Unique Places to Elope

The pandemic brought many things…and one of them was the spike in popularity of elopements.

Honestly, I’m all for a more private, subdued wedding. While I also do love a party, (a large gathering is like a candy shop for a photographer with so many subjects to choose from…!) elopements are always a very memorable experience for me. Experiences I have had a lot more of lately, due to the pandemic and numerous couples making the choice to elope because of restrictions. 

These elopments are also a photographer’s dream. The intimate moments can be all the more intimate, simply because the couple is so at ease without a crowd. The result can be truly breathtaking photos, capturing the real essence of the couple in one of their most important moments.

While a skilled photographer can truly make any scene “background worthy”, there are a few great places I thought I’d list for the couples considering elopement. A unique setting can add so much to your photos, even if the only subjects in them are you two. 

Below are a few ideas for all price ranges and personal tastes.

A Tropical Vacation

I love the idea of eloping on a tropical vacation because it lends to that age old idea of grabbing your lover’s hand, hopping on a plane, escaping away from it all. Eloping away from home has a super romantic idea to it, one that translates really well in photos. You’re relaxed, you’re tanned, there are blue skies and you have not a care in the world. Everyone loves those barefoot beach photos! 

A Restaurant

When I say restaurant, I don’t mean a chain restaurant off of the main street with big crowds, bright lighting, and standard decor. I mean the family-owned french bistro you saw on instagram, or the small speakeasy downtown with the fancy cocktails, or the dimly lit date night venue with the amazing chef type of restaurant. These are the types of restaurants that have character, charm, that set a great ambiance for a special night and even more special photos!

Chic Hotel

Same as the above applies. Do I mean the Holiday Inn off the highway? Absolutely not. Somewhere that has a unique decor style that suits you as a couple – whether that’s modern, antique, or glamorous. While a hotel is a great elopement venue for obvious reasons. It’s a one stop shop. The exchanging of vows, food, and a night together can all happen at the same venue – but a beautiful hotel has so many incredible photo options. Grand halls, cozy corners, usually amazing big windows for natural light…the possibilities are endless for not only a great experience for your elopement, but for the outcome of the photos. There are so many beautiful boutique-style hotels in Alberta that are an excellent option. And when in doubt, find your closest Fairmont hotel.

Air Bnb/Vrbo 

This is a great option especially for something as intimate as an elopement. These venues can have that real home-y feel- well, because, they are usually someone’s home! Find somewhere with character and decor that suit you as a couple, that is a step above what you’d find at your own house. Everyone loves the idea of an elopement taking place in a fantasy-like setting, so find a place that seems like it could be the house/apartment/loft/cabin of your dreams. I also highly recommend starting your search in mountain areas. Something about waking up in the mountains hits different. Not to mention, it creates some pretty breathtaking photos.

A Greenhouse

I loved this idea before I saw it, and when I saw it, it was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. There is something that gives the feeling of the Secret Garden when you look at romantic photos in a greenhouse. Especially in an elopement setting, where it’s truly only the two of you. It almost sets the scene for a story…like the two of you have run away to somewhere secret and beautiful so that you can be together forever. While that sounds extremely cheesy, the photos are anything but. A vintage greenhouse is truly the dream elopement venue, and can be made over to look everything from boho to royal. Whatever your taste is as the bride, you can’t go wrong by being surrounded by greenery and lush beauty! 

A Provincial Park

Alberta and our neighbouring provinces have so many beautiful provincial parks. It’s a picture perfect venue, free for the taking. I also love how these pictures turn out because the idea of being in a wide open space, or a large forest-like scenery, just with the two of you, is pretty powerful. It kind of gives off a “you two against the world” type of message. It can also be such a nice setting for your elopement because it’s so peaceful and free in nature but private at the same time! 

Regardless of where you decide to elope, the elopement will be absolutely unique and special to you two as a couple. These are just a few ideas to help you get your planning started, and remind you that there are so many possibilities for your special day beyond the “traditional” church wedding.

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