(Updated for 2024)
Written October 19th, 2023 by Mariah Arianna, copywriter for photographers
If you’re traveling from outside the country, this guide on how to elope in Germany is specifically for you. I’ve covered everything visitors need to consider when planning an elopement or intimate wedding here.
If you want some more help with the general topic of How to plan an Elopement, head over to my Elopement planning Guide here.
First things first: where do you imagine to get married? In the nature or a buzzing city? By the sea (Germany has the North Sea and the Baltic Sea connected to it), in the beautiful woods of the Black Forest for instance or on a mountain?
In Germany you’ll find lots of different types of nature and also cities or villages, either vibrant or romantic and magical.
Average budget for eloping in Germany
This budget is based on average prices for two people (the couple) eloping in Germany for 5 days. Expect to spend around €10k, although prices can vary a lot regarding accommodation and how many vendors you add. Euro to USD exchange rates fluctuate, but expect between $10,400 and $11,000.
International flights for two €1,800
5 nights of accommodation €800
5 days of rental car: €350
Hair and makeup €600
Bouquet & Boutonniere €150
Mini wedding cake: €250
Misc costs: €150
Seasons and the best months to elope to Germany
There are two “types” of locations for elopements: urban and in nature. For urban city elopements, I only recommend eloping in Germany from May to October. There are very few cities in Germany which get snow in the winter. Mostly, it’s a dark, wet, foggy and cold time of year.
For elopements in nature, it is mostly about location and preference. Here is the breakdown:
Summer: June, July, August
Pros: People are more cheerful, foliage and flowers are lush, days are longer, you can be outside all day
Cons: Can be hot and crowded, especially in Bavaria and cities like Berlin or Munich
Autumn: September, October, November
Pros: Beautiful colors, mild weather
Cons: Can be rainy, chilly and foggy
Winter: December, January, February
Pros: skiing in the Alps, Christmas markets (late November through December), snow in Bavaria, fewer crowds
Cons: dark, cold, note that most of Germany doesn’t get snow anymore
Spring: March, April, May
Pros: mild temperatures, fewer crowds
Cons: bare, brown trees until May
How to legally get married in Germany as a foreigner
Germany loves its paperwork (big surprise). The only way to get legally married in Germany is by translating and submitting a number of documents. You also must have the ceremony inside the city hall. Unlike the US or UK, it’s not possible to prep the paperwork and then sign it elsewhere on the wedding day.
Even for Germans, the civil ceremony is mostly a separate event from the wedding. For this and many other reasons, most couples decide to have the legal paperwork done at home. The benefit of this is you can have a small celebration or dinner with family as well! When you elope in Germany, you can hold a symbolic ceremony instead.
If you still prefer to get legally married in Germany, please check your government’s regulations beforehand. You’ll likely need to have the license translated again.
Great “wedding venues” for an elopement in Germany
- A beautiful Airbnb: there are a number of unique Airbnbs, wellness hotels and chalets across the country. Whether you invite guests or come alone, an attractive Airbnb makes for better getting ready photos as well.
- One of Germany’s historic castles: there are actually a number of small castles across Germany which you can book for weddings. The most famous castles in Germany have public grounds which are usually free to walk around and take photos.
- The mountains: if you know you want to be outdoors on your wedding day, go to the southernmost region of Bavaria where the Alps begin. It is the most popular area for elopements in Germany.
6 Great Locations to Elope in Germany and why
Bavaria is the best place to elope in Germany for hiking and mountain elopements. It’s what most people think of when they think “Germany.” Stunning mountains and cozy villages capture that traditional German vibe.
Saxony (Saxon Switzerland)
If you find yourself in northeast Germany close to Dresden or Berlin, this area is perfect. It has very unusual rock formations and the hiking is short and easy. If you want true mountain scenery, however, better stick with Bavaria.
The probably easiest way to get there is to fly to Berlin and hire a car from there, unless you can grab a flight directly to Dresden.
In the very middle of Germany is a slightly mountain-y area. It has charming villages and dense forests. It’s a wonderful spot for an elopement in central Germany.
The fairy tale Black Forest is in southwest Germany. The fall colors are gorgeous here, and in winter, it’s a proper winter wonderland. It is also close to the German, Swiss, and French Alps.
Berlin City Elopements
The best city in Germany for an urban elopement is Berlin. It’s a very hip, open-minded and buzzing place. Stick to the peak summer months here though, Berlin becomes a very different city in winter. Super easily accessible as a lot of flights go in and out each day.
In the very north of Germany is the Baltic Sea. It’s a popular vacation spot for Berliners and northern Germany. During the summer, it can be very crowded, however.
Travel information for Germany
It’s very easy to fly in and out of Germany.The main airports are in Munich (MUC), Frankfurt am Main (FRA), Düsseldorf (DUS) and Berlin (BER). Here’s an article on the airports in Germany.
Driving in Germany is easy and car rentals are widely available. You may need to get an international drivers license (a translated version of your license) before you arrive. There are no tolls for driving on the German highways.
Via bus and train
Bus and train infrastructure is a good alternative to driving. In very rural parts, you’ll be better off with a car to get around. If you plan to make a long distance trip across the country, I highly recommend using an ICE long distance train. Booking platforms like Omio.com or Trainline make buying tickets very easy.
Checklist and timeline for planning an elopement in Germany
Generally, it’s good to start planning your elopement around 9-12 months out. This is to make sure your preferred vendors and accommodation are still available. That said, it’s absolutely possible to plan a “just us” elopement in shorter time frames.
9-12 months out:
- Reach out to photographer and/or wedding planner first
- Contact a celebrant
- Get an idea on where and when you’d like to elope to
- Get your wedding outfits
- Book HMUA
6-9 months out:
- Book accommodation and flights
- Tell family and friends that you’re eloping (if you want)
- Book a rental car
2-5 months out:
- Fittings for wedding outfits
- Go through details with your photographer and/or wedding planner
- Collect letters from friends and family to read during your elopement
1 month out
- Write your vows
- Collect the little things such as adapter plugs, garment bags, etc.
- Break your shoes in if you bought new ones
2 weeks out:
- Practice your vows
- Double check flights and accommodation
The day before:
- Have an easy day with a good night’s sleep
- Check in with your vendors
- Prepare your room and organize your outfits
- Prepare food, snacks and water for your elopement
- Prepare a backpack for the day with everything you need
Vendors to hire for an elopement in Germany
HMUA: Carolin Frixel
Wedding Planner: Love Destination Events
Musician: David Bokumabi
Celebrant: Zauberhafte Zeremonien “Magical Ceremonies”
Culture and language considerations
Customs and traditions
We Germans can be a little distant in the beginning. Small talk is not our specialty and we tend to be matter of fact and to the point. At the core, we’re friendly and open-minded people, but many can come off as cold to English speakers. Don’t take it personal!
English is the primary foreign language taught in schools. Most have a basic understanding of English, especially in cities and tourist areas. While in smaller villages, however, it’s very possible you’ll run into language barriers.
(I am German, so if you work with me, I’ll be your official translator whenever needed!)
For most restaurants, round up and add a Euro or two to the final bill. For fine dining or especially good service, tipping should be at least 10% of your bill. For the Americans reading: a 20% tip would be outrageous, so don’t feel compelled to give this much anywhere at all.
How to elope in Germany, FAQs
What is the minimum budget needed to elope in Germany?
Around €6,000. This considers only flights, accommodation and a half day of elopement photography.
Is it worth it to book all-inclusive elopement packages for Germany?
It depends. Most experienced elopement photographers will take on the location and timeline planning, as well as offer guidance for activities. If you find you need a lot more assistance than that, or just feel overwhelmed with choices, all inclusive packages or a wedding planner is a great idea.
Can foreigners get legally married in Germany?
Yes. The pros and cons are covered in depth above.
Should I hire a wedding or elopement planner?
If you don’t feel like coordinating and booking your own vendors, accommodations and venues, hiring a planner is a great investment. It costs around €2k.
How far out should we start planning for our elopement in Germany?
Most Germans plan their wedding 12-18 months in advance. Elopements don’t need that much time to plan, but for that reason, many vendors will be booked if you start late. I recommend 9-12 months in advance if your day falls on Friday – Sunday.
Should we elope on a weekday?
Yes, elope in Germany on a weekday. Accommodations and venues will be cheaper and crowds smaller. Vendors do not book as quickly for weekdays, making even very last-minute elopements possible.
Can I invite guests to my elopement in Germany?
Of course! Guests can accompany you for your whole elopement or just part of it. Many couples decide to keep their vows private, then have another activity with guests.
What is the currency exchange for USD and EUR?
1 dollar roughly equals 0.9 to 0.95 euro. Remember exchange rates fluctuate from day to day, month to month. Check global currency converters, like Xe.com, before sending payments to estimate the final bill.
What type of payment methods are used for money conversion with German wedding vendors?
Germany is VERY old school with banking. Most vendors work with bank to bank wire transfers. It’s also very common for vendors to use third party services like Paypal or Wise (I recommend Wise).
How to find a local photographer for your elopement in Germany
Finding a good bi-lingual local photographer comes with the benefit of having a German speaker. This is helpful if you run into any language barriers.
They’ll also understand cultural nuances and how to avoid inconveniences big and small. Find a few photographers whose work you love, and then interview them. Choose the one that you feel most comfortable with, as they’ll be with you all day!
The average cost for full day elopement coverage is €4-5k. This should include lots of location guidance, timeline planning, activity suggestions, and 50-80 images per hour.
Hey there, I’m Gina! Your German elopement photographer
Germany is my home and I’m excited to meet you. I have multiple packages for elopement photography around all of Germany. If you’re ready to elope in Germany, I’m here and stoked to help you with the next steps!