While civil weddings are on the rise, and couples often marry at wedding venues and scenic locations, many couples in Switzerland opt for a traditional church wedding. Switzerland is full of beautiful churches, from pretty chapels in every village, to spectacular cathedrals in many of our cities. To help you find the right church for your big day, I’ve put together a list of gems around Switzerland. If you’re more of a traditional bride, tie the knot in any of these stunning churches in Switzerland for a sacred ceremony you’ll never forget…
I’m sure many of you will have a favorite! Is it the setting, the atmosphere, or the interiors that makes these churches so special? Or is it the link you have to your local church? If you have your heart set on a church wedding, read through our list, and be sure to let me know in the comments if you can’t find your pick listed below!
A few tips for destination (specifically English-speaking) couples planning a church wedding in Switzerland…
- Once you find a church where you would like to marry, contact the church and ask if they offer an English-speaking minister. Many either have an English-speaking minister or have weddings conducted by a seasonal chaplain. If they don’t offer an English-speaking minister, ask permission to have a visiting minister. A number of English-speaking churches in Switzerland have ministers who will conduct a wedding in another church, with the permission of the parish concerned. (St. Ursula’s Church, featured below, is one example.)
- In addition to the large number of international churches across Switzerland, there are a number of English-speaking chaplaincies in the Swiss Archdeaconry of the Church of England. You may want to check these churches out here.
- You many also want to check out the churches at Wengen, Interlaken and Zermatt of the Intercontinental Church Society. These churches offer a seasonal chaplain, when there is one in residence, who marries couples.
Swiss Churches in the Mountains
With such spectacular scenery found in every part of the country, it’s no surprise that we can find some churches in truly breathtaking spots.
San Gian Church in Celerina, near St. Moritz (as seen in this post’s featured image). The very distinctive church in the canton of Graubünden is a majestic setting for your wedding with frescos as well as a hand-painted wooden ceiling dating back to the 14th century. Nearby reception venue: Grand Hotel Kronenhof.
Also in the canton of Graubünden is Fex-Crasta Chapel in Val Fex. Located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Engadin, this 15th century chapel features incredible frescoes as well as a breathtaking setting. Nearby venue: Hotel Sonne Fex or Waldhaus Sils.
Sertig Church in Davos is a little mountain chapel that is over 300 years old. The church was built by the farming families living all year round in Sertig and still belongs to them today, but is open to members of all Christian faiths. Nearby venue: Hotel Seehof.
Church of San Bernardo in Curzútt, in the canton of Ticino, can only be reached by foot or by cable car. This historical, frescoed church is perched in the mountainside with panoramic views over the Bellinzona region.
Winklematten Church, Zermatt, canton of Valais. Previously featured on the blog, this chapel has Matterhorn views and a show-stopping baroque altar carved from Swiss stone pine in the 1700s. Nearby venue: Cervo Zermatt.
Church of Rougemont in the canton of Vaud, near Gstaad. Built in the 11th century, this church is listed as a Swiss cultural building of national importance for its history and for the beauty of its paintings and stained glass windows. Nearby venue: The Alpina Gstaad.
Saanen Church in the canton of Bern, near Gstaad. The first recorded mention of the church, the oldest building in the region, was in 1228, and it is no doubt older than that. The church was renovated in the 20th century to reveal portions of medieval frescoes on the interior walls. Nearby venue: Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad.
Heiligkreuz Church in Hasle, canton of Lucerne. A church with historical significance and beautiful views of the entire area of the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch.
Swiss Churches by the Lake
For a lakeside wedding ceremony by the water, there are so many beautiful options of churches in Switzerland!
Perched above the charming former fishing village of Morcote in canton Ticino is the Church of Santa Maria del Sasso. The church dates from the 13th century, with baroque character added in the 18th century. The church features precious Renaissance frescoes and stunning views of Lake Lugano. Nearby venue: Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano or Villa Heleneum.
Castle Church of Spiez is located in canton Bern. Spiez is best known for its castle and its fine views over the lake. Adjacent to the castle is the Castle Church, picturesquely situated overlooking Lake Thun. In addition to hiring the church, Schloss Spiez can serve as a wedding venue for the reception.
St. Petersinsel, in canton Bern, is a small, quiet peninsula situated on Lake Biel in the canton of Bern. The 11th-century monastery where he resided is now a renowned restaurant and hotel with a small, but lovely, chapel. To see a real wedding at St. Petersinsel, click here.
In Amsoldingen, near Thun, stands one of the oldest buildings in canton Bern — Amsoldingen Church, built around 1000 AD and dedicated to St. Maurice. This church is beautifully situated against the backdrop of the Bernese Alps and the moraine lake of Amsoldingen. Nearby venue: Schloss Schadau.
St. Saphorin Church in the canton of Vaud. Previously featured on the blog, this lovely church nestles between the lake and the Lavaux vineyard terraces. Though originally built around 590 AD, the church we see today was built in 1510. The church, its underground Roman ruins, its antique furniture, its original stained glass windows, and the three 16th and 17th century bells, are classified as important Swiss historic monuments. Nearby venue: Grand Hôtel du Lac.
Wagenhausen Provost’s Church in the canton of Thurgau. Built in 1087, the Provost’s Church is the most famous landmark in Wagenhausen. Aside from it’s location on the Rhine, a famous feature is the St. Mary’s bell, which dates from 1291, the year of the Swiss Federation’s founding.
City Churches in Switzerland for a Wedding
For a city wedding, and for churches in Switzerland with some added wow factor, here are a few slightly grander options…
Domkirche Arlesheim located near Basel. The baroque Roman Catholic cathedral of Arlesheim is interesting for its impressive architecture and famous Silbermann organ. Nearby venue: Les Trois Rois.
Church of St. Peter & Paul in Bern. Built in the late 1800s, this church is surprisingly quite small and modern. While most large Catholic churches are very ornate, this one is more simple and features clean, straight lines. The painted roof is beautiful with lovely alpine flowers decorating the church’s corner arches. Nearby venue: Schweizerhof Hotel.
Built over a hundred years ago, St. Ursula Church is an Anglican Episcopal church in Bern. Nearby venues: Hotel Bellevue Palace.
Enge Church in the city of Zurich. This architectural gem, which reminds me of the Sacré-Coeur in Paris, stands in an elevated location on a moraine hill. Built in the late 1800s, it offers a magnificent view of the lake and city. Nearby venue: Hotel Vitznauerhof.
Emmanuel Church is a historic English-speaking church in the heart of Geneva. Founded in 1873 by a group of Americans residing in Geneva, the cornerstone was laid by a former U.S. President, and the stained glass windows are a registered historic landmark.
This is only a tiny selection of the beautiful churches I found. Feel free to share and recommend more in the comments!
And, for planning your wedding reception, don’t forget to check out our post linking a FREE guide to 100 wedding venues in Switzerland!