A 2-day adventure elopement in the Dolomites, Italy
When Ellie and Matt decided to elope in Italy, they wanted something totally off the beaten path, new and never seen before. They also wanted to have a custom-made adventure, with tons of stops to visit everything Italy had to offer. When I suggested the Dolomites as their destination, they totally agreed it was the perfect setting: dramatic mountains with peaks and cliffs, secluded villages, green meadows and peaceful chalets.
So I hopped on the planning process (it was only 2 months before their elopement day!) and I created an itinerary that included all the main viewpoints and attractions in the area, while also allowing for some time to get ready peacefully, have a first look and the most incredible ceremony on top of a mountain. Ellie and Matt really wanted to get married on the summer solstice, so June 21st it was!
In the morning, we met at one of the most beautiful and scenic lakes the area has to offer, and started with a stroll near the water to get to know each other and take some “engagement” photos. We were surrounded by deep blue water, almost teal in color, as well as a beautiful house on the lake where we could rent a wooden boat. But we rather stayed on land and finished our peaceful stroll, while being very careful to not fall into the water (that was freezing!).
We then took our cars and headed to the mountains, with a few stops on the road to take photos in breathtaking surroundings. We could feel the force of the earth breathing through our lungs as we walked towards majestic peaks, peaceful valleys and blue rivers. We hiked to the Tre Cime, the most iconic mountain of the Dolomites (and got sunburned!), and chatted the whole time. It was absolutely magical.
Then it was time to get ready for the ceremony. Ellie wanted to do her own hair and makeup, and Matt got quickly dressed and waited for us in the hotel lobby. The weather got a little bit dark as the evening came onto us, and when we exited the hotel room to head to the pass, it was raining. But this never stopped or even slowed down Ellie and Matt: they were getting married in the majestic Tyrol mountains of northern Italy and nothing could stop them!
Ellie and Matt wanted to do a first look, and we all agreed that in front of the hotel was not going to be beautiful enough. So I hopped in my car with Matt to fetch the flowers and Ellie hopped in her car to go pick up the pizzas for the picnic. We ran around into town to gather everything we needed for the ceremony and the meal afterwards, then headed back to our cars (Ellie and Matt still haven’t seen each other!) and drove up to the pass. It was still raining at the top, but for some reason the clouds stopped showering us as soon as we exited the cars. I headed to the mountains with Matt for the first look. I wanted a spot that would encompass the beauty of the surrounding mountains and the wilderness of the Italian Alps, generally overlooked. Then Ellie got our of her car and headed towards Matt. She tapped slowly on his shoulder and as soon as he turned around, tears filled his eyes. It was a very emotional moment for all of us, with only the mountains as our witnesses.
We took a couple of photos, then it was time to scout for the best ceremony spot. And there was a lot of choices: valley views, peaks views, chalet views, mountains views…and Ellie and Matt chose the mountains view, as they seemed to be fading into the distance in a beautiful blue cloud. We could hear the storm passing by, in the distance. And suddenly, everything went silent. Ellie and Matt started to exchange their vows, and it was just as if nature itself was holding her breath. It was a magical moment. And I’m so honored I could be part of it. I helped them do a handfasting ceremony with some of Ellie’s dress lace, and we stood there in silence, looking at the wrinkling mountains, feeling the earth around us, hearing the soft wind blowing in the tall grass, and just enjoying the moment.
As the storm was quickly changing direction, we decided to head to the summit of the pass to take couple photos, then headed back to the car for a well-deserved picnic. As we reached the car, the storm started and we got totally soaked. It was raging outside as we were in the heated car, enjoying 3 delicious pizzas with a view. As the night came slowly, foxes started gathering in the parking lot, and a few babies passed by our headlights, offering us an incredible spectacle as we were enjoying our food. All was peaceful. All was calm. As the rain slowly stopped, we got out to enjoy the view, and all we could see was a sea of clouds as far as the eye could see. It was eerie. So we decided to head back down to our hotel and call it a night, as milky way photos were definitely not on the menu anymore!
The next day was another day packed with adventure and beautiful stops along the road. We almost traveled across the whole Dolomites area, encountering numerous beautiful places and out-of-this world panoramas. One spot we all really wanted to see was Seceda, the famous cliff-like mountain dropping into the earth, surrounded by green meadows and incredible views. So after a few stops on the road, we headed to the lifts and telepheric that would take us all the way to the top to enjoy the view. Once we got there: nothing. We were in a sea of cloud, surrounded only by fog, and we couldn’t see anything. I checked one of my apps to see what the clouds would do in a few minutes, and we waited patiently. We started walking towards what looked like the viewpoint on the map (don’t forget we didn’t see anything!) and kept walking on the edge of the mountain, only surrounded by the wind and the rain.
Then, it happened: the clouds suddenly dissipated and we could see Seceda in all its splendor, looking at us patiently, almost calling our names like a serenade. We ran in the mud and screamed in awe, as you see Seceda truly is a wonder and cannot be imagined really unless you see it with your own eyes. We took photos, for as long as the clouds would allow us to, then everything went white and there was nothing to see anymore. So we headed down to a delicious restaurant that I booked a few days earlier and ate decadent food with a view.
We then finished our tour of the Dolomites with a stop at one of the most picturesque churches, and headed up to Alpe di Siusi for a sunset photoshoot. Once again, we were met by clouds, but we did the best we could and took moody sunset photos surrounded by beautiful wooden chalets. We even walked around and enjoyed the meadows, pastures and wooden houses!