The ultimate guide to eloping in British Columbia
TIPS. VENUES & LOCATION IDEAS
for an adventurous BC elopement
BC is Canada’s westernmost province, nestled between the ocean and the mountains – with incredible views of both! The landscapes are jaw dropping, with blue alpine lakes, the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, rugged beaches, and so much more. So if you’re an adventurous couple and you want to have a one of a kind experience on the day you get married, this guide will tell you how to elope in BC!
Let’s dive in…
Hey! I’m Amber.
Your British Columbia elopement photographer + planner
Eloping should be fun! You dropped the big wedding because it didn’t feel like you, and I want to make sure that you get to enjoy the day you get married. As an elopement photographer and travel planner, I’ll be there to help you create your perfect day. Location scouting, personalized vendor and lodging recommendations, help with paperwork, and everything else you need to elope, I’ll handle it all!
If you want to elope in BC, contact me to learn more about elopement packages and to start planning!
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
What is an elopement?
The first thing we need to be on the same page about is what it actually means to elope! It does not mean running off to the courthouse to get married in secret or having a drunken ceremony in Vegas – but what eloping does mean is that your wedding day is exactly what you want it to be. Instead of following the rules and sticking with traditions that don’t really reflect who you are, you get to create your own adventure! Nothing’s off limits!
How to Get to BC for Your Elopement
First, to begin your adventure, you’ll need to get yourselves to British Columbia! The province is big, spanning the coast of Canada, west of Alberta, so you have plenty of options for transportation. The major cities in BC include Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, and Kelowna, and most of the big hubs are located in the south of the province.
Get to BC by Plane
If you hop on a flight to BC, the biggest airport is the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). For international flights, you’ll most likely land here! There are only two other airports (though the Juneau International Airport in Alaska is very close to the border in the north of BC), and they’re very small, so you can usually fly there from other airports in Canada.
Get to BC by Car
Driving is easy in British Columbia, so whether you take your own car or rent one at the airport, you’ll have no problem getting to your final destination!
Get to BC by Ferry
A fun way to make your trip to BC part of the adventure is to take a ferry! You can take BC Ferries to Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and other destinations on the coast of British Columbia, and you can even take a cruise up to Alaska and stop in BC on the way.
Getting Around BC During Your Elopement
Within its cities, BC has great public transportation – but if you want to get to those outdoor places and explore more during your elopement, it’s best to rent a car. A car will give you the most freedom and flexibility, allowing you to go just about anywhere!
You can also take one of the scenic train rides – there are several options between cities, and you can take the Rocky Mountaineer two-day rail tour. These trains offer incredible views of the mountains, and can be fun to incorporate into your elopement experience!
How to Legally Elope in BC
It’s pretty easy to get legally married abroad in BC, and you don’t have to live here – so it’s a great place to tie the knot! You need to get a marriage license in British Columbia, and one of you will need to go to the office in person. This needs to be done within 3 months of your elopement date, so get to BC a little early to do this! You can find an office close to where you’ll be staying by searching this list of marriage license issuers.
Only one of you needs to be there in person, but you’ll need to bring ID for both of you! One form of primary ID (birth certificate, immigration form, permanent resident card, or citizenship card) is enough, but some offices also accept a passport or driver’s license in some circumstances. A marriage license in BC costs $100.
You’ll get your marriage license, and at your ceremony, you will need a registered marriage commissioner, along with two witnesses – and of course the two of you – to sign the paperwork. The commissioner will then submit your papers to the Vital Statistics Agency within 48 hours of the ceremony, and you’re married! A certificate will be mailed to you, usually within 3 weeks.
For couples from the US:
In certain states, you can ask your county clerk the authorization to sign your wedding license abroad. If they agree, as a registered minister, my team and I will be able to legally marry you without the hassle of a legal wedding ceremony in British Columbia.
Why Elope in BC
The Rocky Mountains
Some of the best reasons to elope in BC include the Rocky Mountains! Amongst the peaks you’ll find some jaw dropping views, gorgeous hikes, and plenty of adventures. For mountain lovers, BC is one of the best places to elope!
But, along with the mountains, you’ll also have amazing views of the coastline! The Pacific Ocean borders British Columbia, so you’ll find plenty of sandy beaches, rugged rocky coastlines, remote islands to explore, and opportunities for whale watching, surfing, and more. BC has a little bit of everything!
Year Round Adventures
A great thing about BC is that you can truly elope any time of year. In the summer it’s a paradise for hiking, and in the winter, it’s a skier’s dream. Each season in between brings something special too, so as long as you dress for the weather and plan a unique adventure, you’ll have a blast in BC!
Top 5 spots to Elope in British Columbia
This is one of the most exciting things about deciding to elope in BC – choosing a spot! There are endless gorgeous places all over, so it can be pretty hard to narrow things down. But, here are some ideas for places to elope in BC!
This place is lesser known, so it’s easy to find some privacy for your ceremony! Haida Gwaii is an archipelago, off the coast of BC, with incredible landscapes, lush greenery, diverse wildlife, and a largely untouched wilderness.
For coastal views, the town of Tofino is the perfect elopement getaway. It’s known for being the best surf spot in Canada, but even if you don’t hop in the water, there’s plenty to see! Tofino has moody beaches, lush rainforests, and some incredible whale watching tours. You can also visit the Pacific Rim National Park Preserve to do some hiking!
For skiing, snowboarding, or other winter adventures, Whistler is one of the best places to elope in BC. But, no matter the season, you can enjoy the cute shops, restaurants, and incredible mountain views!
Squamish is an adventurous mountain town close to Vancouver, with mountain views and lush forests! It’s a great place to tie the knot for any couple who wants a unique adventure, whether it’s hiking, skiing, or soaring above the landscape in a gondola or a helicopter.
Glacier National Park
No, not the one across the border in the US! Glacier National Park in BC is a gorgeous place with mountains, glaciers, and wild natural beauty. It’s one of the best places to elope in BC for couples who want to get married amongst nature!
When to Elope in BC
British Columbia definitely gets all four seasons, so when you decide to elope in BC, think carefully about the weather!
WINTER IN BC
Winters are snowy and cold, perfect for couples who want to do some winter sports or who just want to enjoy the winter wonderland! The mountains will be the coldest, but you can cozy up in a ski lodge after a day of adventures. The coast is a lot warmer, and usually doesn’t get a lot of snow – but winters are pretty rainy!
SPRING IN BC
On the coast, spring can be a great time to elope to enjoy warm(er) weather and less rain, while there are few crowds out and about! Since summer is the busiest, eloping before the peak begins can get you some more privacy. In the mountains, there will still be snow until around mid July most years, but you can still enjoy the leftover winter wonderland as ski season comes to a close!
SUMMER IN BC
Summer is the most popular time to visit BC, because the weather is warm and sunny. This is the best time to elope in BC if you want to hike in the mountains, or sunbathe on the beach. There will be more people around, but you can avoid crowds by tying the knot on a weekday!
FALL IN BC
In the mountains, early fall is an incredible time to see the autumn foliage and the leaves as they change color. The coast usually stays warm enough for hikes and outdoor adventures, and the crowds start to leave! Mountainous regions will usually start accumulating snow around mid October, so elope early in the fall if you hope for snow free trails!
Example budget of an elopement in British Columbia
All-inclusive, 7-day ELOPEMENT + Honeymoon
6 nights in accommodation (3* or more)
Award-winning elopement photographer for 3 days
All meals for the 7 days
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
Hair and makeup
TOTAL FOR An all-inclusive ELOPEMENT IN British Columbia:
Award-winning elopement photographer for 12 hours
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
TOTAL FOR A 12-hour ELOPEMENT IN British Columbia:
Lodging for your elopement in BC
Finding the perfect place to stay when you elope in BC is part of the adventure! Luckily, there are plenty of options all over the province.
A lodge or Resort
From the mountains to the coast, there are plenty of incredible lodges and resorts that you can stay at. In the mountains, you can stay at the Emerald Lake Lodge close to Yoho, the Heather Mountain Lodge outside of Glacier National Park, or the Assiniboine Lodge deep in the Rocky Mountains. If you want to elope by the ocean, you can stay at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino, or the Blackfish Lodge surrounded by water on Vancouver Island!
Airbnbs in British Columbia
On Airbnb, you can find private, unique accommodations and places to stay when you elope in BC. Find peaceful cabins, one of a kind places like this dome, and chalets perfect for hosting friends and family!
Camping in British Columbia
To get closer to nature, you can also camp when you elope in BC! To camp at established campgrounds in national parks, you’ll usually need to make a reservation. But, you can also wild camp and find free camping on crown land (Canada’s public land)!
Unique Things to Do When You Elope in BC
British Columbia has plenty of unique adventures – and when you elope, your day should be a reflection of the two of you! So, find something fun to do that will truly make this the best day ever. Here are a few unique things to do when you elope in BC.
Take a Gondola Ride
You can hike to a mountain summit, but you can also take a gondola instead! In Squamish, the Sea to Sky Gondola takes you up to a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains, and it’s a one of a kind experience to have on the day you get married.
Fly in a Helicopter
Seeing the landscape from above is an experience you’ll never forget, and all around BC, you can find helicopter tours that will take you up above the mountains and the ocean. The views are incredible, and you can even land in a totally private spot to exchange vows!
April through October is the best time for whale watching, so if you elope in BC during these months, you can take a boat out to see orcas, humpback, and gray whales, along with some other marine life! Sometimes they can be spotted from the shore, but taking a boat gives you a much better chance at spotting them.
What to Wear to Elope in BC
Choosing the right elopement attire is important, because you want to be comfortable on your big day! When you try on your options, make sure you can move freely and easily, and that nothing is pinching or poking, as this will get annoying really fast on your elopement day.
Loose skirts are usually best for elopements, as they let you move around easier! Avoid tight skirts that make walking or sitting hard, and make sure your dress isn’t too heavy to move around in. For warm weather elopements, lightweight fabrics are great, and if you’re eloping in the winter in BC, opt for thicker fabrics and add some layers to stay warm!
Shoes are just as important! Make sure you can walk around comfortably – no high heels! Hiking boots are great if you’re hiking or doing a lot of walking, but the most important thing is that your shoes are comfortable and broken in.
Just like dresses, make sure your suit feels good and fits comfortably! It shouldn’t restrict your movement at all. Suits make layering easy, so for summer elopements you may want to opt for nice pants and a dress shirt, and in the winter, adding a jacket and some base layers will help you stay warm!
Elope in BC – Your Checklist
Choose a Location
Find the spot that speaks to you – the one that you’ll always remember as the place where you married your best friend! I’ll help you with this by creating a custom list of location recommendations with places that work for the two of you and your vision. Contact me to start working on finding the best places to elope in BC!
Pick a date
Consider the weather, crowds, and what you want to experience on your elopement day, then set a date to tie the knot!
Find more information about travel visas and wedding documentation
You most likely won’t need a travel visa to elope in BC, unless you want to stay for a long time, but make sure your passports and any other paperwork you need is up to date!
Book your flights and accommodation
Making these bookings as early as possible will help ensure that you can stay close to your elopement location, especially during busy seasons.
Book your vendors
Vendors are the people who make your dream elopement day come to life, so make sure you find people you click with! Our calendars fill up pretty quickly, so reach out to your favorites as soon as possible.
Live your dream elopement
Now, it’s time to elope! You get to exchange vows and marry the person you love most, all while having an incredible adventure. After your day is over, you’ll get your photos back and relive it over and over again!
DOES BC SOUND LIKE YOUR DREAM?
How it works to plan your elopement in British Columbia
Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!
Imagine a wedding where you can be you. Breathe. Bask in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket-list dream.
Are you eager to start planning your elopement in British Columbia? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!