Well, today is a day of "Firsts" as I get to share my first elopement and surprise wedding with you this morning! Seriously you guys, Sarah and Ryan's elopement is SO unique, and I'm really honored to share their special day, beautifully shot by Anastasia Photography, with you all today.
Surrounded by the majestic, snow covered mountains of Whistler, British Columbia in Canada, Sarah and Ryan were married in a small gondola suspended in the air, in the presence of just two close friends, two photographers and their marriage officiant. Really. Not only was their wedding venue completely one-of-a-kind, but they even managed to surprise their two friends with the elopement to begin with! Dressed in their wedding day garb, all tucked underneath heavy winter coats, Sarah and Ryan pulled off the beautiful, heartfelt ceremony that they had always dreamed of! It really is such an amazing story, that I thought I'd let the bride tell you about the day, herself!
"My husband and I have known each other since kindergarten, growing up in the small ski town of Park City, Utah. We reconnected at a mutual friend's wedding that I was photographing six years ago, and it was instant. We moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for my husband's job, and we fell in love with the idea of a spontaneous wedding at Whistler.
The morning started off with my fiance 'distracting' our two friends by taking a few ski runs with them. He had his tux hidden underneath his ski jacket; I was getting ready back at the hotel with my wedding gown tucked underneath my long white jacket. I met the two photographers and wedding officiant at one end of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, while my fiance and two friends were on the other side... The photographers and officiant acted as tourists as our two friends got on [the gondola]. Once everyone was in, my fiance and I took off our ski coats, unveiling our wedding clothes. At that moment, the officiant turned around and started our ceremony, which we had been working ontogether for the past few months. Our Wedding Celebrant, Michele Davidson, began with, 'Here in the mountain air, we are completely surrounded by the grace and wonder of nature... suspended truly between the strength of two mountains and symbolically between two ways of being. This is not a carriage; it is a passage place of becoming, a portal through which Sarah and Ryan will create a beautiful new world, each for the sake of the other.'
After the ceremony, we toasted with champagne [we had] hidden in a backpack, and then we went skiing with our two photographers and friends around Whistler mountain. That night, we shared an incredible dinner with our two friends at Barefoot Bistro in Whistler Village, and my husband surprised me with a wedding cake from a delicious bakery in Vancouver... The next day, we told our families we had eloped! My friend, Annie Poon, created a great stop-motion animation piece to announce our marriage."
Incredible, right? It really doesn't get much better than that, in my opinion. I love how they both went skiing in their wedding day duds afterward. So awesome. After their wedding day, Sarah and Ryan worked with Annie Poon to create a sweet animated video to announce their elopement to their friends and family.
Oh, and did I mention that Sarah is a wedding photographer, herself? I've even featured one of her weddings before! Having had the opportunity to photograph so many weddings for others, Sarah and her fiance decided to do something completely different, but equally as special for their wedding day. Even if you're not planning an elopement or surprise wedding yourself, I hope that seeing Sarah and Ryan's special day makes you stop and think about what it is that you and your fiance want from your day. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all of the hooplah...to let everyone else's opinions, wants and needs take centerstage before your own on your day. Make sure that when all of the drama over the budget, flowers, centerpieces and bridesmaids dresses is over, that you and your husband can look back on the entire experience with absolutely no regrets! With that, I leave you with some words of advice from Sarah...
"Make your wedding day about the two of you - be spontaneous and have fun! It was very important to us to have a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony, with, of course, incredible photography. I found some great local vendors, who all came together for our weekend elopement. It is so important to find people you connect with, from your photographer down to your florist. Being a photographer myself, it was very special to find someone who shared my vision and could capture our spontaneous day."
Surprise Wedding and Elopement on Whistler Mountaintop - Vendors & Credits
Photographer: Anastasia Photography
Venue: Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Floral Designer: Balconi Florist
Video: Bill Mainguy (friend of couple's)
Elopement Video Stop-Motion Animation: Annie Poon
Wedding Gown: Carmela Sutera via Soiree Productions
Bridal Accessories: Winter coat by Miss Sixty and birdcage veil by Unveiled Bridal Designs
Officiant: Modern Celebrant
Cake Designer: Ganache Patisserie