by Sharon Auld
Tip # 19 – Consider your special need guests when choosing your ceremony location.
In the Canadian Rocky Mountains you can be married virtually anywhere, even on the highest peak overlooking a glacial lake. However, if you have guests with special needs, you’ll want to take special care when choosing your ceremony location. Remote locations can be especially challenging for guests with mobility limitations. You may have to make some tough choices if getting married in a remote location is a priority for you. You could opt for a small intimate ceremony, and hire a videographer to capture the live ceremony, then later meet up with your guests. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to find a ceremony spot that is accessible to everyone. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to find beautiful ceremony spots in the Rocky Mountain areas of Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper, that are easily accessible to almost everyone.
When you’re choosing an outdoor ceremony site for your wedding, there are a few things to consider:
- Is it a long walk to the ceremony site?
- How far away is the parking lot?
- Is it an uphill (or downhill) climb?
- Is the path rocky, gravelly or uneven?
- Is there limited parking access?
- Is there handicapped parking?
- Is it wheelchair accessible?
- Are handicapped accessible washrooms available nearby?
Even if you don’t consider the walk to your ceremony site long, some guests will, especially in hot or windy weather conditions. To someone with mobility issues, uneven terrain can be quite difficult to maneuver. Even small inclines or declines can be challenging. If you have several guests with mobility issues then you may want to choose a site that is easily accessible, level and preferably has a paved walkway. On-site ceremony locations are a great option. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has beautiful lawn space with a great view of Mt. Edith Cavell, while the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s terraces provide stunning views of the lake. Parks can also be a good option. Riverside Park in Canmore or Central Park in Banff are both charming sites with paved pathways. Other sites may not have paved pathways, but are still quite accessible for the mobility challenged with a little assistance or a willing arm to hold on to. Tunnel Mountain Reservoir in Banff is one such option. Although there is no pathway, it’s fairly flat and located only a short walk from the road. There are also numerous viewpoints and recreational areas throughout the region that are suitable for ceremonies and yet are still easily accessible by vehicle.
If there’s some distance or difficult terrain to traverse between the parking area and the ceremony, then you may want to see if it’s possible to drive limited mobility guests closer to site. You could even inquire about the availability of a golf cart to transport these guests. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s staff are quite happy to assist in matters such as this. At the ceremony site, see if there’s reserved handicapped parking. If not, you may be able to post your own signs to help designate handicap parking for guests who require it. Just be sure to let your guests know in advance there’s limited space reserved for this purpose. If you’re considering hiring a bus or shuttle to transport guests to your ceremony site, be sure to check that they can accommodate your guests with special needs. If you have several guests with limited mobility you may even want to consider hiring a van with wheelchair accessibilty.
Finally, make sure all your guests are well taken care of. Let your guests know to wear comfortable footwear if appropriate. Have plenty of water available for your guests in hot temperatures and umbrellas in case of inclement weather. Remember, mobility challenged guests aren’t able to quickly seek cover from the elements as easily as others. With a thoughtful approach and a little extra planning, all your guests can be present at your wedding ceremony.
Feel free to contact Naturally Chic at 1.888.679.9056 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about ceremony locations in the Rocky Mountains suitable for guests with special needs.