I am fond of sayng, “The mountains are the details.” While I love pretty reception details and encourage couples to think of those details in terms of guest comfort and joy, one of the perks of having a mountain wedding is that you are surrounded by beauty at every turn. So it's with joy that I publish this stunning mountain wedding in Banff, Alberta, captured by Just for You Photography. While it is light on the reception details, I just HAD to share those stunning mountain views!
Rebecca + Danny
Banff, Alberta, Canada
September 14, 2013
Why a Mountain Wedding?
My husband and I took our first vacation to Banff. Neither of us had been to the mountains in years and we fell in love with them. We continued to go back at least once a year because it was a quick and beautiful getaway. We were having trouble picking a venue in our hometown, nothing seemed quite right. My husband suggested Banff since we loved the mountains so much and I knew he was right. Having the mountains as our back drop with our family and friends gathered while we got married was incredibly special.
Where did you find your inspiration?
I looked at Pinterest frequently, I searched “mountain weddings” into Google and looked at a lot of wedding blogs.
- Our venue. I had fallen in love with Buffalo Mountain Lodge from seeing pictures online. After we visited it we knew it was the perfect place for our wedding. It needed minimal decoration because it was already beautiful, the food was phenomenal and the staff were always friendly. It had the exact look we wanted for our wedding. It was right up on the mountain surrounded by trees and we knew we would have to make it work. While it took up a large portion of the budget, it also included all food, drink, ceremony, reception and staff. It was well worth it.
- Our photographer. The very first thing we did after getting engaged was hunt for a photographer. Even being getting engaged I knew finding someone to capture our wedding was number one. Pictures are the one thing you have to look back on when it's all said and done and we did not want to sacrifice quality. We researched and compared photographers for months until we finally discovered Just for You Photography. Becky's pictures were incredible and we knew we wanted to have her with us. Becky and her husband were so helpful through out the day and it was more than worth it for the price we paid. I would always be willing to pay a little more for such an important keepsake.
Biggest savings: We really wanted to keep our wedding on the smaller side. Only close family and friends and I think this really enabled us to have the wedding we wanted and save a bit at the end. My husband also took it upon himself to make a large portion of the decorations. He loves making things and it worked out well for him to save us money by making us our decorations.
What were some personal details you incorporated?
- My Uncle offered to help us with our centerpieces. We were looking for wooden discs to place the lanterns and flowers on and he was able to make them on his farm. It was so nice to have part of him incorporated in the decorations.
- My husband also made the majority of the decorations. He spray painted all of our lanterns gold instead of black, he put together our “Love Is Sweet” sign for our candy table, he made the “Mr & Mrs” sign that sat on our sweetheart table and made holders for our table numbers. The whole reception was covered in everything he made and we loved it.
- Another special detail was my husband wearing my Grandpa's cufflinks. He passed away 5 years ago and my Uncle who was keeping them, gave them to him to wear. It made me feel like he was with us again.
- Lastly, our tree favours. We decided to give little trees as our favours. We really loved the idea of everyone planting a tree when they got home and watching it grow over the years. It fit with out mountain theme and was very environmentally friendly. We planted one in our yard and it will always be so special to watch it grow while we grow too.
Your favorite moment of the day.
- Walking down the aisle. I was trying very hard not to cry but failing miserably and he had the biggest smile I've seen on his face. I've never been more overcome with emotion than that moment and it's something I'll never forget.
- While taking our pictures, our photographer suggested my husband get in the cold lake and pick me up. It was not a warm day so it was very sweet of him. We ended up with some amazing, amazing pictures as a result. I'm very thankful he didn't mind doing that.
Three things you're glad you did.
- Choose Banff. It was the most amazing weekend with all our family and friends. The mountains, the fresh air, it was all perfect. The day after the wedding when everything had slowed down we were able to be newlyweds in our most favourite place in the world. It was worth all the hard work.
- Open bar. We had learned from going to other weddings that it was something we really appreciated. Our family and friends were driving up and we wanted to make the most of their trip. Food and drinks were very important to us and we decided any cost would be worth it.
- Hire a videographer. We almost didn't. I really wanted one but we already had an amazing photographer, I didn't know how it could work into our budget. After a lot of research I stumbled upon Aydin Odyakmaz of Aydin Weddings http://aydinweddings.com/ I felt he embodied the quality I was looking for with a price we could work with. The day of the wedding he kept us all laughing and the resulting product was so lovely. I got to see moments of my husband getting ready and moments before the ceremony, things I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise. 20 years from now we got to re-watch this video and remember everything we've forgotten. I feel like if you can fit it into your budget, a videographer should not be left out.
Anything you wish you hadn't done?
Not so much hadn't done, but made time for. My husband and I are both a little awkward and not so coordinated. We had talked about taking dance lessons but we never made time for them. While our first dance will always be special, we were a little awkward as usual. I suppose that makes it more us though haha.
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got and followed?
No one is going to notice if something isn't quite right, only you are, so try not to worry. I did worry, but maybe not as much. Whenever I noticed something not quite right I remembered that only I was noticing, not anyone else. It helped me relax.
What piece of wedding planing advice do you wish you followed?
It's your wedding, do what YOU want. I let other people influence me a few times over the planning process and I regret it. Those people offering their suggestions are not the ones getting married. Take what they say just as that, suggestions. Unless it is exactly what you want, don't do it. I regret very few things except not going with my gut in those situations.
Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?
Everything! At the time it felt justified but really, it all works out. Nothing went outrageously wrong. I still got married to my husband and we were still surrounded by love. That's what matters.
Anything You wish you had known about sooner rather than later?
I don't think so. I researched so much before the day that nothing surprised me too much.
How did you choose your vendors?
- Quality. I searched and searched. We narrowed it down to only people we felt embodied the style we were looking for. I did not look any further if I felt they didn't have the right quality of product. We knew what we wanted and did not want to sacrifice that.
- Price. Once we found the right people, we compared prices and figured out who could work into our budget. Some things I was willing to pay more for, others I knew we could save on.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides? Utilize your surroundings! I had my heart set on an outdoor ceremony but it didn't work out. It ended up pouring all morning so it was the right decision. While taking pictures it was still raining but there was no chance we were going inside. The rain ended up giving us a rainbow and a beautiful picture. The mountains are stunning, I suggest being outside as much as you can be.
Bride Recommended Vendors:
- Alison Lafrance of Whippt Catering – http://whippt.ca/ – She is a true artist and makes the most beautiful cakes. Once we had our tasting we knew she was the one. We discussed the kind of cake we wanted and made it work with our budget. Our cake was delicious and I would recommend her to every bride.
- Aydin Odyakmaz – http://aydinweddings.com/ – He is very talented and we were so pleased with our video. If the couple can afford it, a videographer is great to have. He is reasonably priced and still get a beautiful video. We were very happy.
- Just for You Photography – http://jfyphotography.ca/ – We loved having Becky and Jordan with us. They helped get the guys ready and made the most awkward people alive look good. Our pictures are so stunning I still don't know which ones to print. Is all too many? Her quality is outstanding as well as being one of the nicest couples ever! Very worth it to have them with us.
- Buffalo Mountain Lodge – http://www.crmr.com/buffalo/ – Our venue was amazing. They covered everything. Food, drinks, reception, ceremony. They were my dream venue and we were more than we expected.
- Banff Entertainment Company– http://banffentertainment.com/ – Our dj was great. He kept the party going and we didn't stop dancing till we had to shutdown. Highly recommend.
- Tree Time – http://treetime.ca/ – Awesome wedding favours and good prices.
Banff Wedding Vendors
Photographer: Just For You Photography | Dress Store: Bridal Debut | Reception Venue: Buffalo Mountain Lodge | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Moore's* | Equipment Rentals: Special Event Rentals | Cake Designer: Whippt Desserts and Catering | Floral Designer: Willow Flower Company