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

  •  the couple must have a valid Alberta marriage licence  
  • all ceremonies require a minimum of five people: the officiant (either a religious officiant such as a minister, priest or rabbi, or a civil marriage commissioner), the two parties to be married, and two adult witnesses
  • all five people listed above must sign the Register of Marriage.   

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.  

Churches  

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:  

Banff Park Church  

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints    

Full Gospel Church (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada )  

Grace Japanese Christian Church of Alberta (Pentecostal)  - associated with Full Gospel Church

Rundle Memorial United Church  — wedding policy (the United Church of Canada is the result of the union of Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Methodist churches)

St. George's-in-the-Pines (Anglican/Episcopal)   — wedding policy  

St. Mary's (Roman Catholic)  — wedding policy

St Paul 's Presbyterian  — wedding policy  

Marriage Commissioners / Wedding Officiants

Civil weddings are performed by marriage commissioners and wedding officiants. The following serve Banff (see Service Alberta for a detailed, up-to-date list )

Patricia Compton

Karyn Faryna

Marion Kutzer  

Rick Kunelius

Carl J. Shields

John Stutz

Nomi Whalen

Robin White  

Weddings in Banff National Park - Regulations

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.

  • you may not cordon off an area for your wedding, or set up chairs
  • no amplified music or sound (quiet music is permitted, PA systems are not)
  • no gas generators
  • no rowdy behaviour
  • no open alcohol  
  • day use areas (e.g. picnic shelters) close at 11 p.m.
  • no confetti or rice
  • the site must be thoroughly cleaned immediately after the event

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.   

Wedding Locations - Outdoors, Public 

The top of Sulphur Mountain, via the Banff Gondola (year-round)

The top of the Lake Louise Gondola (summer only)

Bow Falls (year-round)

On the 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)

A large gazebo in  Banff Central Park, close to the Bow River, may be booked through the Town of Banff; Visit  www.banff.ca/weddings

The grassy top of the  Tunnel Mountain Reservoir, which is in a large mountain meadow, is also available for booking through the  Town of Banff

Wedding Locations - Outdoors, Private

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.

Wedding Locations - Indoors

Various venues (Mount Stephen Hall, Oak Room, Cascade Ballroom, Conservatory, Rundle Lounge, Riverview Lounge, Waldhaus) at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel; the Waldhaus also has a patio

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.  

Unusual Wedding Ideas

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 .

A wedding carriage ride is available in the town of Banff; in the winter, you can arrange for a sleigh ride near the town of Banff or a sleigh ride at Lake Louise  

Wedding Planners  

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.  

Banff Gay Weddings  

Cherry Tree Occasions

Rocky Mountain Weddings  

Sweet Occasions Bridal Consulting

Banffbride.com and Banfflakelouise.com have directories of local photographers, florists, bakers, and other providers of wedding-related services.


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