Joanne and D’Arcy’s Alberta National Park Elopement

Here at Intimate Weddings we’re hopeless romantics. So, when we saw the dreamy elopement photos of Joanne and D’Arcy (fellow self-proclaimed hopeless romantics!), it’s safe to say that we were instantly smitten.

Without telling anyone they were even engaged, the couple secretly planned their Alberta elopement, sight unseen, with the help of their photographer David Guenther, and surprised their family and friends after the fact with the wonderful news and beautiful images of their intimate lakeside ceremony.

Alberta National Park elopement

Joanne, 27 & D’Arcy, 30

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Wedding Date:  May 27, 2014

Number of Guests: none

Wedding Cost: $5,000 (including wedding bands)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Waterton Lakes National Park

Wedding Reception Location: Bayshore Inn

bride playing guitar
Alberta park elopement
bride and groom by Alberta lake
outdoor mountain elopement
wedding portrait
wedding portrait
Bride and groom in Alberta National Park

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

D’Arcy and I are hopeless romantics. We always knew we wanted an intimate elopement. The idea of taking the commercial qualities out of something that is meant to be heartfelt and personal felt right to the both of us from the beginning. But obviously, with social media and other factors, there are pressures coming from every angle to get married a certain way. So we took our plans one step further and decided to forego the traditional engagement. As we secretly planned our wedding, we were engaged in our hearts – no ornamental diamond or Facebook status needed. It was such a perfect day; if we could do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing!

bride pinning boutonniere on groom
groom getting ready
bride getting dressed
bride getting ready
bride in hotel room

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

We were working in separate provinces, planning a wedding in a town we had never visited. As you could imagine, we had to plan with open minds, but also an open imagination! Luckily, our photographer had worked in Waterton before; he was our eyes and our ears throughout the entire process. And of course, it was extremely difficult to not share the exciting news with our loved ones, but we knew the big surprise would be well worth the wait.

bride and groom first look
bride and groom first look

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Absolutely! We would have loved an intimate affair with 30 or so guests, but found it was nearly impossible keep the list that small; we knew right away that if we wanted an intimate wedding, it would have to be just the two of us.

bride and groom portrait bride and groom walking through Alberta National park bride and groom by lake and mountains bride and groom by mountains bride and groom portrait by turquoise lake bride and groom head to head wedding portrait by the lake

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them? 

Everyone close to us was extremely supportive of our choice. Although our parents would have loved to witness the ceremony, they were happy to hear the great news.

national park elopement ceremony elopement ceremony by the mountains elopement ceremony eloepement ceremony in the mountains

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

We loved how personal and intimate the ceremony was. It was absolutely thrilling to just look into each other’s eyes as we exchanged our vows. I think having two hundred spectators would have made us nervous. Being up on that hill together becoming man and wife was an incomparable experience. We were also told by the photographer and the locals that the weather was extraordinarily beautiful that day. We would have happily wed in a thunderstorm, but it was certainly nice to luck out with clear skies and a warm spring day.

elopement ceremony in Alberta mountains groom putting ring on bride's finger bride and groom in the mountains elopement ceremony elopement kiss bride and groom hugging bride and groom hugging

What were the highlights of the reception? 

We had a lovely dinner at Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse. A few days leading up to the wedding, we were both really sick. After a few days of nothing but ginger ale, crackers and smoothies, a gourmet dinner with a nice bottle of wine was a dream come true! We still don’t know if we had stomach bugs or wedding jitters, but we were so relieved to wake up healthy – and hungry – on the big day!

bride and groom in the ountains bride portrait groom portrait bride and groom portrait bride and groom walking through national park

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

It’s nearly impossible to put into words. Everything about the planning process and the day itself felt natural and effortless. We have goals in the future that involve children and a home – it feels right to have given ourselves even the slightest head start by saving the money that would have been spent on a lavish wedding.

bride and groom walking across logs bride and groom embracing bride and groom walking across logs groom serenading bride by the lake groom playing guitar by the lake

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding? 

My number one advice to those considering an intimate wedding – especially an elopement – is document, document, document. Invest in a fantastic photographer. Not only will the day be over in a blink of an eye, but your friends and family who may have missed out on the wedding will want to see pictures. Not only did our photographer guide the entire day (and, along with his wife, act as our witness!) he produced beautiful, quality photographs. When we surprised our families with the news, it was wonderful to have beautiful photos to document our special day. I don’t think our elopement would have had the positive reaction from our parents had we not allowed them to share in our day by presenting them with great photographs.

And last but not least, make sure your wedding is everything YOU want it to be. Not what your friends tell you it should be; not what Pinterest tells you it should be. Let your wedding be a reflection of your love for each other.

bride watching groom play guitar


Dress: Jenny Yoo via BHLDN

Groom’s Clothes: TopShop

Photographer: David Guenther Photography

Location: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Officiant: Grant McLean

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Southwestern Style: Wedding Inspiration

If you love the American Southwest as much as we do, why not take inspiration from it for your wedding day?

You don’t need to have a desert at your disposal to jump on this trend; outdoor venues and raw spaces  also look amazing decked out in Southwestern decor. Think feathers, cacti and bright hues combined with a sand-colored backdrop, Navajo textiles and chevron details.

Embrace the vibrant colors by using edible decorations such as chilli peppers and exotic fruits. They’ll definitely bring your table settings to life.

This is a great opportunity to experiment in the tie department; forgo the plain colors or spots and go for a rich blanket inspired pattern.

You can enhance the look of wooden tables by using copper and gold accessories with turquoise arrow details.

Ruffled - photo by -

The white background of these invitations give the print a crisp finish. Soft aqua and coral tones are an ideal color palette for a southwestern look.

NotWedding Charleston - photo by Clay Austin

There’s nothing more fitting for a desert wedding than a cactus cake!

For those who prefer a darker look, red and black will also work well with this theme.

A wild bouquet tied with multicoloured ribbon is very much in keeping with this aesthetic.


A backdrop of printed feathers in your ceremony space will bring the southwest straight to your venue.

We love the endless options for color pairings and combining prints, with this trend.

These beauties are perfect for a night of dancing (and showing off). Coral shoes will also become a great addition to your summer closet too.

Turquoise plates, mismatched glassware, a blanket-inspired runner and a large floral arrangement are lovely ideas for working this trend into an intimate backyard reception.

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The Real Teal: 5 Teal Color Palettes for your Wedding Day

Teal is one of those colors that never seems to go out of fashion. Check out the 5 gorgeous color palettes we’ve created with this beautiful greenish blue hue and get ready to jump on the teal bandwagon with us!

This color palette proves that autumnal color schemes don’t have to be boring. Tweaking the tones of a traditional fall color combination – red, orange, yellow – and pairing it with teal, makes for a surprisingly fresh and contemporary palette.

Teal color board

Peach and teal are a pretty combo, but it’s the surprise accent of red that takes this color palette to a whole other level of sophistication.

Teal color board

This elegant blue/green color scheme mixes things up by adding in some purple and yellow accents to keep things interesting.

Teal color board

Some might find muted colors boring, but this dusty colored palette makes us completely weak in the knees!

Teal color board

Metallic copper is hot this year and it just happens to pair really well with teal, as do golden yellow tones.

Teal color board

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DIY Origami Wedding Wishes

origami wish makers

Looking for an alternative to the traditional guest book? Origami Wedding Wishes are unique, fun and utterly fabulous! And they are a cinch to make! Even if you are new to origami, you will be amazed at how simple they are to create.

We first discovered these over at Tiny Rotten Peanuts, where they were used for secret notes. We thought they would be perfect for weddings!

wedding wishes

There are lots of other creative uses for these origami creations. Here are just a few:

  • love letters
  • party ice-breakers
  • truth or dare
  • thank-you notes
  • things you are grateful for
  • raffle tickets for prizes
  • fortune messages

If you are using these for your wedding, simply provide pieces of origami paper at the reception and instruct your guests to write a wish or piece of advice on the back of the paper, along with their name. After the wedding, fold the pieces into Wedding Wishes and keep them in a bowl, jar or another special container  in your home. Open them when your return from your honeymoon – or on your first year anniversary.


wedding wishes

You will need:

  • Origami Paper (we used 6′ x 6′, but you can use any size)
  • a wooden dowel
wedding wishes

Place wooden dowel at the edge of the origami paper. Roll until you reach the end of the paper, being careful to make sure the paper is even on both sides as you roll it. Remove from dowel. Pinch the right edge of the roll of paper as shown in the photo below:

wedding wishes collage

Continue pinching along the roll of paper, alternating the position of your fingers as shown in the photos below. Do this until you reach the end of the roll.

wedding wishes

And there you have your Origami Wedding Wish!

wedding wishes

Don’t they look amazing?

wish makers


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Amy and Peter’s Georgia Garden Wedding

Amy and Peter’s wedding anniversary is a date that surely neither of them will ever easily forget. The couple met on the 4th of July at an Atlanta Braves game, and they were wed exactly four years later. Despite originally wanting to elope, the couple settled on an intimate garden ceremony with just their families, followed by a larger reception filled with family, friends, and fireworks.

A huge thank you to Paige Jones for capturing Amy and Peter’s big day and sharing it with us!

Georgia garden wedding

Amy, 32 & Peter, 31

Atlanta, Georgia

Wedding Date: July 4, 2014

Number of Guests: approximately 35 (only family, minus our officiant, who is Peter’s childhood friend) for the ceremony

Wedding Cost:  $25,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Boxwood Gardens at the Swan House

Wedding Reception Location: The SkyLounge at the Glenn Hotel

wedding dress bride portrait in woods close-up of bride and groom hands bride and groom recessional wedding portrait bride and groom dancing forest wedding portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

This is hard and not very wedding friendly, but if it were up to me, we would have run off to somewhere tropical with a photographer and eloped. When other people got involved (i.e. family), it made it a bit more difficult to do so. So, I guess we met a bit in the middle. We wanted to maintain the intimacy of it being just us along with the feeling of our two families joining together. It made it special and comfortable (although there was still a sense of nervousness). I can’t imagine having to do something like that in front of a larger audience. Eeks!!

wedding dress hanging up bridal sandals bride getting dressed groom getting ready groom doing up his cuffs

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Just the overall stress of the planning process; finding the right vendors for what we were looking for, and hoping it would all come together. Lucky for us, it did. All of our vendors were absolutely wonderful.

groom's american flag socks purple, pink, and yellow rose bouquet wedding portrait bride and groom first look bride and groom hugging groom kissing bride on the cheek bride and groom hugging black and white wedding portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Not really. We only invited immediate and close family members. For the reception, we opened it up to our friends who are really important in our lives. We didn’t invite people just to invite them – each person had a special place in our lives.

bride and groom embracing groom kissing bride on forehead bride and groom kissing

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Yes, we had a few minor issues, but we were able to tell them that the venue had a 40 guest limit and we needed to keep it to just family. People were pretty understanding. We were able to have the officiant’s wife (and friend of ours) record the ceremony and put it on YouTube, so we were able to relive the moment and also share it with those friends who weren’t able to be there.

bride walking with her father bride walking with her father Atlanta garden wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

He said: ” Seeing you for the first time as you were walking down the aisle”; reading our personal vows to each other; our officiant talking about how Peter and I met at a Braves game on the 4th of July, four years prior and I instinctively did the braves chop…at the altar. And I love the crazy group picture Paige captured of all of the family members immediately after the ceremony.

We encountered a lot of 4th of July traffic on our way to the reception, but we embraced it. It felt like we were in a parade of our own as we rode in a ’63 Bentley that Peter had surprised me with. We posed for pictures and waved to the people on the street as they yelled out warm wishes and congratulations.

garden wedding ceremony atlanta wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony kiss wedding recessional bride and groom walking down aisle

What were the highlights of the reception?

Being introduced to our guests as Mr. and Mrs. Hall with “Welcome to Atlanta” playing in the background, being eye level with the Centennial Olympic park fireworks, and dancing the night away with our friends and family.

view of atlanta wedding reception bunting wedding monogram wedding reception terrace wedding cocktail table circle garland wedding instagram sign atlanta-georgia-garden-wedding-amy-and-peter-1535

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?  

We had all of our favorite family and friends in one place celebrating together. We were really able to enjoy being together, in the moment with them and not have to break into a the formal wedding meet and greet routine. And we could really be ourselves – it took a lot of pressure off of the situation and we had the most amazing time.

vintage getaway car bride and groom driving off

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Do what feels right for you. It’s such a special moment in your life, share it with the people that matter.

bride and groom in getaway car


Photography: Paige Jones

Hair: Emily Galbaugh with Event Hair and Tan

Flowers: Lindsay Coletta

Ceremony Music: Mary Beth with Classy Chicks

Ceremony Venue: Swan House

DJ: Tim DeGroot with Hip & Hitched (amazing DJ-highly highly highly recommend)

Reception Photography: Whitney Kilcrease, Sister

Reception Venue: Glenn Hotel

Transportration: Special Day Limos

Cake: A Piece of Cake

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