How to elope in Nova Scotia - the ultimate guide

The ultimate guide to your Nova Scotia elopement

TIPS. VENUES & LOCATION IDEAS
for an adventurous Nova Scotia elopement

Nestled in the cradle of the Atlantic, Nova Scotia unveils its timeless beauty. Whispers of the sea dance with coastal winds, while ancient cliffs stand as stoic witnesses. Glistening beaches, their sands kissed by the sun, cradle secrets of seafaring tales. Misty forests hold the songs of elusive creatures, and lakes mirror the sky’s ever-changing hues. Amidst rugged landscapes, Nova Scotia’s allure is a symphony of untamed wonder, where every vista paints a poetic masterpiece.

Let’s dive in…

amber, elopement photographer

Hey! I’m Amber.

Your Nova Scotia elopement photographer + planner

As a seasoned elopement orchestrator in Nova Scotia, my heart resonates with crafting exceptional and daring elopement odysseys for couples in search of an unrivaled celebration of their love.

Drawing from a wealth of experience capturing the mesmerizing beauty of this coastal gem, I possess an intimate understanding of the most picturesque locales for your vows, portraits, and exhilarating escapades. Specializing in curating elopements that brim with excitement, romance, and boundless joy, I am committed to molding a bespoke experience that captures the very essence of your distinctive love narrative.

From our initial connection, I stand as your steadfast partner throughout the elopement journey. From discovering the perfect setting to recommending local artisans who align with your elopement desires, my aim is to facilitate a seamless planning process, freeing you to savor the depths of your love and the thrill of your adventure.

Through my lens, I will artistically immortalize every heartfelt instant of your remarkable day — from the anticipatory preparations to the profound emotions of your ceremony and beyond. My photographic style epitomizes natural authenticity, candid storytelling, and an evocative essence, crafting an ageless collection of images that resonate with the very core of your love tale.

Be it an intimate coastal union, a captivating sunset fête, or a daring jaunt into untamed woodlands, I’m here to breathe life into your vision. With my expertise and unwavering commitment to crafting unforgettable elopement chronicles, your Nova Scotia elopement will blossom into an extraordinary journey cherished for a lifetime.

If you’re poised for a singular adventure and ready to celebrate your love in one of the world’s most enchanting settings, let’s embark on the journey of fashioning your Nova Scotia elopement today!

First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:

What is an elopement?

An adventure elopement in contemporary times embodies an intimate and personalized celebration of love that thrives on the spirit of exploration, nature’s grandeur, and the couple’s unique connection. It veers away from traditional norms, allowing couples to forge their own path and design an experience that resonates with their passions.

More than just a ceremony, an adventure elopement encapsulates the thrill of discovering breathtaking landscapes, embracing the unknown, and crafting memories that mirror the couple’s journey together. It can involve hiking to mountaintops, exchanging vows by waterfalls, or sharing an intimate moment on a secluded beach.

In this approach, authenticity is paramount. The couple’s personalities and love story become central, and the focus shifts from extravagant displays to meaningful connections. Adventure elopements prioritize experiences over formalities, granting couples the freedom to choose locations that ignite their spirits and activities that reflect their shared interests.

Technology has also played a role, with social media platforms allowing couples to share their elopement adventures with a wider audience. This shift represents a redefining of wedding celebrations, embracing a more intimate, unique, and experiential way to declare love while immersed in nature’s beauty.

How to get to Nova Scotia for your elopement

Traveling to Nova Scotia offers a mix of options, ensuring you can choose the one that suits your preferences and circumstances. The primary modes of transportation include:

  1. Air Travel: The most efficient way to reach Nova Scotia from afar is by air. The Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) in Halifax is the main gateway, offering numerous direct flights from major cities in Canada, the United States, and other international destinations. Once you arrive, you can rent a car or use local transportation to explore the province.
  2. Car Travel: If you’re already in a nearby region, driving to Nova Scotia can be a picturesque journey. The province is connected to New Brunswick via the Chignecto Isthmus and Prince Edward Island via the Confederation Bridge. Major highways like the Trans-Canada Highway and provincial routes provide easy access.
  3. Ferry: If you’re coming from nearby provinces or islands, ferries can be a scenic and leisurely way to travel to Nova Scotia. Ferries connect various points, such as the North Sydney to Port aux Basques (Newfoundland) route and the ferry between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
  4. Bus and Train: Bus and train services offer connections to Nova Scotia, with various routes operated by different companies. While not as quick as flying, these options can provide a unique and relaxed travel experience.
  5. Cruise: If you’re looking for a more leisurely way to travel, consider a cruise that stops at ports in Nova Scotia. The province’s coastal beauty and vibrant cities make it a popular destination for cruise ships.

Remember to check current travel advisories, transportation schedules, and entry requirements before embarking on your journey to Nova Scotia. Whether you prefer a fast flight, a scenic drive, or a leisurely ferry ride, Nova Scotia’s charm and natural beauty will greet you upon arrival.

Getting Around Nova Scotia During Your Elopement

Getting around Nova Scotia is relatively straightforward, with various transportation options available to explore the province’s diverse landscapes and attractions:

  1. Car Rental: Renting a car is a popular choice for travelers in Nova Scotia. The province has well-maintained roads and highways that make it easy to navigate. Car rentals are available at airports, major cities, and tourist areas. This option provides flexibility and convenience to explore both urban areas and rural regions.
  2. Public Transit: While larger cities like Halifax offer public transit options, they might not be as extensive as in major urban centers. Halifax has a Metro Transit bus system that serves the city and surrounding areas. However, for more remote or rural areas, public transit options may be limited.
  3. Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are available in urban areas and tourist destinations. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft might also be available in some cities.
  4. Ferry Services: Nova Scotia’s coastal geography means that ferry services connect various parts of the province, neighboring provinces, and nearby islands. Notable ferry routes include those between North Sydney and Port aux Basques (Newfoundland) and the ferry to Prince Edward Island.
  5. Cycling: Nova Scotia offers scenic cycling routes for those who enjoy exploring on two wheels. There are bike lanes and designated cycling trails in urban areas, as well as longer routes for cycling enthusiasts.
  6. Walking: Exploring on foot is a great way to experience the charm of Nova Scotia’s towns and cities. Many urban areas are pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks and walking paths.
  7. Tours and Excursions: If you prefer guided experiences, consider joining organized tours, such as bus tours, boat cruises, or guided hikes. These tours can provide insights into the local culture, history, and natural beauty.

Keep in mind that Nova Scotia’s size and diverse landscapes mean that travel times between regions can vary. Plan your transportation method based on the areas you want to explore and the level of flexibility you desire. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, Nova Scotia’s scenic beauty and welcoming communities are sure to leave a lasting impression.

How to Legally Elope in Nova Scotia

Getting married in Nova Scotia involves several steps to ensure that your marriage is legally recognized. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Obtain a Marriage License: Before you can get married in Nova Scotia, you and your partner must obtain a marriage license. To do this, you’ll need to visit a Vital Statistics office in the province and provide certain documents. These may include proof of identity, age, and marital status. The license is typically valid for three months.
  2. Choose an Officiant: In Nova Scotia, you can have a religious or civil ceremony. If you choose a religious ceremony, ensure that your chosen religious official is authorized to perform marriages. For a civil ceremony, you can have a judge, justice of the peace, notary public, or a registered marriage commissioner officiate your wedding.
  3. Plan Your Ceremony: Coordinate with your chosen officiant to plan the details of your wedding ceremony. Discuss the location, date, time, and any specific elements you want to include.
  4. Witnesses: You will need two witnesses to sign the marriage license and the official marriage certificate during the ceremony. These witnesses must be present at the ceremony and must be at least 16 years old.
  5. Ceremony: On the day of your wedding, your chosen officiant will perform the ceremony according to your preferences. The ceremony will include the exchange of vows and rings, as well as the signing of the marriage license and certificate by the couple and their witnesses.
  6. Marriage Certificate: After the ceremony, the officiant will submit the marriage license and certificate to Vital Statistics. The couple will receive a marriage certificate, which is proof of the legal marriage.

It’s important to note that laws and regulations can vary, so it’s recommended to contact the Nova Scotia Vital Statistics office or visit their official website for the most up-to-date and detailed information on how to get married in the province. Additionally, if you’re a non-resident of Canada, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as a letter of non-impediment from your home country.

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 Nova Scotia.

Why Elope in Nova Scotia

Diverse Natural Landscapes

Nova Scotia boasts an incredible variety of landscapes within a relatively compact area. From rugged coastal cliffs and stunning beaches to lush forests and serene lakes, this province offers an array of breathtaking backdrops for your adventure elopement. Whether you dream of exchanging vows by the ocean, in a tranquil forest, or against the backdrop of a majestic waterfall, Nova Scotia has it all.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations

For couples seeking an elopement that’s both intimate and unique, Nova Scotia provides ample opportunities to discover hidden gems. Explore charming fishing villages, hike along scenic coastal trails, or venture into the picturesque Cape Breton Highlands. These off-the-beaten-path locations allow you to create meaningful memories in some of the most stunning and less-explored corners of the province.

Rich Maritime Culture

Nova Scotia’s rich maritime history and culture add a distinctive charm to any adventure elopement. Immerse yourselves in local traditions, savor freshly caught seafood, and interact with friendly locals who take pride in their province’s heritage. Whether you’re drawn to the bustling energy of Halifax or the quaint charm of small coastal towns, Nova Scotia offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere that can enhance your elopement experience.

Top 5 spots to Elope in Nova Scotia

These off-the-beaten-path locations allow couples to embrace the raw beauty of Nova Scotia’s landscapes and create unforgettable memories in some of the province’s most remote and awe-inspiring spots.

Where to elope in Nova Scotia - Pollett's cove

Pollett’s Cove

Accessible by a challenging hike, Pollett’s Cove rewards adventurers with stunning coastal vistas and a secluded beach. This remote cove is surrounded by towering cliffs and provides an ideal spot for a peaceful elopement ceremony with the wild Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop.

Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail

This rugged coastal trail showcases some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Nova Scotia. The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, including towering cliffs, hidden coves, and expansive views of the Bay of Fundy. Elopement ceremonies along this trail offer a sense of seclusion and natural grandeur.

Where to elope in Nova Scotia - Cape Chignecto
Where to elope in Nova Scotia - Duncans Cove by Dennis Jarvis

Duncans Cove

A hidden gem near Halifax, Duncans Cove features a trail that winds through coastal forests and along rocky shores. The highlight is the breathtaking sea arch, a unique natural formation that frames the ocean view beautifully. It’s an ideal spot for an intimate elopement with a touch of maritime magic.

Photo by Dennis Jarvis

Cape Forchu Lighthouse

Located near Yarmouth, this lesser-known lighthouse offers sweeping ocean views and picturesque coastal landscapes. The rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and panoramic vistas create a dramatic setting for an adventurous elopement ceremony that celebrates the untamed beauty of Nova Scotia.

Where to elope in Nova Scotia - Cape Forchu lighthouse
Where to elope in Nova Scotia - cape split

Cape Split

A challenging hike through the woods leads to Cape Split, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Bay of Fundy and its impressive tides. The rocky cliffs provide a spectacular backdrop for an intimate elopement, and the sense of accomplishment after the hike enhances the overall experience.

When to Elope in Nova Scotia

The best time to visit Nova Scotia depends on your preferences and the experiences you’re seeking:

Summer (June to August)

This is the peak tourist season, offering warm weather, festivals, and vibrant landscapes. It’s ideal for outdoor activities, beach outings, and exploring coastal towns. Keep in mind that popular attractions can be busier during this time.

Fall (September to November)

Fall foliage transforms Nova Scotia into a stunning array of red, orange, and gold hues. This is a picturesque time for hiking, road trips along the Cabot Trail, and enjoying the harvest season. September is particularly pleasant with mild weather and fewer crowds.

Spring (May to June)

Spring brings blooming flowers, mild temperatures, and fewer tourists. It’s a great time for exploring gardens, hiking trails, and enjoying outdoor activities before the summer rush.

Winter (December to February)

If you’re drawn to a quieter, cozy experience, winter can be magical. You can enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing, visit local museums, and experience holiday events and festivals.

Considering your desire for an adventure elopement, late spring to early fall is often recommended. This period offers favorable weather for outdoor ceremonies and activities, as well as stunning backdrops of lush landscapes or vibrant autumn colors, depending on the exact timing of your elopement. Keep in mind that weather in Nova Scotia can be unpredictable, so be prepared for changes and have backup plans if necessary.

Example budget of an elopement in Nova Scotia

When it comes to elopement budgets, I understand the challenges of providing a precise estimate for vendors outside of my own expertise. The cost can greatly vary depending on your chosen destination and the quality of vendors you desire.

Elopement expenses are significantly influenced by factors like your chosen location. Rather than providing generic budget estimates for vendors I don’t work with, I recommend exploring my elopement packages. They include all-inclusive options, giving you a clearer view of your budget and costs.

Lodging for your elopement in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia offers a diverse range of lodging options to suit various preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for cozy inns, waterfront resorts, charming bed and breakfasts, or unique accommodations, you’ll find something that aligns with your taste. Here are some popular lodging options in Nova Scotia:

Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs)

Nova Scotia is known for its warm hospitality, and staying at a B&B allows you to experience that firsthand. These accommodations often offer personalized service, comfortable rooms, and a delicious homemade breakfast.

Inns and Boutique Hotels

Many towns and cities in Nova Scotia feature quaint inns and boutique hotels. These options combine historic charm with modern amenities, providing a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

Resorts and Spa Retreats

If you’re seeking a more luxurious experience, you’ll find waterfront resorts and spa retreats that offer relaxation and indulgence. Enjoy stunning views, spa treatments, and upscale dining.

Vacation Rentals and Cottages

For those who value privacy and self-sufficiency, vacation rentals and cottages are available across the province. These options are great for couples who want their own space and the flexibility to prepare their own meals.

Lighthouse Stays

Nova Scotia’s coastline is dotted with picturesque lighthouses, some of which have been converted into unique accommodations. Staying in a lighthouse offers a truly unforgettable experience and breathtaking coastal views.

Campgrounds and RV Parks

If you’re adventurous and want to immerse yourself in nature, Nova Scotia has numerous campgrounds and RV parks. You can choose from basic tent sites to fully equipped RV sites.

Eco-Friendly Retreats

For couples who value sustainability, there are eco-friendly lodges and retreats that emphasize environmental responsibility and provide an eco-conscious experience.

Historic Properties

Nova Scotia boasts a rich history, and you can stay in heritage properties such as old manors and historic buildings, which provide a glimpse into the province’s past.

No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to book your accommodations well in advance, especially during the peak tourist season. Research the options that align with your preferences and the location of your planned adventure elopement in Nova Scotia.

Unique Things to Do When You Elope in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia offers a plethora of unique and adventurous activities for couples seeking unforgettable experiences. Here are three options that stand out:

Sea Kayaking in the Bay of Fundy

Embark on a thrilling sea kayaking adventure in the iconic Bay of Fundy. Paddle through rugged coastlines, explore hidden coves, and witness the world’s highest tides in action. This area is known for its dramatic tidal changes, creating a dynamic and ever-changing marine environment. Imagine kayaking alongside towering sea cliffs and spotting marine wildlife such as seals, whales, and seabirds. It’s a perfect way to connect with nature and each other while surrounded by the breathtaking coastal beauty of Nova Scotia.

Tidal Bore Rafting on the Shubenacadie River

Experience the unique phenomenon of the tidal bore by embarking on a rafting adventure on the Shubenacadie River. The tidal bore is a wave that forms when the incoming tide pushes against the current of a river. Hop aboard a sturdy raft and navigate the river as it transforms from calm waters to thrilling rapids when the tidal bore arrives. It’s an exhilarating experience that combines the power of nature with the excitement of white-water rafting. This activity promises plenty of laughter, adrenaline, and shared memories.

Backcountry Hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

For couples who love hiking and exploring remote landscapes, Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers a range of backcountry trails that lead to breathtaking vistas. Choose from a variety of hiking routes that wind through lush forests, alongside cascading waterfalls, and up to panoramic overlooks. One particularly popular trail is the Skyline Trail, where you can walk along the cliff’s edge and take in sweeping views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As you hike, you’ll immerse yourselves in the unspoiled beauty of Nova Scotia’s wilderness and create lasting memories in a truly unique setting.

What to wear to elope in Nova Scotia

What to Wear to Elope in Nova Scotia

The Dress

When choosing a dress for your elopement in Nova Scotia, consider the rugged yet picturesque landscapes. Opt for a gown that complements the natural beauty, perhaps with flowing fabric that catches the breeze. A bohemian or vintage-inspired dress can be a great fit, adorned with lace, embroidery, or subtle detailing. Choose colors that harmonize with the surroundings, such as soft pastels or earthy tones. Keep in mind the climate, as layers or a shawl can provide warmth and style.

The Shoes

Nova Scotia’s diverse terrain calls for practical yet stylish footwear. If you plan to explore rocky shores or woodland trails, opt for comfortable and sturdy shoes, like ankle boots or hiking boots. For a beach elopement, consider elegant sandals that won’t sink into the sand. You might even embrace the maritime spirit with nautical-themed footwear. Choose colors that align with your overall outfit and the coastal environment.

The Suit

For grooms, a suit that balances sophistication and adaptability is key. Depending on your elopement location, you can choose a classic suit in a timeless color like navy or charcoal, or experiment with lighter shades like gray or beige for a coastal vibe. Consider lightweight fabrics to stay comfortable, especially if your elopement involves hiking or outdoor activities. To infuse some personality, you can incorporate a patterned tie, pocket square, or even a bowtie that reflects the maritime atmosphere.

Accessories

Accessories can add a personal touch and complement your chosen attire. For brides, consider a delicate flower crown, a vintage veil, or understated jewelry that doesn’t compete with the natural beauty around you. Grooms can enhance their look with classic cufflinks, a stylish watch, or even a boutonnière featuring local flora. Both partners might want to carry a rustic bouquet or boutonnière that echoes the coastal landscape.

Typical food and dishes from Nova Scotia

You might want to integrate into your elopement day

What to eat during your Nova Scotia elopement - lobster rolls

Lobster Roll

Nova Scotia is famous for its seafood, and a lobster roll is a must-try delicacy. Enjoy succulent chunks of fresh lobster meat, often mixed with a light mayo-based dressing, and nestled in a soft, buttered roll. The sweet and briny flavor of the lobster is the star of this dish, capturing the essence of the maritime region. You’ll find variations of lobster rolls at seafood shacks and restaurants along the coast.

Digby Scallops

Nova Scotia’s Digby scallops are renowned for their exceptional quality and flavor. These plump and tender scallops are typically pan-seared to perfection, resulting in a delicate and buttery texture. They are often served as an appetizer, entrée, or part of a seafood platter. Whether served on their own or as part of a larger seafood feast, Digby scallops offer a true taste of Nova Scotia’s culinary excellence.

What to eat during your Nova Scotia elopement - Digby scallops
What to eat during your Nova Scotia elopement - blueberry grunt

Blueberry Grunt

For a taste of traditional Nova Scotian dessert, don’t miss out on trying blueberry grunt. This comforting dessert features plump, juicy blueberries simmered in their juices and topped with dumplings that “grunt” as they cook. The combination of warm, cooked blueberries and tender dumplings is a delightful treat, especially when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Elope in Nova Scotia – Your Checklist


Select a Date

Sit down with your partner and choose a date that works best for both of you. Consider travel times and aim to book your elopement during those preferred months.

Verify Wedding Requirements

Gather information about travel visas and the necessary wedding documentation to ensure you have everything in order for your legal marriage in Nova Scotia.

Secure Flights and Accommodation

Take the time to book your flights and accommodations promptly, allowing you to secure special deals and discounts for your Nova Scotia elopement.

Arrange Vendors

Reach out to essential vendors, such as your officiant, consultant, venue and accommodation. Confirm their availability and secure their services to make your elopement truly memorable.

Embrace Your Dream Elopement

Above all, remember to savor every moment of this remarkable occasion and create cherished memories with your life partner. Enjoy the beauty of your Nova Scotia elopement as you embark on this extraordinary journey together.

DOES Nova Scotia sound LIKE YOUR DREAM?

How it works to plan your elopement in Nova Scotia

Process-how to plan an elopement

Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!

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LATEST Nova Scotia ELOPEMENTS

Discover here the latest elopements in Nova Scotia I had the chance of planning and photographing.

Nova Scotia elopement planner

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Are you eager to start planning your elopement in Nova Scotia? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!

How to elope in Nova Scotia - the ultimate guide with tips from a planner
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