Eloping in Germany: what you need to know

Germany is home to incredible scenic places worth of fairy tale elopements and weddings. Castles, mountains and alps, lakes, beaches (yes, up in the north), ruins, picturesque small towns and even vineyards are on the list of dreamy spots to consider eloping.

I have lived here for almost 9 years and the beauty of this country still amazes me, and here in Bavaria the list of dreamy locations is already enough extensive. So for all of you considering eloping here in Germany, if there is one thing you won’t need to worry about is to find a stunning location to make that happen, and I’m more than happy to assist you with deciding the perfect one for the two of you. In the meantime, here is what you need to know to make this dream come true.

Legally getting married in Germany

elopement neuschwanstein germany

First things first. If you really want to officially get married in Germany but your country of residency isn’t Germany, know that legally getting married here as a foreigner is very tricky and bureaucratic. I believe that’s the biggest reason why Germany isn’t so popular among couples who want to elope or do a destination wedding. Here are some of the standard requirements for the Standesamt (Registry Office):

  • You have to prove that you reside in Germany for at least 21 days (which already by itself isn’t easy, unless you have recently moved to the country);
  • Birth certificates;
  • Proof that nothing impedes you from getting married (for example, an ongoing divorce). This document is called Ehefähigkeitszeugnis; or in some cases just the Ledigkeitszeugnis, is enough. This one declares that you are single and aren’t already married somewhere else.

I remember when I got married to my husband I was living in Switzerland, so I had to get proof from both Brazil (my home country) and Switzerland that I was single. You might need this document from all the countries you have resided in the recent years.

  • Two witnesses and an interpreter (if one of you don’t speak/understand German).
  • Between 100€ and 200€ as a fee to the Standesamt and possibly other fees involving other specific aspects of your application process.
  • Other basic requirements are: you need to be 18 years old (if not, you need parental consent) and proof that your previous marriage was dissolved, etc.

I know this is probably something you didn’t want to read if you were expecting to get legally married here in Germany but don’t reside in the country. My advice is, of course, for you to consider doing the legal part in your home country and invest on your special ceremony here. A nice idea would be to do your ceremony first then once you’re back home, officialize your union. If this isn’t a problem for you, then your dream of eloping in Germany isn’t far away from happening, and trust me, it will be worth it.

Planning an elopement in Germany

elopement germany

One of my favorite parts: planning! Choosing me as photographer for your elopement in Germany means you don’t only get photographs, you get a local friend who loves to plan, know the region and know great professionals to recommend you to make this special day happen. I know that for many of you speaking German is already a heck of an obstacle, but don’t worry, I do speak German and I know many professionals who speak English, including celebrants and wedding planners.

So on to planning. Once you decide Germany is where you want to elope, it’s time to choose a location. Bavaria, where I live, is the most popular region for elopements. Why? Two reasons: the alps and fairy tale castles. But if you’re looking for something different, then there are incredible lakes all over the country, the beach in the north, castles everywhere, beautiful vineyards and more. I’m more than happy to help you decide your ideal location.

Then on to deciding when and how you want your day to be. Will it be in the summer? Winter? Will it involve hiking? Do you expect snow? Don’t mind having rain and wind? Do you want a picnic or maybe dinner at sunset or under the stars? Do you want to rent a camper van or stay in a romantic hotel with a view to the alps? Possibilities are endless.

What will you need? Hair stylist and make-up artist? Stay near the elopement location? Flowers? Catering service for two? My advice is to hire a local wedding planner and start from there, it will certainly make everything easier. If you don’t know any, I’m happy to recommend. Otherwise, you can already start your research by using the following German hashtags related to elopements and weddings:

#hochzeit #freietrauung #hochzeitplaner #hochzeitsblumen #hochzeitsfloristik #hochzeitslocation #hochzeitsdienstleister #hochzeit + the closest main city to your location, for example: #hochzeitmünchen #hochzeitheildeberg and so on.

Eloping in Germany