From Martha Stewart Weddings where you can see this wedding featured:
Katie Ernst had recently moved to a new city, when on her third swipe on a new dating app, she landed on Nicholas Frank, an engineer. In April of 2018, two years after their first date at a local restaurant, the couple became engaged—but it didn’t happen with a knee drop or a ring. “Wait a second. So, are we engaged?” they asked each other after a lengthy, but fruitful conversation about their future together. The two agreed that they were, in fact, engaged.
Since they both share a great love for the outdoors, Katie and Nicholas chose Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, for their wedding locale; the hiking scene there was actually on both of their bucket lists. But since neither of them had actually been to Banff National Park, they enlisted Julianne Young Weddings to help them navigate all planning points—including choosing a venue. They needed a space that could accommodate 145 guests, felt formal enough for Katie’s taste, and offered a terrace for their “killer outdoor ceremony;” they also wanted the venue to speak to their overarching romantic theme (including a candlelit reception). Being so far away, this was not easy, Katie says—and explains that her planning team was essential to both finding Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, a space that manifested all of their wants and needs (and one she didn’t see until five months before the wedding), and managing the finer points of their celebration.
Their elegant event came together better than they could have expected: After front-country camping and hiking the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park, on August 9, 2019, Katie and Nicholas gathered in front of their family and friends to tie the knot—which was, of course, the best part of it all.
The couple’s wedding bands were particularly meaningful: Nicholas’ once belonged to his late grandfather, while Katie’s was her grandmother’s (she slipped the traditional gold band over her Montana sapphire engagement ring from Earth’s Treasury on the big day). “Our parents and grandparents have wonderful examples of strong marriages,” explain the couple. “We wanted to not only honor that example but carry it with us.”
As Katie stood in this Monique Lhuillier wedding dress for the first time while shopping at La Jeune Mariee, she dropped an earring. She quickly bent down to pick it up—and forgot she was wearing the floor-length silk gown, complete with a sweep train: It was that comfortable. She knew right then and there that she’d found the one. On the big day, she completed her ensemble with custom moonstone earrings by Petra Class Design (they were comprised of rocks that she had been collecting for years), a Pronovias veil (which comically flew away during the ceremony!), and her grandmother’s monogrammed handkerchief.
Nicholas wore a black J. Crew suit with a gray vest. His tie was a gift from his bride—she presented it to him on his birthday, the first they’d spend together. In his pocket, he carried two coins from his late grandfather, who was an avid collector.
Flower Artistry created the bride’s colorful bouquet, which was filled with toffee, cappuccino, and amnesia roses, cafe au lait dahlias, astrantia, ranunculus, and complementary greenery, like ninebark and parvifolia.
As Katie waited for Nicholas at their first look location, Mount Stephen Hall, she felt more nervous than she expected to. “I was gripping my bouquet trying to be the cool, calm, collected bride I had thought I’d be,” she reflects. Once she saw Nick, however, everything shifted—she was instantly comforted. The happy couple then shared a private civil ceremony with the city commissioner before moving on to their formal ceremony—and what they call “the best day ever.”
The ceremony space featured a cream aisle runner lined with a wild, overgrown arrangements. The couple met at the altar, which was marked by a custom structure, inspired by a cathedral arch, covered in florals and greenery. The piece framed the the majestic valleys and mountains just beyond the terrace.