10 of the Best Places to Elope in Alberta
What comes to mind when you picture your elopement? Chances are that you’re not envisioning large crowds of onlookers trying to sneak a peek or to capture a picture of you and your partner for themselves on their iPhones.
When it comes to eloping in Alberta - and particularly eloping in the Canadian Rocky Mountains - all of the well known locations that come up when googled are often the tourist hots posts, no matter the time of year.
Let’s take things away from the crowds today and explore 10 of the most romantic and intimate places to elope in Alberta.
One thing before we get started.
A great piece of advice to keep in mind when it comes to planning your elopement, is that if you’re looking for a location off of the beaten path to hold your marriage ceremony or complete elopement, I would encourage you to reach out to--and even hire--a photographer who is local to the area. Photographers, like myself, spend countless hours wandering our cities and surrounding spaces, and will often have a laundry list of intimate and quieter mountain (or other) locations that you can’t find on google.
Starting with the more popular and potentially less private options, and counting all the way down to the most private elopement spaces in alberta that I’ve discovered.
The best places to elope in Alberta:
1. Old Fort Point Loop - Jasper, Alberta
if you’re looking for a relatively simple way to incorporate some breathtaking mountain views into your elopement without having to exert too much energy, Old Fort Point Loop is a great option. Although this is a relatively easy hike not far from the town centre, the higher you climb, the more private it becomes. A great way to guarantee even more privacy and intimacy for your elopement is to plan a sunrise ceremony or portrait session at the top of the Old Fort Point Loop, followed by celebratory brunch and mimosas back in town!
2. Edge of the World - Jasper, Alberta
This quick 15 minute drive + 15 minute walk through the forest will lead you quite literally to what feels like the edge of the world. After wandering through the woods, the trail will open up to one of the most breathtaking views, ideal for a romantic and intimate elopement. This would be another great option to plan around less-peak times or seasons, such as an early morning elopement, or the off season.
Moving away from the mountains for a moment, let’s explore Alberta’s other incredible wonder, the badlands. The badlands might make you immediately think of Drumheller, but there are many other areas just over an hour of Calgary that incorporate the mysticism of these ancient sandstones without the bustle and crowds. Although it’s one of the more popular badland areas, next to Drumheller itself, Horseshoe Canyon is an incredibly vast area that will give you the perfect setting for a romantic elopement, you’ll just have to walk a little ways to find it. Referred to as a mini “Grand Canyon”, this beautiful monochromatic space in the badlands is the perfect intimate juxtaposition to all of the mountain’s green and blue hues.
4. Side of the road in Banff, Alberta
Hear me out here! With an elopement usually being shorter in length than a traditional wedding, as well as incorporating substantially less people, often times the best locations aren’t defined locations at all. Again, best utilized on the off seasons or early in the morning, the roadways and lakes surrounding Banff, Alberta lend an ideal mountainscape for your elopement ceremony.
5. Spray Lakes or roadside trailheads around Canmore, Alberta
Much like pulling over somewhere surrounding Banff, Canmore is a slightly less popular area that can match Banff for it’s breathtaking views and intimate elopement locations. Spray Lakes--a 20 minute drive outside of the town centre--is a stunning location that incorporates mountain vistas with that blue-green crystal clear water that Canada’s Rocky Mountains are famous for. If the Lakes themselves aren’t quite what you’re looking for, or are too populated for your liking, keep your eyes open on the drive leading up to the lakes; some of my favourite photo locations can be found on that drive.
6. Mount Engadine - Canmore/Kananaskis, Alberta
This is the only location on the list that is an actual reservable venue within the Rocky Mountains, and it’s one of the most incredibly private and stunning locations that this area has to offer. Nestled a little under two hours from Canmore, Mount Engadine offers unique collections that cater to whatever sort of elopement (or wedding) that you’re looking to plan.
7. Kananaskis, Alberta
Due to its lack of buzz within the tourist community, Kananaskis - although much closer to Calgary than Canmore or Banff - is often overlooked as an areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains to explore. There are some incredibly unique spaces, such as the river at the Widowmaker or Canoe Flats, the beaches surrounding Barrier Lake, or an endless number of pull offs that would make for a wonderfully intimate and away-from-the-crowds elopement location. Bonus idea! Plan a full weekend (or longer!) away in Kananaskis and check into a Trapper’s Tent at Sundance Lodges - a Rocky Mountain experience that you won’t soon forget, and the perfect mini post-elopement honeymoon location.
8. Hailstone Butte, Kananaskis, Alberta
If you’re looking for privacy, 360 degree mountain views, and endless option for your intimate elopement ceremony or post-ceremony photos, this entire area of Kananaskis is unlike anything else. The Southern Alberta mountain ranges are usually only inhabited by locals, so this is an incredible option for the romantic eloping that you’re planning.
9. Kananaskis, area surrounding Waiparous Village and the Waiparous Creek
Another area of the Rockies that simply isn’t exposed to tourism, is the area of Kananaskis North of Highway 1. There are cozy airbnbs that can be rented in the area, and the surrounding vast expanse of nature offers river, forest, field, and a mountain view unique to the view that you’re used to in Banff and Canmore.
10. Your own home
Lastly, I wanted to highlight an elopement option that isn’t often talked about, but is still a really great intimate option when it comes to eloping. What space feels more true to you than that of your home? I’ve been privy to a few at-home elopements and intimate weddings, and they’ve honestly been some of the most special gatherings that I’ve been a part of. If your backyard has always been your oasis, envisioning it holding one of your life’s greatest memories thus far? Or, if you’re home isn’t what you had in mind, do you have a friend or family member with a beautiful space or acreage that fits your vision better? Often times, the most meaningful and romantic locations to elope can be found without having to look very far.
In the end, all that matters is you two.
No matter where you choose to elope, the most important thing is that you’re decision is reflective of what is most important to you both as a couple. Find what spaces speak to you and follow that lead.
If you’re wanting even more ideas, or personal tours to some of my most favourite shooting locations, I’d love to talk with you more about your plans, or you can browse a few more blog posts that you might be interested in down below.