Welcome to an extraordinary tale of love, mountains, and a surprise Banff engagement proposal. When William reached out to Steven Wallace Photography, sharing his plan to propose to his girlfriend Ashley during their ski trip in Banff, he was instantly captivated by the opportunity to capture this special moment on film. With a mutual love for film photography and the stunning Canadian Rockies, their paths aligned to create an unforgettable experience for all involved!
William reached out to me this past fall about a ski trip to Banff he was planning in March with his girlfriend Ashley. He knew that he wanted to propose to her on their first full day in the mountains and that they wanted it professionally photographed on film. Film photography and the Canadian Rockies are two of my biggest passions, so I was immediately on board to help make this happen for them!
William and I went about figuring out the details. We decided to do the proposal at a location out in the middle of some of the stunning scenery of the national park and then meet back up in the town of Banff for an outfit change and some more photos.
The end of March in Banff is an incredible time. The lakes are still frozen and the snow has only just begun to melt in some places. While some locations aren’t easy to get to in winter, one of my favourtie spots – Lake Minnewanka – is accessible all year long. It’s a gorgeous lake framed up by the mountains and this time of year it’s covered in packed down snow that makes it easy to walk out onto the frozen water. I knew that it would be the perfect location for William to pop the question!
We met up at Lake Minnewanka at 9:30AM, just as the sun was starting to make its way over the mountains behind the lake. William had the fantastic idea to tell Ashley ahead of time that he wanted to do a photo session together in Banff and had booked a film photographer for them. This took so much of the stress off of the proposal! Instead of hiding in the trees (which I’m always down for), I was able to introduce myself and walk with them down to the exact location I had in mind. It also gave Ashley a chance to be ready for photos.
Huge props to Ashley and William for braving the cold to get out early. It was well below freezing still in the morning, but they were all for giving it a go to get some great light! I made sure to bring some hand warmers, and as soon as we got out into the sun and the beautiful scenery we all forgot just how cold it was.
The 3 of us walked down to the Lake from the parking lot together. William and I figured out a signal ahead of time so that once we were in the right spot and I was ready to go, he would be ready to propose. After taking a few photos, I asked them if they had seen any wildlife so far on their trip (which was the signal!). William pointed to a spot to get Ashley turn around to look for elk and then got down on one knee. You can see from the photos her surprise when she turned back around! Ashley absolutely said yes! To add to all the excitement of things, that day also happened to be William’s birthday. Congratulations you two and happy birthday William! We had an amazing time together doing more photos out on the lake. After a break for lunch and to get changed, we got back together in the amazing mountain town of Banff to walk around for the second half of their engagement shoot. -Steven Wallace Photography
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another? We met on the dating app Bumble in the beginning of 2018. This was around the time period when dating apps were still becoming accepted as a means to meet people. We were both pretty hesitant to meet one another for a first date but we’re glad that we took a leap of faith! In all honesty, we cannot recall our first impressions but we both agree how easy it was to talk one another. The conversation just flowed and it felt like we were old friends that had crushes on each other. William was leaving on a two week work trip to Australia that following weekend so we went on three back to back dates.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning. We would say the biggest hurdle to overcome during wedding planning is not falling victim to the “perfect” wedding that’s branded on social media. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in how your wedding should look versus what is attainable and what you can actually afford. Remembering that the actual wedding is only one day out of a lifetime with your spouse will set things into perspective when planning! It was important to us that we both pay for our wedding together without any family help, so we made a list of what was important to us and stuck to it. Sticker shock is real in the wedding industry and being able to reference our list helped humble us and kept us on track. What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you? We are most excited about our first look together! We went back and forth on whether or not we should do a first look, but we decided it would be best to go through with it. It is going to be so special! We’ll be exchanging our vows to one another during our first look. We think the first look, along with the personal vows, are an intimate moment and we want to keep that between us. We’re not really comfortable with the attention that comes with having a wedding so it will also help to calm any nerves we have for the day. What was your favorite part about planning your wedding? Our favorite part about wedding planning is working together to plan the wedding. We have a wedding planner so that has definitely helped us stay on the right track. However, making decisions together to throw a party has been the utmost fun. You learn so much about your significant other during this time. Being engaged is such a joyful and wonderful season of life. It is also a tough season of life as you transition into the unknowns of marriage. No one knows how you are feeling or what you’re going through except your fiancé/fiancée! With that being said, we have enjoyed taking our time to work together and plan this wedding. We want the wedding to be a product of both of our lives coming together. Photographer: Steven Wallace
Venue: Lake Minnewanka & the Town of Banff – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Film Lab: Dunwoody Photo