This classic winter mountain elopement with gorgeous red details is absolutely enchanting. The soft fallen snow, red bridal cape and woodland creatures could be taken from the pages of Little Red Riding Hood. Expertly captured by Orange Girl Photography, this elopement at Emerald Lake Lodge will make you want to curl up with a cozy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy a lazy winter day.
Why a Mountain Wedding?
We wanted to find a nearby get-away, and there's nowhere better than the mountains for that. Although Calgary does have some beautiful places for weddings, the mountains have their own remarkable ability to take your breath away.
Bride's outfit: $1000 | Groom's outfit: $1000 | Venue (including accommodations for 3 nights): $1500 | Photographer: $3500 | Marriage commissioner/license: $200
Where did you find your inspiration?
Spent a lot of time browsing “wedding planning” and “wedding” on reddit.com, as well as pinterest.
Biggest splurge for us was definitely our photographer, Orange Girl, which was nearly half of our budget. However, it was so definitely worth it! Kirstie and Kevin didn't only document our big day, but they also played a big part in it as our witnesses. We had so much fun going around and taking photos, they definitely helped to make the day incredibly special. Not to mention the photos we've seen so far are absolutely beautiful!
By not having a traditional large wedding, we definitely saved a lot. Of the things we did buy, however, the dress definitely came in at way less than we expected – I managed to find a dress for $350 (pre-alterations), which gave me a bit more budget to play around with for accessories, like the cape.
What were some personal details you incorporated?
We definitely showed our Canadian side by bundling up with long johns and winter books and trekking outside in the snow. Carnations are my favourite flowers, so I was happy to have them in-hand throughout the day. Having it just the two of us really make the day super personal without having to add a lot of different little touches.
Your favourite moment of the day.
Bride: At the end of the day, we went back to our room and lit a fire and dug into our beautiful wedding cake (prepared by Emerald Lake Lodge). It was a quiet moment, just the two of us, and that's when it really sunk in for me that we'd done it – we were finally married!
Groom: The moment we stepped outside and walked “down the aisle” after spending the morning getting ready together. It was brisk but calm. The falling snow with the mountain backdrop and dusted trees was breathtaking. With my beautiful bride by my side, I knew it was going to be a perfect day.
Three things you’re glad you did.
- We're so glad we held the ceremony outside. It just added an extra bit of magic to the day. At the last minute we nearly moved it inside, since we were worried about the cold, but we're so glad we braved the weather!
- Dressed warmly! We never would have made it without the long john, winter boots, and mittens. It definitely helped to be prepared!
- Although our friends and family might not agree, we're super happy that we ventured off on our own to celebrate this important moment in our lives. It kept the day low-key, and just about us and the new chapter in our lives we were starting together.
What was the biggest challenge planning your mountain wedding?
Not knowing what the weather would be like. The resort had an indoor back-up for us, but there was definitely a lot of fretting about what the day would actually hold – I mean, there was a blizzard only a week before!
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?
One of our friends advised to take some time just for ourselves to relax and enjoy the day – definitely great advice! It seems like it would be just too easy to get swept away with all the different things to do and miss out on enjoying the moment.
Anything you wish you hadn’t worried about?
The weather! It was such a big concern, and then it was absolutely perfect. We had softly falling flurries, and even though it was -10 C, it didn't feel cold at all since there was no wind. We couldn't have hoped for better weather. Plus, what's the use in worrying about something that you cannot change?
How did you choose your vendors?
Emerald Lake Lodge was a recommendation from my boss, when I mentioned our first choice venue (Banff Springs Hotel) was out of our budget. I googled “Emerald Lake Lodge winter wedding”, and was convinced. We booked the venue sight unseen, and our first trip up there was for the wedding itself!
Emerald Lake Lodge provided a list of recommended vendors for all sorts of things (flowers, hair, makeup), but we were only really looking for a photographer. I took a look through all of the names they recommended, but one stood out from the rest as really capturing joy in the photos – and that was Orange Girl. As soon as we started emailing back and forth, I knew she was the one! I didn't bother contacting any others.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
Make sure the day stays about you and your new husband. It's easy to get carried away with everything going on, but make sure you take a moment together just to enjoy being married.