Wedding perfect setting: Canadian Rockies, Fairmont Hotel's Jasper Park Lodge. Photo: Fairmont Hotel

“Mrs. Maxfield, I received word that you wanted to speak with me!”

I spun around to see Mr. Robert Famjoy, the front desk manager of the renowned Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, at the screen door to my cabin, after I what I surmise was his brisk, ten minute, cross-resort jaunt from the Fairmont Front Desk.

Nonplussed, I expected a call back, not a personal visit. His congeniality, his ever-present smile, his determination that whatever I wanted would soon be at my command, made my 15-day visit to the Canadian Rockies, and specifically, the sumptuous four days at Jasper Park Lodge, all the more, one for the made-in-heaven memory books.

Perchance, if this is what he does for me, can one only image what he and his well-trained staff, in the art of pluperfect service, will do over the course of a wedding weekend for the bride, the groom, the parent’s, in-laws, relatives, bridal party, and friends?

Now that Mr. Famjoy is at my door step, I enlist his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of this world class Canadian Rockies resort. My queries were focused on the bridal who, what, when where, and the possible role this immensely popular international destination could play in an out-of-this world destination wedding.

As I write this blog, I found I am not alone in my exuberance. Today, the storied editors of the New York Times Travel section gives a thumbs-up to JPL’s home, Alberta, Canada, and its unique winter event. In its NY Times Style Magazine, readers are further persuaded to capture the pleasures of the Canadian Rockies with a visit to Baniff National Park, home of Jasper’ sister cities, Lake Louise and Baniff.

Who’s Who at JPL?

Celebs?! Who all has graced these hollowed grounds since the 1922? A social media mogul and friends from Silicon valley flew in for the nearly week-long wedding festivities in early autumn. Networking, personal and corporate, was constantly in the air. The identities of the couple, their ceremony and reception at Jasper Park Lodge were, naturally, a well-kept secret. However, it was divined from a young waitress on the terrace who mentioned in very hushed tones “the big wedding & Silicon Valley.”

Hmm. Who else? Like Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part I, Mr. Famjoy realizes that Discretion is the better part of valor and his lips are sealed for a litany of recent high profile personalities that have married, honeymooned, skied, snowboarded, golfed, relaxed and entertained themselves and others at this pristine resort.

He offers memorable Americans of the past: the Kennedys, Rockerfellers, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Bing Crosby and famed others.

Could this be the “Happy ever-aftering”  from the famous Broadway play, Camelot? Jackie O was quoted as saying this was Jack’s favorite song, which started the Camelot-era.

Camelot and Canadian Rockies' Jasper Park Lodge for "Happy ever-aftering," Album cover from the Orignal cast recording.

When

Jasper Park Lodge, a book on the resort that I picked up in the gift shop, further chronicles its visitors as famous film stars, heads of state, politicians, sports stars as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who penned the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and whose photo graces the wall next to Mr. Famjoy, who has begun to answer my next question. Tell me about those two magnificent cabins… He leads the way.

Point Cabin: the ultimate at JPL, a 5,000 square foot wooded cabin with a fairy tale honeymoon in mind. 2 fireplaces, Great Room, terrace, and modern conveniences of a Tribecca flat. Photo: Fairmont Hotels.

Where

Within googling distance is Point Cabin, a 5,000 square foot, five bedroom  luxurious retreat with private views of Windex-blue Lac Beauvert, towering pines, foot paths, and an occasional meandering Elk.

A stand-out in a series of stand-out accommodations, Point Cabin’s decor is in the high-style of an English Hunting Lodge with a Great Room and stone fireplace. Holiday Inn it is not! Vintage exterior, circa 1925. Charming in the autumn; dazzling in the white winter!

On the far side of this splendid cabin, is Outlook Cabin, known in Sovereign circles and bridal parties as, The Royalty Retreat.

With a conservatory, enclosed verandah, two fireplaces, two dining rooms, a Great Room, and a grand terrace with midnight light shows of the Milky Way and a possible sighting of the Aurora Borealis.  It is fit for a Queen and King. Bride and Groom. More? Modern conveniences, at every turn. One of the remaining original nine buildings, it is continually updated and reflects a Tribeca or Beverly Hill sensibility of a modern kitchen, bath etc.  Balmoral (the Queen’s Summer Home in Scotland) eat your heart out! You get my drift.

The JPL guest registry would also reveal that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip of England prefer to stay there at Outlook Cabin. Her majesty’s travel planners understand that Jasper Park Lodge is a must-stay. What’s on your itinerary?

Having gotten the formalities aside, I ask Mr. Fomjoy, Now, that we have a Royal Honeymoon Cabin for the bride and groom, is there ample availability of  Signature Luxury Cabins for the entire wedding party. I am driving the question because I can immediately imagine a splendid wedding weekend set-up: Outlook Cabin for the bride and groom; Point Cabin for their immediate wedding party; and…

Mr. Famjoy interrupts my train of thought to say, “We have smaller cabins for the in-laws, close family, as well as well-appointed guest rooms for all the friends and family.”

EEK! Two Elks stand within a few yards of us. Big-bodied Elk are grazing along there path through the pines with splendid vistas of sparking lake waters and geese landing and taking off in magnificent formation. I’ve seen some big white tail deer in south Texas; however, the Elks are big, beautiful and, alas, formidable.

Mr. Famjoy now has a twinkle in his eye; he advises on what to do if I run into an Elk unexpectedly while playing golf on Jasper Park’s course, rated #1 in Canada: Raise two clubs high in the air like you have antlers, and the Elk will think you are bigger and will go away!”

I immediately extrapolate and visualize the many JPL guests of honor: Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth, Sir Doyle and that illusive Silicon Valley Mogul lifting high their clubs to let their intruder-guest Elk on a little secret: they may appear bigger, they may be known by millions on sight, but they all have the incredible good luck to spend one enchanting evening, or possibly a honeymoon at a place that we romantically call, Camelot. 

Next stop: A mountain high wedding above Lake Louise Canadian Rockies!

 

The Aurora Borealis phenomenon experienced in early September, 2013 in far northeast Alberta, Canada. Traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to capture the Northern Lights, the couple above, both physicians, were crossing western Canada on their second honeymoon. They both agreed, "This is the most romantic spot ever!"

 

When I penned the penultimate destination wedding reviews for WeddingWire, Chateau Lake Louise: Is There Any Other Place in the World to Be Married? I realized, like a bride-to-be on the eve of her engagement, I was more than smitten, I was head-over-heels in love with the Canadian Rockies. What to do? Return!

So, my 2013 autumn sojourn? Back to the Canadian Rockies to the ultimate mountain wedding destination.

My spirits are soaring. The perfect reasons to travel: wilderness photos and bespoke wedding planning.

Three resorts and a wedding

The Ultimate Canadian Wedding Resorts?
Fairmont’s Hotel & Resorts:
Jasper Park Lodge
Chateau Lake Louise
Baniff Springs
Today’s couples want a wedding destination with a twist.
Why not have your wedding and honeymoon span three world-class mountain resorts? All three Fairmont Canadian resorts are world-class, surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and peaks. Whether an outdoor sports enthusiast, or you prefer to just dine, dance and spa, the myriad of  amenities and facilities available for both your wedding and honeymoon is incredible.
Three resorts! The possibilities? Endless. Think of a wedding at Jasper Park Lodge– the retreat for decades of celebrities, high tech moguls, sports stars and America’s leading families such as the Rockerfellers, Kennedys as well as the must-see stop for Queen Elizabeth II and her family.
All three resorts are located in Alberta, Canada within a half-days days drive of one anothe along the most beautiful drives in the world, the Baniff-Jasper Highway?
The Ultimate 3 Wedding Resorts in the Canadian Rockies is a three part series, coming to WeddingWire shortly.

The Aurora Borealis

Can there be another out of this world Canadian destination for newlyweds? Yes,the Aurora Boeralis.

This is a once-in-a lifetime-dream, to experience and photograph the illusive Aurora Borealis. It is also known as the Northern Lights.

I traveled to far northeast Albert, Canada, six weeks ago, to spend a long weekend with six other enthusiasts from Brazil, Australia and America. With two Aurora Borealis professionals– one a Ph.D and the other a top notch photographer– at our service, we scanned what is know as “one of the darkest places on earth” to best see the the magnificent Canadian skies lit with constellations, the Milky Way and the Aurora Borealis.

We had three nights of lights, a very rare occurrence even on the 59th parallel. Light shows in every hue, on every horizon.

A young, married couple, both physicians from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil exclaimed to me, the last night at 2:30 am,”This is the most romantic place ever!”

Today’s couple want a honeymoon with a twist! Plan your wedding ceremony nearby and set off on an adventure: the Aurora Borealis!

Next stop: Jasper Park Lodge

6 Questions to Ask A Destination Wedding Professional Before Hiring Them

Posted by destinationweddings on Apr 24, 2013

So, you’ve decided to have a destination wedding.

Congrats! What’s next? Couples often consider planning their destination wedding on their own, using the internet.  Once they start the process, they quickly come to the realization that there are too many landmines to go it alone! The first step is to find a professional that you trust.  Here are some questions to ask a destination wedding professional before handing over the details of your big day:

1. How many weddings have you/your company planned in the past? How long have you been in business?

Experience is everything.

2. Do you work alone or do you have a team?

Back up is essential. What if your wedding specialist is sick or has a family emergency? You want to make sure that your specialist has someone who has access to all your details and can sub in.

3. How do I know that I am getting the best price?

One word: Volume. In order to get the most competitive price for you and your guests, choose a planner that is affiliated with an organization that plans over 500 destination weddings a month. This way, you will take advantage of the relationships they have forged. The outcome: more perks to make you and your guests feel pampered.  Also, ask your planner if they price match.

4. Will you help me stick to my budget?

Anyone can plan a royal wedding. Pros can plan a wedding on a budget. If you call a destination wedding specialist and tell them you are considering a wedding in Mexico, and they try to talk you into Hawaii, you need to think twice.

5. Can I see photos and read testimonials from actual weddings?

Three references don’t cut it. Make sure the person you hire can point you to at least 15 testimonials about their company. If they cannot provide this, it’s time to move on.

6. How do you communicate with your couples?

Organization is vital. There are countless details to keep track of when it comes to destination wedding. Make sure your specialist has a system and will keep you apprised of every step. Ask specific questions about their processes and their methods of communication.

What is most important to you when choosing a destination wedding specialist? Tell us what’s top on your list!

Destination Wedding in the Finger Lakes

Posted by ddrenner on Apr 04, 2013

Most people imagine destination weddings taking place on a beach in the Carribbean, but there are many more places that qualify as a great destination for you and your wedding guests. Christa and Doug, for example, got married in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Their wedding was held at church in the charming little town of Auburn, and their reception was held at Skaneateles Country Club, located on the shores of Skaneateles Lake (one of the famous finger lakes).

A few photos from a beautiful event here. Click to see more destination wedding photos on my blog.

Naomi & Jafet 

August 8

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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Q & A with the Bride:

1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?

The outdoor beach terraza.

2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?

The outdoor summer celebration, the priest’s speech and our family and friends all together.

3. Give us the one moment from your wedding day you cannot stop thinking about.

The moment I was dressed and ready for the best part of the day to start.