Susan contacted on the day of what officially was my very last wedding of 2014. I had just finished photographing Giselle and Kirk‘s wedding, and I came home to see Susan’s email sitting in my inbox requesting photography for her special day that was less than a month away. Let’s just say, I’ve learned to not say “this is my last wedding of the year” until it is December 31st of that same year. ;)
Susan and Stu were planning an elopement and, as mentioned in the email, it was to be, as Susan put it, “a short (5 min) civil ceremony in a park somewhere with two witnesses (a close friend and my sister). No big wedding dresses. No reception.” No problem! We moved quickly to book the date and before we knew it, the big day was here. I was honored to have been trusted by Susan and Stu to aid them with picking their ceremony venue at one of my favorite places overlooking downtown Calgary, Rotary Park. Which, actually, had a funny story that I’ll let Susan share down below…
How did you decide on your location/season, and on planning an elopement?
Susan: “We knew we wanted photographs overlooking downtown Calgary and that we wanted an urban feel to the day. Also, our wedding was in October, so we were hoping to capture the beautiful fall colours, so it was nice to have the canopy of leaves near the river in our shots. As to the idea of the elopement, Stu and I are pretty private people. The idea of walking down an aisle or being around an enormous group of people all day was absolutely not what we wanted. We wanted to get married – but we didn’t want a wedding. A simple elopement made wedding planning a breeze.”
What was your favorite part of the day?
Susan: “I was surprised at how emotional I found the ceremony. Our marriage commissioner did a lovely job – he went above an beyond the typical legal ceremony, but still kept it short and personal. I really liked the process of getting ready with my sister (and her baby, Clive!) – it was one of those memorable moments between sisters that I won’t forget. We also all had a wonderful dinner at the River Cafe to celebrate that evening, which was very enjoyable.”
Any advice for others that are planning an elopement?
Susan: “Keep it simple. Even with planning a tiny elopment, I felt pressure to have certain things to make it a “real” wedding. It is true that there is a “wedding machine” and if you aren’t careful, you can really get caught up in it. We didn’t feel that we needed decorations, we didn’t get photographs of Stu or I getting ready, we didn’t have a limo or a “first look”. It meant that the entire day was genuine and true to what Stu and I originally wanted.”
Funny story time!
Susan: “The only problem with getting married in the middle of the City on a Saturday morning is people meandering through your ceremony. Right when we were about to begin a lady with an eye patch and a pit bull stopped and asked if she could watch. That said, it was fun to get photographed around people downtown. We got some congratulatory honks from cars and lots of people stopped and watched us taking pictures and just having fun. We also got married on a day that my entire office building happened to be closed for annual maintenance. This meant that the power was off, my firm’s email was down and you couldn’t “remote in” and work on any files. I wasn’t distracted by anything the entire weekend and could just focus on having fun. Having our dog Doug in the ceremony was really fun – he is patient and sweet and we loved having him hang out and watch (and carry the rings!).”
I had to chuckle at Susan’s determination to work even on her wedding weekend – I can relate to this quite a lot. ;)
Onto the photos!
Ceremony venue: Rotary Park / Officiant: Bob Dunn / Bride’s attire: Anthropologie, BHLDN, Hadley Dress / Groom’s attire: Michael Kors Charcoal Suit / Makeup and hair stylist: Gail and Anita from Trinity Weddings / Florist: Laura from Kensignton Florist