How to Elope in the Dolomites: A Comprehensive Guide for Your Italian Elopement [Updated for 2023]
(all-new updated guide for 2023)
Have you dreamed of how to elope the Dolomites – one of the most picturesque locations in the world?The Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in northern Italy, offer the perfect backdrop for your elopement (also known as Dolomiti, pronounced Doe-lo-me-tea). In this guide, we will explore the essentials of eloping in the Dolomites, including places to stay, must-see attractions, weather considerations, how to travel there, budget estimates, and essential tips for traveling in Italy. Plus, we’ll delve into the legal process for getting married in Italy as an American citizen.
Choose Your Wedding Date
The Dolomites are stunning year-round. From epic lakes in the Summer and Fall to snow covered mountains in the winter, it’s hard to pick just one date out of the entire year. Summer (June to September) offers warm weather and lush green landscapes, while winter (December to February) transforms the region into a snow-covered mountain escape. Spring and Fall are typically less crowded, with fewer tourists. Keep in mind: if you choose a winter or early spring month, the higher-elevation areas will be inaccessible due to snow (such as Tre Cime – pronounced Tray Cheeemie).
Getting Married in Italy as an American Citizen
For how to elope in the Dolomites and to legally marry in Italy as an American citizen, you’ll need to navigate some paperwork and follow these steps:
Visit Your Local Italian Consulate: Contact the Italian consulate nearest to your residence in the United States to obtain a “Nulla Osta” (certificate of no impediment) and guidance on required documents.
Gather Required Documents: You’ll typically need your passport, birth certificate, divorce or death certificates (if applicable), and an affidavit of marital status.
Legalization of Documents: Some documents may need to be translated into Italian and legalized with an “Apostille” from your state’s Secretary of State.
Civil Ceremony: Plan your civil ceremony at your chosen location in Italy. The ceremony must take place at the local town hall or another approved venue.
Translator: You may need a translator to assist with the ceremony if you’re not fluent in Italian.
Registration: After the ceremony, ensure that your marriage is properly registered with Italian authorities.
Fly into Venice: Venice Marco Polo Airport is the most convenient international airport to the Dolomites. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus ride reach your chosen location. Driving will be the best way to access multiple spots throughout your stay! Don’t be intimidating by driving in Europe – the drive between Venice and the Dolomites is VERY easy and doable as an American. Just be sure to get your $20 International Drivers License before you go! Most cars in Europe are manual transmission, so be sure to pay attention to that when reserving your vehicle if you’d rather drive an automatic.
Depending on where you want to elope in the Dolomites, there are a variety of ski lifts and easily accessible areas as well as some areas that require a bit more of a hike.
Places to Stay
The Dolomites have everything from fancy resorts to mountain cabins and camp-style Airbnbs. There is no one single perfect place to stay due to the large number of accommodations and areas to stay. Figuring out where you want to elope and how you want to spend your time will largely determine what area will be best for lodging! Here’s a few areas we recommend checking out:
Cortina d’Ampezzo: This charming alpine town boasts excellent accommodations such as the Hotel de la Poste, which offers stunning mountain views and a touch of luxury.
Alta Badia: For a quieter and more romantic escape, consider staying at Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, offering idyllic settings and cozy amenities.
The Italian Dolomites are known for their incredible views, so anything that involves being outside and taking in the scenery is going to be the main attractions of this area. Depending on the time of year, skiing is also a great activity for couples that plan on staying a few days! There’s a ton of trails to check out, lakes where you can rent a canoe to paddle around and beautiful walks through the surrounding towns (check out this Italy elopement to see a gorgeous lake in the area).
Here’s a few iconic spots to explore and consider for your elopement, just to name a few:
Seceda (suhsee duh): A cable car ride to Seceda provides panoramic views of the Dolomites, making it an excellent spot for wedding photos. They have quaint mountain cabins on the hillside for lodging and their mountain-top bar is a great spot to grab a local brew and pizza for a picnic at sunset!
Tre Cime di Lavaredo: This iconic trio of peaks offers a dramatic backdrop for your elopement ceremony and incredible photo opportunities.
Lago di Braies: Known as the “Pearl of the Dolomites,” this stunning alpine lake is perfect for romantic boat rides and unforgettable photographs.
Eloping in the Dolomites can be surprisingly affordable compared to traditional weddings. Here’s a rough estimate:
Flights: Varies based on where you’re coming from, but typically around $800-$1500 round trip. Use apps like Going, Skyscanner and Pomelo Travels for flight deal alerts!
Accommodation: $150-$500 per night
Meals: $50-$150 per day per person
Wedding Planner, Photographer and Videographer: $7,000-$9,000 (click HERE for all-inclusive packages)
Italy Transportation: Varies based on location and mode (car rental, train, etc.)
Marriage License and Legal Fees: Approximately $300-$500
Travel Tips for Italy
Language: While many Italians speak English, learning a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your experience and be an incredible way to respect the locals
Local Cuisine: Be sure to savor traditional dishes like pasta, gelato, and tiramisu. Don’t forget to pair them with local wines and spritz.
Safety: Italy is generally safe, but be cautious of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas.
Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting churches or religious sites. Italians dress to the nines, no matter what they’re doing. Try ditching the workout clothes and wear a bit fancier clothes during your stay in Italy.
Time Management: Italians have a relaxed approach to time. Expect some delays and go with the flow.
Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not obligatory. Round up the bill or leave a small tip for good service. (Pro tip – waiters won’t bring your check when you’re finished eating. Be sure to ask for your check when you’re ready to go!)
Eloping in the Dolomites offers a unique and unforgettable wedding experience. With planning, respect for local customs, and adherence to legal requirements, your Italian elopement will be epic and memorable.