You’ve chosen to elope, but are unsure of where? Banff National Park is the perfect location for your elopement – here you’ll be able to enjoy the rugged Rocky Mountains, iconic turquoise lakes, picturesque towns, cozy cabins + more! With so much variety to choose from, let’s plan your Banff National Park elopement together!
Banff National Park is not only the first National Park, or the flagship of the Canadian National Park Service, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People have visited + used this land for over 10,000 years. It’s a place where history intersects with the rugged wilderness.
Are you looking for the mountains and lakes to set the scene for your elopement but are unsure about hiking on your wedding day? Banff National Park has a variety of spaces to choose from with differing accessibility. Read below to see some of my recommendations on where to elope in the park.
You can elope and get married most anywhere in the park! If you are having more than 20 guests, there are more limitations to where and when you exchange vows but a small elopement gives you the flexibility to go anywhere in Banff National Park. Check out some hot spots below!
No matter when you get married your Banff National Park elopement will be stunning, unique + yours. For quieter times + more predictable weather I would suggest sunrise or sunset, on a weekday, in the summer or winter. BUT, I am beyond happy to travel with you, and photograph your elopement for whichever special day you choose! Here are some considerations for planning when to elope in the park:
Have you dreamed about getting married in the quiet of dawn or the glow of sunset? These are beautiful times to elope and have your wedding portraits taken. Whichever time you decide, you’ll want to work with your photographer + elopement team to help determine the timeline of your day.
Summer is the best time for hiking, and seeing the lakes. By July & August, most of the park is open to the public and you’ll have the pick of elopement spots!
Spring & Fall are harder seasons to plan your elopement in as the weather is unpredictable. Trails and spots may be opening or closing based on weather and accessibility. BUT, this is the slow season for the park, so there are fewer crowds and more privacy for you to enjoy your elopement.
Wintertime offers a winter wonderland & snow sports, but many trails and main attractions are closed & buried in snow.
I typically suggest elopements take place on weekdays to avoid extra crowding and allow for time to explore together.
Staying in Banff can be expensive, but it’s easily accessible to the park and is close to restaurants, salons, and has anything you may need last minute to prepare for your elopement. Banff & Lake Louise Tourism lists a number of options here. There are lodges, B&Bs, resorts, yurts + more in the area that can be found on Airbnb and similar sites.
Canmore is a nearby town that is easily accessible and has its own charm. Here is a link to TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Places to Stay in Canmore.
Here’s an example of a 9-hour consecutive elopement (spring/fall) timeline:
And, here is an example of a 12-hour elopement timeline (with a break):
You want a photographer that will work with you to make your dream Banff National Park elopement your reality, someone who is up for adventure + matches your style. If you hire me as your photographer, I am down to help you plan every detail of this special day + I’m always willing to explore and adventure with you!
Flowers are a beautiful decoration to add to your elopement. And often with elopements, many couples chose for this to be the only decoration, and let the focus fall on their love and the stunning scenery surrounding them. Banff & Lake Louise Tourism has a page dedicated to wedding vendors. I suggest checking out Blue Lakes Floral Design, Forget-Me-Knot Flowers + Banff Mountaintop Flowers.
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism’s Wedding Page has quite a few salons that are prepared to help you with your hair and makeup for your Banff National Park Elopement. You’ll want to find one that matches your style, has experience working with your type of hair + how you want it to look on your wedding day, and has the availability to do your hair + makeup on your elopement day and time. Definitely do some research, make some calls and choose someone you’re comfortable with!
Elopements are small enough to typically be excluded from the wedding and special event permits – it may be a good idea to reach out and let the National Park Service know of the ceremony. You can email the Parks Canada Events Coordinator if you have questions about your elopement.
Day Passes to Banff National Park can be purchased online here.
Your photographer will need a permit to shoot in either the town of Banff or within the national park territory. If you plan on eloping in either of these places, you will need to make sure your photographer gets a permit for both. They are two separate permits. One is through the town of Banff national park and the other is through the national parks service!
Luckily, you don’t need to be a Canadian citizen to elope to Banff National Park! But, you will need a marriage license that is valid in Alberta. The license is good for three months from the date of issue and must be returned and filed in a county office. For marriages to be valid in Canada they must either be performed as a religious service or a civil service with a marriage commissioner or officiant. You can find registered officiants in the Banff area here, or have a friend become a temporary marriage commissioner here.
Leave No Trace. Practice the hiking standard of leaving no trace, this includes: don’t feed the wildlife, no rice or paper confetti, and picking up all food scraps and garbage. Any decorations you bring for your Banff National Park elopement need to be able to be carried in and carried out without leaving any permanent damage. When you’re hiking, stick to the trail as much as possible to limit the erosion of the trail. Carry bear spray with you. Walk or carpool as much as possible, and use a reusable water bottle to help be as sustainable as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to ask a park ranger!
Photographers need a special business license that can be obtained by emailing the Business Licensing Department. Note – there are different emails for photographing in Banff and at Lake Louise. It takes about 15 days for the license to be approved. If I’m your elopement photographer, rest assured, I’ll take care of this!
Banff National Park + Banff Township has so much to offer! Your elopement can be part of a beautiful luxury vacation or an adventure, thrill-seeking excursion! You can explore the varied offering using this website here. There is so much to do here, there’s no need for a honeymoon in a different location!
Banff has so many restaurants for you to explore, including the only Michelin-star restaurant in the region, Eden! There’s a little something for everyone here, from pub food to gourmet feasts. Check out Banff & Lake Louise’s Tourism page for a list of hot restaurants, cafes + pubs you can try.
Are you and/or your partner looking for something outdoorsy to add to your Banff National Park elopement? Enjoy some or all of the following (depending on the season, of course):
Banff Upper Hot Springs are the only hot springs in the Banff National Park and a highlight of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. These steamy, natural mineral waters are a beautiful, and relaxing excursion to add to your day. Visit them in the morning for the best start to your day!
Banff has plenty of spas to choose from to add restorative elements to your elopement. Enjoy a massage, facial, or body wrap in preparation for your special day, or to decompress as a couple afterward!
Are you ready for your destination elopement? I’m ready to help you plan, coordinate + photograph it! Contact me to discuss your vision for the day!
I’m Lexi! I am passionate about documenting eloping couples all over the globe, in a place that’s special to you. My approach to your day is as honest as you experience it + less of the stiff stuff. I’d love to hear what you’re dreaming up for your wedding day!