An Epic Ski Elopement at St. Anton in Austria
Jamie and Paul chose the Austrian Alps for their elopement. As a ski-mad couple, they wanted to get married on a ski elopement trip. They chose St Anton, one of Austria’s most famous ski resorts, known for the FIS World Cup women’s downhill race, and its legendary apres-ski scene. They took the first lift up the mountain for private vows and a few laps of the slopes, before meeting their family in the village and heading up to the other side of the valley for a small ceremony and a fabulous mountain lunch.
Are you thinking about planning a more intimate wedding experience? Use our elopement directory to start planning!
Planning Your Elopement at St. Anton
“You don’t need permits to have your elopement in St Anton during the winter, but you will need to buy lift tickets if you are planning on using the ski lifts to access areas up on the mountain.” [Cat, the photographer]
Check out this Austria elopement guide.
When it comes to planning ahead, preparing, and being safe for a ski elopement, even if it’s within a ski resort, there are a number of things to consider. Cat shares what you need to know:
1. Your Ceremony Location
This needs to be somewhere that you can access with relative ease, but that is also safe. It shouldn’t be on the slopes where you are creating an obstacle for other skiers. Ideally, you want something that’s just on the edge of the slope, or a short walk from a lift station. That way you are not leaving the ski resort, but just finding a spot out of the way of the main ski traffic. However, if you are stepping outside of the slopes, then you also need to look at the safety of the location.
2. The Snow Conditions
Advance location scouting can give you an idea of what locations might work, but in the case of Jamie & Paul’s elopement, I went location scouting 2 weeks earlier when there was very little snow. I was very aware that locations that were easy to walk to along the sides of the ski slopes may have become a lot more challenging if we received a lot of fresh snow right before their elopement. There was also the avalanche danger to consider. While we were not leaving the boundary of the ski resort, we were going slightly outside of the controlled slopes, so making sure the spots we chose were not in avalanche terrain was also important.
3. Consider Your Abilities And The Abilities Of Your Group
Skiing on your wedding day isn’t like a normal day of skiing. For a start, you’re usually not wearing clothing that’s as warm, wind, or waterproof as your normal ski gear. You also may decide to ski without poles and without a helmet. If you’re used to wearing a helmet or skiing with poles, and you suddenly find yourselves without them, you’ll know how ‘naked’ you can feel. So take it slow, and make sure that you choose some easy slopes today.
Even if you usually ski on much more challenging terrain, don’t ski at your limit (or even close to it) on your wedding day. You can get epic photos even on really mellow terrain. If you have any friends or family with you as well, I recommend going and checking out the route you’ll be taking on your wedding day at least 1 day before to make sure everyone is comfortable with it.
4. Dress Appropriately
Even if you are wearing wedding clothes, there are some things that are simply non-negotiable. Even if you don’t wear them the whole time, you need to bring a ski jacket (or some proper warm jacket with you), gloves and sunglasses.
Top Tips Eloping Here
Convinced to elope on the slopes at St. Anton? Cat shares her top tips when planning a similar elopement.
1. Arrive a few days early and get to know the resort
Even when you are working with a local photographer, who may have helped plan your itinerary and the routes you’ll be taking on your elopement day, I recommend going out at least 1 day before your elopement and skiing all the slopes yourselves. Check out the slopes, the snow conditions, and the lifts and make sure you feel comfortable with the route and location you’ve chosen.
2. Aim For the First Lift
Unless it’s a bluebird powder day, usually getting up on the first lift means you are able to beat many of the crowds. That means the slopes are a bit quieter and you should have a bit more privacy for your vows.
3. Avoid High Season
Ski season in St Anton usually starts in mid-December, but in the last few years, there hasn’t been much snow until mid-January. Christmas & New Year are also really REALLY busy. The other busy time is usually in February, when you have the British and European mid-term school holidays and things get super crazy. If you want good snow conditions and don’t mind the cold, consider the last two weeks in January. Or if you prefer things a little warmer, and like spring skiing in the sunshine, then consider the month of March.
4. Consider Access For Non-Skiing Guests
If you are inviting guests who aren’t skiing (or don’t want to ski on the wedding day) then you’ll need to pick a location that can be accessed easily by everyone. Not all ski lifts allow foot passengers, so you’ll need to check in advance which ones do. For Jamie & Paul, I chose a location that had lift access, a winter walking trail, and a fabulous restaurant at the top, so we knew that it was suitable for “foot traffic” and that everyone would be happy up there.
5. Travel By Train
One of the best things about St Anton is that it has a train station and a free village bus service, so you don’t need a car to get here or to get around. There are regular trains from Innsbruck, with connections to Zürich and Munich too.
Deciding to Elope
“Before we even got engaged we both knew we didn’t want to go through with a lot of the formalites that are part of the traditional wedding process. We really wanted to make our wedding something special and intimate with those close to us rather than a long drawn out event. The main thing we wanted for our day was to have a laid back relaxing day for everyone. We loved the idea of making our wedding day a stress free day together in a place we felt happiest.
We both love skiing and had been talking about planning a ski trip for quite some time. In planning a trip we thought ‘what if we just looped a quick little wedding in on the trip and brought our families with us?’.
Instantly we knew we wanted to go with Cat to help us with the whole process and after we reached out to her to start the planning process we knew she would be perfect to help us with the day. She quickly brought us a great list of location ideas that were perfectly tailored to what we were looking for and took into consideration every aspect of each location, busy seasons and availability. We eventually settled on St. Anton and Cat took it one step further for us by visiting the town and actually sending photos and videos of possible locations for our vows and ceremony.” [The couple]
Estimated Cost of This Elopement
“We booked an Airbnb for our group at a chalet on the side of the mountain. Per person this cost was about $200.00 CAD pp/night. This airbnb had an awesome feature that would book and include our lift passes for the week and help with any restaurant bookings we needed. As well as a full kitchen to prepare breakfasts for the group.
We booked our flights with points which cost us next to nothing.
Our absolutely amazing photographer was around $5000.00 CAD. Not that it was only photography that she provided, Cat literally made our day for us!
Our florals were $100.00 from an awesome little florist shop on the edge of St. Anton.
I bought a sample dress off the rack for a couple of hundred dollars and borrowed the rest of my outfit from my family. Paul had a suit made for the day which he continues to wear.
Aside from that, we had lunch together with everyone at the top of the mountain and finished the night with fondue at a restaurant in a small adjacent town.
Meals for the wedding day for everyone totaled around $2,500 for some pretty spectacular Austrian food!” [The couple]
Learn more about elopement costs here.
Memorable Moments During This Elopement Adventure
From the photographer:
“Taking the time out with Jamie and Paul in the morning before meeting with the family was amazing. You could tell that they were both a little nervous about their vows, so we went straight up the mountain and did their vows as one of the first things that day. As soon as they had done it, you could see them both relax and just really start to enjoy being in the mountains of Austria. They had fun on the slopes, as we made a few stops along the route back to take some photos and pop some champagne.
While their private vows were more emotional and sentimental, their ceremony with their family also had lots of fun and laughter infused into it, which definitely reflected the playful part of their relationship too. Ceremonies don’t always have to be really serious and sentimental, especially if that’s not really who you are as a couple. You can infuse all parts of your personalities into it, and if that includes some humor, then DO IT!”
From the couple:
“Being able to say our vows with an unbelievably beautiful backdrop in a very quiet part of the mountains. The whole day was spent in such a beautiful place and being able to involve our friends and family on such a memorable trip was awesome. Our favourite part was just being able to enjoy the day together, surrounded by the most beautiful mountains and those closest to us.”
Final Words of Advice From The Photographer
From the photographer:
“You can elope AND include your friends and family, if that’s what you both want. But just like Jamie and Paul did, make sure that you also plan in time for just the two of you. Whether that’s on the day of your elopement, or you split celebrations over a couple of days. Time for you both as a couple is also really important, and every couple I’ve worked with that has made time for them has always been so thankful that they did.”
From the couple:
“When couples start the planning process for their ‘big day’ they should focus on figuring out what the perfect day looks like to them and roll with it. Whether that means having a big traditional wedding or if it means taking off to some beautiful part of the world to have an intimate ceremony together. Just focus on you and what will make the two of you most happy, kickstart your lives together on your own path.”
Photography | Wild Connections Photography
Dress | Pronovias
Restaurant | Verwall Stube
Resort | Ski Arlberg
Photos From This Elopement