The Complete Guide to Planning a Switzerland Destination Wedding

A chocolate-filled fairytale by the mountains awaits.
How to Plan a Switzerland Destination Wedding
Photo: AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
The Knot Contributor
  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on and
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.
Updated Apr 17, 2024
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Picture yourself reciting vows with the Swiss Alps in the background or near the twinkling lights of Christmas markets. Cocktail hours and dessert tables include locally-made cheeses and chocolate. It may sound like a dream come true. It's also what's on the table (literally and figuratively) during a Switzerland wedding.

Artisanal food and skiing make Switzerland a popular spot to travel, but it's something of an off-beat choice for jet-setting couples getting married in Europe. That's part of what makes a destination wedding in Switzerland all the more special. You can also make a solid argument that Switzerland is well-equipped to hold the title of "home to the best wedding destination for chocolate lovers." The average Swiss person consumes nearly 20 pounds of chocolate annually—more than any other country per capita.

Talk about goals. If you're craving a destination wedding in Switzerland, you'll want to remember some things when planning. For starters, you'll probably be booking vendors from afar. You'll also be on the hunt for Switzerland wedding venues that meet your vision and budget. This guide will help you have a peak planning experience for your Switzerland destination wedding.

In this article:

Why Couples and Wedding Guests Love Switzerland Weddings

Rheinfall, Switzerland by the river for your wedding day
Photo: maloff / Shutterstock

Getting married in Switzerland is unique. The compact European nation doesn't have the same popularity for destination weddings as other countries like France or Italy, nor is it a Caribbean resort. Having a destination wedding in Switzerland can be a one-of-a-kind experience.

The scenery is also simply stunning. Snow-peaked mountain top vistas are ethereal in the winter (and provide a chance for couples and guests to hit the famous slopes). The fall brings poppy foliage, and the summer brings lush greenery and chances to hike and bike. Unique venues lean into the natural scenery. Others—like igloos—highlight Switzerland's beauty as a winter wedding locale.

If your idea of an adventure is of the foodie variety, Switzerland leaves plenty of room for those. Artisanal cheeses and chocolates are common in the country. Speaking of adventure, Switzerland's proximity to Italy, Austria, Germany and France makes it an easy spot to jumpstart a honeymoon adventure (or, in guests' cases, an extended stay in Europe).

Pro tip: Invite a destination wedding travel expert to join your vendor team. Browse travel agents near you on The Knot Vendor Marketplace for wedding planning expertise, group hotel blocks, flight arrangements and more.

The Best Places to Get Married in Switzerland

Switzerland is home to majestic mountain views and historic streets, making it a postcard-perfect place to host a destination wedding. The surroundings also leave tons of itinerary fodder for to-be-weds and their guests. Different parts of Switzerland have distinct characters, and finding the area that best meets your vision is part of the fun.


sunny day in Zürich, Switzerland
Photo: canadastock / Shutterstock

Home to a major airport, Zürich is a more accessible spot for couples and guests, especially if traveling from New York (flights will get you there in less than eight hours). The Swiss capital and largest city is home to idyllic-yet-luxurious streets in Altstadt, where you'll find iconic churches like Fraumünster and high-end shopping boutiques full of gems ranging from jewelry to chocolates. Lake Zürich offers opportunities for waterfront affairs.


Skyline of Geneva with the Jet d'Eau fountain in Switzerland
Photo: canadastock / Shutterstock

Like Zürich, Geneva is a major city with about an eight-hour flight time for people leaving from New York. The city in southern Switzerland seamlessly blends natural beauty and urban bustle. The Alps and Lake Geneva are among the sites to take in at nearly every turn. Towering Mont Blanc is especially prominent. The cobblestone streets add romantic charm. If you love French food and wine, you're in luck. French influences are common in this city and can make their way to your big-day menu.

St. Moritz

Summer view of ski resort town St. Moritz, Switzerland
Photo: Alexander Kazarin / Shutterstock

The resort town of St. Moritz is located in the Engadin Valley and is a haven for skiers in the winter and bikers in the warmer months. Sports fans will love that it hosted a pair of Olympic Games (1928 and 1948). These days, it combines the love of adventure with luxury resorts. Couples will be able to choose from their share of plushy venues with not only five-star dinner menus but wellness ones, too. Think spas and fitness centers with all the trimmings for making even your biggest day relaxing.


Brienz Town by Interlaken, Switzerland
Photo: Ireine / Shutterstock

Emerald-colored waters and majestic mountains make Interlaken a picturesque place for a destination wedding in Switzerland. The resort town in Central Switzerland has views of Lakes Thun and Brienz, mountains, forests and meadows—it's truly a spot for couples looking to return to nature. The hiking and skiing trails open the door for exploration between parties. In the winter, sledding is a favorite local pastime. Local boutiques also have unique finds and timeless watches. Hotels and restaurants combine natural beauty and modern luxury, making them ideal for all the parties leading up to and including your wedding day.


Lucerne, Switzerland for your wedding day
Photo: © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Lucerne may be a small city, but it has much to offer to-be-weds. Surrounded by mountains along Lake Lucerne, it's home to a charming Old Town with colorful buildings, medieval architecture and covered bridges. Views of Pilatus, Stanserhorn or Rigi mountains are plentiful, and people can take cableways to their peaks. Seafaring types might enjoy an opportunity to cruise Lake Lucerne.

Pro tip: As you consider wedding locations, remember your newlywed vacation. Plan an amazing Switzerland honeymoon with our complete guide.

The Top Switzerland Destination Wedding Venues

Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort Lake Lucerne for your wedding day
Photo: Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort Lake Lucerne

If a destination wedding in Switzerland sounds like your kind of fairytale, you'll need a place to say "I do." Switzerland wedding venues offer delectable views and menus highlighting some of the nation's most unforgettable features. Others serve up cool concepts. When booking, you might ask about Switzerland wedding packages, which can include perks like planning assistance and built-in vendors. These perks make getting married in Switzerland easier for far-flung couples.

Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort Lake Lucerne

Even the rooms at the high-end Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne have floor-to-ceiling windows that give way to 360-degree Lake Lucerne views. A team of wedding specialists can work with couples to tailor every fine detail to a couple's vision. Weddings are offered year-round and can be intimate, letting the views and vows do the talking or elaborate affairs with all the trimmings. On-site planners can help to-be-weds with floral arrangements, entertainment and menus that meet their unique tastes. There's an on-site spa, but upgraded suites also have massage rooms and saunas.

Badrutt's Palace Hotel

Start your happily ever after in a palace. Built in 1896, Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz has achieved icon status for its access to and views of the Swiss Alps and numerous amenities, including suites with jacuzzis. Naturally, weddings here are of the formal variety, but the staff isn't stuffy. They'll cater to a couple's wants. Minimalist soirees and religious ceremonies, including multi-day Indian weddings, are all within Badrutt's Palace Hotel's repertoire. The hotel also has 155 suites and rooms with lake or village views, minimizing the need for transportation or any more travel for guests and couples (unless they want to).

Iglu-Dorf Zermatt

Perched nearly 9,000 feet above sea level and the foot of the Matterhorn, Iglu-Dorf Zermatt's winter weddings are indeed something special. The hotel is home to an igloo venue that lets couples and their guests say "I do" in a world of snow and ice. The igloo venue is only part of the hotel's Switzerland wedding package. A traditional fondue with locally-made cheeses is also traditional, and couples can choose anything from buffet-style meals to seven-course dinners. Couples can get cozy on their wedding night in an igloo suite.

Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva

A refined spot since its opening in 1834, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva boasts enchanting views of Lake Geneva, the snow-capped Alps and Old Town. A chic bar is an ideal spot for welcome drinks and impromptu toasts. Weddings in these parts can feel stately. Lakefront venues with elegant drapes and large windows that let natural light shine through set the scene. Personally curated menus with Swiss and international influences. On-site wedding planners will help couples with everything from decor to cake and entertainment.

Zurich Marriott Hotel

Found along the Limmat River, Zurich Marriott Hotel's downtown perch offers easy access to the Swiss National Museum. It's also less than 10 minutes by foot to the Zürich train station, making travel and exploring easier for couples and guests. Rooms have views of the city, lake, Swiss Alps and river. Elegant ballroom venues also have these views and serve as a blank slate that can transform into anything from timeless fairytale to contemporary chic. Couples will work with Marriott's Switzerland wedding planners to refine every last detail, from food to flowers. A package includes a three-course menu and appetizers, six hours of beverages, a tasting for four guests and decorations.

Pro tip: Once you've decided on your Switzerland wedding venue, send out destination wedding save-the-dates with important info so your guest can book the time off and start thinking about travel plans.

View of the Alps mountains near Bern, Switzerland
Photo: AscentXmedia / Getty Images

A Switzerland destination wedding can be memorable and gorgeous. However, the legal aspect is also important. Legally getting married in Switzerland will require navigating local laws. It can get overwhelming, so some couples legally tie the knot before their big day. However, a Switzerland wedding planner can help you through the process. Here's what you need to know about getting a marriage license in Switzerland, including the timeline and what you'll need.

The US Embassy in Switzerland and Liechtenstein also has helpful information.

US couples hosting a destination wedding in Switzerland can choose to host a legal or symbolic ceremony. What's the difference? With a symbolic wedding, a couple takes care of the legal aspects, like getting a marriage license, in their hometown before jetting off to Switzerland. The Switzerland wedding in front of family and friends is symbolic. It's possible to legally get married in Switzerland, though.

Having all the proper documents needed to wed in Switzerland will streamline the process. First, both partners must present valid, certified copies of their birth certificates. They cannot be the original and must be issued within six months and translated into German/French/Italian. The birth certificates must include the partner's full name, the full names of both parents (including the mothers' maiden names, if applicable) and the date and place of birth. A valid US passport is also required for anyone except military personnel. Couples must present an affidavit of civil status, which must be done in front of a U.S. consular officer or notary.

Military or civilian members of the Armed Forces will need to present their ID card and written authorization from their commanding officer stating they can marry. A divorce decree or copy of a death certificate of a previous spouse is required for partners who have been married before.

Couples should contact the city or town's civil registrar where they hope to marry well in advance. Fees and protocol may vary. After receiving a certified, translated copy of their birth certificate, couples have six months to say "I do" in Switzerland. Couples need to submit all required documents and a marriage request form to the appropriate civil registrar (the Swiss federal government has a handy tool to help you find the right one based on your wedding venue's location). Once the proper documents have been submitted, couples may need to wait up to five weeks. The reason: A couple's intention to marry in Switzerland must be publicly declared so anyone with a legal reason to stop the wedding (like a current legal marriage) can flag it with the registrar. It's a formality, but couples will want to make time for it when planning.

Once the waiting period is up, the registrar will let couples know they can legally tie the knot in Switzerland. Still, couples must wait at least 10 more days but no more than three months before holding their ceremony. The ceremony has to be in German, French or Italian, but couples can hire a translator.

Fees depend on the locality, so it's important for couples to contact the civil registrar in their Swiss town or city of choice. The affidavit of civil status costs about $50.

Switzerland Wedding Planning Tips

The Staubbach Waterfall near Interlaken, Switzerland
Photo: iiievgeniy / Getty Images

Once you sort through the legal red tape of getting married in Switzerland, it's time for the fun part: Making the day truly your own. Switzerland wedding planners can help you navigate vendors and more from afar, but it's a good idea to have the 411.

How to Get to Switzerland

Typically, travelers fly into Zürich or Geneva. People leaving New York can reach either city on a nonstop flight lasting under eight hours. People flying in from San Francisco or Dallas will likely have a layover and about a 12-hour trek.

While couples and guests can rent cars, Switzerland also has a fantastic travel system that runs through remote areas. The Swiss Travel Pass gives you unlimited travel on trains, buses and boats, plus reduced rates for or free entry to some attractions. Hop aboard the Glacier and Bernina Expresses if you want to take the scenic routes.

Best Months to Marry in Switzerland

The best time for a Switzerland wedding depends on your vision. Do you want a winter wedding? That's certainly on the table if you book a January or February soiree. July and August have the mildest temperatures, while March, April, October and November have the best deals. Some resorts are winter-only, so keep that in mind. An igloo isn't in season come summer (unless Elsa comes to life and offers it some perma-frost).

Choosing Your Switzerland Wedding Venue and Vendors

Your wedding and venue will depend on your vision for your big day and budget. Some Switzerland wedding venues offer packages with built-in perks like flowers, decor and entertainment. These packages can streamline the process and could be a way to save money. However, some couples may wish to have more of a hand in planning and wish to go a la cart. There's no right or wrong. Asking your venue for vendor recommendations can be helpful since you're less likely to be able to ask family and friends for referrals like you would if you were planning a local bash. It's a great idea to look at reviews and ask for links to examples of previous work to ensure you're truly getting the best of the bunch. Though in-person meetings may be a challenge, you can hop on a Zoom call to interview and check in with your pros.

Budgeting Tips

It's challenging to say the destination wedding cost in Switzerland since it depends on headcount, venue, vendors and the season you choose. Generally, a Switzerland destination wedding costs around $40,000, which is higher than the average U.S. couple spends at home. It's also pricier than many Caribbean locales. It's also pricier than many Caribbean locales. Making use of a Switzerland wedding package can save money. Ditto for holding a wedding during a shoulder season (fall or spring).

Pro tip: Set up a free destination wedding website on The Knot with all the event details including your Switzerland wedding itinerary, things to do, guest travel information, RSVPs and more.

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