• Krista Hawryluk

How to Plan a Lake Wedding or Elopement

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Pssss, it's easier than you may think. :)

Image from an intimate private island wedding outside of Kenora, Ontario.Kenora Wedding and Elopement Photographer - Krista Hawryluk

The important thing is to keep it simple. Getting married at the lake doesn't have to be complicated!

Being an elopement and wedding photographer in Manitoba and Kenora, Ontario, I've witnessed and been apart of planning many weddings and elopements! I've gathered this information to help you plan your wedding or elopement without all the stress!

Getting married at a lake or cabin can be very special and has it’s own very unique outdoors vibe. Being so close to nature, it’s easy to see why many couples choose to spend their wedding day at the lake. Most lake venues/cabins are not equipped for the average sized wedding – but if you’re looking for a more laid-back, outdoorsy, and fun day – this is for you!

But it can be overwhelming trying to plan a wedding away from so many amenities – but I’m here to help! I have compiled a list of three easy steps to make the process easy, fun, and unique to you and your partner!

1. Decide who you want to spend your day with.

Here are some examples:

  • The two of you and alllllll your guests (Large Wedding)

  • The two of you, your photographer, your officiant*, and your close families and friends (Small Wedding)

  • The two of you, your photographer, and officiant* and a witness (Elopement Style Wedding)

** Some couples choose to do the legal ceremony before or after the elopement day! No need to pay for an officiant to travel out to the lake. Simply, get the official business done ahead of time in the city and share your intimate personal vows to each other at the lake.

Intimate ceremony on the dock!

2. Choose a location.

  • If you’re wanting a large wedding, you’ll need to find a large venue. If someone has access to a large cabin with ample parking space and space for a tent, do it! Otherwise, you’re probably looking for a restaurant, hotel, or a more traditional wedding venue. Keep in mind – if you do the cabin route – it likely does not have all the resources and amenities to handle a lot of guests. This will require a lot more attention to logistics (power, parking, washrooms, distance to hotels, etc.)

  • If a small wedding sounds more like you, you have a lot more freedom. Do you know someone with a cabin? Contact them! If not, look into renting a cabin (check AirBnB or VrBO!). Or even look into Provincial or National parks – some have cabins or yurts for rent! You can even rent multiple cabins for all your guests.*

*Weekday weddings are becoming more popular, which also means you might be able to book your dream cabin or book multiple cabins for your guests!

  • If you’re eloping – you have the most freedom! You don’t even need a venue if you don’t want one. Rent a cabin, a yurt, or even a campsite – just you and your love. Get ready together – or separately. Go out for dinner at a restaurant, order some takeout, or enjoy a meal by your campfire. Have your close friends and family join you for drinks later on in the evening!

Golden hour from the dock - Lake of the woods, Ontario

3. Ceremony Details