Trading palms for pines: Destination weddings in Canada

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings
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Paul Costello

Destination weddings don't have to take place in the tropics. For a different take on destination weddings, just look North. Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, tells you where to wed in Canada.

First, let's cover the basics about marrying in Canada: There is no residency requirement, the exchange rate is in our favor, and same-sex marriages are legal. The tricky part is that each Province has its own rules. Once you choose a location, you'll need to learn what requirements that Province has for marriage licenses and services.

If you love mountain lodges and wood-burning fire places light your fire, look no further than Banff in Western Alberta...

There's more!

An outdoor wedding can take place anywhere--just find a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains and bring your friends, family and officiant. However the Banff National Park has a policy against "setting up" which means your guests will be standing for the duration of the ceremony.

A Bear and Bison Canadian Country Inn in nearby Canmore is a family-run Bed and Breakfast that combines the rustic appeal of a lodge with luxurious amenities like Jacuzzi bathtubs in almost every room. Gourmet breakfasts and picnic lunches are prepared by the owner, a former professional chef. For $4000, you can rent the entire 9-room Inn for your wedding party for 2 nights. Weddings can be held at the Inn or at any of the breathtaking meadows, lakes or rivers in the area—which are not only unforgettable ceremony sites, but also make for beautiful pre-wedding photos.

If you have a fairytale wedding in mind, the Fairmont Chateau on Lake Louise is right out of a storybook. The Chateau overlooks the lake and rivals the surrounding snowcapped mountains for grandeur. Horseback riding, canoeing and hiking to mountain tea houses are popular in the summer, but winter weddings might involve moonlight horse-drawn sleigh rides or even dog sledding. Rooms start around $240 in winter and around $680 in summer.

For an urban wedding, Quebec has a range of options from 19th century architecture to very modern resorts--the most modern of which is the Hotel de Glace. The Hotel is made almost entirely of ice and is rebuilt every winter. Staying the night might be a little too chilly for romance, but you can rent the ice chapel for your wedding service (starting at $2000) and spend the night somewhere warmer. Rooms at the palatial Fairmont Le Ch??teau Frontenac start at $150 in winter, and $420 in summer. The smaller 4-star Hotel Manoir Victoria is less expensive, starting at $120 in winter and $160 in summer. —Tammy Levent

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