Planning a wedding in the French Alps
Weddings in the French Alps - insight from the Wilder Weddings team on planning a wedding in Morzine, Montriond or the surrounding region.
Are you thinking about a destination wedding? Are the French Alps high on your list? This region is so special and makes for a dreamy destination wedding location for couples looking to create something unique. What could be more roam-antic than roaming the rolling mountains, sparkling lakes and secret forests?
Whether you’re thinking of an epic summer wedding in the mountains or a wintery elopement with your nearest and dearest, Morzine and the surrounding area will have something to make your marriage truly memorable.
So even if you’re just starting a little journey of exploration, this post should help you reach some more conclusions about what you want from your special day and get a good feel for how things work when planning a wedding in the French Alps.
Read along to get the Wilder Weddings expert insight as to why the Alps makes the perfect spot for a spectacular destination wedding.
The French Alps: The Scenery
Famous for snow-sports like skiing and snowboarding the French Alps are legendary. Here are the facts: the Alps mountain range is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. At 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc, following the French-Italian border, is the highest of all the peaks, and there are some great locations to see the famous Monte Bianco in all its glory from Morzine too. (Trust us, we know all the best spots!)
Towns that you might already be familiar with are Grenoble, Chamonix, Annecy, Chambéry and Évian-les-Bains. But ski resorts such as our little mountain home of Morzine have become incredibly popular in recent years attracting visitors from all over the world at all times of year.
Guests will admire the incredible scenery found in this region, the ‘Portes du Soleil’ meaning literally ‘the doors to the sun’, is the gift that keeps on giving. Even after years of living in the Alps you can still discover hidden treasures. So when it comes to weddings here, just know that the opportunities are limitless, you’ll be able to have ceremonies at the foot of a mountain, as well as enjoy waterfalls, alpine lakes and tall forests all in easy access from Morzine.
Pick a Season: Time of year
The scenery is beautiful year round, but we can offer some advice on what time of year might work for you and fit with your aspirations.
Summer Weddings in the Alps
Summer in the mountains is a great time to get married, you’ll get to enjoy all the summer activities in full swing - think hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding on green lakes, parapenting, rafting and camping. This region is special as the seasons feel very defined, you can visually see each one rolling in and out so when the spring snow melts away the summer months are in full swing by the start of July.
The chairlifts tend to operate from mid-June till early September and coming when the lifts are open also offers guests more options for exploring the mountains.
The warmest months here are July and August, June tends to be a little chilly in the evenings and September can be quite wet but don’t worry, we’ll have a wet weather plan for you and our friends over at Eight-bells know how to make the most of the unpredictable mountain weather.
Winter Weddings in Morzine and the Alps
You really can’t beat the romance of snowfall on any occasion but the magic of a snowy wedding in the Alps makes it all the more charming. During the winter months weddings in Morzine or Montriond can be hosted in large event halls like the Domaine du Baron, or in rustic wooden chalets with dim lights and cosy fur rugs scattered around. No matter the weather you are still able to get beautiful snowy pictures if you pick the right mountain peak but just remember that a weddings in the Alps does not necessarily mean snow, it can rain, it can be dry, it can be glorious and sunny so make sure you are prepared for all eventualities.
It is worth bearing in mind that for your ceremony, if you’d like it to be outside, be prepared to wrap-up warm as temperatures can get very low, relativity sensible footwear is recommended if you want a wedding ceremony by a frozen lake or on the mountain. Why not even grab yours ski’s or snowboards if you want to head up the mountain to say yes at the top! If you want to add a pinch of adventure, you can ski or snowboard to your ceremony spot or have a ski date with your husband or wife to be on the morning of your big day. With plenty opportunities for exploring we know you’ll have the time of your life.
Autumn Weddings in Morzine and the Alps
There is something very special about autumn in the mountains. The vibrant orange tones overpower the valley and the falling leaves make for some stunning photo opportunities. During this time of the year the resort becomes quiet and tranquil.
There is a stillness that comes with the Autumn, many of the locals call it ‘interseason’ in between the bustle of the Winter and Summer seasons, a time to recharge. It is a nice time of year to get married but be prepared for some limitations on what you and your wedding party can get up to, around 60% of the bars and restaurants are closed and none of the lifts are open for activity so you’ll need to take to the mountain on your own steam.
Spring Weddings the Alps
Spring in the Alps can be a game of two halves. On one hand we might have had heavy April snowfall, so May is the month where it all begins to melt and thaw with the warmer temperatures kicking in. However it can still be snowy in May in the Alps, especially up high so beware of the unpredictable weather at this time of year!
Similar to Autumn with the closure of the ski-lifts mid-April things get much quieter as the resorts take a small ‘interseason’ pause so we’d recommend picking a Summer or Winter wedding if you are looking for a resort in full swing, but at this time of year if you want some peace and tranquillity Spring might be for you!
The Culture of the French Alps
Part of the romance of a destination wedding is the joy of taking in the local culture. One thing we recommend our couples do is head to the local market. In Morzine Wednesdays are market day, so the morning calls for you to make like the locals and rise early for freshly bakes breads, locally made produce and fabulous wines.
The Haute Savoie is famous for its cows, and farm produce to be more specific.
You’ll see an abundance of cheese dishes on the restaurant menus and that is because dishes like fondue and raclette are the local specialties. Oh of course wine in most of France is of special note but here in the Alps the Génépi is also on the alcohol menu, it’s a traditional herbal liqueur served at the end of meal as a ‘digestif’ and available to purchase in most locals stores or even at the market. Santé (French for cheers!)
The Adventure Wedding in the Alps
The beauty of the Alps is that you can be as wild and adventurous as you like - or as serene and relaxed, the location lends itself perfectly to both approaches. If you’d rather take the chair to the top of the mountain and chill out with your vin chaud in a deck chair, that’s cool, there is nothing more calming than taking in the scenery on a sunny day.
But you can also paraglide or take an off-piste guided ski tour in the days leading up to your wedding, or even on the day. The Alps are there for you to enjoy as you see fit and integrate the adventurous elements as and when you like. We’ve covered some of the summer and winter activities you can partake in Morzine, from skiing and snowboarding, to hiking and rafting, but that merely scratches the surface of what is on offer.
Remember not to over-do it though, the mixture of the altitude, the copious amounts of cheese and wine and high intensity activities can leave you feeling a little drained for your big day so take it easy in the lead up.
Of course we can help you plan activities, we’ve had the bridal party take a snow shoe to Lac Mines d’or the day before the wedding, we’ve had our bride and groom go snowboarding the morning of and we’ve had couples camp at the top of a mountain on their wedding night, with no request too big, we create something as adventurous or as relaxed as you like.
Whether you want something more traditional, or if you’d like to toss out the rule book, either way it is important to realise that weddings in the mountains means you can create your own rules.
Weekend Destination Wedding Frolics
One of the other reasons to opt for a destination wedding in the Alps is because your guests can really make a weekend (or even week) of it. Guests can choose to stay for a weekend which also means you don’t end up cramming seeing everyone into one day, you get a long weekend, something of which we can help fill up with fun activities, and gatherings.
We can arrange BBQ’s, hog roasts or pizza parties the day following your wedding, as well as group activities like paddle boarding at Lake Montriond, snowshoeing around Mont Chery in Les Gets, or rafting adventures and cocktail nights. The world is your oyster, of shall we say the mountain is your oyster?
If you’d like to learn more about the wedding venues on offer in Morzine and our region of the Alps, please get in touch with the Wilder Weddings team, we'd love to hear from you.
Faye & Ian
The Wilder Weddings team