Melissa and Didier Karimwabo
This coulple swiped right on Bumble roughly two years ago, both saying it was the other’s smile that caught their attention. This past Christmas, Melissa was vacationing with her family in Maui, while Didier had to work (or so she thought). She was greeted with a surprise proposal on Christmas Day.
Why did you choose to elope: Melissa says, “After the engagement, we started talking about where to have the wedding since I am from British Columbia and Didier is from Ontario and now living in Calgary. And then the world literally halted. Darn COVID! Since we couldn’t wait to be married to each other and didn’t want to put our life on hold, we decided to elope.
Of course we wanted our friends and family to be present, but also didn’t want to jeopardize anyone’s health by having a large gathering. I informed my family and was planning on FaceTiming during the ceremony so my parents would “virtually” walk me down the aisle. Didier decided to surprise his family 30 minutes before the ceremony, and thankfully they were all home to witness our matrimony over zoom. It was a very happy surprise. Thank goodness for technology!”
What are the benefits and negatives about eloping? “The only negative is not having family and friends physically there to support you,” says Melissa. “There are a zillion positives in our opinion. We were lucky enough to have an amazing photographer (Sofia Katherine) who recommended vendors. After our initial call, I sent some emails and our wedding was set. It was a magical and stress-free night that really focussed on the two of us and our love for one another. We were completely in the moment and didn’t even notice the beautiful surroundings until we saw Sofia’s amazing photos. The locations she chose were virtually empty from international tourists due to COVID. We essentially had Banff to ourselves that night, even had our first dance, uninterrupted in the middle of Banff Ave. An unforgettable Summer Solstice night! We continued to explore more spots that would help capture this magical day around the beautiful town of Banff with Sofia and her assistant Dylan. We stood in awe, taking in our surroundings, standing in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful mountains and gazing at millions bright stars. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be standing there. We do not believe we would have done that if we had a traditional wedding.”
What would you say to a couple who is considering eloping? Melissa says, “We can’t stress this enough: do it! Spend the money on a great photographer to create memories that will last a lifetime and share with your family and friends. You will not regret the ease of the day and actually being able to enjoy your wedding day with no stress or worries.
Do you plan on also having a reception? The bride says yes. “Didier is from Africa and has a large family. It is important for us to get our families and friends together to have a party to celebrate our love once COVID is over.”
Location: Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park, Alberta
Photography: Sofia Katherine Photography
Photo assistant: Dylan Foster
Hair: Amanda Keller Swivel Salon
Makeup: Jamie Rankin Beauty District
Officient: Tamara Jones
Dress: Wildly Bride, Novia Mia
Florals: Hen & Chicks
Rings: Alberta Diamond Exchange