REAL ELOPEMENT: How to Elope at Moraine Lake without a lot of stress!
The Couple: Isis & Nick
The Season: Mid-August
The Location: Moraine Lake Lodge in Banff National Park
A Snippet About the Day: If you’re looking for advice on how to elope at Moraine Lake, Isis & Nick totally did it right! When it comes to getting married in these epic mountain locations, locals know the best tips & tricks to make it happen. Here’s a few a pieces of advice that I gave them to help make it all run more smoothly:
How to Elope at Moraine Lake
- Stay at Moraine Lake Lodge the night before & the night of your wedding. Guests at the Lodge have guaranteed access to the road & aren’t turned away by Parks staff. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Yes, the Lodge is expensive but it’s worth it to not stress out if you can’t get to the Lake. There is no cell service at Moraine Lake so staying at the Lodge makes you reachable in case something happens (like the road being blocked off because of a bear & your officiant can’t get in at the scheduled time).
- If you can’t stay at the Lodge, consider hiring a shuttle/private bus/taxi to take you there (especially crucial in 2023 and going forward since private vehicles cannot access the road to Moraine Lake making this a far trickier option than it used to be) & come back to pick you up. Buses have regular access to pick up & drop off. The regular Parks shuttles, however, do not operate for the best times for photos for an early start or a late finish so it will need to be a private charter.
- Keep the guest list small. There is not a lot of room on the top of the rock pile for a lot of guests. The footing can be precarious & there still needs to be room to move around for photos. 10 guests at most works best for a ceremony on top of the rock pile with the water view. Consider the shore for your ceremony if you have more guests, but 20 max is about all you’ll be able to comfortably fit (unless super early in the season like the last week of May – first week of June when the lake hasn’t filled).
- Avoid mid-day. If you want that gorgeous blue water, bright afternoon sun washes it out. Starting at sunrise or ending everything at sunset is the way to go to get the best photos. I personally prefer the light at the end of the day over early morning sunrise light.
- Expect to pay a premium for an officiant & hair & make-up artist to travel to Moraine Lake. This spot takes quite a bit more time to get to so they need to charge more for it to be worthwhile.
- Being a guest at Moraine Lake Lodge makes canoe photos easy! Canoe rentals are included for guests (saving $130 to rent) & they can make accommodations to use the canoes a bit outside of regular hours, just ask in advance.
- The last dinner seating at the Lodge is 8:45 pm so if you’re out until 10 pm (sunset is pretty late here in the summer, FYI) plan to bring along food or make arrangements to eat late at night afterwards or you will be starving by the time you are finished.
- Consider a day of wedding planner to help control the crowd for the ceremony, to deliver your bouquet & boutonniere, bring deserts & dinner from town etc. so that you don’t have to worry about the logistics of anything!
Following these guidelines on how to elope at Moraine Lake will make the process go so much more smoothly for you & for all of your vendors. Isis & Nick’s amazing Moraine Lake elopement has been featured in Luxe Mountain Weddings & Modern Weddings where the couple shared more incite about the process & how to elope at Moraine Lake.
Q&A about having an epic Mountain Wedding with Isis & Nick
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day to elope at Moraine Lake? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: We hadn’t really even considered a traditional wedding. We were planning a trip to Canada and thought about how epic it would be if we just eloped while we were there and then had a party to celebrate with our loved ones back home. A beautiful lady that I work with had shown me photos from her recent trip to Moraine Lake and told me about how it was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. When I told Nick about it, it was almost decided instantly that it was exactly the kind of scenery we were looking for. We wanted our day to be really relaxed and stress-free and it couldn’t have been more perfect – our ceremony was planned for 6 pm so we slept in, had a nice breakfast, went for a hike and even had a nap before we had to get ready. So many of our friends had told us how stressed they felt on their wedding day and how they felt as though they couldn’t really enjoy it or that they wished they had eloped and we didn’t want to look back on such a special memory wishing that we had changed things or spent less money or whatever. I think we nailed it!
Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: I thought that planning our wedding from Australia would be difficult but it was actually such a breeze. I had found Beth on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her photography. We locked her in as quick as we could and then Beth had suggested Danielle from Something New Banff as a planner. Danielle did pretty much everything from flowers to paperwork. One of my favourite parts of planning was the fact that I had no wet weather alternative… rain, hail or shine, we were getting married on that lake! I found my own stylist to do my hair and makeup but I had a trial at home before we left. Some gorgeous friends of mine back home, Ivy and Alanna, both helped me figure out the kind of look I was going for hair and makeup-wise and Erikka at Simply Me Canmore looked after me on the day. Everything was so easy and went so smooth, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.Eloping definitely took a lot of the guesswork out of planning, we didn’t have to think about decorations and we also didn’t have to worry about impressing other people, we could focus on just us and that was the main thing for the both of us when we were planning our day. Luckily, Mother Nature put on a show with the most spectacular weather. It had been raining pretty much since we landed in Canada and cleared up right before our ceremony began.
Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
: I knew from the get-go that I wanted a flower crown and a HUGE bouquet and that was about the extent of my planning, but I also knew that I didn’t want to wear white and needed a colour scheme that wouldn’t clash my dress, so I opted for dusty pinks, maroons and big green leaves with some dainty Baby’s Breath in between. Flowers were part of my package with Danielle and all I had to do was find some reference photos on Pinterest
and send them off to her. She chose Willow Flower Co. to create the most incredible bouquet and flower crown and I couldn’t have been happier. I was a pretty lazy bride and all I cared about was marrying the man of my dreams, so I didn’t really know what to expect but they did the most amazing job! We ordered some cupcakes for after our ceremony and they came topped with the biggest roses I had ever seen, it was such a nice touch and tied in so beautifully with the rest of our day.
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: Before we left for Canada, we had a sign made that read, “We Eloped – Moraine Lake, Canada, 13th August 2019.” This date is my G’ma’s birthday, and although she is no longer with us, I wanted her to be part of our special day. She would have loved Nick. It was also my Uncle and Aunty’s Anniversary and we were lucky enough to have them there with us as our witnesses. One of my favourite parts was not feeling any nerves at all walking up that rock pile to where Nick was standing, and later finding out that he felt the same way, even though he was initially worried about the forty total strangers that would be watching us say our vows. The people watching were so respectful and gave us a little cheer at the end too, it was really sweet! We were originally planning on getting ready together but decided not long before that we would get ready separately. As much as we like doing things differently, it was nice to keep that little hint of tradition.
Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look to elope at Moraine Lake? Describe the looks in detail.
A: One thing we were both pretty specific about was what we wanted to wear on the day. Nick had his heart set on a navy blue suit with a dark grey vest, tan/brown accessories and boots, and I just really didn’t want to wear white! I had always pictured a pink dress, but not too Barbie-like and not too pale. Nick’s suit was fairly easy to find, all he knew was that my dress was pink and that he didn’t want to be lost in the blue lake, so he chose to go a bit darker with the navy and it worked perfectly. He drives excavators for work and has loved machines since he was a kid, so my Mum found these super cute excavator cuff-links which he wore on the day. He’s also a big fan of matte black, so we had his ring custom made at a place in Melbourne that specialises in Men’s wedding bands. He went to so much effort to get me an engagement ring that he knew I would adore, so I wanted him to have something perfect that he loved too. I had tried wedding dresses on that were upwards of $3000 (way out of my budget) when we first got engaged and as much as I love dressing up and being girly, I also LOVE being comfortable and couldn’t justify the price tag of most of the dresses I tried. I knew exactly what I wanted and had followed a dress-maker on Facebook for a few years so I contacted her asking if she was able to make something similar that didn’t cost thousands of dollars. I knew I was going to be scrambling over rocks so I couldn’t really have a long train, and I didn’t want a veil but wanted something flowy that was also removable, so we decided on a cape instead and I chose a pair of black and white Vans with some pink ribbon rather than heels as I usually live in them at home and didn’t want to face plant on the rocks! I wanted a corset-style top with a princess-like skirt and some crystals scattered here and there, but I also didn’t want it to be tacky either. Ali at Mimi Wears Vintage on the Sunshine Coast did an amazing job designing exactly what I wanted and putting it all together for under $1500!
Note: While Isis didn’t find her dress at Lulus, you can find some pretty great elopement & wedding dresses online that don’t take ages to receive, perfect for eloping!!
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: It was so surreal standing at that lake the morning of our wedding, taking it all in and realising we made it! We travelled for 21 hours and were so tired but we did it! We only told our family and close friends, and it made our announcement feel even more special and made us feel like our wedding was ours, and that we were doing it for us and not for anyone else. I couldn’t wait to hear Nick’s vows and to call him my husband and Nick says his favourite part was seeing me in my dress for the first time which I think is pretty cute! We are so grateful that the people who are important to us were so supportive of our choice to elope, especially our Mums! Thank you Liz & Jo, we love you both x
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: Do what you want to do! Don’t let other people make it about them or change your mind, or make you feel like what you want doesn’t matter. I mean this with my whole heart – you don’t get to get to marry the love of your life every day!
Review from Isis & Nick: From the moment I saw Beth’s work, I knew I wanted her to photograph our elopement. She is so fun to be around and her photos are absolutely stunning! Beth made us feel so comfortable (we had her for 4 hours… the time flew by cause we were having so much fun!) and produced the most incredible photos for us to remember our special day, I genuinely believe that she is the best of the best and we would re-do this day in a heartbeat! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything!
Now that you know how to elope at Moraine Lake without a lot of stress, you should see some other Moraine Lake elopements & engagement sessions for inspiration in Banff National Park! Check out this amazing Moraine Lake Proposal! Try this Moraine Lake honeymoon portrait session! Take a look at this sweet rainy summer elopement at Moraine Lake! Try this elopement in September with a flash blizzard at Moraine Lake! Try this mountain elopement that got all the weather! Check out this Moraine Lake Spring engagement!
Thinking about planning an epic mountain elopement of your own? You need to see my 5 Tips for Planning your Dream Mountain Elopement! Also see my Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies to help figure out the best place for you to get married!
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