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Who hasn’t daydreamed of an elopement on Lake Geneva, surrounded by crystal blue water and the majestic Swiss mountains? Now imagine you’re in the middle of the lake itself—exchanging vows with the love of your life on a vintage sailing boat! Our clients Nicola and Grant had that exact vision, and we were so honored to help them bring it to life.

The two flew in from Singapore, and their families traveled from Australia and the UK, for the intimate celebration. From the moment the boat set sail to the candlelit dinner in the mountains, it was such a special day. Imagining your own sailing elopement on Lake Geneva yet? Here’s everything you need to know about planning one!

Bridal portraits from an elopement on Lake Geneva

Why Lake Geneva?

Switzerland may be a landlocked country, but it is home to over 1500(!) lakes—and Lake Geneva is the crowning jewel of them all. Between the lake itself and the surrounding mountains and forests, the natural beauty here is unmatched.

In addition, Switzerland’s centralized location ensures a hassle-free travel experience for your loved ones. Since Nicola and Grant’s families are based in the UK and Australia, the couple wanted to choose an elopement destination that all of their guests could easily travel to. Our beautiful country was the obvious choice! Their UK family could take advantage of the railways that connect most of the major cities throughout Europe, while their Australian family could fly directly to Geneva, where there is a major airport. It was a win-win! Your loved ones can also rent a car and make a vacation of the experience by taking a week to road-trip around the country.

Tips for planning an elopement on Lake Geneva

Elopement ceremony on a vintage sailboat on Lake Geneva

Be Practical (and Preventive)

If you or your spouse-to-be has not traveled well on boats in the past, then a sailing elopement may not be in the cards. If you aren’t sure, make a date out of it! Book a dinner cruise, or rent a small boat for the day, and see how you both feel. If either of you finds yourself getting queasy, you’ll know that another elopement experience may be more up your alley.

Perhaps neither of you are prone to seasickness—that’s great! But, don’t forget to consider your guests. Have some anti-seasickness tablets on hand on the big day so that no one has to feel uncomfortable.

Be Flexible and Trust Your Captain

Unfortunately, the weather can be unpredictable despite our best efforts, and when it turns sour it’s unsafe to sail. Have a plan B in case of last-minute storms or wind, and make sure it’s something you’ll love! A sailboat is such an unconventional ceremony venue that you’ll want to brainstorm an equally unique alternative to avoid disappointment.

What’s more, it’s important to be flexible once you get out on the lake. The winds over the water can change at the drop of a hat, forcing would-be adventurers back to shore. For example, Nicola and Grant’s voyage was cut short by half an hour so that their boat could return safely to port. The day was still magical, and it didn’t matter in the end! What’s most important is trusting your boat captain. They’re the expert, and they will do what it takes in order to keep you safe.

Elopement ceremony on a vintage sailboat on Lake Geneva

Reapportion Your Budget

Typically, a boat rental with a crew of eight people costs between CHF 1250 and CHF 2500. The cost fluctuates depending on how long you’ll be out and how many people will be onboard. Maybe those numbers exceed what you would like to spend on a venue. However, consider that a decor budget is not really necessary for an elopement on Lake Geneva. The gorgeous natural surroundings are more than enough to satisfy anyone’s eye! So, with that in mind, take a look at your budget and reapportion expenses if needed. In the absence of a large decor budget, you may very well be able to afford a sailing elopement!

Tips for planning an elopement on Lake Geneva

Give Your Guests an Authentic Swiss Experience

Many of our clients who opt to get married on the lake are looking for an authentic Swiss experience. So, for their wedding lunch or dinner, we recommend Le Coucou! Tucked away in the mountains just a 20-minute drive from the boat harbor is this stunning chalet with a magnificent view of the Swiss Riviera. What’s more, the food is incredible! Nicola and Grant hosted an intimate dinner here for their guests following their ceremony, and it was the perfect conclusion to their special day.

Swiss chalet reception dinner at Le Coucou

Events by Loukia - Switzerland Wedding and Event Planner

Events by Loukia - Switzerland Wedding and Event Planner

Now that you’ve learned the basics of planning a sailing elopement on Lake Geneva, you’re ready to make your dream a reality—but you’re going to need some help along the way! As Switzerland wedding and event planners, we’ve been down this road before and we boast an extensive network of talented vendors. We’ll make sure that your day is exactly as you’ve envisioned it so that you can focus on marrying your favorite person! Contact us to learn more today.


Photographer: Gabriela Oswald

Floral Design: Louloudia

Officiant: Marylin Rebelo

Restaurant: Le Coucou