Destination Weddings/Real Weddings

Regal, Disney-Inspired, Majestic Mountain Wedding

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Want to take your Disney themed wedding to the next level? Find a real castle, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and fill the grand ballrooms and banquet halls with endless red roses. Sound too good to be true? This real Canadian wedding delivers any and all Disney princess bride dreams.

Banff is truly an amazing scene. The crystalline lake hidden deep in the Canadian Rockies provides the majestic canvas for this regal affair. We’re always so stunned to find castle venues in North America – Mount Stephen Hall in Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel could be straight out of the French alps, and perhaps a page of Beauty and the Beast?

On that note, Natalie and Jonathan incorporated their love for Disney in such a clear yet elegant way. Thanks to careful planning and subtle details, the couple’s wedding is far from “theme-y”. With grand ballrooms, ornate gold details, tall cakes, regal settings, endless roses and of course Natalie’s royal bridal tiara, the wedding looks like a real-life fairy tale.

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The Proposal

The first time I went with Jonathan’s family to Disney World in 2011 I truly realized my love for Disney! From that point on I dreamed of being proposed to in a Disney theme park. 

In 2014, Jonathan planned a double family trip to Orlando with his family and my parents. Shortly after he asked my father at a family dinner for my hand in marriage formally.

The first day we went to the theme park I wore my princess-y clothes because we were heading to the Magic Kingdom. When we arrived at the park, a lady suddenly approached us and gave me a rose, with a scroll. She even knew my name! I quickly opened the scroll and inside was a picture of “Beauty and the Beast”, a picture of Jonathan and I, and instructions signed by “Belle”. The instructions stated that Belle and the Beast were trying to leave us a message but had to hide the clues with roses hidden in the Magic Kingdom because the villains were trying to destroy the message.

The villains had enchanted the roses with a spell and if I were unable to find all the roses the message would be lost forever. I didn’t know what was going on, but I began to start the scavenger hunt. Each rose I found had a picture memory of times I had spent with Jonathan in our five years together, and clues leading around the park. The final rose had instructions to go to the front of the Cinderella Castle.

As I approached the castle, there was a clue on the ground. The clue had two blindfolds and required us to place them over each other’s eyes for the secret message to appear. He had a “helper” come to take off his blindfold first, then I felt “pixie dust”, and he told me to take off my blindfold. When I took off my blindfold that’s when all the magic happened. I saw him kneeling down on one knee, in front of Cinderella Castle, with a huge crowd around us and he was holding the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life. I immediately burst into tears, hugged him and answered “YES!”.

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The Theme

The overall theme of our wedding was Walt Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The theme ran through all elements of our wedding including proposal, engagement, invitations, venue selection, decorations, menus, first dance song selection and floral design.

Our venue was chosen based on its castle-like characteristics, and location in the Rocky Mountains. The hall we chose within the venue was a high ceiling, open hall with stain glass windows, chandeliers, longcase clocks and antique knight’s armour.

The colour theme was golden yellow, red and navy blue. The flowers were chosen as all red roses to signify the connection to ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The vision of our wedding day was to gather only close family and friends to experience a magical experience similar to Disney but showcasing our love for each other.

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The Venue

Our most luxurious aspect of the wedding was our venue. The Mount Stephen Hall in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is like a great hall pictured in a castle from a painting. When you enter the space you are left breathless as you are also surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the Banff National Park.

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The Planning

The best part of planning our wedding was growing closer to our families and wedding party. Planning was a chance to get to know each other’s parents and families, and learning how to work together as a team before our union. We tried to meet with all our busy schedules to research and select specific colours, flowers, wardrobe, decorations and menu tasting. We enjoyed this element of planning because of all the memories we were able to create.

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The Ceremony

We had a Traditional Christian Ceremony led by our minister, Pastor Kim. Our service music was provided by Deborah Nyack, The Harp Angel, who played music prelude, during the wedding march of bridal party, wedding march of parents, and wedding march of the bride. She played “Tale as Old as Time”, the main theme from “Beauty and the Beast” during the ceremony which enhanced the theme of our wedding and was extremely magical!

Our mothers also lit a unity candle together signifying the marriage of the two families. As a bonus, we had a Traditional Korean Ceremony called “Pae Baek” during the reception. It was very memorable to share our tradition in Canada with our guests. Bride and groom, and mothers changed to traditional Korean clothing called “Han Bok” and the elders (aunts, uncles, grandmothers, etc.) took turns throwing dates that the bride and groom catch together which signifies wealth, health and blessing of children following marriage.

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Favorite Moment

Our favorite moment of the wedding day was following the ceremony. We were officially husband and wife, celebrated in front of all our family and friends. The nerves from completing the ceremony were gone, and we were set to enjoy the rest of our wedding day with all the guests, take photos with our bridal party and enjoy the food that was to be served at our reception. It was a rush of emotion, pride and gratitude to officially be married.

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The Photography

Carey Nash captured our engagement photos, wedding day photos and an adventure session the day after the wedding. He captured all our favorite moments in beautiful photos that will last a lifetime. He was passionate, energetic, thoughtful and creative in finding ways to photograph our wedding day. Lastly, he chose stunning locations for our adventure session in the mountains, near a lake and on-site at our venue.

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The Details & Decor

The favorite design detail of the wedding was our photo booth floral wall that was handmade by us, the bridal party and groom’s mother. We spent many weeks building, designing and framing a red rose floral wall with laser etched wood crafted letters with our names and the date of the wedding. This detail allowed all our guests to take a lasting memory with them, and they really appreciated the hard work and creativity of our design. We used red roses to match our “Beauty and the Beast” theme, and another favorite detail was our enchanted rose, Cogsworth clock and Lumiere candle figures that tied everything together.

Our wedding favours were donations to the Canadian Cancer Society. We chose to donate as it was more meaningful to our families and a great way to support an important charity.

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Advice to Other Couples

During the reception, we were having so much fun and overwhelmed by the experience we forgot to enjoy our cake. If we could do things differently we would have had the hotel servers serve the head table their cake so that we could all enjoy during the moment. Although we missed having the cake that night, we did have the hotel save our cake in the freezer and we had some the next night. We also plan to eat the frozen cake on our one year anniversary.

We would advise mixing both DIY items as well as some pricier items (depending on their budget) to create their memorable wedding come true. Finding the right balance between items you can buy, and items you can make together can be more valuable than anything store bought. For example, our most memorable item was something we built on our own. But the memories of building it, the bond we shared making it, and seeing the final product is priceless.

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