Andrea + Kirk | Lakeside Elopement with Best Friends | Lake Minnewanka

Andrea and Kirk first reached out to me on Instagram, no surprise there! More and more clients are checking out hashtags for adventurous wedding and elopement photographers when they realize at some point in their planning process that a traditional wedding just isn’t for them. It was Liz + Corey’s Storm Mountain Lodge elopement that first caught their eye and once you’re done scrolling here you should click the link for more eye candy!

We met for coffee soon after and they had nothing planned, not a thing! I’m not complaining about this at all, it was so special to spend a few months with them building their perfect wedding day from the ground up! They were sure of two aspects…they wanted to get married in the mountains and they wanted their best friends to stay the night before at the hotel to help them get ready on the morning of! We tossed around ideas of doing their ceremony at a lodge or even at the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs. We went back and forth between winter and fall, eventually settling on a Saturday in late September.

After staying the night at the Rimrock Resort, Drea, Kirk, myself, their officiant Martha, and their two best friends would meet up in Canmore for the trip of a lifetime with Alpine Helis. The plan was to share their vows at the top of a mountain, with not another soul in sight before coming back to Banff for a dinner for two and a full day of pampering at the spa. Of course, Mother Nature always has plans of her own, especially in the mountains. We woke up, in the middle of September, to the year’s first snow storm. And it was a doozy. The highways were covered in snow and ice and it was not showing any signs of letting up.

An hour before their ceremony, we had to make the unfortunate call. There was no way for our pilot to safely make it out of the valley through the storm. After sharing plan b, c ,d ,e and f with the crew, we decided to check out nearby Vermillion Lakes! Usually full of tourists, the storm was keeping people inside and we had it all to ourselves! Changing the ceremony site to a location we could drive to meant that all 5 of Andrea + Kirk’s friends would be able to witness their ceremony, and we all crowded onto the wobbly, icy dock. Their friends formed a close circle around them, just as the snow took a pause and the sun made a short appearance!

Words can’t describe the emotions that radiated off that little dock along the side of the lakes. There was no shortage of tears, but there was also the purest form of excitement. You see, Andrea and Kirk didn’t have to worry about anything at all except sharing their handwritten vows to their best friend. Their love wasn’t masked by the stresses that a traditional wedding often brings. Andrea was literally vibrating, those last ten minutes before she could officially call Kirk her husband must have been absolute torture. (in the best way!).

Once it was official we headed down the road to Two Jack Lake, a popular camping spot just outside of the town of Banff! The trees were covered with the most perfect dusting of snow. It felt like we were in a real life Banff snow globe! Obviously, our first order of business was to pop the bottle of Dom Pérignon, as you scroll you’ll quickly see that bubbly was pretty much the theme of their wedding. No one complained! 😉  At the same time, we were approached by some tourists who offered Andrea a silk scarf from China as a gift. It was the sweetest thing!

Scroll right to the end. And if these photos of a flower crowned, leather jacket wearing bride and a groom in hiking boots tug at your heartstrings even just a little bit… let’s chat! Your elopement doesn’t have to be in Vegas on 24 hours notice. You can still plan a smaller, more intimate wedding with intention and personal details and I’d looooove to help.

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