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Alberta weddings are governed by the laws of Canada and Alberta. Both civil and religious ceremonies are valid, as long as they are performed by a recognized officiant. The main legal requirements are
Gay marriage is legal in Canada; however, the question of whether Alberta marriage commissioners may refuse to perform a gay wedding has yet to be decided. Religious officiants are free to perform or refuse to perform a gay marriage, according to their religious beliefs.
Marriage licences are available from a private registry office. (U.K. visitors should note that there is no requirement that weddings take place in a registry office.) In Banff, the registry office is the Banff Bureau.
A number of Christian denominations have churches in the town of Banff. Some of their websites also explain the rules for weddings at their churches:
Full Gospel Church (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada )
Grace Japanese Christian Church of Alberta (Pentecostal) - associated with Full Gospel Church
Civil weddings are performed by marriage commissioners and wedding officiants. The following serve Banff (see Service Alberta for a detailed, up-to-date list )
If you are booking your venue outside the Town of Banff boundaries, and within the Park, you are subject to park wedding regulations, which are primarily concerned with preserving the park environment and enjoyment for all visitors.
If the above rules pose problems, you may arrange to have your wedding on private property (such as a church, hotel, or restaurant) within the park. You will then need to inquire about their rules for weddings. Of course everyone must comply with National Park regulations at all times, which include possessing a valid National Park Pass, regardless of your venue, if you arrive by your own/rental vehicle. Passes are obtainable at the park gates, at the Visitor Information Centre in the Town of Banff or online here.
The top of Sulphur Mountain, via the Banff Gondola (year-round)
The top of the Lake Louise Gondola (summer only)
Bow Falls (year-round)
steps of the Bankhead church (church was relocated to Calgary but steps remain), near the Lower Bankhead viewpoint on Lake Minnewanka road
Cascade Gardens, behind the Banff Administration Building (June-September), has been a classic location for photos for decades. It can also host small weddings (20 people max). There is also a smaller garden area in front of the Administration Building which has the town of Banff and surrounding mountains as a backdrop
The shores of Two Jack Lake, near Lake Minnewanka and the town of Banff
The Rockpile viewpoint of Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise
Tunnel Mountain Hoodoos viewpoint, on Tunnel Mountain Road (photos, small parties only)
Norquay Road viewpoint, on road to Mount Norquay ski resort just outside the town of Banff
Lower Falls at Johnston's Canyon (note that this area is usually slightly wet, due to spray, and very busy with visitors; best for wedding photos only)
Tunnel Mountain Meadow at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Patio at the The Juniper Hotel & Bistro has outstanding views of Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain - here is a link to their website The Juniper Hotel & Bistro
Rooftop patio at the Rose & Crown Pub in the town of Banff
Sunshine Meadows, at Sunshine Village ski area (summer only)
"Million dollar view" at the terrace outside the Rundle Lounge at Banff Springs Hotel, or the courtyard outside the Bow Valley Grill
The deck at the Mt Norquay ski area (and adjoining indoor facilities) is available throughout the year for a private location up on the ski hill.
Rimrock Resort clings to the edge of Sulphur Mountain, and the lobby offers some excellent views for photos; some of the function rooms are also reported to have great mountain views
Moraine Lake Lodge near Lake Louise
Banff Park Lodge offers views of the Bow River in Banff townsite
Various venues at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The Juniper Hotel & Bistro has unique indoor venue options with beautiful views as well as the patio mentioned above.
The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre has indoor and outdoor facilities, onsite catering, and offers excellent mountain views.
Recreational helicopter flights are not permitted within Banff National Park. However, if you want a mountain-top wedding ceremony, you can put on your sensible shoes and walk to the top of Tunnel Mountain (about 60 mins of walking for those who are fairly fit), or take the Banff gondola or Lake Louise gondola high up a mountain. You can take a helicopter flight to the top of a mountain outside the park boundaries; these depart from Canmore and Golden, B.C.
In winter, you can arrive or depart in style via dogsled. Kingmik Dogsled Tours is based in Lake Louise. (Snowy Owl and Howling Dog are both based in nearby Canmore, and do not operate within Banff National Park.)
For a wedding at Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, you can arrange to arrive or depart via a rented canoe.
At Lake Minnewanka, your wedding or reception can take place on the mountain-rimmed lake in a tour boat .
The following wedding planners are based in Banff or nearby Canmore; some marriage commissioners (see above) may also be associated with wedding planners, or offer wedding planning.
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