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  • Writer's pictureKrystal Shuhyta

Hill Rise Surprise Elopement

Calgary Wedding Photographers | Fly Free Photos | Surprise Elopement | Hill Rise Ranch

Every year we run a giveaway on our social media account for one lucky couple to have their wedding photos re done. This year ended up being a little different as instead of just doing photos for someone we did a surprise elopement! Natasha, Dwane and their four children had a very intimate, touching ceremony and here is Natasha’s personal story in her own words.

"Dwane and I met in grade 9 when we were just 13 years old. We were always friends and anytime we would run into one another over the years we would be so happy to see each other. We were both married to other people with children around the same age. After both going through divorces and Dwane losing his Mom, we found a real genuine friendship that got us through some very tough times in our lives. This friendship naturally blossomed into something we both knew we couldn’t walk away from.

Fast forward a few years and we had seamlessly blended our families and couldn’t have been more blessed. Our daughters were absolute best friends and it felt like we had been together forever. We always said that we would get married but it wasn’t our priority as we had both had big weddings previously and we were just content to be in love and supporting one another on our new journey. Then in spring of 2015 we found out we were going to be expanding our little family and welcomed a daughter to our lives in January 2016. We truly felt complete. However it wasn’t until we had our baby that I had a pull in my heart to be married.

When Krystal asked if we wanted to surprise everyone with an elopement we were ecstatic and jumped at the chance! I asked Dwane ‘Do you want to get married next Tuesday?’ he said ’Yes, I’d marry you any day of the week!’ The planning began and we kept it a huge secret! Tuesday came and we were so overcome with joy and excitement to finally be uniting our family spiritually and legally. The ceremony and photos took place at Hill Rise Ranch Wedding Venue, a quaint ranch with a gorgeous red barn and lots of rustic decor around the property. It is surrounded by big beautiful trees and the leaves were all starting to change colour, my favourite! I felt like an absolute princess. Taffeta and Tulle Bridal in Airdrie, Alberta donated the most gorgeous gown, I just had to have it altered and it was perfect! Sam from House of Beauty YYC did my hair and make up and made me feel so beautiful. Chelsea from Adventure Floral asked what my favourite flowers were and custom made me a stunning bouquet, boutonniere and flower crown for our little girl. It just all came together so quickly and effortlessly.

We started with a first look which was so sweet. Seeing Dwane's reaction of me all done up and in a wedding dress is something I will never forget. We were then united with our children and began our ceremony. Jack Ashby officiated, it was so meaningful and beautiful, it was everything we always wanted, just us and our children committing the rest of our lives to one another. We wrote our own vows and of course Dwane’s sweet thoughtful words made me cry. After our ceremony we did family photos and then the children went home and we did photos all around the ranch. We ended our magical day with pizza from Atlas as that is where we had our grade 9 graduation together.

Krystal and Mike, we are eternally grateful to you both for such an amazing opportunity and for bringing everyone together who made our day possible. We can't thank you all enough. We are so happy and have never felt closer than we do now. Thank you!"

Here are some of the amazing images from their special day!

I honestly can not thank my amazing team enough for pulling off this surprise elopement in less then a weeks time! It is something I'm sure none of us will forget! Here is a beautiful Highlight video from their day!

Officiant: Jack and Gerri Ashby

Hair & Makeup: House of Beauty YYC

Photo & Video/Drone: Fly Free Photography

We are super pleased to welcome Meghan & Kait to the team as well, it was such a pleasure working with these two ladies and we can’t wait for all of our amazing clients to meet them! We are excited to introduce the whole team! If you follow us on IG will be showcasing these awesome folks there shortly!

If you need help planning & documenting your beautiful elopement or intimate wedding day please do not hesitate to reach out. We are Krystal & Mike, a soon to be Husband and Wife team that offer our couples both photo and video, as well as planning and logistics! We have some awesome all inclusive elopement packages to help couples navigate through all the craziness and would love to chat with you! Please feel free to contact us here, or check out our work at -

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