As Canada’s first national park, Banff was created to protect the wild, rugged beauty of it’s rocky peaks, serene lakes, and diverse wildlife. For any couple who craves adventure on their wedding day, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan your Banff elopement! Keep reading to learn about my favorite spots, permits, and more. You’ll be ready to elope in no time!
Why Elope in Banff National Park?
Before we get into planning your Banff elopement, here are some reasons to choose the park as your wedding venue.
A Wedding Day That Reflects You
For some reason, weddings seem to have become about everyone but the couple, and planning a huge party became the default – and so many couples don’t even stop to wonder if that’s what they really want! Eloping gives you the chance to plan a day that actually reflects who you are, and one that you’ll actually enjoy.
The best reason to elope in Banff is the scenery! The alpine lakes are some of the most beautiful in the world, and you don’t have to go far to enjoy the amazing views. While you can definitely take a long hike or plan a backpacking adventure, there are also countless overlooks and easily accessible spots where you can see the incredible mountain views.
At Banff National Park, you can rent a canoe, hop in a gondola, take a helicopter ride, go for a hike, walk on a glacier, and so much more! Your elopement will be a once in a lifetime experience, completely unique to you.
The Best Places to Elope in Banff National Park
Here’s the hard part – choosing a spot for your ceremony! Here are the best places to elope in Banff National Park.
Tunnel Mountain Reservoir
The Tunnel Mountain Reservoir is ideal for elopements with a few guests. This spot can be reserved, which means you’re guaranteed to have it all to yourself! It’s a beautiful meadow, with massive mountains in the background, and the best part is that the stunning views are easy to get to!
This is the largest lake in Banff! You can find some secluded places to say your vows, as it usually has less crowds than other popular spots. The turquoise water is something you have to see to believe, and the surrounding mountains make a gorgeous backdrop for your ceremony.
This is definitely the most popular place at Banff National Park – so keep that in mind when you plan your ceremony! Even at sunrise, it is very difficult to find parking, so I recommend booking the Moraine Lake Lodge. You’ll be within walking distance of the turquoise lake and the mountain peaks, and won’t have to worry about beating the crowds.
What to Do When You Elope in Banff
Your elopement isn’t just a ceremony – it should be an incredible adventure! There are countless things to do during your Banff elopement, but here are just a few ideas.
Visit Alpine Lakes
Some legendary lakes that you must visit are: Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Vermillion Lake, Johnston Canyon, Peyto Lake, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
Lake Minnewanka is easily one of my favourite places in Banff, as it’s less touristy than Lake Louise and Moraine, while still being just as captivating. You can walk the trails along her shore or take a cruise across her.
If you like waterfalls, there’s a few in the park for you to visit!
Bow Falls– Is extremely accessible. It’s situated right outside of town on the Bow River near the Banff Springs Hotel.
Takakkaw Falls– Is the second highest waterfall in all of Canada at 373 meters. It’s technically in Yoho National Park, close to Lake Louise.
Johnston Canyon Falls– The Lower and Upper Falls can be viewed by hiking just 1.2 km to the Lower Falls and 2.4km to the Upper Falls.
Go On A Tour
Take a helicopter tour for a birds eye view of the park! You’ll have some of the most epic views of all the peaks that make up the Rocky Mountains, with no hiking required.
Ride the Banff Gondola up the mountain to get stunning views of the entire valley.
Take a cruise on Lake Minnewanka and take in the serene scenery and turquoise water.
Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Banff National Park
Here’s what you need to get legally married during your Banff elopement!
You need a marriage license to make your marriage official! You need to apply within 3 months of the date of your ceremony, and you can find the application online. Before the elopement, you’ll need to go to the Banff Registry office in person with your ID and pick up the marriage license – so plan ahead if you’re traveling!
A commissioner is a person registered with Canada’s Vital Statistics Agency who can legally perform marriages. You’ll need one to sign your marriage license, unless you’re having a religious ceremony, in which case a religious representative can marry you! This person needs to be licensed to perform marriages in Alberta, but luckily you can find someone here.
Some couples who elope choose to do the legal stuff and fill out the paperwork ahead of time. Having a symbolic elopement ceremony means you don’t need to worry about finding a commissioner to hike with you or meet you at the park, and can have a friend or family member perform the ceremony – or self solemnize!
You also need two witnesses to sign the marriage license, but this can be anyone over the age of 19! You can ask your vendors, or anyone you see at your ceremony location.
The Best Time for a Banff Elopement
With its mountainous landscape, Banff’s weather changes dramatically throughout the year. This means your elopement experience will be very different depending on when you elope!
Autumn in Banff
If eloping in a larch haven is on your bucket list, Banff is the perfect place! In the fall, you’ll enjoy more solitude, and a sea of yellow and orange everywhere you go. The park is a popular hiking destination, and all of the trails will be less crowded, while still having the view of gorgeous turquoise lakes. Bring jackets and hand warmers for sunrise elopements!
Spring in Banff
As the snow begins to melt, wildflower meadows bloom, and wildlife wanders throughout the park. This can be a great time for your Banff elopement, but keep in mind that many of the trails will be covered in snow into summer! Spring is a great time to visit Banff if you’re allergic to crowds.
Summer in Banff
Summer is the most popular time to visit the national park, and the best weather for a Banff elopement. The warm temperatures are perfect for hiking, so if you plan to explore the trails, elope in the summer! Higher elevation areas can get cold quickly, so make sure to still be prepared with jackets.
Banff Elopement Packages
Are you sold on the mountains, lakes, and epic adventures of Banff? Contact me to start planning, and I’ll be there to help you through it all, cheering you on as you do what’s right for you, getting married in a way that you’ll actually enjoy!
Reach out to learn about Banff elopement packages, and to talk about your dream day.