There’s something rather magical and glamorous about weddings in Switzerland during the winter months… picture a blanket of snow, snowflakes falling and a roaring log fire inside to keep everyone warm.
Chapels and exclusive venues in snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes or ice igloos – Switzerland’s amazing scenery makes the perfect backdrop for any wedding.
We’ve had the pleasure of filming at some lovely venues in Switzerland, such as Suvretta House in St Moritz, Lake Blausee near Interlaken and Fairmont Le Montreux Palace by Lake Geneva in the Swiss Riviera region.
We’ve learnt a few tips and tricks along the way, too.
If you’re thinking about getting married in Switzerland this winter – and why wouldn’t you be – here’s our guide to enjoying a wonderful winter wedding…
Seasons are changing
When Jess and Cory planned their wedding for here in Switzerland it was at the beginning of April. The seasons have moved in recent years with snow appearing in abundance as late as February or March and ‘sticking’ around until May in some years.
It was hard for them to second guess what the weather would do for their wedding. They planned for a lakeside wedding and hoped for snow-capped mountains … what they got was a warm sunny day.
But just the day after their wedding it snowed non-stop for 24 hours and had their wedding been that day it would have been a totally different story.
Plan your timings carefully
You’ll be surrounded by amazing scenery that will give you fabulous film footage and stunning photos. But don’t forget that days are shorter during the winter months.
Consider the timings of your ceremony and reception so that you make the most of your time outside.
Perhaps you could have a ‘First Look’ in the morning film to get footage earlier before the official ceremony begins.
This is what Jason and Emily did on the morning of their wedding in October over in the UK.
Capture that perfect light
Although the days are shorter, winter offers the most gorgeous natural light so make the most of it. Make sure your videographer can take advantage of that by perhaps starting earlier to take advantage of sunrise and even the frost.
There was once I time I steered well clear of winter weddings now I relish them because I love working with the shadows, bursts of light and silhouettes.
Always check that your videographer has a portfolio that shows they too can offer you a beautiful film at this time of year.
Style your winter wedding accessories
You’ve got a stunning dress that you want the world to see, but you’re shivering away as soon as you step outside so you wrap yourself up in a dowdy overcoat. Noooo!
You can find super stylish outdoor clothing that will mean you still look glamorous. We filmed a beautiful couple at their Suvretta House wedding in Switzerland – the bride looked stunning (and warm!).
Photos by Philippe Wiget
Consider your videographer’s filming experience
‘How hard is it to point a camera and film?’ – well, there’s more to filming in the snow and winter months than you would perhaps realise.
You don’t want to spend too much time having your portrait shots done with your videographer and photographer for too long.
Choose a videographer who can show you examples of winter weddings and the importance of getting it right quickly in cold conditions.
It’s not just people who don’t like the cold.
Did you know that batteries also drain much quicker in the cold. Perhaps you’ve experienced your iPhone switching off soon after being charged up when you take it into cold conditions. It’s the same for camera batteries and for those in drones.
It means this equipment does not like being used outside for very long so make sure your videographer has lots of batteries or chargers with them for your wedding.
Know the legal stuff
You can’t just rock up and get married in Switzerland, there are licences and local customs to think about too.
Weddings cannot take place on Sundays or public holidays, for example.
Make sure you do all the research you need to, perhaps you’ll need to get married in your home country and have a beautiful blessing here in Switzerland.
Think about the logistics
Consider how you expect guests to travel if you’re holding your wedding across more than one venue.
Jess and Cory were married at Lake Blausee but then entertained their guests with a lovely dinner at the Sunstar Hotel in Wengen. But Wengen is a car-free ski resort, so they turned to the local transport.
How fun and unique to travel this way but the trains stopped at 11pm and so they had to make sure they didn’t miss the last train home.
Have a ‘plan b’
So the weather doesn’t always go to plan and perhaps instead of sunshine and snow, you’re left with grey clouds and rain.
Don’t panic. Almost all venues will be able to provide an inside alternative but it just means you have to be flexible about it.
Find a supplier with local knowledge
It can be an advantage to work with people who know the area you are getting married at.
They have insider knowledge of venues that may not come up via Google search, or they may know a boat company that can deliver group discounts.
They will also know what spots to take you to get beautiful ‘couple footage’ to make sure you have a film and photos that best represent your amazing destination wedding.
Have some fun
Photo (and top photo) by Cat Ekkelboom-White of Wild Connections Photography.
Embrace the area you’re in. If your planning on going skiing or even sledging in the days before your wedding itself then ask your videographer if they can come and film you. I usually offer this as part of my service because it’s part of the story in my eyes.
I had great fun filming with Esther and Chen Yi when they went sledging. In this case I was using three different cameras while also sledging down a steep run.
It helped I was experienced at ‘action filming’ as well as sledging.