How to Elope in BC

I’m so excited you’re here! I truly believe that elopements don’t have to be what our parent’s generation thinks of when you say that word…by all means if you want to run off to Vegas and get married by Elvis…be my guest! But I think there’s so many other ways you can create a meaningful wedding day, with as little or many guests that you want, in a location that makes you feel like you’re the only two people that matter. There’s something so magical about sharing your vows with the ocean waves crashing in the background or with towering 14,000 foot peaks on all sides of you, or surrounded by trees that are 100s of years old. If you’re like me, you feel most at peace when you’re in nature, even if it does remind you just how small we are.

Of course with so many more options to make your wedding day unique, you’ll probably run into the problem of just not knowing where to start! I’m here to help you with that!

I want to start by saying that technically the only things you 100% need to elope in BC are an officiant, two witnesses, and mayyyybe a permit if it’s required. You can choose what’s most important to you and where you want to spend your budget + time. Don’t feel like flowers are a necessity? No worries, spend that money on room service! 😉 Wear a white dress or wear two skis on your feet. Plan a surprise dinner with your family or stay off the grid on a 3 day backpacking trip. You. Do. You.

BC Marriage License + Wedding Officiant

So first up, the legal stuff.

You’re gonna need a marriage license. You can search all the locations they are available HERE.

And you’re gonna need an officiant. You can find a list of all the marriage commissioners in the province of BC HERE. **Note** lots of my couples choose to do the paperwork with the officiant prior to or after their wedding ceremony. They either ask a close family member or friend to ‘officiate’ the sharing of vows + rings or choose to have their ceremony be between only the two of them. This is also an option if you are choosing to elope at sunrise, along a hike that not every one will be physically capable of completing, or at a location that would require a lot of travel expenses on the commissioner’s part.

Vancouver City Parks Wedding Permit

For weddings within Vancouver of more than 15 people or if you require setting up tables, chairs, etc, you can purchase a permit for one of the city’s designated wedding sites HERE. You can also apply for special event permits for other locations. Under 15 people and don’t have a need for chairs or a traditional alter? You’re in luck!

Within a provincial park? You don’t need a permit, just permission from the BC Parks Regional Office.

Deciding Where to Elope in BC

British Columbia really has it all, which makes choosing a location for your wedding ceremony pretttttty tough hey?

Here’s a few questions to ask each other that should help you narrow things down :

What time of year do we want to elope? Will there be problems if a road is closed? Are there seasonal closures, burn bans, hiking restrictions?

How accessible must the location be? Will family and friends be joining us? Do we want to have a home-base of a lodge or hotel or AirBNB or do we want to be off the grid in a tent or hut? Do we want to stay close to restaurants for dinner afterwards or a hotel to get dressed in?

If family is coming, where will they stay? Can we rent out an AirBNB condo or a family campsite or cabins at a summer camp?

What type of scenery do we want? Epic views on the top of a mountain, will we hike there or take a helicopter? Lush green moss + 100 year old trees? Oceanside cliffs or a beach?

How much time do we have? (I always recommend making it a full day experience together!) Do we want a quick 20 minute drive or a few hours off-roading? Zero hiking time or a 2 day trip? Is the location busier at certain times of the day?

What do we want to incorporate into our day? Love kayaking or SUP? Want to head out on a trail ride with your horses? Have dreams of owning + living on a sailboat?

Need some help sorting through all your options? Definitely get in touch because I’ve got a list of ideas, locations, timelines + more and loooooove helping my couples sort through all the options to find their perfect fit.

Choosing your Elopement Vendors

Once you’ve narrowed down your location + vision for your wedding day, you want to make sure you choose vendors (if you want them!) that completely understand your vision + what your priorities are! If you’re planning a sunrise ceremony (often helps get away from the crowds!), then you’ll want a hair + makeup artist that’s willing to start work at 3 or 4 am. If you’d like flowers, you want to make sure your florist can work with hardy greenery and flowers that can withstand the heat or cold. Maybe you can book a caterer that specializes in camp food that can make you a picnic to eat along the way or a restaurant that makes a killllller brunch for after your sunrise ceremony.

When it comes to your photographer? Well, I only have one rule + it’s that I’m able to empower you to plan the wedding of your wildest dreams, no limits, no prejudice, no rules. I want your photographs to show your day exactly as it was and exactly as you felt. I’ll be there for you as your guide, to show you how to pack your dress so it doesn’t wrinkle and your flowers so they don’t wilt. I want to pull out awesome snacks at just the perfect moment before you get too fatigued. And I want to make you completely forget that you’re having your photo taken, because your day is about so much more than a pretty picture. I promise, I’ll be the best damn third wheel you’ve ever seen. I’m a professional, after all.

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