Many couples dream of a destination wedding in the Canadian Rockies. Places like Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise are drawing couples from all over the world every year to say their vows in this beautiful mountain landscape.
But planning a local wedding can be stressful enough, never mind trying to coordinate such a big and important event from halfway around the world! That’s where Rocky Mountain Weddings comes in.
Owned and operated by Julie Padgett, Rocky Mountain Weddings is the longest established wedding planning business in Banff. Julie bought the business from the previous owner in 2014 and has put her heart and soul into providing couples with their perfect destination wedding day ever since. If you’re looking for a planner who will help put your own unique stamp on your wedding celebration, Julie is the one for you.
We spoke with Julie to learn more about how she works with couples to deliver on their vision and support them during the planning process.
Photographer: ENV Photography
Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in southern Ontario before moving to Alberta twenty years ago. Now I live here with my husband and four kids.
I love to be outdoors, so you’ll often find me there either running, gardening, or hiking around the beautiful Albertan landscape.
How did you get started in wedding planning?
After my second kid, the previous owner of my business was looking for office help, which was perfect as it was part-time and flexible. I had zero wedding experience, but I ended up absolutely loving it! So I bought the business in 2014 and have enjoyed it ever since.
What wedding services/packages do you offer?
We offer full planning + Month of Coordination for weddings of all sizes. That ranges from elopements with no guests, intimate celebrations of up to 20 guests, right up to larger weddings of up to 220 people.
Photo: Breeze Photography
You must see a lot of trends come and go in your line of work. What would you say is the biggest up and coming wedding trend right now?
Colour! We’ve had a few years of gold/blush/soft tones and I’m seeing more vibrant colours coming back (slowly) for 2020 and 2021.
Another interesting emerging trend is the smaller “large” wedding. So those would be celebrations in the 80-150 guest range rather than the 200 or so usually associated with bigger weddings.
What is the most unique wedding you’ve ever planned?
We’re exclusively planners for destination weddings, so we have planned weddings for lots of different backgrounds and cultures, such as Indian and Persian weddings. It’s so neat to witness different customs and be a part of them, too.
We’ve also had helicopter weddings and even frozen lake ceremonies!
But perhaps one of the most memorable moments was being delayed by a grizzly bear in the parking lot!
Photo: Justine Milton
How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to working with couples to organize their wedding?
I would say I’m pretty flexible as a planner. I don’t sell any “set” packages. So every wedding I plan is unique to what the couple wants. Some couples want to be very hands-on and I help as needed, while others want to pick something and let us take care of the rest.
I always say the day is not about me in any manner, so we work with each couple to provide the support they need, no matter what that is. There’s also no set style or look that I am aiming for as a planner. I work with each couple so they have what they want for style/decor. One couple may want rustic and neutral and another may want bright colours and sparkle – and that’s totally fine!
Photo: Justine Milton
What are the benefits of hiring a planner over trying to plan and organize the wedding yourself?
There are so many benefits! Because we are local to the mountains, we can help with regular things like vendor selection, item pickup on the wedding day, letting them know who is local and who is not (making them aware of travel fees), and finding their ideal wedding venue. But we’re also aware of the ins and outs of our little mountain towns. Things like events/races that will impact the traffic on their day and how timing is impacted. We are the go-to person leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day. So the couple and their families can enjoy their time while here in the mountains without worrying about all the details. We are unique in that none of our couples are from the area, so we are their “person” throughout the planning.
What is the most important advice you would give to couples when it comes to their wedding plans?
Plan your wedding as you want it, not someone else. Talk to your vendors and get a feel for them and their personalities to make sure you mesh. You are spending a ton of money, time, and effort on your wedding. So you want to be sure you enjoy the vendors you are working with.
Plan to arrive in Banff at least two days before your wedding. Even more importantly, do NOT plan a ton of activities or last-minute tasks (making centrepieces, filling welcome bags, etc) the day before your wedding. It will only be added stress to you before a day that is meant to be fun!
Photo: Tara Whittaker
What kind of information should couples have ready for you before the initial consultation?
We don’t need couples to be overly prepped before the initial consultation, but it’s important to know:
Everything else will come out in the consultation!
What positive feedback do you hear most frequently from couples after their wedding?
We often hear about how easy we made their day and how they had nothing to worry about or issues to deal with. Couples are especially happy that they can just leave at the end of the night and the teardown is done for them. We also regularly get feedback about easy the planning process itself was as well!
What else should couples know about working with Rocky Mountain Weddings?
I think having lived in Banff for 17 years and having a ton of local connections is a huge asset to me and my team. The way I operate is to get down to work for my couples to provide exactly what they want and need. We make the day all about them, with the goal of minimizing stress so they can just enjoy themselves. You’ll never hear “that’s not my job” from me, as we do whatever needs to be done.
Photo: Carey Nash
“Julie was an absolute joy to work with throughout the entire wedding planning process. She was always quick to answer my questions and put my mind at ease. Her professionalism and experience ensured that my wedding day went off without a hitch and was absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful to have had her there on the most important and enjoyable day of my life. Thank you, Julie!!”
“Julie is amazing, I couldn’t fault her! I never thought I would use a wedding planner, but coming all the way from Australia, I really didn’t know where to start. To contact Julie at RMW for our elopement in Lake Louise was the best decision. Julie only recommends the best vendors and this really shows. Everyone we had help us on the day really made it a memorable occasion. It was evident they all love their jobs! Julie gave us some great tips for the day and I was able to contact her with my questions as many times as I needed. I never felt I wasn’t able to ask a question, big or small. Thank you Julie (she actually drove through a storm for us), we miss Canada so very much and hope to be back again someday!”
If you’d like to learn more about Julie and her services, you can get in touch with her here.
Check out more of Julie’s work on social media!