiful sights in the Dolomites. The region is famous for its winding roads and epic mountain passes like Passo Giau and Passo Gardena. 
  • See the Dolomites from the sky: Is there anything as romantic as a private helicopter ride over the epic mountain ranges in the Dolomites? On a clear day, there’s literally nothing as gorgeous as flying over the Dolomites. Book a private helicopter ride to experience the mountains from an entirely new perspective. 

The best time to elope in the Dolomites

One of the best reasons to elope in the Italian Dolomites? They’re beautiful at just about every season. However, everyone wants that perfect weather for their elopement. Weather in the Dolomites is heavily influenced by seasons, infrastructure like mountain pass roads, and access to gondolas. Of course, different foliage year round provides vastly different experiences with even a few months difference. 

The summer season in the Dolomites is pretty short, like most of the Alps region. Summer lasts from the end of June to the end of August, though in good years it can last until mid September. Summer is the best time to elope because of the access to higher mountain locations. By summertime, the snow has melted from higher elevations and cable cars are operating, Plus, Rifugios (or Italian mountain huts) are open, too. The summer season also happens to be the busiest time of year, but it’s still the ideal time I would recommend for my couples. You just can’t beat the access and those gorgeous views! 

Another great time of year to visit: fall. The fall season starts in September and usually goes until October and early November, depending on the year. If you love the changing fall colors, you absolutely have to visit in October. The larches changing to bright orange and yellow is just unreal! The only thing to keep in mind: if winter comes early that year, some roads may be blocked off. Some years, winter may come as early as late September and certain access roads will become inaccessible due to ice. In addition, certain cable cars and Rifugios will only remain open the first half of fall, depending on the weather. 

It’s also possible to elope in the Dolomites in winter, but keep in mind that you won’t always have the same access as summer. Skiing in the Dolomites starts in December and the winter season lasts until mid-April. It’s the perfect time to elope if you plan to elope at a resort and spend a bunch of time skiing and snowboarding. Otherwise, I’d recommend another time. Just remember to plan your elopement around the elopement location and its access. 

Where to eat in the Dolomites

The cuisine in the Dolomites is heavily influenced by the farming in the region. That means corn, potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, barley and legumes make up many of the most typical dishes in the Dolomites. But you’ll also find plenty of dairy products like cheese, milk, and butter. 

Looking to try the traditional cuisine? Here are some classic dishes: 

  • Casunziei: This ravioli is stuffed with pumpkin and spinach
  • Potato gnocchi with smoked cheese and pumpkin 
  • Polenta: Called the “bread of the Dolomites,” this versatile dish is made with yellow maize and can be served in a number of different ways. It’s often accompanied with parmesan cheese or freshly pickled mushrooms. 
  • Tris di Canederli (three tastings of canederli): This dish is made of three delicious dumplings the size of big tennis balls, a sign of the region’s Austrian influence. The dumplings normally contain peck, a type of cured ham similar to prosciutto and produced only in the South Tyrol. 
  • Apfelstrudel: Many residents living in the Dolomites consider themselves Austrian, or have Austrian heritage, because the borders often changed over time. That’s why some of the cuisine – like this strudel, a fixture in much of the Dolomites – will appear on menus closer to the border. 
  • And of course, don’t forget about pizza! There’s plenty of delicious pizza in the Dolomites. 

Here are some of my favorite restaurants in the Dolomites to try out the best of the local cuisine: 

Where to drink in the Dolomites

If you’re searching for the perfect place to propose a toast and drink to your new marriage, consider these great bars and restaurants for a nice drink: 

Where to stay in the Dolomites

The Dolomites have some absolutely unbelievable luxury accommodations to make your elopement extra special. Sweeping views, high-end spas, secluded mountain destinations…These hotels may be some of the coolest, most romantic Alpine accommodations I’ve ever seen. Here are some of my favorite places for couples looking for that special, romantic spot to celebrate their love: 

Vendors I recommend in the area

Florist

Hair and Makeup Artists

Bakery

Officients

Catering

How to get to the Dolomites

Unlike other elopement destinations, the Italian Dolomites aren’t super easy to access. That’s part of what makes them so special. To get to the Dolomites, you’ll need to fly into a nearby airport. The closest one to the Italian Dolomites is the Venice Airport. If you plan to make it more of a road trip, you can also fly into Munich or Vienna. In addition to the bigger airports, you can fly into one of the most regional airports in Treviso, Verona and Innsbruck (Austria). I’d recommend flying into Venice (Marco Polo) and taking a bus, private van, or rental car into the Dolomites. If I were you, I’d pick out a nice rental car. With a rental car, you have much more flexibility to explore the region and head off the beaten path.  

How to legally elope in the Dolomites

I’d personally recommend getting legally married in the U.S. to make it easier on you both and then have the symbolic ceremony in Italy. 

But if you want to legally get married in Italy, it’s not impossible – it just requires a lot of paperwork. You don’t need to be a legal resident to get married, but you do need to plan multiple months ahead. If you want to have a civil ceremony, you can have the civil ceremony in town halls, old castles, palaces, or other locations. Outdoor ceremonies will need to be approved by the local mayor or deputy. Every town has their own requirements. 

You will need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Original birth certificates
  • Evidence of end of previous marriage status (Divorce papers, death certificate)
  • A Nulla Osta (certificate of permission to get married in Italy)
  • Marriage Declaration at the town hall in Italy that you intend to get married 

My tips for exploring the Dolomites

Eloping in the Dolomites is one thing, but exploring the region is entirely something else! If you want to spend time in the area and truly discover all the magical, hidden spots, consider these tips: 

  • Spend a few days in different locations. The Italian Dolomites span miles and miles…and it’s not realistic to drive to different spots all day, it’ll waste too much time. Instead, pick a different base (like Cortina d’Ampezzo, or Ortisei) for a few days and move around. It’ll save time in the long run.
  • Make sure to rent a car. If you really want to see the area in all its glory, it’s unrealistic to use public transit or taxis. You need a car!
  • Remember: most towns have two names. That’s because the Italian Dolomites lie on the border with Austria, and oftentimes, every town will have two names: one in German and one in Italian. 
  • Stay overnight in a Rifugio! If you haven’t done so for your elopement, consider staying overnight in a Rifugio. These Italian mountain huts have the most unbelievable views, and they’re such a unique experience to the Dolomites. 

Closing Statements

The Italian Dolomites are home to some of the most breathtaking mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and mountain huts in the world. If you want to elope in Europe, surrounded by unbelievable scenery, then you really have to add the Dolomites to your short list! 

Elopement Packages in the Dolomites

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