It seems like forever ago right now, but back in January, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a little snowy elopement at the Sea of Tirol – Lake Achensee.
Together with a bunch of talented wedding suppliers, I packed all my gear, and my snowboots, to head to Austria to shoot a beautiful and romantic Lake Achensee elopement.
Austria has my heart for a variety of reasons but the main one is the mountains… I love nothing more than getting knee deep in powder with my snowboard, careering down slopes and enjoying some of that famous apres ski! As well as the mountains, Austria is also a beautiful picturesque place to hold a wedding – whether you love the wintry weather or the sunnier warmer climate. There’s lots to see and do including walking, sailing, and indulging in some delicious food and wine, and it’s the perfect backdrop for a wedding or elopement.
We arrived at midnight after driving through a snow storm up the narrowest road I’ve ever been on with a sheer drop on one side! The wonderful hair and Make up artist Victoria Farr was my co-captain, as we navigated the dark roads of Alpbach to arrive to a very welcome beer from the Destination Wedding planner herself, Kate Kennedy.
Kate, who runs The Destination Wedding Co, had put together an awesome team for our elopement at Lake Achensee, including the wonderful Cinema of Poetry (whose film of the elopement you can see here), Zoe and Tom our awesome couple, Loupaper Wedding Stationery, a gown from Ghost Orchid, and transport from the go-anywhere Homer Roamer and his amazing VW.
The next morning we were up early for hair and make-up before we loaded up the van and headed to our first location in Alpbach. Zoe looked absolutely gorgeous in the Chantelle Lauren designed Boho style Ghost Orchid Bridal gown, but it was pretty chilly standing around being photographed in a thin figure hugging dress. Fortunately, we’d brought blankets and gloves to keep her warm inbetween shots and a faux fur coat to keep the cold at bay.
We shot bridal prep at the pretty awesome Sport Residenz hotel in Zillertal… it’s contemporary styling and mountain views were to die for and none of us wanted to leave. If you’re looking for a perfect place to hold a wedding or a luxury spot for an elopement, it is pretty much perfect. This is also where Tom and Zoe wrote their vows for their Lake Achensee elopement ceremony and Kate set up their stylish wedding dining table.
And just when we’d thawed out, it was onto the piece de resistance, Lake Achensee.
Set in the middle of the Karwednel mountain range and the Brandenberg Alps, Lake Achensee is over 9km long and is known as the Sea of Tirol. In the summer, it is usually busy with holidaymakers enjoying its’ watersports and picnic tables, but in the winter, it is beautifully serene and the colour of azure blue. It really is spectacular and the most beuatiful place to exchange vows and hold an elopement – which is exactly what we did.
Despite the freezing temperatures, we watched from the sidelines as Tom and Zoe declared their love on the banks of the lake, ankle deep in soft white snow. And as if by magic, a little flurry of snow started to sprinkle just in time for the first kiss. Afterwards we had a few portraits of them both together and then we hopped back in our trusty steeds and headed for celebratory beer and chips!
Huge thanks to Kate for organising, putting up with my outrageous demands, and for cooking one of the best chillis ever! And a big shout out to my buddy Kostas from Cinema of Poetry with whom I did the delicate dance of photographer and videographer round one another. Hopefully, I’ll see him again soon in his home country of Greece.
And a big high five to all the suppliers involved for coming together and ensuring it was bloody spectacular.
It was amazing to be Zoe and Tom’s destination wedding photographer, and get to tell their wonderful wedding elopement adventure through my lens on the banks of Lake Achensee. It really is a special place. I love that my job takes me on some amazing trips around the world to document the love and romance of couples that dare to be different and get married in a place that means so much. If you’re planning a dream elopement or wedding to the Austrian Alps, get in touch, and don’t forget to download your FREE copy of my Wedding Planning Guide full of hints and tips on getting married in the UK and abroad.
If you’re looking for a destination wedding planning service, look no further than the talented Destination Wedding Co. Kate is super chilled, very professional and knows all there is to know about getting hitched on the banks of Lake Achensee or anywhere else in the Alps. Whether you’re looking for an intimate elopement or a fun filled big wedding celebration, she will handle it all.
Don’t forget to check out Kostas at Cinema of Poetry who is amazing behind the camera, capturing the mood of your destination wedding with ease. He really is a joy to work with and his films are incredible and emotive.
Logistics and Planning – Destination Wedding Co
Hair and Make-up – Victoria Farr
Transport – Homer Roamer
Videography – Cinema of Poetry
Stationery – Lou Paper
Venue – Sportresidenz Zillertal
Dress – Chantelle Lauren Design – Ghost Orchid Bride
Apparel – the Own Studio
Lake Achensee elopement wedding photographer, Austria. Photography by Shelly Mantovani at Toast of Leeds. If you’re having a wedding or elopement at Lake Achensee or elsewhere in Austria, get in touch by visiting my contact page or you can find me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. I photograph weddings across Europe in Alpbach, Zillertal, Solden, Kitzbuhel, Mayrhofen, and of course, Lake Achensee plus many more beautiful wedding destinations. I also shoot across the UK in tipis, barns, country houses , iconic hotels, Industrial warehouses, town halls and cool city boozers . For more information and to check availability, contact me now.