Wedding Venues - Off The Beaten Path
Searching a wedding venue that accommodates your wildhearted visions can often prove to be a bit of a struggle; I know that we found that to be true throughout the research we did when finding a venue for ourselves. For us personally, we had two main criteria that we were trying to adhere to:
- we wanted something that wouldn't cost us an absolute fortune (for this reason, it's best to try and avoid any of the mountain national parks in the area, or other majorly public/used venues)
- we wanted a place where we could set up camp for the weekend and have our entire guest list (34 people) stay comfortably throughout the entire weekend.
I remember finding it especially difficult especially without being able to actively drive around in the winter months all throughout the small mountain towns and personally checking out all the locations for ourselves (because of the road conditions, as well as just how far all of the spots that seemed interesting were from one another).
After a lot of online scouring through pinterest, parks Canada websites, and endless blog posts, we were finally able to find a location that we knew we had to check out--Goldenwood Lodge in Golden, BC. Finding a location for us was one of our two top priorities: a location that worked with our two guidelines above and a photographer. When we contacted the loveliest little duo who own + operate Goldenwood Lodge, we basically asked them for any of their weekend openings that coincided with our photographer's schedule, and we booked everything from there.
I think that it's super important when wedding planning that you decide what is absolutely most important for you, book + schedule that first, and then book everything else around that. You don't want to have to make compromises on something that you absolutely want as a part of your day just because the dates aren't available or don't work together. Organize your priorities and start there. It's also not uncommon to inquire with a photographer first, get their availability and then either find a venue using their available dates, or work with their availability to book an amazing venue alongside of them. There are lots of options!
Another important key to keep in mind, is that there are no rules when it comes to finding a location for your wedding or for adjusting whichever venue you do choose to better suit your vision. At Goldenwood Lodge, they've always had couples use the main camp area as the ceremony location. It's centralized amongst the teepee camp and has tables + benches easily accessible for seating. For Mark and I, however, we wanted something a little bit different; so, instead of going with their usual suggestion, we decided that our wedding would take place down by the river, on a completely untouched little chunk of land about a 15 minute walk from our camp. The morning of our wedding, Mark + the boys ventured down in the rain to build a teepee that we had envisioned as having as the ceremony backdrop, and everyone made the long treck down to the riverside in their dress clothes, with just an additional chair being carried down for my grandma. It's just a reminder that you can alter whatever needs altering in order to best suit what you're wanting your day to be a reflection of; don't be afraid to ask question, change things around, and most importantly, make your day a reflection of who you two are.
I've done a little research in order to curate a list of locations in + around the Rocky Mountains that are either not-incredibly-popular wedding venues, or are rad locations that would be easily able to be turned into the perfect location for a wedding; but, before we get to those, I wanted to share a couple thoughts of alternative wedding or ceremony locations that some of my own couples have done in the past that have worked so wonderfully.
All of these locations + ideas shared above are just a taste of some of the really unique locations that my own couples have chosen to explore for their own wedding day and/or ceremony. There are still so many spots out there to explore, and I'm so thankful to be able to do that with the help of my wedding couples throughout the seasons. I've taken some time to curate a list of locations that look really incredible, but that I've yet had the chance to visit or photograph at myself. I've also tried to include some other wedding examples (when possible) to showcase more of what the space has to offer.
- Mount Robson Campground - the perfect blend of nature, mountains, beautiful BC, and all with enough space for you + your guests to stay. Here is a wedding example that was photographed at MRC.
- Lower Lake Group Camp (Kananaskis, AB) - This blog post showcases well this venue option.
- Camp Cadicasu - I've never seen a wedding example at this location, but it looks like a neat option.
- Camp Chief Hector (Kananaskis, AB) - Another neat option for a camp style wedding, and this space can be used in the summer or the wintertime; check out a real wedding example here.
- Kootenay Park Lodge - This space is fresh into the wedding game and looks like an incredibly stunning location for a wedding or elopement. Again, there's on-site cabin accommodation, oodles of nature, and just the coziest atmosphere.
What are you looking for when it comes to your own wedding and/or elopement venue? What characteristics + qualities are most important to you both as a couple?
Regardless as to where you choose to get married, I want in on the action! Let's go for coffees, dinner, or a hike and spend some time getting to know each other better! I'm currently taking wedding bookings for 2017 as well as 2018.