Magical Mountain Romance: Why Couples are Eloping in Banff

Banff weddings

Since its inception in the nineteenth century, Banff has attracted visitors from all over the world, and it’s not difficult to see why. From its awe-inspiring mountain landscape to the lively town, Banff brings the best of wilderness and tourism together. Couples flock to Banff for the beautiful views, gorgeous venues, and the sense of adventure! But eloping in Banff has become hugely popular among couples seeking a more intimate experience, and it definitely delivers.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at eloping in Banff and all this beautiful region of the Canadian Rockies has to offer!

History of Banff

The town of Banff is situated in Banff National Park in Alberta, at the heart of the Canadian Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway. It has the second-highest elevation in Alberta (after the mountain hamlet Lake Louise). 

The town was first settled in the 1880s once the transcontinental railway was constructed. Some railway workers came across natural hot springs in the area near Sulphur Mountain, and Canada quickly began to promote the region as an international tourist resort. 

banff elopement

After establishing a federal reserve around the hot springs, it was named Rocky Mountain Park, beginning Canada’s National Park system.

George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, named the area “Banff” after his Scottish birthplace in 1884.

The Lakes

One of the things Banff is best known for is its abundance of beautiful lakes and creeks. So eloping in Banff means finding some of the best photo opportunities in the world, and the lakes are a big part of this. 

Some of the most popular lakes in Banff are within a 1-1.5 hour drive from the town. They include:

  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Vermillion Lakes
  • Peyto Lake
  • Moraine Lake
  • Lake Louise
  • Bow Lake
  • Two Jack Lake
  • Lake Agnes
Banff wedding photos

The lakes dotted around Banff National Park are truly a sight to see, so it’s no surprise that they are known all over the world for their glacial blue colours and natural beauty. While the lakes can become crowded with tourists in high seasons, hiring a local Banff photographer means finding the best “secret” spots to capture beautiful elopement photos.

The Mountains

Although the lakes are a big draw, they would be nothing without the surrounding alpine mountain range that reflects beautifully in their crystal waters. Adventurous couples are often attracted to eloping in Banff for the wild, unparalleled beauty of the mountains.

Mount Rundle

Named after a Methodist missionary, Mount Rundle is one of the most recognizable mountains in Canada. Think you can handle a scramble up the infamous “dragon’s back” near the peak? If you’re a relatively experienced hiker, this is a good one!

banff elopement

Sulphur Mountain

Hiking is a popular pastime in Banff, but you don’t have to be into climbing to enjoy the beauty of Sulphur Mountain. Relax in either of the two different hot spring facilities, take in the view on the Banff Gondola, or follow a boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak. 

Mount Norquay

If you’re into skiing, this is the mountain for you! Mt Norquay has 60 runs available of various ability levels and a shop for equipment rental.

Cascade Mountain

A challenging hike, attempt this mountain with caution as quick weather changes have had climbers in trouble there before. But with stunning views of Banff and Lake Minnewanka from the top, it’s well worth the effort!

The best thing about eloping in Banff is that you don’t have to climb the mountains to enjoy them. Their breathtaking presence provides the perfect backdrop to wedding ceremonies, celebrations, and photographs. 

banff elopement photos

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is overflowing with natural beauty, including mountains, glaciers, ice fields, and dense forests.

So, as we’ve become more environmentally aware, an increasing amount of protection has been given to sites like Banff National Park in Canada. In 1984, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, conservation is now a heavy focus of new policies that protect the park.

It’s not just about the natural landscape, either. Banff National Park is home to 56 different species of mammal including grizzly bears, cougars, coyote, wolves, elk, moose, and deer to name just a few!

Venues for Eloping in Banff

You’ll find a venue to suit every style in  Banff, from luxury resorts and chateaus to modern restaurants and distilleries. But here are just a few of our favourites:

Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Few locations compare to this stunning venue set against the incredible backdrop of Tunnel Mountain. While Buffalo Mountain Lodge has beautiful indoor reception rooms, it also offers the opportunity for outdoor ceremonies or photographs in the Tunnel Reservoir right beside the venue. 

Fairmont Banff Springs

If you’re looking for a ceremony or celebration in a mountainside fairytale castle, Fairmont Banff Springs will blow you away.

eloping in banff

Banff Gondola

Since recent renovations at the Banff Gondola, the newly built Sky Bistro has been attracting attention as a unique and exceptionally beautiful Banff wedding venue. Located at the summit of Sulphur Mountain, the floor to ceiling windows give you breathtaking mountain views. 

Park Distillery

For the “foodie” couples out there, Park Distillery is the ideal choice. Their menus comprise wood-fired and spit-roasted campfire classics with delicious sauces, sides, and desserts. 

The Bison

The Bison restaurant is the perfect spot for an intimate Rocky Mountain wedding or elopement celebration. While the venue combines modern mountain elegance with hearty cuisine, it operates under a “farm to table” philosophy. Their menus comprise seasonal, locally sourced ingredients served in front of gorgeous mountain vistas. 

heli weddings

Activities

Whether you’re into extreme sports or extreme relaxation, Banff is a hive of activity with something for everyone. But some of the most popular activities include:

  • Bow Falls
  • Hiking
  • Ice Climbing
  • Snowshoe Exploring
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
  • Banff Park Museum
  • Hot Springs
  • Kayaking

Many couples elope to Banff so they can spend a few days soaking up everything this unique place has to offer.

peyto lake elopement

Heli Elopements in Banff

The best way to see Banff is from the sky, and that’s exactly the way many couples eloping in Banff are choosing to celebrate their big day!

Imagine saying your “I do’s” at the top of a snow-capped mountain with pristine Canadian wilderness stretching as far as the eye can see. Heli weddings are perfect for the couple seeking an extra touch of romance and excitement. Even if your ceremony is closer to sea level, you can take to the skies and find some unique spots to capture your wedding portraits, making unforgettable memories along the way.

Banff Wedding Vendors

It can be stressful to plan a destination wedding or elopement. But luckily, Banff is home to some amazing vendors that you can rely on to create your dream elopement experience!

Here at the Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective, we’re proud to represent some of the best and brightest vendors Banff has to offer. We connect couples with people, not businesses, so you can get to know the people behind the wedding planning, floral design, cake making, photograph taking and more on your special day. 

Check out our curated list of premiere Banff wedding vendors!

All photographs are by Twenty Twenty Photography.

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