If you are looking for picturesque backdrop, stunning landscape and a fun wedding, look no further then the beautiful Canadian Rockies. It covers all of the above and more. Salil and I said “I do”, in Banff and the destination was a dream come true. In this Banff Destination wedding guide we have summarized our little ceremony (and review) and included information on how to arrange for vendors and legal formalities of wedding and budget. This post also includes Banff Wedding Venues for you to consider – for elopement or grand weddings, indoors or outdoors.
Also, we share our story – why we chose Banff as our wedding destination. Continue reading to find out more!
Our Banff Destination Wedding + Banff Wedding Venues
Why choose Banff for destination wedding? | Elope in Banff
Personally we both love Banff and enjoy spending time in the mountains. Banff was our first vacation together as a couple. We visited Banff in 2011 and married in 2016.
And let me tell you, just like the mighty Rockies, our bond has just strengthened over these years. (I know, its cheesy, but its true)
Both my husband and I hold Indian passports and are Canadian Permanent Residents and getting a marriage licence here was easy.
We are both unconventional and love travelling. And hence destination wedding was our calling. We arranged for our marriage licence, approached a wedding planner (to arrange the make-up, officiant, photographer, etc) and all we had to do is drive to the venue. Oh and this was a “Just-Us” wedding too. It was just the two of us and the beautiful Rockies <3
Our Banff Destination Wedding Ceremony – A “Just Us” Wedding
Our wedding ceremony was a top a small hill on 2 Jack Lake. We were officiated in a civil ceremony. We kept the wedding simple and true to our selves.
At our wedding in Banff – our officiant – Carl Shields said – “You have chosen a great venue for your wedding, these mountains signify your strength as a couple, of love and spirituality”
You can customize your ceremony and venue setting just the way you want. There are options to bring in props or set up seating for a limited number of people by lake-side or mountain valley or garden.
Planning for a Banff Wedding: Legal Aspects
In order to get married in Canada, you must follow requirements as outlined by the provincial authorities. Each province will list marriage requirements on their website. You can also view them on city’s registries (Registry provides you with licence plates, drivers licence, insurance and so on and on forth)
Banff is located in the province of Alberta. You can get a marriage licence from any registry in Alberta to get married in Banff. We got ours in Edmonton for CAD$100 (marriage licence + registry fee) and it was picked up the same day. You will have to fill out a marriage licence form. Carry 2 pieces of photo identification with you. (If you get a marriage licence in Alberta, you are eligible to get married only in Alberta)
Marriage Licences are valid for 90 days. You can re-apply if your plans change, after 90 days. Marriage licence is a 2-part document. The top part is a Registration of Marriage and the bottom part is the marriage licence:
- the full document (Registration of Marriage and Marriage Licence) must be given to the marriage officiant that will be performing the marriage
- the document must be kept in good condition and not folded as the document will be permanently archived
You can get married in civil or religious ceremony. 2 witnesses are required to sign the marriage document. You will be issued a statement of marriage, once its officiated. After the wedding, you will have to apply for a marriage certificate.
Here is the link to the Service Alberta website with additional information about marriage licences. Click Here
Planning for a Banff Wedding: Arranging for Vendors
Getting hold of wedding vendors are easy in Banff. There are packages available by wedding planners or you can approach hotels who specializes in weddings and related venues.
- Hotel- Wedding Packages – Hotel companies like Rocky Mountain Chain, Fairmont offers venue for weddings and parties. They can arrange for seating and food as per your needs. There are wedding consultants available at request as well. Some wedding packages also include photography and a “honey-moon suite” after. Find more information about lodges and hotels that offer wedding packages here.
- Wedding Planners: Wedding planners can work wonders on your wedding day. Wedding planners will guide you through the legal formalities, arrange for local vendors and can even become your witness to the wedding. (You will need 2 witnesses to officiate the marriage)
We went with the wedding planner route. We had no guests, it was just the two of us. We only required an officiant and a photographer (who also was our witness). I added for bridal make-up and hair 🙂
We wanted our wedding to be outdoors, by the lovely mountains. Our wedding planners were – Rocky Mountain Wedding Planners, who are based in Banff. They arranged for the officiant, photographer – Pam Doyle and a local salon for make-up.
For our venue, we chose the Two Jack Lake. We also got 2 hours of photography done after in the nearby areas.
We can pretty much customize everything for your wedding. You can get married in a canoe, lake side, field, by mountains, anywhere as long as the officiant and the 2 witnesses come with you
We really had so much fun that day. All thanks to Rocky Mountain Wedding Planners.
Banff Wedding Venues
Banff Outdoor Wedding Venues
We do recommend doing an outdoor wedding, if you are choosing Banff as your destination. The reason we chose Banff was because of the mountains and blue turquoise rivers as our back drop. Elopement or couples only wedding or small weddings are perfect for Banff’s outdoors.
- Moraine Lake – The MOST picturesque backdrop for outdoor weddings in Banff National Park is of Lake Moraine. The mountains and the lakes make for a stunning picture. This venue is suited for summers only, but keep in mind, there is driving time involved from Banff to Moraine Lake. Or another option is to stay at Moraine Lodge and get ready for the wedding ceremony the next day. Moraine Lake Lodge offers honeymoon packages as well along with wedding and pre-wedding options with photography.
- Two Jack Lake – Two Jack Lake is located in Banff and is a great option for an outdoor wedding too. This is where we got married, so it is extra special. The lake is busy during summers, but it NOT as crazy as Moraine Lake, so definitely put this on the list.
- Cascade Gardens – Yes you can get married at the Cascade Gardens. Cascade Gardens is a beautiful garden-park curated and maintained very close to Banff Downtown. You can say “I do” here with mountains and flowers in tow. There is a gazebo that can fit 10-15 people or if you are eloping this is perfect as well.
- Central Park Gazebo – Banff’s Central Park located along the Bow River is a peaceful park to enjoy nature. It has a gazebo (Louis Trono Gazebo) that can be booked for special events including weddings. Washroom facilities are available at the park.
- Tunnel Mountain Reservoir – The Tunnel Mountain Reservoir is located behind Buffalo Mountain Lodge and offers stunning views of the Canadian Rockies. This area can be reserved and booked per hour basis.
- Banff Gondola – Why get married on the ground, when there are mountain peaks around? Banff Gondola, as you might already know offers stunning views of the Canadian Rockies and valley as well the Sulphur Mountain itself. The Bistro at the Banff Gondola is open for wedding receptions and can accommodate up to 100 guests. Find more about Gondola weddings here
For planning your Banff Destination Wedding, it is recommended that you connect with a local wedding planner, discuss your ideas and vision and pricing, of course. Wedding Planners that we talked to were very flexible and accommodating and we were provided with many outdoor options before zeroing down on the final ONE. They will also arrange for hair and make up, photography services as well as arranging documentation and officiant.
We live in Alberta (Banff National Park is located in the province of Alberta Canada), and still found the assistance of wedding planners helpful (while we were busy at work)
Banff Wedding Reception Venues – Indoors
If you are looking for BIG weddings or want something formal with food and dancing, then here are a few options for you.
- Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – I would highly recommend Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel, if you have the budget for it. The venue is amazing, I will admit – it is almost at par with outdoor venues as you can be officiated and get wedding pictures done from their balconies – with mountain views. Or chose their terrace with mountain and river views. WIN-WIN. Their ball room and wedding venue can accommodate guests up to 340 guests. You can also do an intimate wedding of 10-15 guests or elopement. Include a photography service with the wedding to capture memories of the mountains, river and the beautiful (historic) Banff hotel – it is like your fairy tale wedding come true. They provide catering and photography services on site. Find more about Fairmont Weddings in Banff
- Rimrock Hotel – A 4 star hotel, located in Banff (also one of our favorites) offers wedding services (venue, ceremony and photography) in their events and conference hall. They can also accommodate drop-in visits. Rimrock Hotel wedding packages are quite detailed and can be customized. They offer both indoor and outdoor weddings – both intimate and gran weddings can be held here (up to 400 guests).
- Buffalo Mountain Lodge – Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a great option for weddings with less then 100 guests. The Lodge can provide accommodation for guests and wedding services on site.
- St Mary’s Parish – We witnessed many weddings here each time we are in Banff. Located in downtown Banff, St Mary’s Parish is great option for formal ceremony. The beautiful church is built in Romanesque style and dates back to the 1700’s.
We did consider many destinations for our wedding and Banff definitely made to the TOP. We highly recommend Banff for your dream destination wedding. We were really happy with the arrangements and we loved it that it was a simple ceremony – filled with love and promises for our future together.
Our Wedding was featured by Wedding Sutra (Bridal Portal). Click Here for the article
If you have any questions about planning for a wedding, dress or generally about Banff, feel free to comment below <3
Additional Resources on Banff
- Itinerary for Banff here
- Banff Activities in Winter
- Places to stay in and around Banff
- Town of Canmore Guide
- General Read – Planning your honeymoon: Find Honeymoon Inspiration
Last Update: April 08 2019
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