I don’t believe there is a more majestic place on this planet to elope than Newfoundland. The primitive landscape with its craggy shoreline and misty horizon is the perfect backdrop to say “I do.”
Danielle & Joseph scrapped their original plans to tie the knot in Bali, and decided on St. John’s, Newfoundland instead.
“Our wedding from start to finish was absolutely amazing. The venue was breathtaking. Being married on the side of a cliff between two lighthouses, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Need I say more? We had whales jumping out of the water; the mysterious Newfoundland fog; it was a dream come true and it wasn’t anything we could have ever planned for – because that’s Newfoundland. We truly felt like we were standing at the edge of the world. Not to mention all the Newfoundlanders we ran into, congratulating us and making us feel right at home,” says Danielle.
Danielle, 28 & Joseph, 29
St. John’s, Newfoundland (The couple traveled from Oshawa, Ontario)
Wedding Date: August 2, 2011
Number of Guests: 2
Wedding Cost: $4,300 for everything wedding related (this also included the 2 week cottage rental and the ferry trip to and from Newfoundland)
Wedding Ceremony Location: Cape Spear Lighthouse
Wedding Reception Location: Bay Bulls. Joe and I had rented a cottage for 2 weeks, so we had our mom’s stay with us for 2 nights before they flew back home. This is where we had our reception dinner catered by Bianca’s Restaurant.
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
We had thought about eloping in Bali (just the two of us), but one night Joe came home and said: “Why don’t we get married at a lighthouse?” I of course thought it was terrible idea as I had already begun to plan our Bali adventure. With Joe shot down, something inside made me pick up my computer and start to look up lighthouses in Canada. The idea was planted and I instantly feel in love with what I was finding and our new destination became St. John’s, Newfoundland. Changing our location also meant we got to bring our own witnesses, which is how we got our guest list of 2! We both come from small families (and me having that lovely fear of more then a few people watching me walk down the aisle) and didn’t want the chaos of a big wedding; this is how our intimate wedding began to evolve. We decided that our wedding was going to be about us and we truly wanted something small, intimate, and meaningful. AND to be completely honest, saving some money was a good nudge, as well.
What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
When you plan an intimate wedding outside of where you live there are challenges. You have to put a lot of faith in people you don’t know because all of your conversations are based on phone calls or emails. We had booked the venue, cake, flowers, and the food without even speaking to a single person! Yes, it was a little scary at first, but we figured, what’s the worst that could happen? It actually all worked out without a hitch! Our photographer, Sandra, came highly recommended to us from a mutual friend and she was able to help us out a lot, as well. The biggest challenge was getting a hold of someone at the Vital Statics office to get all the information we needed for obtaining the marriage license, as we weren’t residents of Newfoundland. We never got the same person on the phone, so the information was a little mixed up at first.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
For us, no. For our family and friends, YES! We decided to invite our moms, as they are the most important people in our lives. Not to say we don’t love or care about the rest of our families and friends, because we most definitely do, but when we each only decided to chose one person, it only seemed right that it was our moms.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
Most definitely. More resistance and guilt then we could have imagined! Funny enough, having an intimate wedding will definitely improve your assertiveness skills because you will need to be blunt with some people and stand up for what you want. They eventually understood when they realized it was our day and this was how we wanted our wedding to be. Addressing it with honesty is the best way to go. Feelings are going to be hurt, but they need to know it isn’t intentional.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
That’s honestly a hard question to answer. Our wedding from start to finish was absolutely amazing. The venue was breathtaking. Being married on the side of a cliff between two lighthouses, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Need I say more? We had whales jumping out of the water; the mysterious Newfoundland fog; it was a dream come true and it wasn’t anything we could have ever planned for – because that’s Newfoundland. We truly felt like we were standing at the edge of the world. Not to mention all the Newfoundlanders we ran into, congratulating us and making us feel right at home. Our photographer, Sandra, was just as amazing! Her energy and passion for her work was evident from the moment we met her. She knows the island and if you are adventurous there are many killer locations for surreal photographs that she is more then happy to take you to! Sandra was fantastic to work with and she made our day that much more special as she was able to capture it for us to revisit for a lifetime. Not being from the Island ourselves, Sandra also helped us out a lot and eased a lot of the initial stress’ we had leading up to the wedding day. Because it was a small wedding, we got to know everyone well and we had a blast at the ceremony and the entire day!
What were the highlights of the reception?
The food was fantastic – especially having made the arrangements over the internet. We had dinner at the cottage (very rustic and bright yellow) we had rented in Bay Bulls, a small harbor town just outside St, John’s. It was overlooking the harbor, so we were able to watch sunsets and the ships passing in and out every night.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
The best thing about an intimate wedding is that it is intimate. They are perfect, small, memorable, and after a little bit of hassle from upset family and friends, it’s a perfect setting for a dream wedding.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
You’ve got nothing to lose! We wouldn’t change a thing about our intimate wedding and we couldn’t imagine our wedding any other way. It was 100% perfect and what we wanted. We are so happy with our wedding and the memories we have as a result of doing it our way. Always hire a professional photographer!!!!! Even though the wedding may be small, it is well worth the investment and when you are back home you’ll have many amazing photographs to share with those who weren’t able to attend. We found that it helped ease some of the difficulties with family members and friends, as it was another way to share our day and memories with them.
Photographer: Sandra-Lee Photography
Florist: Sister’s Flowers
Cake: All Occasion Cake Design
Reception Dinner: Bianca’s
Venue: Cape Spear Lighthouse (Historical Site)
Officiant: Jane Morgan
Pre-Wedding Accommodation: Cantwell House
Gown: Everlasting Memories (Port Perry) / Allure 2359
Hair/Makeup: The Signature Salon
Suit: Moore’s (jacket) and Bluenotes (as it wasn’t a traditional wedding Joe did wear black jeans which was 100% him)