Eloping is such a romantic and adventurous way to say your “I Do’s”, and with all the beautiful landscapes in our Canadian backyard, why wouldn’t you want to set up your intimate ceremony in the beautiful Rockies?!
Considering eloping but not sure where to start? We get it! There are a lot of different things to consider when planning your elopement, and that’s why we are so excited to have local elopement photographer Kadie Hummel Photography, here to share her 5 tips for planning your perfect elopement. And she’s also answering some of the questions we’ve received from our readers regarding elopements!
From Kadie Hummel:
Make it Legal
There are still some formalities that come with eloping, like making it legal. You will need to acquire your marriage license ahead of time, and every province is a little different! Be sure to check what the rules are in your area.
You will need two witnesses to sign your papers, and this can not include your commissioner. Consider having a couple guests stand as your witnesses, or utilize your vendor team (photographer, videographer, planner) as your witnesses (yep, I’ve been there!).
If you are eloping in a Provincial or National park, your photographer will need to hold a proper business license / permit for the area.
Meet Your Vendors Beforehand
Elopements are an extremely personal experience, so you definitely don’t want to show up on the day and have to introduce yourself to your vendors.
Create a connection with them beforehand, and use them as resources to bounce ideas off of. Chances are, they’ve done this a few times, and can guide you in the right direction. On the elopement day, you will basically be spending just as much time with your photographer, as you do with your significant other, so you want to make sure it’s a good match!
This is your day to do exactly what you want to do. I always encourage couples to personalize their experience to have it really be all about them. Consider writing letters to read to each other, bring your dog, make your favourite cocktail, pack a picnic, hike a mountain, rent an awesome getaway car — your options are endless!
Think of your favourite things together as a couple, and find ways to incorporate them into your day. I always recommend creating a playlist together and having it play throughout the day through a little portable speaker (your photographer probably has one).
Wear the Right Attire
Remember to dress for the occasion. If you’re planning on having an adventurous hiking elopement in the mountains, consider a lightweight dress that packs easy and can be rolled up. Wear the right footwear and pack items that prepare you for the weather. Mountains can be deceiving when it comes to the elements.
Don’t Wing It
As much as an elopement can feel more casual, you should have a general timeline and schedule to ensure you get everything in, and can make the most out of your time with your photographer. The best time of day to shoot is golden hour (right before sunset), which gives you those beautiful warm photos. Provincial and National parks can be quite busy, so you want to avoid ‘peak’ times when they are full of tourists. Chat with your photographer to ensure they have some hidden gems lined up, that are quiet and private.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS IT STILL ELOPING IF WE BRING OUR PARENTS?
Traditionally, eloping is defined as ‘running away secretly in order to get married’, but this is not the 16th century, so it can mean whatever you want it to! I’ve shot elopements where it is just the couple and their commissioner and witnesses, while also shooting “elopements” with their parents and best friends present.
Anything past around the 10 person mark is usually defined as an ‘intimate wedding’. Check with your vendors too, as they may have guest limits on their elopement packages.
HOW MANY HOURS OF PHOTOGRAPHY SHOULD WE BOOK?
This completely depends on what you have planned for your day, and what moments you want captured. You can make an elopement a quick 3 hour thing, with room for ceremony, and then a couple portraits, OR you can make it a whole day event, from making breakfast together, and climbing a mountain. Once you nail down how you want the day to feel, you will have a better idea of how much time is needed. Bring your photographer into the conversation, as they will be able to help you with what locations and lighting is best.
HOW DO I MAKE SURE MY HAIR & MAKEUP STILL LOOKS GOOD IF WE HIKE TO OUR ELOPEMENT SPOT?
I always recommend going on the ‘lighter’ side of makeup, and have a more natural look. Ask your makeup artist to pack you a little “to go” container for touch-ups once you get to the top of the mountain. At the end of the day, just embrace it! My photos always focus on the connection, and the surrounding landscape, versus any makeup or hair flaws. Lot’s of that stuff can also be fixed in post-processing if needed. Relax, and enjoy the day!
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES IN ALBERTA TO ELOPE?
We are so spoiled by our beautiful scenery here. Banff and Jasper National Parks are surrounded by turquoise waters and jaw-dropping mountain scapes. Both Moraine Lake and Lake Minnewanka are two of my favourite places to shoot elopements, with lots of private spaces to get away from the crowds. Drumheller is also a beautiful spot with neutral backgrounds and more of a desert feel. Opting for a Heli-elopement is also a really good option that allows for multiple location drops that would otherwise be inaccessible by foot.
WHAT ARE SOME ELOPEMENT ESSENTIALS WE SHOULD REMEMBER TO PACK?
This completely depends on what your day looks like! If you are planning a hiking elopement, proper footwear and lots of layers is super important.
I always recommend a bottle of bubbles to pop on location, and a portable speaker for music to set the tone for the day.
All imagery was taken by: Kadie Hummel Photography
Tips from the Pros
Kadie Hummel Photography
Hi I’m Kadie! I’m an intimate wedding and elopement photographer, who works and plays in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. I am constantly driven by authentic connection, and intimate moments, and I am all about those barefoot, laid-back weddings, and couples who want to adventure, explore, and get messy along the way. I think that marriage is more beautiful than any wedding decor, and I am a firm believer that if your dress is dirty by the end of the night, we did it right. If this is something you connect with, I would love to hear from you!