Keep reading this guide to learn how to elope in BC and plan a memorable and beautiful elopement day that you’ll be talking about for a lifetime.
The term “Beautiful British Columbia” isn’t just a trending hashtag for no reason; we British Columbia elopement photographers can’t get enough of the plentiful and diverse landscapes we’re lucky enough to enjoy in our little part of the world. British Columbia sits right between the Pacific Ocean and the Canadian Rocky Mountains creating an outdoor-loving couples wonderland with limitless experiences and areas to explore. BC showcases some of Canada’s most gorgeous and secluded stretches of towering old-growth forests, snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers and waterfalls, alpine lakes, rocky shorelines and even a tropical white sandy beach or two. In short, if you love the outdoors and want to get married in a beautiful setting in nature, BC is the place for your elopement!
What is the difference between a Commissioner and Officiant in B.C?
Now that you understand all of the legal requirements for getting married in BC, it is time to start dreaming up all of the exciting, swoon-worthy possibilities for your elopement day. That is one of the most liberating feelings of planning an elopement over a traditional wedding day. You do not have to conform to a timeline of set out activities in one general location at a wedding venue. This will be a day that you’ll be celebrating and reliving for the rest of your life, so why not make it spectacular!! The term “The sky is the limit” literally does not apply to you because you can go flying through it if you want to! Here are a few different types of elopements to consider in BC
If you want to go for a very Canadian experience, go for the seaplane! Every summer, I work with an excellent local company on the Sunshine Coast that flys the most retro, classic adorable little floatplanes. If you’re going for a truly unique experience, a De Havilland Beaver flown up the coastline and over the mountains to a beautiful secluded and private beach or waterfall is the choice for you! If you’re interested in what the ultimate seaplane elopement could look like click here.
One of the most exciting things you can do on your wedding day is to go flying in a helicopter; after all, it’s not something most people get to do every day! Going soaring over the coastal Tetrahedron range or through the Canadian rocky mountains and landing on a glacier or the shores of a Gatorade blue alpine lake could be the most exhilarating experience of your life! So why not do it on your wedding day? And hit up a wildflower-filled mountain pass on the way back while you’re at it! Blackcomb Helicopters has bases throughout the Sea to Sky corridor in Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and the Sunshine Coast and offer some of the most spectacular sky-high views outside of the Canadian Rockies. 49 North Helicopters services remote areas on Vancouver Island, and Sky Helicopters offers mountain views out of Pitt Meadows. Alpine Helicopters have bases in Canmore and Banff and offer views straight out of your own Canadian Rocky Mountain fairytale. Helicopters cannot fly in heavy rain or fog though so try to be flexible and have a back up day ( or even better a few days, you’re on vacation anyways right!!) or backplan in the event you are unable to fly.
If there is one thing that BC is not short on, it is the multitude of gorgeous hiking trails and destinations. If you’re looking for a region with trails to alpine lakes, meadows filled with wildflowers, stunning mountain vistas, or arbutus-covered rocky coastlines and waterfalls… you can not beat BC’s hiking trails.
If you still want those breathtaking views but aren’t into flying and hiking on your wedding day, isn’t your idea of a good time? Don’t lose hope! Thanks to companies like Canadian Wilderness Adventures, those views are 100% attainable with minimal effort. Explore Whistler Blackcomb’s stunning mountain vistas and valleys through a unique Jeep tour and find your perfect ceremony spot during your relaxed adventure. You can even bring a picnic and enjoy the sunset after your portrait session.
Now that you have gone and dreamed up the kind of elopement you are going to have, there are a few key things to consider when setting your elopement date in BC. The type of activity you have chosen and the weather play a huge role in deciding the time of year best suited for you. I would also suggest planning your elopement for a week day, often popular locations can get very busy with tourists especially in the summer months. A week day will attract far less people and you will be able to enjoy the views you’re wanting as well as the privacy and intimacy you chose to elope for. Here are some things to think about during each season when planning an elopement in BC.
Spring in B.C is beautiful but the warming weather can be tempermental. The wild flowers are starting to come out, the days aren’t super hot yet if you’re looking for a coastal elopement on the beach before the crowds file in or a hike at lower elevations this is a beautiful time of year.
If you’re hoping to elope in the summer months in BC be prepared to choose a location that isn’t as popular or an experience that will take you to a location that isn’t as accessible to the general public. This is a beautiful time of year for a seaplane elopement as they can land on the apline lakes, your best chances for this are from late July to mid September. Or fly up the coast to a secluded waterfall and get married with the mist cooling you from the heat of the day. This is also your best chance to not be rained out with a helicopter, if you’re hoping for warm sunny day July and August are your best bet for this experience.
Fall is a beautiful time for an elopement in BC, the fall foliage comes out in full force and blankets the mountains and trail in golden and red hues. The alpine lakes Though the weather can be tempermental this is a gorgeous time for a hiking or 4×4 elopement as the cooler weather comes the crowds of people also disperse and you’ll have a lot more time to yourselves at your viewpoints. A heli elopement is gorgeous anytime of year and the fall is one of the last chances to see those alpine blue lakes before they freeze over for the winter, but have a backup plan as helicopters can’t fly in heavy rains and fog. A 4×4 tour or gondola ride can be booked in advance just in case there is threat of rain and will provide mountain backdrops in any weather!
Winter in the BC backcountry is out of this world and there are so many different activities you could do to access it. If you’re a snow lover with visions of glacier landings, snowy mountains and frozen waterfalls the months of December through March are the best times to take advantage of it in areas like Whistler and Yoho National Park. There are beautiful locations that can be accessed by driving, snow shoeing, taking a helicopter, gondola or renting snow mobiles during this season.
This will probably be one of the most time consuming and exciting parts of planning your elopement so sit down with a glass of wine and really think about what kind of location suits you the most and then get searching!
If there is one thing British Columbia is not short on is beautiful secluded beaches for you to elope at. The Sunshine Coast has beautiful beaches up and down its shores, and Thormnby and Savoury Island have beautiful white-sand beaches. Vancouver Island, home of Tofino and Ucluelet, has sand bars as far as the eyes can see and San Josef beach in Cape Scott provincial park and Mystic beach along the Juan De Fuca trail.
If you’re looking for gorgeous mountain top locations, BC is a mecca for mountainous hiking or heli elopements locations. With Glacier National Park, Revelstoke National park with its Meadows in the Sky Parkway, Kootney National Park and Yoho National Park and the Sea to Sky highway boasting some of BC’s most beautiful terrain with Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton all within hours of each other and offering beautiful parks such as Garibaldi Provincial Park and Jim Harberl Hut. BC has no shortage of gorgeous mountain ranges to choose from with experiences for all skill levels, from hiking to heli-elopements.
BC is well known for its over 20,000 lakes just in our one beautiful province. With a variety of elevations, there is no shortage of gorgeous lakes to choose from, whether you’re looking for a higher elevation alpine lake or a warm tropical feeling one in the lower elevations. A few beautiful locations to check out throughout our province are Emerald Lake, Lake O’Hara, Lake Lovely Water, Wahleach Lake, Garibaldi Lake. Coastal lakes to explore on the Sunshine Coast include Ruby, Sakinaw and Edwards lake.
BC has a lot of grey area about this in a lot of its more remote locations and varies from park to park but a simple phone call to the park ranger should clear it up quickly for you. Permits costs vary but typically cost around $200 and have a simple application process the ranger will be able to direct you to. They generally require it to be under 20 people, not to much noise\extra traffic and generally just respect the rules of the park and the nature it strives to protect.
Getting married anywhere close to or in a larger city outdoors will most likely need a permit. Any park or beach in Vancover for instance will require a permit. They have a website that explains all of the ins and outs very clearly that you can find here.
This is an important one and should be at the top of your list, possibly even prior to booking a date if you have specific vedors you’re hoping to work with. Elopement planners, photographers and makeup artists can book up months to years in advance depending on if you are looking for a weekend or week day. You may feel with planning a smaller event that hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator is unnecessary, but if you want your elopement to be completely stress free and in the moment – hire an elopement planner. They will take care of all of the running around on your elopement day, coordinate and communicate with your vendors, ensure all of the important things you need to bring with you are together and ready to go, keep everyone on track with your time line and anything else unexpected that may arise. You will not regret hiring your elopement planner. So get in touch soon and be flexible.
Vendors to consider for your B.C elopement.
Your elopement planner or photographer will have trusted recommendations for in their areas so make sure to take advantage of their knowledge! If you’re getting married on the Sunshine Coast reach out to Coastal Weddings and Events – They are amazing!
Now that you have picked a location and date for your elopement it’s time to book your travel and lodging. A few things to think about will be booking flights and rental car if you’re flying, if you’re driving a long distance get a quick tune up on your car so there are no surprises along the way and think about the kind of lodging you want to stay at. B.C has many wonderful airb&b’s as well as lavish resorts for every price range. I recommend booking in early as peak times in our areas can book up months in advance and you’ll also get in at a better price if you don’t booklast minute!
If you’re hiring a wedding planner this is a task that you can happily leave in their capable hands! But if you’re planning this yourself a timeline is a very valuable tool on your elopement day. Speak to all of your vendors and find out how much time will need to be allotted for each area, find out how long it will take to drive from your lodgings to your first look or elopement location etc. and have all of this neatly in your timeline so there are no surprises. E-mail a copy to all of your vendors as well as print out a copy to have on hand in your purse for reference if needed.
These may seem redundant but here are irreplaceable things to ensure you don’t forget before heading out to travel to your accomadations.
I’m currently working on a “What to pack for your elopement!” blog post so keep your eyes open for a more detailed, adventure oriented list!
Once you have checked all of your boxes, all you have left to do is count down the days until you get to set off on your adventure and watch all of your careful planning come to life and celebrate your beautiful elopement together!
Check out my BC All-Inclusive Adventure Elopement Packages on the Sunshine Coast, BC.
All packages include
Hair and makeup at a local salon or your location, floral crown, romantic dinner at a local restaurant or your accommodations, live musician, floatplane tours, massages and spa services, yoga class, guided tours, kayak\paddle board or snowshoe rentals, transportation, additional photography coverage before or after your ceremony at another location. If you want to add a few special touches to your elopement, just let us know!
Prices starting at CAD 4200.00
If you’re looking for the perfect, relaxed, and completely stress-free elopement experience, click here to get in touch with our wedding planners! Inquire about your Sunshine Coast BC adventure elopement experience.
February 28, 2022