The toughest question for any recently engaged couple is Who do we invite to our wedding? When Emily and I decided to get married last fall (it was a mutual decision, sorry no YouTube engagement video), we knew we didn’t want a huge wedding (with the logistics of guests spread out all over North America) and we didn’t want to elope (stress-free but not much of a celebration). We wanted a small wedding, and that didn’t mean under 100 people.
Our perfect wedding was an intimate weekend with 18 guests in the Rocky Mountains, complete with snowshoeing, board games, and hot springs. Because we kept it small, it was relatively stress-free to plan and we had more time to spend with our family and friends. One of the main reason we decided to get married was to give our families an opportunity to spend time with each other. Emily and I dated for over 5 years, but before the wedding our parents had never met each other.
After the wedding, we had a bigger party in Vancouver to celebrate with our friends. We also made promises to our extended families that we would visit Toronto this summer and Winnipeg for Christmas. I know my aunts have been saving up embarrassing stories of me, and I feel bad for denying them the opportunity to share them at my wedding.
Weekend in Banff
We chose Banff as our wedding destination because it has great natural beauty, it was somewhere Emily and I wanted to visit anyway, and it is relatively easy to get to – or so we thought. Emily and I almost didn’t make it because of the ongoing labour dispute at Air Canada. We woke up on Saturday morning, and were about to leave for the airport when we found out our flight was cancelled. The situation was nerve-racking and comical, and everything worked out in the end. We had to shuffle the car rentals around, and rush to pick up our marriage license, but we arrived in Banff 4 hours late to find our families hanging out in the condo, drinking wine, and getting along splendidly. Any anxiety we had about them not getting along was quickly dispelled.
The wedding wasn’t until Monday afternoon, so we had a few days to spend with our friends and family before. We booked two multi-bedroom condos at the Inns of Banff, so we had a large living room to hang out in and a kitchen to cook meals in. The Moms cooked two fabulous dinners for us – no small feat considering how many vegans, celiacs, and food sensitivities there were in our small group.
We spent most of Sunday ice walking and snowshoeing in the Banff National Park. In the morning, we hiked up the frozen Johnston Canyon. Then after a hearty lunch in Lake Louise, we snowshoed the Lakeshore trail. The two hikes were reasonably flat, but still a light workout. Not everyone made it for both, but I think most people enjoyed themselves. I was happy to get out into the fresh air and introduce snowshoeing to some of our city slicker friends from Toronto and New York.