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Old 21.07.2021, 13:25
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Wedding planning near Zurich

Hi all,

I am asking for your recommendations and help, as my fiance and I are planning to have a civil wedding next summer in Switzerland. We have searched around, but still don't know where to start.

So, we are planning a small family wedding with max. 12 people. Since we come from another European country, we will fly our families and friends to Zurich for the wedding, so we're thinking of booking 'bnb for them for the week.
Here's a list of questions:

1)We have read that we must go to our gemeinde and register our wish to marry, then they will check with the embassy/home country that we're not trying to double marry, and then we can get our license to marry within the next 3 months. Is that right? The timeline is important as we need to get a venue (and some that we're interested in need to be booked one year ahead). How do you do it?

2) Any recommendations for a suit/wedding dress tailor that's affordable?
3) Any wedding venue recommendations for a small cozy romantic wedding? In Zurich or around (max. 2 hours driving from Zurich)?
4) Having a venue, how do we book the civil servant?
5) Dj, catering, photographer, bride preparation recommendations?
6) Since it's our first (and only, I hope) wedding, we welcome any help and recommendation.

Thank you all in advance!
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Old 21.07.2021, 22:40
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

As I understand it, a civil ceremony is the one held at the municipal hall or similar. You can even show up in jeans if you want.

Then for a celebration you hold a party somewhere for family and friends, and if you want to do a more "traditional" wedding with a minister and walking down the aisle and stuff you can do that.

You can set your party wedding any time after the civil wedding. They don't have to be on the same day, although some people do it that way.

I don't know any vendors in your area but for a photographer I highly recommend Lois Elvey (fotoelvey.ch). She travels all over CH for weddings and does a beautiful job.
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:03
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

They do offer some aditional venues

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...retrauung.html

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...e-trauung.html

You can reserve your date online

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/appl/ehei/selectDate.xhtml
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:11
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

Define "affordable" and what you consider to be "romantic".

Anyway, you need to make a clear budget first as well as a proper timeline for what needs to be done when. I recommend using one of the many Spreadsheet templates available online, tailor it to your requirements, establish a very clear timeline (one year ahead may already be cutting it fine as you have already mentioned), set a budget, set the leeway for the budget and make a note of which bits you can forgo if needed in favour of others.

The next question is whether you are talking about the civil ceremony (standesamtliche Trauung) or an actual wedding type arrangement (either freie or kirchliche Trauung). I'm going to assume it's the former.

From my understanding, the civil ceremony has to take place at an official spot ("offizielles Traulokal", e.g. the Stadthaus in Zurich). The city of Zurich offers a few options for less traditional locations, e.g. the Zoo of Zurich. If neither of you speak German, you will have to factor in the cost of an official interpreter (around CHF 300.-) depending on the day and location chosen. Don't assume that you can simply expect English as part of the deal, everything has to be done by the book.

It may be possible to have the whole event take place at the location of the civil ceremony, however, it is usually customary to then decamp to a different location to celebrate (if everything is on the same day, in most cases it actually isn't). Due to the small number of people, many "typical" locations will not be able to accommodate you insofar as offering a designated area for you and your guests. It does open up other choices though, depending on your initiative and creativity.

For catering, I can wholeheartedly recommend Nourished by Otillie. She also offers premade "platters" that can be picked up and transported to wherever you choose to celebrate. For a perfect bridal manicure and pedicure, Get Nailed is the place to go. I would actually make an appointment there now because if there is one group of ladies who will have recommendations for all of your questions, it's them. After all, they have taken care of dozens of brides and heard all the tea about all the services the brides booked.
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:22
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

A breakdown of cost for a civil ceremony

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...ng/kosten.html
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:27
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

I agree with what 3Wishes wrote above. For the civil ceremony, it's basically just you and your partner and a witness/friend* who show up for your appointment. Then you sit down in front of someone who basically just reads you a poem and then informs you that you are now officially married. It's a bit strange, really. Or at least not what most people would consider a romantic wedding ceremony.

That's how the civil marriage thing went for us in Zurich in 2009, at least. And then you can have a celebration and/or more traditional ceremony after that, if you wish. I often see people having private wedding ceremonies near Lake Zurich when we're there.

* I can't remember if we needed to have one or two witnesses with us at the courthouse (or whatever that building was), but now I'm thinking we had two friends with us there, as witnesses.
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:43
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

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I agree with what 3Wishes wrote above. For the civil ceremony, it's basically just you and your partner and a witness/friend* who show up for your appointment. Then you sit down in front of someone who basically just reads you a poem and then informs you that you are now officially married. It's a bit strange, really. Or at least not what most people would consider a romantic wedding ceremony.

That's how the civil marriage thing went for us in Zurich in 2009, at least. And then you can have a celebration and/or more traditional ceremony after that, if you wish. I often see people having private wedding ceremonies near Lake Zurich when we're there.

* I can't remember if we needed to have one or two witnesses with us at the courthouse (or whatever that building was), but now I'm thinking we had two friends with us there, as witnesses.
Two witnesses, traditionally one for him and one for her (until same-sex marriage passes that is).
https://www.ch.ch/en/civil-wedding-ceremony/
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Old 21.07.2021, 23:44
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

As others have said, it may not even be possible to fit that many people in the civil room for the ceremony.... I was invited to one of these and there was barely room for anyone to stand, and certainly not chairs for everyone.


As they did not have a 'church wedding' (which incidentally is not often the same day, you go to the registry a few days or week earlier, then do the church thing later).... it was just ceremony, a group waiting outside straight after, then off to their home for a private party.


There are many potential venues around zurich for small parties. This is totally going to depend on taste and budget. And yes you will need to book a year in advance.


I believe 3 months is the minimum time needed to 'notify' to get married - I am sure you can do it a year ahead - just ask your town hall, they will tell you what is needed...
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Old 22.07.2021, 00:00
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

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As others have said, it may not even be possible to fit that many people in the civil room for the ceremony.... I was invited to one of these and there was barely room for anyone to stand, and certainly not chairs for everyone.
I attended a civil ceremony in the Clouds restaurant on Friday, we were about 25 people but then moved on to the chosen place for the celebratory part. It's definitely two witnesses and all very to the point. A bit of a spiel from the civil servant about the location and a poem was read, but then she simply asked both parties if they want to get married, the witnesses signed and voilą, you're married.
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Old 22.07.2021, 07:23
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Re: Wedding planning near Zurich

I believe that pre-ceremony there is also an administrative/informative process to be informed of the 'rights and obligations' from a Swiss perspective... but that does not happen on the day.
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