When I received an email from Alessandra and Andrew asking if Hugh (www.hughwhitaker.com) and I would like to join them on their secret Newfoundland wedding elopement, I was over the moon excited, an East coast wedding had been on my bucketlist for the longest time and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to document one! The day consisted of an incredible exchange of vows and picnic at the most eastern point of North America, sharing beers and stories with new friends at a local kitchen party, a few of the locals surprising Alessandra and Andrew with a song dedication from the band for a “first dance”, and the most amazing bouquet toss into the Ocean at the end of the day! Alessandra took some time on her flight home to write about her elopement experience:
“Whenever I thought of my wedding, it was always something big. Big family, big dress, big party. And then I got older, found a partner who I adore, and suddenly a wedding for us started to look more daunting than magical, especially when the main descriptor always seemed to be “big budget.” We used to talk about our future wedding all the time. Imagine we did this? Imagine we had that? There are infinite possibilities and gorgeous Pinterestable ideas out there, but when the time came when we knew we actually wanted to get married (and pay for it all ourselves) our version of events were quickly stripped to the bare essentials of what really mattered to us. Somehow limiting our options by choosing to elope ended up opening a whole new world of possibilities for our day.
We chose Newfoundland because neither of us had ever been and it seemed both exotic and familiar at the same time. Our day came down to a handful of simple pleasures: sharing coffee in the morning, a dress that blows in the wind, a timeless suit, local craft beer to toast with, dinner at our favourite spot, and a view of the ocean for our vows. It sounds easy, but it still took a lot of research and planning. The trick was to have a loose plan for the day, but stay open as well. The ability to be spontaneous lead to our impromptu first dance: a serenade of the St John’s Waltz by an adorable Newfoundland folk band, in the middle of a brewery kitchen party! The freedom of location was amazing, as Newfoundland is so full of places to explore. Having a picnic lunch at the top of Cape Spear after the ceremony was a highlight. Saying our vows alone on the edge of a cliff felt especially timeless, it could have been 1815 not 2015, and I know we both felt the true importance of the promises we made to one another.
Choosing Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker to follow us around all day was a no-brainer. Since we were running off together, capturing the day as it unfolded was necessary. We wanted to be able to show our families, not only what we did, but how it truly felt for us. Jen and Hugh are some of the most atmospheric photographers out there and a joy to be around (an important element when they are the only “guests” there!) We had every confidence that they could capture the essence our elopement.
Eloping won’t be for every bride and groom. You are, of course, trading in a traditional “big day” for something much quieter and very, very intimate. It forces you to find the heart of the moment with your partner and ignore most of the frills that traditional weddings often include, but it isn’t as extreme of a decision as it sounds. We both had very supportive and understanding families, and overall, didn’t need to compromise on much. I still tossed my bouquet (in the ocean!), we danced together, we got hilarious marital advice from strangers wherever we went, and we enjoyed amazing food. We created a very special place for us in Newfoundland and were able to fully take in every second of our day together. Choosing to elope was the best decision could have made for our wedding. We came out of this experience stress-free and giddy with excitement. I cannot think of a more perfect day, or a better way to start our life together.“