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Freie Trauung auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte - Hochzeit im Zillertal
Jessi & David

Elopement on the Suspension Bridge - a Mountain Wedding in Austria

| Dirk Weber | Weddings

Adventure Wedding in Tyrol with a free wedding on the suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte - a small dream wedding in front of a snowy Alpine backdrop

Freie Trauung auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte - Hochzeit im Zillertal
Bridal couple in the mountains, kissing on old wooden bridge with snow
Wedding photos with a view of the glacier in the Zillertal Alps

Mountain Wedding? Elopement?
Adventure Session?

What were we actually doing on the mountain in Tyrol? Was that a real wedding? A styled shoot? An after-wedding session?

In terms of character, it was an elopement - a real wedding in a very small circle. All around it was an adventure session - after all, we had to get up the mountain first. And down again. You do not know exactly. It was definitely beautiful. But let me start at the beginning. Because how did we actually get together and how did this “Adventureous-Mountain-Elopement-Wedding-Styledshoot-Inspirational-After-Wedding-Dings” come about?

Brautkleid von Madam Burcu, im Morgenlicht am Kleiderschrank hängend, Foto in Schwarzweiß
Lustiges Foto von Brautpaar mit Grimasse vor verschneitem Berg, Brille der Braut ist angelaufen

Mostly, bridal couples spend a long time looking for their wedding photographer, follow the work on Instagram, you get to know each other and if everything fits, then you make a decision. In principle it was the same with Jessi and David. For their outdoor wedding in the Palatinate, the two consciously decided against a photographer and instead opted for a great wedding video (and a gin bar), but that's another story. It is thanks to Jessi's dress that the two ended up with a wedding photographer after all.

Details eines Brautkleids von Madam Burcu in Schwarzweiß
Wedding photographer for elopements and adventurous weddings all over Europe

Jessi's dream dress missed the actual wedding.

Jessi fell in love with her dream dress in Cologne. It was soon ordered - over a year before the wedding. But it didn't fit when trying on. Tailoring was the order of the day. 4 weeks later the next fitting appointment and still too tight. The game went on for a while and instead of a suitable dress there were sports tips. Jessi actually got married in a different wedding dress that she was able to find nearby at short notice - also beautiful, just in time and also suitable. None of that harmed the wedding.

The dream dress came soon - barely 8 months after the wedding. But at least it worked. That was reason enough to talk about ideas for an after-wedding session in a dream dress.

Incidentally, the contact between Jessi and me was a coincidence. She actually wanted to send an email to the bridal shop. In the excitement, however, it went to the wrong email address - mine. We have been in contact since then. So it all had its good points.

Special circumstances
require special measures.

So the wedding photos should also be something special. During an initial brainstorming session, we quickly discovered a shared passion for the Alps, snow and snowboarding. And so the idea for a small wedding on the suspension bridge developed.

And what originally started as a crazy idea quickly became concrete with the wedding speaker Christina (self-confessed mountain goat). Without further ado, we booked a holiday home in the farthest corner of the Zillertal - rustic, cozy and as close as possible to the Schlegeis reservoir and the suspension bridge. In terms of time, we hung on to the end of the season - the last few days before the toll road to Schlegeisspeicher and the hut on the mountain are closed for winter. We had planned a day of buffer for the weather on the mountain. And in the event of an emergency, there was also a fallback solution nearby in the form of a crevasse. But more on that later.

Off to the Zillertal!

It started on the last day in September. It was cold but sunny and we gradually trundled into our little house and made ourselves comfortable by the tiled stove. We were able to get a taste of the Palatinate wine first. Christina and Carmen already knew Saja and I from weddings in the region - we are all based in the Taunus. Jessi and David, on the other hand, are from the Palatinate and we met in person for the first time in the Zillertal. Of course, Hugo was there too, who visibly enjoyed the attention of the small group and the sofa.

Fotos aus dem fahrenden Auto: fahrende Zillertalbahn und Straße kurz vor Ginzling
Hund auf Sofa - Mops-Mix Hugo genießt die Sonnenstrahlen
Sternenhimmel über Ferienhaus Siglaste im Zillertal

Our cozy holiday home is located on the outskirts of Ginzling - right by the forest and with a wonderful view of the small town at the southern end of the Zillertal. We were completely undisturbed and were able to organize our project in a very relaxed manner.

Vor dem Ferienhaus im Zillertal heißt uns eine urige Veranda mit Stühlen und Sitzkissen willkommen.
Day 1:

Rain and Snowfall

The next day, the weather made a first dash for us - real dog weather, so to speak. But that's not really surprising for the beginning of October in the Zillertal. When it was raining or snowing, a hike of several hours up the mountain made little sense - especially since we would probably have arrived at the bridge without sight. Instead, we strolled through Mayrhofen and treated ourselves to a hot chocolate or two. The thing about the Palatinate wine was also great to delve into in this weather. With that, of course, the pressure increased - it had to work the next day!

Hugo has always puzzled over the origin of the term "dog weather". With the best will in the world, the little Spaniard cannot imagine that the pouring rain could please dogs somehow. Accordingly, he looks critically through the holes in the balcony of our holiday home. Going for a walk is not always an attractive idea.

Day 2:

Toll road to Schlegeisspeicher closed - we drive it anyway

For the next day, however, the sun was announced and Getting Ready started early, while David went to fetch the bouquet.
With two cars we drove towards the toll road to the Schlegeisspeicher. Our enthusiasm quickly took a turn for the worse. The toll road was closed. Actually, it should have been open for a few more days, but the operators had simply brought the winter closure a few days earlier due to the snowfall the day before.

There we stood now. We wouldn't have made it in time to walk from there to the bridge - if it had been possible at all. We didn't want to wait for the next day either - who said the road would be open then !? So we unceremoniously packed six people and a dog into one car - if there was a parking ticket, then at least only for one (I have Swabian blood) - and drove around the barrier over the closed toll road to the reservoir. We never got a ticket.

Straße von Ginzling im Zillertal in Richtung Schlegeisspeicher
Fahrt durch den einspurigen Tunnel auf der Mautstraße zum Schlegeisspeicher

The toll route to the Schlegeis reservoir winds around 7 km through snow-covered forests. A large part of the route runs in a single-lane tunnel. When the route is open regularly, a set of traffic lights ensures that oncoming traffic is not surprising.

Staumauer des Schleggeisspeichers mit schneegezuckerten Bäumen im Gegenlicht

A "short" hike up the mountain

The parking lot at the reservoir is practically the base camp. From there it is only 590 vertical meters to the Olpererhütte - a leisurely walk of less than 2 hours for locals and experienced hikers. But it took us almost 3.5 hours. Whether that was due to our condition or the first snowfields and the many photo opportunities on the way, I don't want to go into that here. In any case, the way up was already pretty impressive.

Blick auf das blaue Wasser des Schlegeisspeichers vom Wanderweg zur Olpererhütte
Unser Hochzeitsteam beim Aufstieg zur Olpererhütte - Hund Hugo, Traurednerin Christina Feix, Hair- & MakeUp-Artist Carmen Habl, Fotografin Saja Seus, Braut Jessi und Bräutigam David (von vorne nach hinten)
MakeUp-Artist Carmen Habl hält Mops-Mix Hugo im Arm
Das Hochzeitsteam am Berg - Fotografin Saja Seus, Traurednerin Christina Feix, Mops-Mix Hugo, Bräutigam David, MakeUp-Artist Carmen Habl und Braut Jessi (von links nach rechts)
Oben auf dem Berg ist die Olpererhütte auf 2.389m zu sehen. Unten trägt Fotografin Saja den Mops-Mix Hugo, der eigentlich weniger müde ist als sie.

Our destination, the Olpererhütte of the DAV section Neumarkt i. d. OPf. is located in the Zillertal Alps at an altitude of 2,389 m in the Zillertal Alps high mountain nature park, above the Schlegeis reservoir (1,782 m).

Getting Ready and Schnitzel:

The Olpererhütte is the rescue for tired hikers.

Unfortunately, we arrived at the hut so behind our schedule, which kindly revived us with the last schnitzel of the year. After us, the Olpererhütte also went into the winter break. Already in summer the hut can only be delivered by helicopter. In winter, the catering will then be completely stopped and the hut only serves as emergency accommodation.

In addition to schnitzel and ski water, there was a quick second Getting Ready in front of the unbelievable glacier-mountain-reservoir panorama before we were supposed to make the last few meters to the bridge.

Weitwinkelaufnahme mit Blick von oben auf den Innenraum der Dicken Butz - tanzende Hochzeitsgäste drängen sich auf der Tanzfläche - Hochzeitsfotos in Frankfurt

The Olpererhütte is only managed in the summer season - usually from May to the beginning of October. During this time, it also offers overnight accommodation for up to 60 guests. There is only one emergency camp available in winter.

The wedding dress and the bridge

The dress spent the way up the mountain well tied on David's back. It finally appeared at the bridge. And while Carmen was finalizing the makeup for Jessi, the photo of the dress hanging on the bridge was taken unobserved - one thing between us boys. Jessi would not have approved that.

Speaking of Jessi ... she's actually afraid of heights. That somehow got lost in the planning.

Brautkleid von Madam Burcu hängend an Hängebrücke mit blauem Stausee und schneebedeckten Zillertaler Alpen im Hintergrund
Schwarzweissfoto mit Bräutigam im Anzug vor Bergpanorama
Schwarzweissfoto von Bräutigam mit Zigarette in der Hand, auf Hängebrücke stehend
Tuxer Kamm in Schwarzweiß, dahinter versteckt sich der Gipfel des Olperer dramatisch in den Wolken

In the direction of the valley, the view goes to the Zillertal main ridge with the two highest two peaks in the Zillertal Alps (Großer Möseler 3,480m and Hochfeiler 3,509m) at the southern end of the Schlegeis reservoir. The bridge itself lies on the Tuxer Kamm, with the 3,476m high Olperer in the back.

Schwarzweissfoto von lachender Traurednerin auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte mit Silhouetten des Brautpaares im Vordergrund

The wedding at 2,400 meters

Then there was a really detailed ceremony on the bridge. Christina had telephoned the two of them long and often beforehand and conjured up a wonderful wedding speech. And although the whole thing actually started as an after-wedding session, the constellation turned into a real elopement - only Jessi and David, Christina as the speaker, Saja and me as the photographer and Carmen for hair, makeup and hugositting.

It was a really intimate moment for both of them. And there were even tears.

Schwarzweißfoto von lachendem Brautpaar während einer freien Trauung auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte in den Zillertaler Alpen
Schwarzweissfoto mit Blick von der Olpererhütte auf den schneebedeckten Zillertaler Kamm mit Schlegeisspeicher im Vordergrund

Christina Feix is an experienced registrar and freelance wedding speaker from the Taunus. Mountain hiking in Switzerland is one of her hobbies. The special location of this wedding location was therefore not a particular challenge for her. She always gives everything for her couples anyway and tries to make the ceremony as individual and personal as possible.

The bridge is an Instagram hotspot. Unfortunately.

A special feature of the suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte is that the photos give you the impression that you are floating at infinite height above the reservoir. In reality, the bridge is only a few meters long and leads at a height of less than 3 meters over a mountain stream, which only drops steeply into the valley behind it. So you don't need a drone for the spectacular photos, they are created comfortably from one of the many rocks a little further up in the creek.

That's why the bridge is so popular with Instagrammers. In the season, however, that makes the bridge unattractive. Videos are circulating online of people queuing up on the bridge for a photo - not a good place for an intimate elopement. But that's not what the bridge was built for either, it was already in mind as a photo hotspot. Because just a few meters further up, the stream would be much easier to cross. Only the look would not be the same.

Wedding photos with a mountain panorama

Meanwhile, we were happy about the time so late in the year and, last but not least, about the closure of the toll road. All of this successfully kept other hikers away and we had the mountain to ourselves and were completely undisturbed.

So many of the photos were taken with longer focal lengths from above. Fortunately, my wife Saja was there as the second photographer. Normally Saja actually works as a business photographer in Frankfurt and does not scramble around mountains - without her and her position at the end of the suspension bridge, the motifs during the wedding would have been considerably less varied. Besides, I should have run a lot too.

Brautpaar auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte im Zillertal, küssend vor dem Hintergrund des Schlegeisspeichers

After the wedding, we devoted ourselves to the portraits for a while. With our busy schedule, it was a tight program that was exhausted until the last minute. I really wanted to take some evening mood with me, but I also didn't want to start the several-hour walk into the valley in complete darkness.

We almost succeeded in doing that. We covered the last hour of the walk in the glow of the smartphone flashlights without incidents.

3er Collage von Hochzeitsfotos mit Brautpaar bei ihrer Trauung auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte, verschmitzt lachend und glücklich
Hochzeitsfotos im Zillertal - Brautpaar beim Kuscheln mit verschneiten Bergen im Hintergrund
Unser Hochzeitsteam beim Abstieg von der Olpererhütte - die Abenddämmerung bricht herein, im Tal sieht man den Schlegeisspeicher und am Horizont reflektieren die Berggipfel das zarte Leuchten des Abendrots in der Ferne

Wedding photos are about feelings and light. Both have to fit for the best results. This becomes a particular challenge when the light is decreasing by the minute and you are under time pressure. Then you just have to hold on to it.

Wonderful mountain wedding.
Unique elopement.
Adventureous Wedding.
Exciting after-wedding session.

Brautpaar und Traurednerin bei freier Trauung vor spektakulärer Alpenkulisse - auf der Hängebrücke an der Olpererhütte im Zillertal, im Hintergrund ein Stausee und das Alpenpanorama

Whatever you call this project, it was an all-round successful campaign - an unforgettable experience with a lot of emotion, great photos and no losses. Afterwards we cooked together and the matter with the Palatinate wine was finalized. Completely finished, but incredibly happy, everyone went to the cozy beds of our old farmhouse. And yes, it took a bit of luck that everything came together so well. Luck and the fantastic people who took part. Thank you all!

By the way, the next day we went up the mountain again. This time deep into the snow for an after-wedding session in the crevasse. But I'll show you this story another time.

Below you can find many more photos of this elopement on the mountain. One click is enough.
Have fun browsing!

Links & Facts

Location: Olpererhütte

Celebrant: Christina Feix "Für immer immer"

Hair and MakeUp: Carmen Habl

Wedding Dress: Madam Burcu

The Dog: Hugo (der Watz)

Holiday Home: Siglaste (Ginzling, Tirol)


Wedding photos in the Zillertal

A trip to Tyrol, a mountain hike, a getting-ready with a glacier panorama, a free wedding on the suspension bridge and wedding photos in the mountains

#elopement #mountainwedding #mountainlove #tyrol #olpererhütte #zillertal #adventurewedding #weddingsandwanderlust