Against the breathtaking backdrop of the Matterhorn, the Brother Klaus chapel on the Riffelberg stands at an altitude of 2,590 metres above sea level. Amadée Perrig was the spa director of Zermatt for 15 years. Together with his wife Gina, he arranged for weddings to be held in the chapel. In an interview, he explains how this came about.
Amadée Perrig, you were the second spa director of Zermatt. How did you come up with the idea of high-altitude weddings in the 1980s?
Amadée Perrig: “When I took office in 1984, I continued the focus on the Japanese market which had been a concern of my predecessor.
Around the same time, a good friend asked me to organise a wedding for a Japanese acquaintance against the backdrop of the Matterhorn. This wasn’t something that was organised at the time, but I immediately saw the potential of the idea.”
Were there any hurdles you had to overcome?
Amadée Perrig: “Not really. I contacted the priest. Together we decided to offer the service in the Brother Klaus chapel on the Riffelberg. The special thing was that the service should also be available to non-Catholic guests. Fortunately, the priest agreed.
How did the first wedding on the Riffelberg come about?
Amadée Perrig: My wife Gina took over the lion’s share of the organisation. In 1998 she organised the whole of the first wedding. The guests were thrilled because the chapel is located in full view of the Matterhorn and the demand was enormous. And Gina liked it and worked as a wedding planner until 2011.”
Weddings are very emotional moments in a person’s life. That’s a lot of pressure.
Amadée Perrig: “Gina wasn’t primarily concerned about business. She wanted to offer a service and give the guests a wonderful day. By 2011, she had organised about 50 weddings for guests from all over the world. The couples came to the Riffelberg from North America, England, Hong Kong, the Middle East and South Africa to celebrate here.”
What experience was the main focus of the ceremonies?
Amadée Perrig: “The weddings were not religious. Rather, it was about holding a ceremony in harmony with nature. The chapel is ideal for this. Here you can enjoy the peace and quiet. The location is fantastic!”
Today, there is no longer a wedding service in the chapel. But the Brother Klaus chapel, built 62 years ago, is still worth a visit. Its shape was modelled on the summit of the Weisshorn in the background.