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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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). 

This was a shot of our venue/overall style mood board that we created as one of our first stages in wedding planning. It was incredibly helpful to gather inspiration from all over the internet, print it off, and paste it onto a poster board that we kept in our dining room so that we were able to see it constantly and keep our vision on track. 

This was a shot of our venue/overall style mood board that we created as one of our first stages in wedding planning. It was incredibly helpful to gather inspiration from all over the internet, print it off, and paste it onto a poster board that we kept in our dining room so that we were able to see it constantly and keep our vision on track. 

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!

A month prior to our wedding, we booked in at Goldenwood Lodge and spent two nights out there for ourselves so that we got to experience what our guests were going to experience throughout their stay in the teepee camp. We had also only seen the "venue" once before in the wintertime, so this was a great way to see what it looked like in the summer as well. 

A month prior to our wedding, we booked in at Goldenwood Lodge and spent two nights out there for ourselves so that we got to experience what our guests were going to experience throughout their stay in the teepee camp. We had also only seen the "venue" once before in the wintertime, so this was a great way to see what it looked like in the summer as well. 

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.
 

Meghan + Bryon used a family friend's cabin as the location for their lakeside wedding in Jasper as well as evening cocktails + appetizers + cake. It was the perfect intimate venue for the entirety of their wedding day/evening. 

Meghan + Bryon used a family friend's cabin as the location for their lakeside wedding in Jasper as well as evening cocktails + appetizers + cake. It was the perfect intimate venue for the entirety of their wedding day/evening. 

Lauren + Tyler got married at the Alton Jones Summer Research Camp for their surprise wedding. This location is not a typical wedding venue, but it worked magically for their surprise ceremony and huge family-style reception. 

Lauren + Tyler got married at the Alton Jones Summer Research Camp for their surprise wedding. This location is not a typical wedding venue, but it worked magically for their surprise ceremony and huge family-style reception. 

Horseshoe Canyon on your way to Drumheller, AB is a super unique location that would work wonderfully as a ceremony backdrop. It's a short walk down to this exact location from the parking lot, and it's a totally different scenery twist on the usual mountains + lush greens of a summer wedding or elopement. 

Horseshoe Canyon on your way to Drumheller, AB is a super unique location that would work wonderfully as a ceremony backdrop. It's a short walk down to this exact location from the parking lot, and it's a totally different scenery twist on the usual mountains + lush greens of a summer wedding or elopement. 

Emily + Stephen's elopement location was right off of a road in Banff National Park. We were able to park right along the side of the road and wander off a few hundred yards into this stunning rainy space. "Venues" or ceremony spots don't always have to be a huge hike to get to. 

Emily + Stephen's elopement location was right off of a road in Banff National Park. We were able to park right along the side of the road and wander off a few hundred yards into this stunning rainy space. "Venues" or ceremony spots don't always have to be a huge hike to get to. 

Megan + Luke straight-up eloped, just the both of them in Jasper National Park last May. They had asked me about some ideas for locations, and I immediately suggested one of my favourite "locations"; a 15 minute trek up a mountain off the side of the road to an incredible grassy mountain top with a 360º view. 

Megan + Luke straight-up eloped, just the both of them in Jasper National Park last May. They had asked me about some ideas for locations, and I immediately suggested one of my favourite "locations"; a 15 minute trek up a mountain off the side of the road to an incredible grassy mountain top with a 360º view. 

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. 
 

  1. 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.
  2. Lower Lake Group Camp (Kananaskis, AB) - This blog post showcases well this venue option. 
  3. Camp Cadicasu - I've never seen a wedding example at this location, but it looks like a neat option.
  4. 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
  5. 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.