After taking a multi-year hiatus from my travel blog, I’m finally back! For anyone reading this who doesn’t know me in person … here’s the story of why my husband and I decided to plan a mini-destination wedding during the covid-19 pandemic.
Disclaimer: I want to be clear that we made sure to take every possible precaution in order to ensure the safety of all of our wedding guests and vendors. I will touch more those details later at the end of this post, but I just wanted to reiterate that we take the pandemic seriously and we followed all of the provincial government guidelines that were in place at the time of our wedding (08.22.2020).
Here’s a little backstory: in August of 2016, Riley and I went on a weekend getaway to Banff National Park, where we stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – which is famously known for being the ‘Castle of the Rocky Mountains.’ We had a wonderful stay and we were in such awe of the breathtaking scenery. I remember us even joking about how one day if we ever got rich that we would get married there, but at the time it was nothing more than wishful thinking! Little did we know then that almost four years later to the day, we would end up exchanging our wedding vows overlooking the same stunning view of the Bow Valley river surrounded by gorgeous mountains! ❤
Almost immediately after Riley and I got engaged in June of 2020 (which also happened in Banff LOL), we came across an incredible deal at the Banff Springs Hotel which was offering a promotion for small weddings at the hotel that same summer. (Normally this hotel is super sought-after as a summer destination wedding venue and can be fully booked years in advance … so when we saw this deal, we took it as a sign and knew we had to take advantage of it). I think had it not been for the pandemic, we likely would have waited at a lot longer to get married.
As part of the Small Weddings Offer, we ended up paying well under a third of the normal cost for the outdoor ceremony, and we opted to book a semi-private dining room for a celebratory dinner rather than having an all-out reception. (This offer also included a complimentary night for the bride & groom in the Turret Suite - aka one of the 'castle tower' rooms). This deal initially allowed us to have a maximum of 15 guests, but we were eventually able to accommodate a total of 25 due to a slight ease of the provincial gathering restrictions.
Now keep in mind, we only had 2 months to plan everything (!!) .. but luckily everything came together just in time.
Since our wedding took place out of town (4 hour drive from Edmonton), we thought it would be a nice idea to provide our guests with reusable welcome tote bags. Each bag contained a few goodies & essentials including North Water reusable water bottles, personalized lip balm, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, reusable fabric face mask, mini kleenex pack, our wedding schedule, and a personalized deck of cards. We also put together some wedding favours / thank you gift bags for our guests which we gave out to everyone after dinner.
Since our ceremony venue was outdoors on a terrace that already had a bunch of flowers along the railings – we didn’t feel the need to go big on decorations because we wanted the main focal point to be the gorgeous mountain view. We did however set up a guestbook table with a ‘Wishes for the Mr. & Mrs.’ jar, and we also provided some refreshments & macarons from my favourite bakery (Duchess Bake Shop) for our guests to enjoy before the ceremony.
Here are some more photo highlights of our special day…
Here’s a list of our wedding vendors:
- Officiant: Marilyn Reid Weddings
- Flowers: Banff Mountaintop Flowers
- Hairstyling: BEATNIK Salon
- Photography: ADICT Creative
- Bridal Eyelash Extensions: Cara Kapler
- Wedding Decor & Favours: Weddingstar
- Ceremony Venue: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
- Dinner Venue: The Vermillion Room
- Our pre-ceremony playlist: Disney’s Fairytale Weddings
- Our ceremony processional song: A Thousand Years
- Our “first song” down the aisle as a married couple: What a Wonderful World
Although we would have loved to have more of our family and friends with us in person to celebrate, we were at least able to livestream our ceremony on YouTube so we could share a part of our special day! Overall, we are so happy with how the day turned out and neither of us would change a thing. In the end, the most important thing is that my husband and I were able to get married and begin this new & exciting stage of life together. ❤
Thank you very much for reading!
PS: In writing this post, it made me realize how much I've missed blogging so I definitely plan to post more about my adventures in the near future. If you'd like to receive an email notification next time I post, please feel free to sign up in the form on this page! (hint hint ... the next post may or may not feature another famous destination that also happens to be located in the mountains :D)
All the best,
*COVID safety precautions disclaimer: we self-isolated and tested negative for covid-19 prior to our wedding. Our ceremony was held outdoors with all seats spaced out several feet apart. Hand sanitizer and face masks were also provided to all guests. All provincial guidelines were followed.