The Banff National Park will hold special challenges for brides & grooms this year.
Your dream wedding in Banff is all prepared and you are excited to be getting married in the beautiful Banff National Park this summer.
What you may, or may not know, is that Canada at large, is gearing up for a major party as well—Canada 150.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada’s becoming a confederation, and to celebrate the Canadian government has offered free admission to all the national parks and a plethora of special activities to commemorate the occasion.
The Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park, and as such, Banff will play a major role in the celebrations and is expecting a record number of visitors this summer season.
Banff is crowded during any typical season, with even more visitors expected, what does this mean for you?
In this article, I’ll address the main challenges Canada 150 will create for you and your wedding guests and the best ways to manage them.
Traffic will be a major issue in Banff & Lake Louise this summer.
The Town of Banff has determined that daily road capacity is 24,000.
In an average year, this is well below the number of visitors in cars who enter the park. Approximately 3.8 million people visited Banff in 2015, even more in 2016 and that number is expected to increase dramatically again this summer.
The last thing you want is for you or your guests to spend their precious time in Banff sitting in a car in traffic, or worse, late for your wedding activities because they can’t get to the venues.
1. Be informed & inform your guests of the situation.
If they are planning to drive to the wedding, either in their own car or a rental, encourage them to use public transportation instead.
The town of Banff has taken measures to provide a variety of affordable, often free, and accessible transit services to get visitors where they need and want to go.
- Increased service from the Calgary Airport to Banff & Lake Louise.
- Shuttle service around Banff and Lake Louise’s most popular tourist attractions and between the 2 towns.
- Shuttle services from major overflow parking areas outside of the towns into town.
- “Hop On & Off” shuttle services around the Minnewanka Loop and along the Bow Vally Parkway.
For more information check out:
Info on shuttles to & from YYC to Banff:
The Banff Airporter:
Brewster Banff Airport Express
Airport Shuttle Express:
2. Allow extra time in your schedule for delays…and by “extra time” I mean, lots of extra time!
Give yourself ample time to get where you need to be. Make it clear to your guests to do the same.
3. Allow for more time for your wedding portraits.
Your wedding photographer will have to work around many limitations this summer given the traffic & crowds.
- Have realistic expectations of what they can do in the time you have given them.
- Understand that it may be a better call to do your portraits in a single location rather than multiple.
- If possible, avoid the area’s most popular spots.
Lake Louise & Moraine Lake, in particular, will be extremely crowded.
Banff wedding photographer, Troy Burnett, waiting for a break in the crowds.
If you have your heart set on these locations then give your photographer a generous amount of time. He/she will have to navigate seemingly endless streams of people to capture intimate pictures of just you and your partner. Don’t count on crowds making way for the bride. It may not happen, or even be realistically possible!
- Expect road closures.
Lake Louise & Lake Moraine have limited accessibility with only one road as access. There is no doubt that park officials will limit numbers by temporarily denying access by closing the road. Road closure can last for hours thus making some locations simply undoable in your time frame.
- Defer to your wedding photographer’s judgment.
Most local photographers know where to avoid and where to find alternative locations that offer beautiful backgrounds that aren’t swarming with crowds. Trust them! You’ll be happy you did.
A beautiful and quiet location may be just what you need to relax!
Crowds in the national park in high season are unavoidable. The beauty of the area is indeed amazing, and something that should be experienced and shared.
- Plan ahead.
Have your all your reservations made in advance to avoid problems and disappointment. Double check that you & your guests have provided for
Double check that you & your guests have provided for hotel accommodations, restaurant reservations, activity bookings, necessary rentals and the like.
To the best of your ability leave nothing to last minute. Banff is a small town with limited resources at the best of times.
- Go with the flow!
It’s your wedding day. It’s going to be amazing, memorable and fun!
Prepare yourself mentally to be sharing the joy with a lot of people and feed on the excitement and energy of the crowds rather than letting it get you down.
Everyone loves to see a bride & groom. Your will be toasted, cheered, honked at, smiled at, good naturedly yelled at… you name it. It may be overwhelming, but feel the love and take it in as part of your exquisite experience.
- Limit your movement on your wedding day.
Ask your photographer to do your portraits around your ceremony and reception venues to avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Photoshop away those uninvited guests!
A photographer skilled in Photoshop can do a lot to improve your wedding pictures by removing unwanted elements. Ask you photographer if this is an option. It may cost more, but the results can be worth every penny.
Alone at last…thanks to Photoshop!
I hope this article has been useful to you in preparing for your wedding day in the Banff area.
If you have any info or suggestions you would like to share, leave a comment in the box at the bottom of the page.
I wish you much joy and success on your wedding day and an amazing, unforgettable experience in this beautiful country.