Keys to an Unforgettable Wedding in the Most Beautiful Hall in Europe

Today marks our fourth wedding anniversary. For the occasion, I thought to share our most memorable day which took place in Salzburg, Austria in Fall 2016. Our civil wedding was officiated at the Baroque Marble Hall in Salzburg’s Mirabell Palace. Nowadays the hall hosts soloists and ensembles carrying on Salzburg’s music tradition. The Mozart family performed in these halls for the archbishops of Salzburg. The marble, the golden ornaments, and the high ceilings are testimony of a time of splendor.

It is considered “one of the most beautiful wedding hall in Europe”.

Our wedding officiant wearing a traditional dirndl
Near the Angel Staircase and the Marble Hall

The French-Austrian Union

The preparation: as a bi-national couple, it took us extra steps to prepare for the wedding day. The submission of documents took some time. To ease the process, the Austrian authorities made a check-list on how to marry in Austria and it’s easily accessible online. From our experience it’s been easy to coordinate with them especially if you can communicate in German.
Having said that, it still took us several months to gather all the documents. First of all, I had to declare our intention to marry to the French authorities responsible for civil marriages and nationality.

It was a bit crazy to gather so many documents from different countries with apostilles and translations but it’s easier if you tend to be an organized person.

To give you an idea of the challenges we faced: My birth certificate was issued in Russia. I had to request an International Birth certificate from France, my country of citizenship. This document needed to be less than 6 months old. I also needed documents from the French Embassy in Vienna which I had to coordinate from the United States. On top of that I needed other documents from the U.S.

For my then husband-to-be it was fairly simple: he had everything at his finger tips. He is the organized one.

To be scheduled and to get a confirmed time slot for the civil wedding we had to coordinate with one of the officers in charge. In our case it was Mrs. Gabelberger Monika who was really helpful and quick to reply. My husband was the one corresponding with her and getting her the documents she needed via email.

We confirmed our wedding date for October 1st, 2016 on August of that year. The documents we provided were the following:

  1. International Birth certificate  (Includes translation in several languages)
  2. International Certificate of marital status (Proof you can marry, that you are single or divorced)
  3. Proof of residence for both
  4. Formal Identification

We used Minted to arrange the invitations for the wedding ceremony, the reception and the Lange Nacht der Museen.

Planning of the Day

  1. Picking up the wedding bouquet
  2. Civil Ceremony at 9:40 am, at the Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace
  3. Photo session in the Mirabell Gardens
  4. Walk across scenic Salzburg and over the Makartsteg Bridge to reach the location of M32
  5. Lunch Wedding Reception with outside sitting at M32, with a beautiful view of Salzburg
  6. Trip to the Gollinger Falls for a photo session, lucky for us, this breathtaking waterfall was nearby
  7. Long Night of Museums (Lange Nacht der Museen), a cultural event in which museums and cultural institutions in an area cooperate to remain open late into the night. As we are both passionate about the arts, it was memorable to be able to do museum sightseeing with our friends on that day, up until 1 am.

Take aways:

Language Is Not an Issue

It’s really not that complicated to plan a wedding in Austria even if you are not a citizen of the country. They are officers who speak English and you can request a translator for the ceremony.

Civil or Religious, Both Ceremonies Can Be Exquisite

If you’re interested in a civil wedding in Salzburg, it is unique in itself. Booking a date is easily done through their website (in English). The official website of the city has a great page dedicated to weddings with other options in the area, including churches.

Elegant and Intimate Atmosphere

Classical music elevates the experience. During the ceremony, both, hiring a musician or bringing your own is permitted, check out this page to see how it is done. It cost 50€ for 3 musical pieces. We chose Bach/Gounod – Ave Maria during the ring exchange and Georg Friederich Händel – Einzug der Königin von Saba (Oratorium Salomon) for the entrance and exit.

Make it Simple

Use electronic invitations to coordinate RSVPs, especially if you expect way more guests than we did. We kept it very small, with close friends and family members. It’s about celebrating a union of two individuals who will share the rest of their lives together. Culturally speaking we had zero pressure to make it lavish. We wanted it to authentically represent us both. Lunch receptions for weddings are great. People feel less tired or rushed. You have day light for better photos, and the costs for rentals and food are lower.

Choosing beautiful locations for the ceremony, the reception and the wedding pictures made it a memorable experience. We were so fortunate to have a wonderful light at the Golling Waterfalls and to have perfect weather. Fall days in Salzburg tend to be rainy. All photos were taken by our common friend Florian Godovitz.