You just got engaged, congrats! But now what? Where do you go from here? Planning a wedding or elopement can be overwhelming, which is why I decide to share a few tips to make this process a bit easier.

First off, I think it is important for you and your fiancé to celebrate, don't jump into wedding planning to quickly, take the time to enjoy your engagement for a while! Once the celebrations are done you can start thinking of your wedding day!

What kind of wedding celebration do you want and what is important to you?

First, you need to decide if you want a big traditional wedding or an intimate celebration like an elopement? You can refer back to this other blog post " Eloping in Banff " for more tips on eloping in the Canadian Rockies. To decide between a big traditional wedding and an elopement you will need to ask yourself a few questions like: Do you like to be the centre of attention in front of many guests or do you prefer celebrating with a few friends and family members? Are you dreaming of an extravagant ballroom wedding or a more personal wedding experience? Do you need a big party or prefer an intimate diner? Dig deep and figure out what is important for you, close your eye and try to image your dream wedding day. Are you surrounded by many people and have a big celebration or is it a smaller event? The sky is the limit when it comes to a wedding and these days, I don't think there's any rules. The only rule is to make sure that you and your fiancé are happy with your decision and that you do what you dreamed of!

Now that you have decided to elope, what is the next step?

You and your fiancé realized that you want to have a smaller wedding that really represents both of you and you have decided to elope. The next step is to think about what kind of elopement would make you happy. Do you prefer urban, beach, mountains etc... If you are dreaming of a mountain elopement, Banff National Park is an amazing area to get married! I recommend looking at elopement locations ideas on Pinterest and Instagram to see what interests you.

How to plan your Banff Elopement?

1. Once you have decided on the general area (In this case Banff National Park) it is important to start looking into local wedding vendors. At this stage, I think finding your photographer is really important because they can help you find the perfect location Banff is most likely an area you never visited and you will need help from locals to learn the ins and out of that location. I have been living in Banff for the past 10 years and have photographed so many weddings all over the mountains. I can find the perfect location for each couple. Whether you are looking for a location to hike on your wedding day or a beautiful lake to have a lakeshore ceremony, your photographer will give you many recommendations. Once you have found your Banff ceremony location you can start thinking about your other vendors.

2.  For Banff National Park, you also need to be aware of many rules. You can find informations on the Banff  Parks website. For outdoor ceremonies at locations within the National Park you need to limit your guest list to 20 people maximum. Since it is a public area you can't have exclusivity of your chosen location. You need to make sure that you clean up properly after your wedding, there's a lot of wildlife in the area and keeping them safe is one of the Parks priority. You, your guests and wedding vendors all need a Parks Pass and your vendors will also need the proper business licences. There's other rules on what you can and can't have at your outdoor wedding ceremony and I would be happy to give you more informations during a phone or in person meeting. If you prefer having a private venue, the Town of Banff have a few locations that you can rent or many hotels will have private ceremony locations.

3. After finding the perfect location, your wedding day timeline will be next. Once again, chatting with your photographer is a great idea because they will know when the lighting is best. 

Once you have booked a date, venue and vendors the fun begins for you because it is now time to think about the details of your day. Do you need florals, decor and a cake? You need to start looking into wedding attire, shoes, accessories etc... If you are feeling overwhelmed with all of these details a wedding planner/coordinator could be a great idea. If you are inviting guests, you also need to think about accommodations, restaurants and activities. Your local wedding vendors will be able to give you recommendations so don't hesitate to ask for some advice.

I hope these little tips helped guide you with the first steps of planning an elopement!

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