The splendor of Bow Lake set the romantic (and gorgeous) scene for Steven and Claire’s intimate Banff National Park wedding! These two chose to elope for a variety of reasons, but it all started with COVID. Says Steven, “During COVID, it was hard to plan any event in the city…We looked into having a local wedding but the cost was going to be astronomical for the capacity of 25, even 50 people. For a fraction of the cost, going away to ‘elope’ was something we knew would be memorable as well. We wanted an epic background for pictures and a venue that didn’t have capacity restrictions. We went to Banff for Christmas the year before (during one of the lockdowns) and we both fell in love with the mountains and the beauty we had in Canada.” At their photographer’s recommendation, Steven and Claire chose Bow Lake, gathered an intimate group of close friends, and got planning.
When it came to what to wear while saying “I do,” Claire and Steven were guided by the desire to shop local and work with local designers. That mission led Claire to our flagship Toronto boutique, where she worked with us to create a custom gown, and Steven to Empire Customs for his dapper custom-fit suit!
And those epic pictures Steven mentioned? All of that is below, and there’s more to come next week when we feature their portrait session which involved a helicopter!
Steven shares the scoop on how they met, got engaged, and planned their elopement below.
How did you know Claire was “the one”?
“We met online on the Hinge app and we both knew what we were looking for, something serious. We clicked from the first date (at least for me). Our dates were filled with great conversation, laughter and lots of fun. We literally checked all the “boxes” for each other. By the 3rd date, I knew she was “the one”. It’s true when they say “when you know, you know”.”
How did you guys get engaged?
“When we both knew that we wanted to get married, we bought a condo in February 2021. On closing day, I (Steven) went to the unit earlier to set up all the decorations: flowers, rose petals, fairy lights, balloons with our pictures hanging from them, food and camera. Claire just happened to have a professional photoshoot that day as well, so I knew she’s looking great with her makeup, hair and a nice outfit which is important! (Tips for men who are looking to propose. Pro tip: ask her friends if she would like it to be intimate or with an audience.) I told her to come to the condo to “check” and make sure everything in the condo works. I had a note on the door that said something along the lines of “if you’re ready for an adventure of a lifetime, come in”.”
Tell us about your outfits!
“It was very important to us that we shop local and work with local designers.
Gown: Claire started off wanting something with sleeves with satin or crepe, but after trying different dresses from different stores, she knew that she wanted something light and airy to go with the outdoor setting. Lea-Ann just had the perfect lace, the cutest corset, and the ability to customize all the details to her heart’s content.
Suit: I wanted a suit I could wear even after the wedding (yes, I’m practical). I wanted something that would go well with nature, so I was thinking along the lines of earthy tones. Our photographer recommended something beige, not a strong pattern that would go with the mountains, trees and lakes. Having a well-fitted custom suit (not made-to-measure) makes a huge difference. Empire Customs just happened to have something on their Instagram with a tweed suit that grabbed my eye, I went to check them out, and it was even nicer in person.”
Why did you decide to get married where you did?
“During COVID, it was hard to plan any event in the city. Capacity restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty made it hard to plan anything, let alone a wedding (how many weddings do you know got postponed?!). We looked into having a local wedding but the cost was going to be astronomical for the capacity of 25, even 50 people. For a fraction of the cost, going away to ‘elope’ was something we knew would be memorable as well. We wanted an epic background for pictures and a venue that didn’t have capacity restrictions. We went to Banff for Christmas the year before (during one of the lockdowns) and we both fell in love with the mountains and the beauty we had in Canada. International travel was not an option with borders closed, so getting married at Lake Louise seemed like a great idea. Our photographer recommended going to Bow lake instead to avoid the tourists.”
Tell us about your day!
“Sadly, both our families weren’t able to travel but some of our closest friends were able to join us! That made everything more special and memorable. There was rain in the forecast, but with mountain weather being so unpredictable, it ended up being so perfect for us. It even snowed a bit near the end of our ceremony! It made everything so dreamy with the sun and light flurries. We wanted to do something different for just the 2 of us, so we went on a helicopter ride for a photoshoot at the top of a mountain. We ended off the night with a fantastic dinner at the Post hotel. “
Three words that best describe your partner (you or both of you can answer!):
“For Steven: Funny, Thoughtful and Adventurous.
For Claire: Smart, Confident and Compassionate.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Two weeks in Costa Rica!! Things were opening up and we wanted to go somewhere close, hot, adventures and filled with nature. Wildlife, nature and Costa Rica had a large variety of both.”
Any tips for couples getting married?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff, have fun, and enjoy the moment.”
Claire + Steven’s Banff Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: custom Lea-Ann Belter gown via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique | photographer: Darren Roberts | Hotel (for getting ready): Post Hotel Lake Louise | florals: Blue Lakes Floral Design | groom’s suit: Empire Customs | hair: Sam Roycroft of La Beauty Palace | makeup: Sam Marvell | invitation calligraphy: Jessoligraphy | invitation wax seal: Artisaire