Fairy-tale castles and historic hotels
By Kayla Volmar
Summer or winter? In a luxurious grand hotel or on a spectacular mountain peak? Finding that perfect place to say your vows has always been a challenge.
Aspiring brides and grooms are spoiled for choice if they’ve got their heart set on an alpine wedding in Europe. But with over 300 romantic locations from lakeside castles to verdant gardens and lush vineyards, Switzerland often wins out as their destination of choice.
Legendary singer Diana Ross married Arne Naess in Switzerland’s oldest church, the 10th century Romanmotier Monastery. Cheered on by their 200 illustrious guests, alongside excited locals, the couple hosted their reception at the legendary Beau-Rivage Palace overlooking Lake Geneva. The Grande Dame not only enchants guests with her 150-year-old history, but also her renovated rooms, stunning spa and the culinary magic of Michelin Star chef Anne-Sophie Pic.
Over 70,000 roses graced Tina Turner and Erwin Bach’s mansion on Lake Zurich for their private ceremony. While borrowing their home isn’t in the cards, you certainly wouldn’t be missing out by opting for the world- famous Dolder Grand instead. With over 170 fabulous rooms and suites, and gorgeous city, lake and mountain views, the Dolder is also home to fine dining courtesy of Chef Heiko Nieder who boasts two Michelin stars and 19 Gault Millau points.
Inspiring a generation of women with her elegant, high-collared wedding gown designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain, beloved British actress Audrey Hepburn tied the knot with fellow actor Mel Ferrer at the Bürgenstock Hotel on picturesque Lake Lucerne. Newly re-built, the five-star resort is Switzerland’s biggest spa hotel with a surface area of 10,000 square metres, offering 102 rooms and suites with incredible lake views, a double bathtub and fireplace feature. The stunning location has nothing short of 12 restaurants, lounges and bars, a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, a private beach pool in Kehrsiten and over 70km in hiking trails.
The villages of Sils, Silvaplana, St. Moritz and Pontresina are part of Switzerland’s fairy-tale mountain scenery, along with the Bernina Pass. Whether you are in search of slopes and sun, or fine food and relaxation, the three mountains of Corvatsch, Diavolezza and Lagalb offer venues and accommodations to suit every couple. For a rustic and romantic affair, seek out a one-of-a-kind mountain hut. The cable cars run 365 days a year—seven months in the winter for skiers and then for five months in the summer—offering breath-taking views of the Piz Bernina from different perspectives.
If food is more of a priority, choose from 14 mountain restaurants in winter and 6 mountain restaurants in summer. We suggest the Wasserngrat, which combines the charm of the Bernese Oberland with elaborate modern elements and far-reaching views across the Saanen District. The highest mountain restaurant of the region, it offers stunning views at 1,920 metres above sea level and first-rate ingredients are prepared with passion and creativity year-round.
As the story goes, passionate, icy hot, devilishly beautiful Diavolezza, the she-devil lived high up on the mountain. Now and again, hunters would find her, follow her—crazed with love—and fall to their deaths. So it was with young Aratsch, after whose death, Diavolezza wailed pitifully: “mort ais Aratsch”—“Aratsch is dead”. Her cry gave the Morteratsch Glacier its name.
If you like to feel the heat in winter, then the realm of the beautiful she-devil is the place for you. In winter, keen winter sports fans can warm up nicely on the glacier or enjoy moonlit runs on a ski tour or a winter walk. Do not forget to soak in the jacuzzi at 3,000 metres and visit the Bernina Glaciers World of Adventure, with audio tour and the Snow Climb Point. You certainly won’t get your fingers burnt with a day on Diavolezza.
Happily ever after
Traditionally a sophisticated destination for Europeans, Switzerland has now become a popular spot for modern brides and grooms looking to combine the magic of history with the beauty of nature. Perhaps there’s no better way to start the adventure of your lives together.