Winter Wonderland Elopement | Laura + Neal

Chunky knit wraps and snowy kisses, fluffy white dogs and joyful laughter…these are a few of our favorite things! And all of them are here in Laura and Neal’s winter woodsy elopement.

Their dog, Gunner, was instrumental in Neal’s proposal (that story from Laura below), so of course he got his own special, custom-made leash and collar for the occasion!

Laura and Neal spend a lot of time outdoors and wanted an intimate affair with family and one friend each, so they rented a Bragg Creek cabin in which the whole family could stay and exchanged vows outdoors amongst the mountains. Everyone present had a hand in the celebration—Laura’s grandmother made their cake (from scratch!), and her sisters, sisters-in-law, mom, and best friend made the bouquets. The entire weekend, Laura told us, “was meant to bring both of our families together, I think we did just that.”

Read more about their day from Laura, who drove all the way from Calgary to Spruce Grove to find her Lovely gown at Bridal Avenue:


How did you guys meet?

“Neal and I met at University. It was the first class of the semester, I sat next to him and we became instant friends. He was my best friend for two years before we started dating.”

wedding dress: Astrid & Mercedes Lovely via Bridal Avenue | photographer: Laura Barclay Photography | full vendor list at bottom

How did you know he was “the one”?

“I don’t know if there was ever an exact point where I knew he was the one. I knew from the first time we met that he would be in my life for a long time. Once we started dating I knew that was it, this guy was stuck with me. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.”


How did your sweetie propose?


“Neal took me for an evening backcountry hike. We spend a lot of time in the wilderness, but this hike he was very ill prepared for. I was a little frustrated with him when we started the hike because of that, we know better than that. Once we got to the top, he gave me a beer and let me take in the scenery. While I was doing that, he tied the ring onto our dog Gunner’s collar. Gunner ran over to me, I saw the ring, Neal got on one knee and asked me to marry him.”


How did you choose your gown?


“I’ve been following Lea-Ann Belter ever since we got engaged. I fell in love with her style. I knew I needed to try on one of her dresses, so I found out what boutiques carried her in Alberta, I drove from Calgary to Spruce Grove to Bridal Avenue, tried on a few dresses and absolutely fell in love with the Lovely gown. Also, POCKETS!”


Tell us about your day!


“We decided to have a very small intimate event with just siblings, parents, grandparents and one friend each. Neal and I are very outdoorsy, so it made sense for us to celebrate somewhere in the mountains. We rented a beautiful cabin out in Bragg Creek for the whole family to stay. We wanted to keep it simple and fun. On Friday night Neal’s parents made homemade pizza, on Saturday my parents made a smoked roast dinner. My Grandma made our cake from scratch, My sisters, sisters-in-law, mom and best friend made our bouquets. Neal made the boutonnieres. We played games, had dance parties, open mic for speeches. The weekend was meant to bring both of our families together, I think we did just that. It was perfect.”


Describe your wedding day in 5 words or fewer:


“Perfectly Us.”


What was the funniest moment of your day?

“Taking photographs with our dog Gunner was the funniest part of the day. We would ask him to sit, so he would sit, but would only sit and face us not the camera. He couldn’t quite grasp the whole thing, he just wanted to play in the snow.”


Three words that best describe your partner:

“Patient, adventurous, and hilarious.”


Where did you go on your honeymoon?


“In the process of planning one!”


Any advice for future brides/grooms?


“My advice would be to remember that it is your day as a couple. You can choose to celebrate it however you wish. Enjoy the planning, enjoy the process and you will enjoy the day.”

wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Madeleine via Bridal Avenue | photographer: Laura Barclay Photography | Neal’s ring: Staghead Designs | Gunner’s custom collar and leash: Blackspruce Leather

Were you a Lea-Ann Belter bride? We’d love to see your pictures and share your story! Email