Before I go any further, I want to encourage you to check out New Brunswick Elopements. This is a new partnership I’ve created with my friend and Wedding Celebrant Deanna Balcarras. We create elopements for couples who want a meaningful ceremony and beautiful photographs.
To elope or not to elope
Even before Covid-19 flatlined the wedding plans of couples, eloping was a popular choice for couples wanting to say “I do” without the obligations and production that a larger wedding would require. As much as I love all the details and hype of a big wedding, I understand the appeal to elope. As much as I loved my own wedding and have no regrets, when Scott and I first started talking about getting married we dreamed of secret vows exchanged in the Scottish Highlands with just my parents as witnesses and an amazing wedding photographer there to capture it all. We abandoned this idea once we were officially engaged. This was mainly because I could not imagine getting married without this person, and that person, oh and this friend and well, this friend has to be there too!!
Not everyone needs a wedding like I did, and that is okay. I’ve photographed elopements and they are amazing!! And, since I live in one of the most beautiful areas in one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada, and because I would love to photograph more elopements, I thought I would write a little how-to elope in New Brunswick, share some New Brunswick Elopement options with you.
For ideas on where to elope, check out my post “Where to Elope in Atlantic Canada“.
Eloping in New Brunswick is not too complex. You pick a date, find an officiant and get a marriage license. However, finding an officiant and getting your marriage license is not so easy if you don’t know where to look or who to contact! No worries, I have you covered.
Who will marry us if we elope in New Brunswick?
In New Brunswick, only a member of the Clergy or an authorized Civil Officiant can perform a marriage ceremony. Since most Clergy are attached to a church community it is less likely that they will be available for an elopement, however, there are tons of Civil Officiants in the province of New Brunswick that will be happy to perform a basic legal ceremony for you. Here is an up-to-date list of Civil Officiants authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.
My two favourite officiants in New Brunswick are Mark from Unboring Weddings and Wedding Celebrant Deanna Balcarras. While they have different methods, both Deanna and Mark will make your elopement extra personal by creating a personalized ceremony for you, emphasizing your story, and collaborating with you to make your secret vows beyond memorable. Where your ceremony IS the wedding, investing in the best wedding officiant is a must when you elope.
I also have worked with Janet Steeves on several occasions and I think she is just the loveliest lady who goes a little above the generic legal ceremony.
How do we get a marriage license in New Brunswick?
Once you’ve found an officiant and settled on a date, you will need to get your marriage license. A marriage license is required as it tells the powers that be that you are of legal age to be married. Marriage licenses are issued by Service New Brunswick and here is a list of locations by the community. Both parties must be present to get a marriage license – apparently, you will each be interviewed! In order to successfully acquire your marriage license, you will need to provide a federal government-issued ID such as your birth certificate or passport, you’ll need to know what date you are getting married and you will need to pay $115.
If you are divorced you will need an original or certified copy of your divorce certificate.
There is no waiting period to get married after you have successfully acquired your marriage license, however, you will only have ninety (90 days) from the date it is issued to get married. This is just a snapshot of how to acquire your marriage license and you can get full details on the SNB website here.
Do we need a wedding photographer?
Yes. Yes you do 🙂 And you are going to need a wedding photographer to capture your elopement because you don’t want just anyone with a camera to do this, right? This is a pretty remarkable moment in life and you want to make sure you have amazing images to share with your friends and family after you share the happy and secret news with them! So, you want a wedding photographer and most wedding photographers will jump at the opportunity to photograph an elopement. Of course, I can not speak for them all but I can tell you why I would love to photograph your elopement.
Photographing an elopement usually means there is tons of flexibility with time, location and date since there really aren’t the usual logistics to navigate with a wedding. Most elopements happen during the week and in my experience, I’ve gotten to choose the location and time because having great photographs are a priority (and the greatest expense so I want to make sure we have the best conditions possible!). Oh man, year-round there are so many gorgeous locations in New Brunswick and along the Fundy Coast specifically; I would LOVE to help a couple pick out the perfect spot for their secret ceremony.
The real reason I love photographing elopements is that my favourite part of being a wedding photographer is witnessing the ceremony and spending time with my couple creating beautiful portraits of their love. So, seriously, if you are planning to elope in New Brunswick or anywhere for that matter, please get in touch!! I’ll even bring a friend with me to be a witness if you need the second signature!
A couple of last things, be sure to check our New Brunswick Elopements – a photographer-officiant duo that would love to assist you in planning and executing your best (secret) day.
If you are thinking about eloping in St. Andrews and are looking for some all-inclusive options, check out my post that goes into detail about options for St. Andrews New Brunswick elopements.