When it comes to eloping, one of the very first decisions you and your fiance will have to make is where. In this blog, we’ll be talking about some of the best places to elope in Europe. (If you’re wanting to elope closer to home, check out this blog I wrote about the best places to elope in the United States).
There are countless beautiful spots in Europe to elope, but today we’ll be talking about three of my favorites: France, Greece, and Ireland.
France – one of the best places to elope in Europe
France is a stunning country in western Europe known for its diverse geography and delicious cuisine (who doesn’t love bread, wine, and cheese?). If you want your special day to feel classic and romantic, eloping in France is perfect for you. France has some of the best places to elope in Europe.
Getting legally married in France as a non-citizen can be a bit tricky. First, you and your fiance have to live in France for at least 40 days before the wedding. On top of that, legal weddings have to take place at the City Hall of the city you’re marrying in. This being why many couples opt to get legally married in their hometown and have a symbolic ceremony in France.
Deciding where in France to get married might be the hardest decisions. There are cities, beaches, wineries, countryside, and everything in between.
When many people think of getting married in France, they think of the city of love: Paris. Paris is home to so many beautiful elopement locations, like the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate, and the Tuilerie Gardens. For more Paris elopement spots, check out this blog. My best piece of advice for eloping in Paris: get there early to avoid the crowds! Since many of these places are major tourist locations, having an early morning ceremony is ideal.
Provence is a region in the south of France and is a perfect elopement spot for a nature-loving couple. If you and your fiance want a beachfront wedding, check out Marseille, a city in the Provence region on the Mediterranean Sea. If you prefer something more rustic, you can elope in one of the many gorgeous lavender fields in Provence.
The French Alps
If you and your fiance love adventure, eloping in the French Alps might be right for you. This area of France is known for skiing, hiking, biking, and mountaineering, as well as the incredible scenery. Whether you elope in one of the surrounding towns or hike up the mountain to say “I do”, you are sure to have an absolutely stunning day.
Greece – locations to elope in Europe
Greece is the southernmost country in Europe and has the longest coastline in Europe, which makes it perfect for those looking to have a beachy elopement. In addition to its gorgeous beaches and islands, Greece is full of historical sights, making it an ideal elopement spot for history loving couples.
While it is possible to legally get married in Greece, there are quite a few hoops you will need to jump through. For additional details, check out this link from the Greek Embassy. If you’re wanting an easier way to make your Greek elopement dreams come true, you can choose to get married in your hometown and have a symbolic ceremony in Greece.
Between its mainland and 300 islands, there are so many incredible places to elope in Greece.
Santorini is one of the most well-known Greek islands. When many people think of Greece, they think of Santorini: white buildings with blue roofs stacked along a hillside looking over the sea. In addition to these beautiful buildings, Santorini has gorgeous beaches, chapels, wineries, and historic sites.
Looking to say your vows in a romantic spot full of history? Elope in Athens! Athens is the capital city of Greece and is located on the mainland of the country. This city is one of the oldest cities in the world, which means it’s full of historical landmarks, like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Ireland – Places to elope in Europe
Ireland is a small country in the British Isles. The weather in Ireland is cloudy and cool for most of the year, so it’s perfect for couples who want a moody elopement. Ireland is full of beautiful, lush nature and quaint countryside towns, so it’s also perfect for those who want a “cottagecore” inspired elopement.
When it comes to legalities, it’s important to know that Ireland is split in two: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Each have their own rules when it comes to marrying there.
To legally get married in the Republic of Ireland, you must give at least 3 months notice of your marriage and sign up for a marriage visa. You must have the ceremony performed by a registered solemniser or Humanist Association of Ireland accredited celebrant, get married on public property with a postal address (or an identifiable landmark), and have two witnesses over the age of 18 (your photographer can be one). For more details, here’s the link to the Irish government’s webpage on marriages.
In Northern Ireland, you must give at least 28 days notice (at most 1 year) and apply for a UK marriage visa, have the ceremony performed by an officiant for religious ceremonies or a human celebrant for secular ceremonies, and have two witnesses over the age of 18. If you would like more details on this process, check out this link.
If you’re not wanting to deal with these extra steps, here’s another option. The most simple way to elope in Ireland is to get legally married in your home city. Then have a symbolic ceremony in Ireland.
It’s impossible to list all of the amazing towns and landmarks to elope at in Ireland. The country is full of historic castles, cliffsides overlooking beaches, and gorgeous outdoor spaces.
Getting married at a castle is a magical experience, and Ireland is the place to do so! Ireland has 30,000 castles and castle ruins. In Northern Ireland, I recommend Dunluce Castle, which stands on a cliff overlooking the water. Another stunning castle ruin is Menlo Castle in Galway.
Since Ireland is an island, there are plenty of beaches, waterfront towns, and stunning cliffs looking over the water. One of the most iconic spots in the Republic of Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher. This is one of the best places to elope in Europe- it’s a fan favorite. There are over 8 miles of cliffs, which make an amazing backdrop to your elopement. If you want to get closer to the water, consider eloping at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This rock formation is on the water and is a perfect spot to take photos on your special day.
If you and your fiance are nature lovers, Ireland has you covered. The Killarney National Park is Ireland’s first national park and is over 25,000 acres. It includes mountain peaks, the Lakes of Killarney, and natural forests. For a more moody outdoor venue, try the Dark Hedges, a street lined with beech trees that form a natural and magical looking tunnel.
If you need help making your dream European elopement come to life, reach out to me here! I can help when it comes to picking out some of the best places to elope in Europe!