Is Schilthorn, Switzerland, Your I Do Destination?
Looking for a fabulous and romantic place to host your destination wedding? How about a gorgeous, far-away locale for your honeymoon? Our new monthly column, I Do Destinations, will highlight unique locations for destination weddings and honeymoons around the world. Author Sarah Carrillo Riswick, the founder and editor of Destination42.com, combines her passion for weddings and travel to bring you informative and inspiring posts and help you plan the wedding of your dreams!
Call me weird, but I can’t help it: Whenever I travel to an interesting destination my mind immediately imagines what it would look like set up for a wedding. Secluded beaches, Medieval castles, miniscule parks—they’re all potential gold mines for Pinterest-worthy weddings.
On my recent visit to Switzerland it was no different. My husband and I made plans to visit Piz Gloria, a revolving restaurant located nearly 10,000 feet atop Schilthorn mountain and accessible only by cable car. Though mainly used by skiers and the occasional sight-seers, we were making the trek because my husband is a massive James Bond fan and Piz Gloria was in-part built for the 1969 007 adventure “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
As my husband excitedly ran around remembering (and at times recreating) scenes from the movie, I started thinking about an aisle leading out to the viewing platform, a hot chocolate-themed cocktail hour, a reception in the revolving restaurant, and the adorable photos you could snap on the cable car journey up. And, most importantly, the absolutely stunning, pictures-can’t-do-it-justice view.
Can’t you just imagine it? Riding in a cable car with your wedding party, taking photos with the Alps in the background, and enjoying a day on top of the world with your guests.
It would be doubly perfect for any James Bond fan—without making it seem like a theme wedding. Piz Gloria is the result of one of the luckiest bits of production scouting in film history. Bond author Ian Fleming’s original novel, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” described the villain’s hide-out as being a complex built atop a Swiss Alp. Its name: Piz Gloria. When it came time to make the film version, the producers stumbled upon a partially constructed ski club being built on the Schilthorn. The Bond producers agreed to finish construction (including decorating its interior) in return for its use. Although Piz Gloria has changed in the past 45 years, the name and general layout remains.
Of course, picturing a dream wedding on a mountaintop and making it happen are two different things. According to Nicole Abegglen, head of sales at Schilthorn, Piz Gloria isn’t an official place for marriage ceremonies, but they do host events and there’s no reason you can’t hold a reception there and take plenty of insanely gorgeous wedding photos. They even offer special cable cars at night if your party goes on after dark.
Luckily, the possibilities for the rest of the details of a destination wedding here are just as appealing as a Schilthorn reception. For example, you could have the ceremony and stay in Mürren, a small ski town on the cable car path up to Schilthorn.
It’s hard to believe that quaint little villages like this occur outside of movies and fairy tales, but it’s indeed real. Though we visited in the winter when everything is covered in a magical draping of snow and parents use sleds to cart their children about (there are no cars), warmer months bring with them impeccable fields of green and bright wild flowers. Two very different landscapes and feels for a wedding, but either way I think you’d be in for a gorgeous event. There are a few quintessentially Swiss hotels in the town for vacationing skiers in the winter and hikers and mountain bikers in the summer, or you could rent a few chalets in which your guests could stay.
If Mürren is a little too remote for your wedding guests, Interlaken is about a half-hour drive away from the base cable car station and is definitely worth a visit as well. You can stroll through the parks, take in the centuries-old architecture, and dine on the classic (well, at least for tourists anyway) Swiss dish: fondue.
We stayed at Hotel Interlaken, which has been around since 1323 and is on the main drag of town. The hotel has been updated very recently and our room was perfectly modern, but it was neat to see some of the original walls preserved in the lobby and restaurant.
All in all, if you’re after a destination wedding with a spectacular view and want to think beyond the beach, a trip to the Alps may just be perfect for you.