Mountain Elopement

As a Dolomites Wedding Photographer, I often write about what and how to elope in the Dolomites – but in the end, I wanted to experience myself how it really is to be a
“wild bride”.
In this blog post, I want to tell you honestly what we did and how it felt to have a Dolomites Mountain Elopement. Holding nothing back and telling you about the less glamourous side of eloping as well!


First of all, I must tell you that I didn’t legally get married during the photoshoot. We just wanted to make this experience.
I never got married, since I’m rather young – but I genuinely wanted to know what my clients feel and how I can make their experience better when they actually get married in the mountains.

How I came up with the idea? Well, Isis Sturtewagen was looking for a real couple to shoot in the Dolomites. We loved her photography style and this way I and my boyfriend Patrick just jumped into the adventure!



Since Isis is a Belgian photographer, for the first time in Alta Badia, I could help her to find a lovely spot she was searching for. The process was very smooth and we soon could get into a lovely agreement. We both are very flexible photographers (and have flexible men ;)) and it’s actually priceless if you’re going to plan a small ceremony in the Dolomites.
She wanted to recreate a very honest elopement though it wasn’t real. That’s what she actually did.

We planned a super short trip to Lagazuoi with the cable car and went back to the lake of Valparola to make the handfasting ceremony. More fun things about later.
Isis didn’t tell us very much about what we had to do and how we had to pose, and we both felt free to be ourselves. That’s where the magic happens!



Not everyone fits you and that’s amazing! I think there are so many photographers out there, and we’re all very different! That’s why you should listen to your gut when you decide who to hire. Isis, Patrick and I got along so well, we’re all rather energetic and humourful creatures – we totally felt at ease with her, Patrick almost forgot about Isis. And of course, I love her photography style.
Searching for a photographer is like searching for a mate. It’s not just about the appearance, it’s also about the character.



Well, this was the probably less glamourous part of it. As Isis had the wedding dress for me and we met on location, I had to change between the doors and on the backseat of the car. Though I do have some tips for you if your idea is to change the dress on location. First of all, I highly recommend not to do so, unless you’re in an extreme situation where you don’t have any any any other alternative for your Elopement.

Apart of the fact that it is extremely uncomfy to put on your dress in the backseat of a car, you run the risk of ripping it apart by sitting on it or closing the doors or whatever. I’m young and dynamic and extrovert, but also having people around whilst you’re changing clothes is simply not the greatest thing too.
If you can, find a spot to change dress where you and your dress are safe – a hut for example – or just do it in the hotel you’re staying.

IF YOU’RE HIKING ON your Dolomites Mountain Elopement?

Yes, this looks different if your elopement involves a longer and more difficult hike. At that point, it’s probably better to change on location But even then, having a warm and dry place to change is very convenient. You can search for a hut nearby and politely ask if you could have some privacy to change your clothes. If the place you’re going is so remote nobody will be around and you feel comfy changing there – no problem! My suggestion is just to have a water-resistant blanket to put underneath to keep your life and feet dryer.



These are my favourite points to give you some advice on!
I’m not a beauty addict, but I shoot fantasy as well. Big headpieces, extravagant dresses and heavy makeup are totally what I love for those shoots. BUT!
If you’re having an wedding in the nature and want to feel beautiful but free enough, listen to these tips:

1) From MakeUp to MessUp!

The more you put on, the more you can mess up. An elopement is not a fashion show and you’re beautiful even without tons of makeup. Avoid too much, otherwise, you will always be there worrying about if your lashes are still sitting, or if your lipstick is still on your lips or already on your teeth. I got very anxious about this. Patrick was worried that he had red lips too and I think it’s the worst nightmare of men.

2) Make your hair manageable.

The hair is a very similar issue as the makeup – the more complex it is made, the more you can mess up. My hair was completely lose – but I wished that I had made at least one point in the back where the hair was collected. The wind at Lagazuoi was so strong that I had it all the time in my face. It can look very dramatic on pictures, but it’s also very dramatic if you constantly have to fight against your windblown hair.

3) Choose your dress wisely!

The first thing I said, when I put on the dress was “Oh wow, it’s a two parts dress! LOVELY!” I’m a body lover, and sincerely, a body+skirt combo is the best a wedding dress can give me. Especially for an elopement, where you probably have to lift up the skirt while walking, not having to worry about your panties saluting everyone, is the best thing ever! Thank you!
The body literally prevented my panties to be blown away too!
Another plus point, is definitely that you can put on your body and leave it on for the hike, and later put on the skirt and voilà! You’re a bride!
Also, always be aware that your dress will probably get muddy and dirty – but that’s how mountains work! Absolutely choose a dress that you can walk in easily – avoid tight mermaid dresses or corsets.
This dress was from  Wardrobe by Dulcinea, you can find her on Etsy!


In Alta Badia, we have so many excellent cable car connections! Take advantage of them for your Dolomites Mountain Elopement! Even though they’re not exactly cheap, I think it’s worth planning a hike where you can take a cable car to come closer to your perfect ceremony spot. It allows also elderly or disabled people to get to breathtaking mountain locations and enjoy them. Put it on your to-do list.


I think that the landscape is a point where there isn’t so much to say!
The beauty up there is unquestionable and if you go up there in the right time of the year (low season periods) you can enjoy the quiet and beauty of these places.
If you don’t know when the best time to have a lovely Dolomites Mountain Elopement experience is, then I’d recommend you to read this blog post: When To Get Married In The Dolomites – 3 Secret Tips From A Local Wedding Photographer


Isis had the lovely Idea of a handfasting ceremony with us. But what is handfasting?
Handfasting is a pagan wedding ritual that doesn’t require an officiant. What you do during the handfasting is simply giving each other your hand and fast a band around your hands.
This happens instead of a ring exchange if you will.
Personally, I found it very beautiful and intimate.

Isis gave us two vows books as well – we could read dutch astrology and maths to each other. That’s why I cried a little (I hate maths).
Of course, I became very emotional and cried because It was such a wonderful feeling to “get married” in such an overwhelmingly beautiful location. I wouldn’t do it any different if I did it for real. PERIOD!


As a photographer, I feel very at ease in front of the camera. Because I know what works and what doesn’t work. Patrick isn’t a shy person, anyway, the camera can make him feel a little out of place. I think it’s very common to feel weird at first.

But Isis was very clear about what she wanted from us. We have a similar way of working: Telling what it needs to be done in a fun way and then go away to take pictures. This leaves a lovely sense of knowing what to do, but free to be yourself. Which I really really like on both sides of the camera.

It’s Time For You

In conclusion, we both felt very fluffy with Isis and we enjoyed getting married for fun. I think that the most important thing at a real wedding is to feel free to be yourself even if a photographer is there. Having a day interrupted by photographs can be very stressful. That’s why I like to schedule “time for you” instead of “time for photographs”.

Photographs are not a hard job to be made at your wedding. It is some time off for you, to enjoy yourselves.
Make sure your Dolomites Mountain Elopement experience is yours!! Here you go with some intimate wedding planning tips: 5 Things Couples Forget When They Plan Their Intimate Wedding



Photographer: Isis Sturtewagen
Models: Patrick + Ellen (Wedding Photographer Dolomites)
Dress:  Wardrobe by Dulcinea
Crown: Malou Paul Jewellery 


Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want more information!

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