elopement in the alps europe

Elopement Ceremony Ideas

We are so excited to see that more and more people are planning an Elopement and, with that decision, to get married in a way that genuinely reflects who they are as a couple. The best thing about Elopements is that you can have an authentic wedding experience, where the focus is all about you two and your love for each other.

And as fun and exciting, it is to plan a wedding without any rules and expectations. There is one question that comes to most couples’ minds:

“What do you do at the elopement ceremony? “

This followed by questions like: 

  • Do we have to say vows?
  • Is it even possible to have a non-religious wedding ceremony?
  • Who will be our ring bearer if it is just the two of us? – Do we even need rings?
  • Do our vows have to include specific sentences to be “official”?

The shortest (and best) answer to all these questions is: You can (and should) do exactly what you and your partner want to do during your elopement ceremony.

It’s your special day, and how you do everything is entirely up to the two of you. Forget about all the expectations and sentences like “what do others do,” and create a wedding day that feels like YOU and that makes you happy every time you think about it!

Do you want to have a wedding ceremony that has nothing to do with tradition? Please do it! Do you want to follow the outline of a religious wedding? Go for it! Do you even want your elopement to feel less like a wedding and more like a commitment ceremony? That sounds great too.

That is what we love about elopements! There are no rules to stick to, no one who tells you how something has to be. You do you! Throw the tradition in the wind, and celebrate this special step in your relationship in a way that is unique and beautiful to you both.

We encourage you to have the elopement ceremony that reflects who you are and how your relationship is by including unique moments, celebrations, and little bits and pieces that mean something special to you two.

Wedding Ritual Ideas for your Elopement Ceremony

Most couples want to include rituals or ceremonies that symbolize their connection on their wedding day. Below you can find a list of Ceremony Ideas for your Elopement Wedding.

Exchange of Rings

Wedding Rings are more than beautiful accessories or simple jewelry on your ring finger. The ring is an ancient symbol for eternity and endless love. It also symbolizes the commitment you make to each other on your wedding day.

infect the ring in vorarlberg


Self-written vows are our favorite part of every elopement ceremony, and they are a great alternative to traditional wedding vows. Start early enough to think about what you want to say to your partner. Write about your feelings, what characteristics you love most about each other, how you want to support each other, what makes you thankful, what you want to promise each other, and how you envision your future together. It is always super romantic and emotional to put your thoughts and feelings in words.

Also, when it comes to vows, there are no rules, (like anywhere else on your elopement day) you can write a text that feels good to you, you don’t have to promise each other the world if a simple “I love you “is enough for you two.

You can read them two each other, say them free, or write a letter to each other.

elopement europe

Sand Ritual

For the sand ceremony, you need two different types of sand or earth and put them in turns in a vase. The pattern that will accrue due to the different colors of the sand symbolizes the connection between you two and captures this particular moment.

HandFasting (Knot Ceremony)

handfasting Zeremonie in österreich

You probably have heard the phrase “to tie the knot” before. Today it means every wedding. But initially, it comes from the handfasting ceremony, also known as the knot ceremony. Handfasting is a Celtic ritual, where the hands of a couple are knotted together. That symbolizes that their lives are now connected.

 It is easier to do this ritual if you have someone who lays the rope around your hands. This can be your officiant, friends, or family who are there, or if it is just the two of you, we (as your photographers) are can also help you with this.

The rope gets wrapped around your hands, and if you let go of each other, a knot is made into the rope, which symbolizes that your lives are now knotted to each other.

Fire Ritual

Spark together the fire of your love. With the fire ritual, you can burn your wishes in the fire and let them rise with the smoke.
This ritual comes from Japan, where people believe rising smoke can combine the visible and invisible worlds.
Instead of wishes, you can also burn your vows. The ritual will get even more special if you add dry herbs and flowers.

Unity painting

This ritual has a similar symbol as the sand ceremony, but instead of a vase filled with different sand, you will create a painting together. You will use two different colors and put them over an empty canvas. The colors will run down the canvas and create a unique pattern.

 You can also get creative and tape your names or wedding date to the canvas. When the colors are dry, you can put the tape away, and your names, dates, whatever you taped before, will be visible in white.

 Tip: Be careful if you choose to do this ritual on your elopement day, and wear something as protection over your wedding outfits, so you don’t get color on your clothes.


You can put a brand mark on an object with a hot iron.

It is like a tattoo, irrevocable. You can burn your names, initials, last name you will share from this day, a symbol, or pretty much everything else. It is best to use an object from wood or leather, but also a book could be a great symbol to brandmark on your wedding day.

Protective Circuit

Protective Circuits are used in many spiritual rituals. And you can include them also ideally in your elopement ceremony. It does not only look great but also has a symbolic meaning.

You can use different flowers and herbs. Every plant has a meaning. For instance, roses and myrtle symbolize eternal love rosemary loyalty. Choose other plants that represent what you wish for your future together.

A significant side effect is that most herbs and flowers smell great, so that a lovely scent will surround you during your elopement ceremony.

The four elements of life

The wedding ritual of the four elements is likewise to the protective circle and is a beautiful ritual for all couples who live in close touch with nature. The primary attention in this ritual is to the four elements of life: fire, water, earth, and air.

This wedding ceremony creates a protective circle out of the four elements. As the wedding couple, you will stand in the middle of this circle. The four elements will be activated and meant to gift the bridal couple with strength, courage, and luck for their marriage.

Plant a Tree

elopement ceremony ideas

As symbol four your love and the road of life you will go together from this day on, you can plant a tree. The tree will grow and unfold in the future like your love and marriage.

Light a unity candle

outdoor wedding in vorarlberg

The candle’s light symbolizes the warming and sparkling love between you.
The brightness should also dispel evil spirits.

You can light the candle after your wedding day on special occasions, like your anniversary. If your elopement is in nature, it is a good idea to use a lantern to secure your unity candle from the wind.

Oath Stone

This Celtic ritual is easy to implement but is a potent symbol. While you say your vows or “I do,” you will lay your hand on a stone. This will proverbially carve your words in stone forever. You can put this stone to a special place, like the first summit you will hike after your wedding, in your garden, or keep it as a memory and reminder for your wedding day and vows.

Lay a foundation stone

Grundstein Freie Trauung

On your wedding day, you will lay the foundation stone for your life together.

You will take a special clay and press your handprints in it by this ritual. The clay will harden in the air and will become your foundation stone. This ritual is lovely if you plan to build a house together, you can even use the foundation stone there again, or of course, it can also be a decoration.

Exchange stuffed animals

Some of us never get mature, and that’s for good. If you are one of these people, you can exchange your stuffed animals from your childhood days with your partner. This symbolizes that you will share everything with your beloved ones in the future, even the biggest treasure of your childhood.

Mix Wine of Spices

You will mix different wines to create your very own elopement wine by this ritual. You can drink it together or take it home and open it on a special occasion. You can do the same with other drinks like whiskey or spices and herbs.


If you want to wear a visual symbol for your marriage but don’t feel like you want to wear a ring, a partner tattoo could be the perfect idea for you. The tint stays under your skin forever and shows the connection you two enter on your elopement day.

Create an individual ritual

We can’t say this enough times. The best thing about an elopement is that you can celebrate this day exactly how you want it, and this also applies to the wedding ceremony on your elopement day.

If you share a passion or have a common hobby, you can implement this in your ceremony.

Here are a few examples.

You could shoot an arrow in a wooden heart if you are an archer.

If you love animals, you can let your dog bring your rings or ride on the back of a horse to your wedding ceremony. We had a couple who flipped a coin every time they had to decide, so they brought this coin to the ceremony to let the coin decide who says the vows first.

Be creative and think about a ritual that fits you and symbolizes your love.

Wedding Rituals you can do together with your guests.

Wishband or Ring warming

Everyone can say or think a wish for the couple and “warm” the rings with all the wishes. The ring warming is a Celtic tradition; you let all guests hold on to a rope, then the rings are given over the string from one person to the next. In the end, the rings will land by the bridal couple, who can exchange them and seal their marriage with this ritual.

Wedding Wands

Wedding wands are sticks with little bells and ribbons on them. Give every guest a wedding wand, and when it is time for the first kiss, they can all swing the wands. It is beautiful when you will hear all the little bells. You can also use the wedding wands after the ceremony to run through a row of colorful ribbons and the sound of the bells.

recessional wedding


Give every guest a flat stone. They can write their wishes for the marriage on the rocks. You can keep them and use them as a decoration or place them somewhere in your garden, etc.

Light candles

Every guest gets a candle. They can then place them as a circle or a heart around the couple. This ritual looks especially beautiful if your ceremony is during dawn or already dark.

What your Elopement Ceremony could look like:

As we mentioned before, there are no rules, and you can plan your elopement ceremony exactly how you want it. 

Many couples still want to have a plan they can stick to.

After seeing many wedding ceremonies in the last years, our experience is that most elopement ceremonies are between 20 and 60 minutes long. The duration depends on how many rituals you want to include, listening to songs, how long your vows are, etc.

To give you an idea how what your elopement ceremony could look like, we will show you an example timeline. (This is just an idea and can be adapted entirely free to your visions, wishes, and dreams)

Example timeline of an elopement ceremony

First Look

One of the most emotional moments on your elopement day is often when you see each other for the first time in your wedding outfit. Often this is the moment when couples realize that their wedding day, they have been talking, dreaming, and planning about for months, is finally here.

 There are many ways to celebrate the first look. Often the groom is waiting at a beautiful spot with the back to the bride. The bride then walks up to him, and when she is ready, she gives him a sign to turn around.

Start of the ceremony

After the first look, the couples are often in an extraordinary mood. That is why we love to use this atmosphere and start with the ceremony right after the first look.

If you have a celebrant or wedding speaker for your elopement ceremony, they often start with a few personal words and some stories from your lives that let you remember the beautiful times you spent together.

Wedding Ritual

To symbolize the commitment to each other on this day, you can include some rituals. For instance, you can exchange rings, do a handfasting ceremony, or perform one of the other wedding rituals mentioned above.


Most couples decide to read vows to each other. You can read them aloud, or write them as a letter and give it to your partner.

Special wedding location in Austria
wedding pictures in the austrian alps

First Kiss

 You don’t have to plan this part of a wedding ceremony. It usually happens on its own. But a kiss after you read your vows is always such a sweet moment to seal your promises.


To end the ceremony, you could listen to your favorite song and even do the first dance as husband and wife if you want to.

photographer for wedding in vorarlberg

We hope that we could give you some Elopement Ceremony Ideas with this Blog post and that we could encourage you the celebrate your wedding day in a way that makes you truly happy. The best thing about an elopement is that you can do whatever you want! Listen to your heart, and stop thinking about what other people do, it is YOUR big day, and you should make it to the best day of your life.

If you are looking for photographers that capture this special day for you on beautiful photos so that you can remember all the moments on your elopement day forever,

please send us a message. We can’t wait to hear about you and help you make your vision for your wedding day a reality.

Contact Us!

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