Towards the end of August, I received a rather special request from a nice little couple from the Laurentides.
Ryan and Anicka wanted to have an intimate outdoor elopement wedding in the Charlevoix region of Québec.
They had just gotten engaged in Gaspésie a few weeks before and wanted to make their union official in the Charlevoix region even though neither had been there in the past.
They were looking for an elopement photographer to join them in their little adventure, but also someone who could guide them through the planning of their wedding, help them find their ceremony location, help them find their vendors, and walk them through the entire planning process.
Oh, and did I tell you that they wanted to plan it all in just under 2 months?
Hell yeah, Ryan and Anicka wanted to get married in the fall and once their date was booked, I went ahead and helped them through all the steps of their elopement planning journey.
Planning their elopement wedding in Charlevoix
The two lovers had chosen to get married in the beautiful Charlevoix region because they had enjoyed the town of Carleton-sur-Mer in Gaspésie.
During their wedding planning, they wanted to find a region of Quebec similar to Carleton, but closer to Montreal, so they decided on Charlevoix.
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Anne-Marie and Frédérick’s Intimate Wedding in Gaspésie National Park
However, at the time, neither of them had ever physically set foot in this beautiful region. They were looking for someone familiar with this part of Quebec to accompany them in planning their wedding and to help them find the perfect place to have their wedding ceremony away from big crowds in nature.
To be able to help Anicka and Ryan with this adventure like no other and allow them to have a wedding day that was truly theirs was a huge honor.
I myself am a fan of the Charlevoix region. From the first time I had the chance to go downhill skiing on the slopes of Le Massif de Charlevoix to the many spontaneous road trips I spent discovering the region during my vacations, I had been there several times and was really excited to help them find THE SPOT where they would make their elopement wedding.
Finding the perfect location for their elopement ceremony in Charlevoix
It’s no secret that the Charlevoix region is full of beautiful places, each more majestic than the next.
From the Parc-National des Grands Jardins to L’Isle-aux-Coudres, through the Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie and the Baie-Saint-Paul area, we can think that it must not have been difficult to find a beautiful spot for them.
However, finding a beautiful place to hike and finding the location where a couple will have one of the most intimate and vulnerable experiences of their lives is not the same thing.
Beyond the beautiful fall scenery, it was important to me to find a place where Anicka and Ryan could read their wedding vows in privacy.
After talking more about the vision they had for their elopement wedding day, I got to work and found several options for their ceremony location in the Charlevoix region. Anicka and Ryan were then able to select their favorite from a list of personalized options.
The whole process of finding places is done completely remotely thanks to many resources that I have discovered through my many years of outdoor experience.
Sometimes before the wedding day, I try arriving early and going to visit one last time the ceremony location that my couple has chosen. It’s such an emotional moment to rediscover these beautiful parks and landscapes and know that this exact location that the couple didn’t even know existed before they met me will become so meaningful for the rest of their lives together.
I apologize in advance for the low-resolution photo taken with my cell phone that follows. But I find that helping my couples find the place where they will get married is a huge privilege and a responsibility I don’t take for granted. I still get chills thinking back to that exact moment when I first saw with my own eyes the place I helped Anicka and Ryan find for their elopement.
Seriously, I was speechless!
Their wedding day and their elopement in Charlevoix
Wedding preparation at a cabin in the mountains of La Malbaie
Their wedding day began in the heart of the Parc Régional de Mont-Grand Fonds in Charlevoix near La Malbaie as the bride and groom got ready inside the beautiful Tao cabin they had rented for the occasion.
Since they had invited some of their immediate family members to attend their elopement, they really appreciated having everyone together under one roof for the occasion.
When I arrived, Anicka’s sister was helping her with her hair while she was putting the finishing touches on her makeup.
Ryan took the opportunity to face time their groomsman who unfortunately could not attend in person due to Covid-19.
Despite the fact that he was in Ireland, Anicka and Ryan really wanted to include him as much as possible on their wedding day.
In this beautiful log cabin, the emotion and excitement was palpable. The last few days had been quite rainy and everyone was hoping for some glimmer of light for their ceremony.
Once everyone was ready, we then took the road to the ceremony site in the Malbaie region.
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On the road to their ceremony location
Even if the beginning of the day was quite rainy, nothing could have predicted what was waiting for us on the road.
A thick fog made visibility almost impossible on the road.
At this point, it was difficult for us to know what their ceremony site would look like or if we would have any view of the top of the mountain they had chosen for their wedding. Nevertheless, we continued on our way.
When we arrived at the start of the hike, we had one of the most beautiful surprises of the day, the sky was partially clear which allowed us to see the mountains from the parking.
We then quickly packed our backpacks and left for the hike to the summit.
Short hike to the ceremony location
The bride’s parents and other guests had started the hike a little earlier than we did to get to the top of the mountain and prepare their ceremony spot.
This allowed Anicka and Ryan to hike alone and enjoy the scenery, which changed almost every minute due to the clouds coming in and out and the changing tides.
Ryan told me that this was one of the things he really enjoyed about their elopement: never knowing what to expect.
Unlike a typical big wedding where every element is meticulously calculated to create the ‘perfect’ wedding day I think it was refreshing to experience a wedding that was shaped by the weather and the seasons.
Nature is so unpredictable, especially in a region like Charlevoix, and being able to ‘go with the flow’ and focus on what is important and what you can control is a must for any nature elopement.
The couple getting ready for their elopement wedding ceremony
When we arrived at the top of the mountain we found a small private place with a beautiful view of the mountains and the St. Lawrence River. Anicka and Ryan were able to get ready together before their ceremony.
For the occasion, Anicka wore a beautiful lace wedding dress from the bridal store Boudoir 1861 with a burgundy shawl that she had knitted herself for her wedding.
Ryan wore a dark blue Vincent D’Amérique suit with a bow tie that highlighted his golden locks.
« We had a beautiful moment of getting ready together right before the ceremony. It was so relaxing to be by ourselves before everything else started. We shared moments of laughter and complicity mixed with the excitement of the approaching ceremony. »– Anicka + Ryan
Elopement wedding ceremony at the top of the mountain
After getting ready Anicka and Ryan made their way to the ceremony spot where Anicka’s sister was able to officiate their union.
They took the time to include a handfasting ceremony, after which they read their wedding vows and exchanged wedding rings.
« The ceremony itself was full of meaning for us. Since we had prepared it together from start to finish, we were able to put our colors to it, to use words that had a special meaning for each of us. Doing our bilingual ceremony was a challenge, but I think it was even more like us. We had prepared our ritual together and it symbolized the values we wanted to put forward in our union. The exchange of vows was very emotional as was the exchange of rings.»Anicka + Ryan
All this while Anicka’s parents were watching from a distance. Anicka wanted to have her parents by her side at her wedding while preserving the intimacy of her elopement.
Despite the clouds and fog in the morning, during their ceremony, the sky cleared up allowing the light to shine through. It was so impressive to see the landscape change during their wedding ceremony revealing the mountains in autumn colors.
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Amanda and Kimberly’s intimate cabin elopement in Lac-Beauport
Following their ceremony, Anicka and Ryan pulled out their iPad to listen to the speech from their best man who couldn’t be there in person.
They had planned a celebratory mini cocktail party at the top of the mountain with their guests.
The bride and groom are big fans of microbrewery beers so this was a must to celebrate their elopement. They also had a platter of local charcuterie and cheeses, creamy sugar cubes ( a traditional Quebec desert), and lots of other small bites to devour.
Sunset on the shore of the St. Lawrence River
We then hiked back down to enjoy the last moments of light before the sunset on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Since Anicka had read her wedding vows in French at their ceremony and Ryan was an English speaker, it was important for her to take a few moments to translate her wedding vows for him.
So they sat on the water’s edge and read their vows again while their dog Suko ran around the beach. The two lovers were also tea fans so they took the opportunity to take out their cups that say ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ and enjoyed a nice tea on the waterfront at sunset.
They then walked with Suko on the beach enjoying the scenery one last time before returning to the cottage. It was really important for them to include their dog during their elopement.
« The tea time on the waterfront offered us a moment of break and intimacy after so many emotions. We were able to relax, and have our tea (it is a little ritual in our relationship too). We took the opportunity to read again our vows (and translate some parts of them). Being able to run and play with Suko on the beach took away the tension and we returned to the cabin rested and happy.»– A + R
Return to the cabin and catered dinner
Back at their cottage, everyone pitched in to set the table and heat up dinner. Anicka and Ryan opted for a delicious catered dinner prepared by Chez Truchon, a bistro in the Malbaie region of Charlevoix.
Everyone then took their seats around the table for dinner. Delicious local food and good wine were the order of the evening.
Anicka and Ryan took the opportunity to cut their wedding cake which was a gift from one of their friends. They also took a moment to sign their marriage license after dinner.
Ukulele by the fire place
Anicka and Ryan ended their wedding day and elopement by playing and singing “I can’t help falling in love with you” on the ukulele by the fireplace.
Their experience with me as their photographer and guide during their elopement wedding in Charlevoix
Beyond telling you about their dream wedding day, I also want to share the testimony that Anicka and Ryan left me after their elopement.
For me, the experience of my couple is THE most important thing, even more, important than the beautiful pictures and stories. I want to allow my couples to create a wedding day that is truly theirs and where they can focus on what is really important to them.
« Mirona was the photographer we chose to document our elopement day, from the first communication she was professional, enthusiastic and we felt comfortable and at ease. We wanted someone that we wanted to share the day with, that would understand the vision we had and the skill and knowledge to create beautiful memories for us.
We only had 2 months to plan our elopement and Mirona was excited by the challenge to help us to organize and arrange everything, she gave us information on what we need to organize as priority to make sure everything is ready for the day, she provide us with a list of companies for every service that we might need and more.
Mirona did an incredible job of researching the location for the ceremony. Following a questionnaire that we filled out, she was able to find a multitude of locations, each one more beautiful than the other, so that we could choose the one that suited us best.
On the day she came prepared with warm clothes and blankets for us, umbrellas, water etc. She really took no chances and thought of everything we might need to help give us the best experience possible.– Anicka + Ryan
We feel so grateful to Mirona for all of the time and energy she put in to giving us the most amazing experience. The whole experience was perfectly what we wanted it to be, we can’t wait to see all the photos so that we can relive the experience again and again. Mirona sent us some photos (2 days after) for us to share with family and friends, and they are awesome, we can see that she has really captured the moments. »
Looking for a photographer and guide for your intimate wedding?
Elopement photographer and guide: Mirona Photographie
Chalet : Chalet Tao par Chalet Spa Canada
Wedding dress: Boudoir 1861
Suit: Vincent D’Amérique
Wedding rings: Happy Laulea
Florist: La Malbaie Fleuriste