How to Get Married Alone

Erica Ingraham had her eye on Adam Koster from the moment they started working together in 2015 in the town of Bon Accord, in Alberta, Canada. This was not an easy thing to do, given the setting.

Ms. Ingraham, 30, and Mr. Koster, 33, were youth leaders at Oak Hill Ranch, a therapeutic program for high-risk children. The demands of the job didn’t allow much time for adult interaction, let alone a flirtation. But Ms. Ingraham did her best to let Mr. Koster know she was interested. There was the time they were out walking children around the ranch and she stepped on a wasp’s nest: “I was getting attacked by wasps and he was sweeping them off my legs and I was like, ‘Adam, you are amazing,’” Ms. Ingraham said. “But he didn’t think anything of it.”

Mr. Koster remained oblivious to Ms. Ingraham’s crush for more than a year, until she invited him to her house after an off-campus hangout with colleagues. “I was like, ‘You know what? You should come home with me,’” she said. He told her she was drunk and said no, but that invitation set the wheels of romance in motion. “After that, I finally got that she had been trying to hang out with me,” he said.

They started dating in 2017; by April of that year, they were a couple, splitting their time between his house in Morinville and hers in St. Albert.

Not that they spent a lot of time indoors. Ms. Ingraham and Mr. Koster hike, bike, ski and snowboard. Their passion for those pastimes, plus a new job for Mr. Koster as a conductor of Canadian National freight trains, brought them to Calgary in late 2017. “We’re outdoorspeople,” Mr. Koster said. “We wanted to be closer to the mountains.” Ms. Ingraham found a new job in Calgary as a youth leader at Trellis, a local community group.

By 2019, they were discussing marriage. The next year, on a long-awaited trip to Amsterdam, Mr. Koster proposed. “On our first day there I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and I asked her to marry me,” he said. Ms. Ingraham said yes. The date was March 7. Within a week, the world would start shutting down because of the coronavirus.

“We got pretty lucky,” Mr. Koster said. “We got a flight home just before Justin Trudeau issued major restrictions on flights.” Planning a wedding became a pandemic project. Both liked the idea of a small mountain wedding, but accommodating both their families brought their guest list close to 100. They settled on a March 2021 wedding at Canmore, a town in Alberta, then scrapped that plan in favor of a more intimate event for 14 on Dec. 13 at Lake Louise, a local ski resort where they often spend long days snowboarding. “To me, it’s the most beautiful place in the world,” Ms. Ingraham said.

But the wedding for 14 wasn’t to be, either. In late November, Mr. Trudeau issued further restrictions on indoor gatherings to head off a spike in Canadian coronavirus infections. “So we finally decided, if we can’t have everyone come, we won’t have anyone come,” Ms. Ingraham said. The temperature at Lake Louise was 25 below zero on the day of their hastily arranged Dec. 13 mountaintop elopement. Only three people attended: a friend, Haagen Sagli, who was certified that day as a wedding commissioner, and two witnesses, Sara Forbes and Alex Moffatt.

Ms. Ingraham, in a backless white gown, braved the cold with a fur shawl and snow pants under her dress for the 10-minute ceremony. Mr. Koster refused to let the arctic air alter his wedding look: “I just went with the suit I was planning on wearing for the indoor wedding,” he said.

When Mr. Sagli pronounced them married, they didn’t hang around the mountaintop to celebrate. “We said, ‘Let’s go!’ And we got on our snowboards for our first run together as a married couple,” Ms. Ingraham said. “It felt pretty special.”