Here’s your complete guide on how to elope in Alberta, Canada – from finding your ceremony spot to figuring out legalities, and having the best elopement day!
Located in western Canada, the landscape of Alberta is as diverse as it is beautiful – with the
rugged Rocky Mountains, desert badlands, lush green forests, and glacier fed lakes, the
scenery will take your breath away. And if you’ve decided that a wedding venue and a huge
party isn’t for you, an Alberta elopement gives you the chance to spend your wedding day
exploring, adventuring, and having a blast with the person you love most.
Is an Alberta Elopement Right for You?
The first step will be deciding to elope – and this one is often the hardest! Maybe you’re on the
fence – can you really tell your family that you won’t be throwing a big white wedding? Can you
elope, just the two of you?
There are tons of reasons to elope, but the most important thing to remember is that this is your
wedding day. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions and expectations, but the day
you get married should be about you, and it should go the way you want it to. So whether you
see yourself eloping just the two of you or you imagine your closest friends by your side,
whether you want to hike or take a helicopter ride over the mountains, an Alberta elopement is
perfect for any couple that wants a unique experience, and a wedding day spent outdoors.
The Best Places to Elope in Alberta
One of the first things you’ll do for your Alberta elopement is decide where it’s going to happen!
There are countless beautiful places – but here are just a few options.
Eloping in the Mountains
The Rocky Mountains of Alberta hold glaciers, alpine lakes, and countless trails to explore.
Banff National Park is one of the most iconic places to visit for mountain views, but it’s
popularity can mean crowding! Check out Jasper National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park for some more secluded elopement locations.
Eloping in the Desert
While its mountains and forested areas are what Alberta is best known for, there are also some
incredible desert landscapes! The monochromatic, boho look of a vast landscape can make a
gorgeous elopement backdrop, and is also a rock climber’s paradise. The badlands of
Horseshoe Canyon, Dinosaur Provincial Park, and The Hoodoos at Drumheller are just a few of the places to
elope in the desert in Alberta.
Eloping in the Forest
Alberta has some incredible greenery, and the dense pine forests are a great place to elope.
You can hike through the woods and reach some incredible mountain or lake views, or say your
vows surrounded by towering trees that make you feel like you’re in a storybook. Canmore
Lakes offers forests, waterfalls, rivers, and mountain views, and the Boreal Forest covers a vast
part of Alberta!
Weather in Alberta
Your elopement date will likely depend a lot on the weather – because Canadian winters are
certainly different from its summers! Before you set a date for your ceremony, make sure to
research the location you want to learn when the best time to elope is.
Winter in Alberta
In most places in Alberta, winter temperatures drop to below freezing – which isn’t ideal for those
who want to hike, but is perfect if you want to go skiing! Winters get pretty snowy, especially in
the mountains, so be prepared for road closures and snow covered trails.
Spring in Alberta
Spring can be a beautiful time to elope. Towards the beginning of the season, it can still be
pretty chilly, but as the sun comes out and the snow starts to melt, eloping right before summer
starts can be a good way to avoid crowds. Keep in mind that if you’re planning a high elevation
hike, it’ll likely still be covered in snow!
Summer in Alberta
This is definitely the most popular time for visitors to come to Alberta. The national parks and
outdoor recreation areas are crowded, because the weather is warm and sunny. While this is the time of year where most places are finally snow free, keep in mind that the popular spots will
be especially popular!
Fall in Alberta
Early fall can be a great time to catch the fall foliage and get a little more privacy at your
elopement location. The summer crowds start to clear out, and the weather is usually still pretty
warm. However, snow can accumulate early in the mountains!
Getting Legally Married in Alberta
Your elopement is about your ceremony and all the adventures you’ll have – but there’s also
some logistics to take care of!
Alberta Marriage Certificate
You’ll need a marriage certificate before you get married. The application can be found online
here, and you’ll need to take it to a registry agent, along with your photo ID. There are registry
agents all around Alberta, and you can find one close to you here!
If you don’t live in Alberta, you can still get married here – there are just a few extra steps. After
you fill out your application, you’ll need a notary public to sign a proof of identity form. You can
then mail both documents to Registry Connect.
You will also need an officiant for your elopement. This needs to be someone authorized in Alberta, but you can easily search for a registered officiant here! Some couples also choose to do the paperwork ahead of time, so that their ceremony can be (symbolically) officiated by a friend or family member. They can apply to become a temporary marriage commissioner for the day.
Two witnesses are also required to sign your certificate. Anyone over 18 can sign, so your
vendors can double as witnesses! I would be stoked to be your witnesses at your elopement!
Alberta Elopement Packages
I believe in authenticity – and eloping is one of the most authentic ways to get married. You’ve
decided to toss out tradition and do what feels right, and with photo and video I hope to
capture that – the happiness, excitement, adventure, all of it! So let’s hike, explore, take a
helicopter ride, go kayaking, go stargazing… your elopement day can be anything you can
If you’re ready to elope, contact me and let’s get planning together! View my portfolio here.
The Person Behind The Lens
If you like unconventional, honest, friendly and real photos, I’m your person.
Sam Wildridge is a lifestyle photographer / filmmaker based in Wainwright, Alberta. Sam has been capturing wedding, family + corporate photos for 9 years and defines her style as "organic storytelling".