15 Tips to Keep your Wedding on Budget

15 Tips to Keep your Wedding on Budget

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography

How to have an amazing, yet affordable day:

1. Get real
The first key is understanding how much you have to work with and then setting your expectations accordingly.

2. Rank your priorities
Decide what aspects of your wedding are most important to you. One of the best ways to keep your budget on track is to focus on what you and your partner want, not what you think you want or what others expect.

3. Trim your guest list
Small, intimate weddings ensure that you spend your special day with the people that matter most to you.

4. Recruit family and friends
Cost-free outsourcing! Gather your family and friends, play to their strengths and have fun. If they offer, using talented friends will make for a more personal celebration and build-up to the special day.

5. Location
Do some research, compare costs and venue offerings. Planning your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location will save on transport costs and dealing with two different vendors and contracts. You will also be able to use the same decor from the ceremony at the reception. By choosing an attractive venue and surroundings, all you have to do is to set the tables with linens, flowers and centre-pieces, as the location will already speak for itself.

6. Embrace the off-season
Weddings that don’t fall during peak months will certainly help to keep costs down.

7. Hire an expert
Although a wedding planner costs money, you will save in the end. Wedding planners have years of experience working within budgets, they will do the legwork of tracking down venue options and vendors and they may even find money-saving discounts as a result of established relationships with a wide range of suppliers.

8. Get crafty
Some couples throw a “pitch-in party” where you ask your family and friends to help you create invitations, decorations, centerpieces and other inexpensive touches. Have fun, get creative and let your friends know how thankful you are for their help!

9. Create your own wedding website
Save on paper, printing and postage by sharing your important wedding details online. Most online businesses only charge a small fee, if any, to use webpage templates.

10. Bargain and borrow
For half the price and twice the charm, you can find everything from wooden signs to fabric and trim to antique mason jars online or at your local flea market. Consider borrowing decor or buying second hand, rather than renting at a high cost.

11. Buy in-season
Use seasonal and local produce when possible, whether it be flowers, food or gifts.

12. Simple food
Generally, a large part of your wedding budget will go to food, so make sure it’s delicious! Go for simple, but well prepared and presented food. Just because it sounds fancy on a menu, does not mean it will be delicious. Rather choose a caterer that you that can trust and decide on a simple menu together. Reduce service costs by offering self-serve food stations, self-serve wine on the tables and a family-style dining concept.

13. Manage the bar
Bar costs can significantly add to a wedding budget, so skip the open bar. Instead, offer guests beer and wine along with a signature cocktail. Provide non-alcoholic drinks on each table, such as sparkling water or a homemade lemonade, which will keep your guests hydrated throughout the reception.

14. Homemade favours
Homemade gifts and goodies are an ideal way to thank your guests for coming. They are low cost, low fuss, yet highly satisfying!

15. Honeymoon
The fewer plans, the better. Simply slow down and enjoy your time together as a newly married couple. You don’t have to travel far or make any extravagant plans for the honeymoon to be memorable.

Now, even on a budget – you can still have that dream wedding! In the end, don’t lose sight of what you are truly celebrating. Your guests won’t remember every small detail, but they will remember how happy you two were and the fabulous time they had celebrating your marriage.

It’s Summertime in Tofino!

It’s Summertime in Tofino!

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography

Summer is in full swing here in beautiful Tofino with families, friends, surfers, campers, adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts and wedding parties!  We have had an abundance of sunshine, blue skies and breathtaking, picture perfect sunsets on the West Coast this season.  Tofino is the place to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, slow down and appreciate all that this beautiful island has to offer, with endless outdoor activities and excursions to choose from.

Why don’t you come and check it out for yourself?  If you have a wedding on the horizon – consider Tofino to be your destination!  You can pre-arrange site tours at most resorts and venues to get an idea of what you are looking for and where you could best accommodate your group.  You will no doubt fall head over heels in love with Tofino, along with the rest of us.

Now, remember to take time out to enjoy the season, soak up some sun and have fun.

Cheers to summer!



Wedding Welcome Packages

Wedding Welcome Packages

Do you want to make a great first impression?  Surprise your lovely guests with a Wedding Welcome Package and ensure that they have a memorable time in Tofino!  

Greet your family and friends with a package of local goodies and weekend essentials:

1. Choose a bag, basket or box!  Find something fun to stash your guests swag in.  Personalize it, either with your names or the theme of the wedding.  Beach bags are ideal for Tofino – versatile, reusable and easy to carry.

2. Include an itinerary.  This is a great opportunity to share important event specifics with your guests.  Contact information, locations, times and transportation are key details that guests should have on hand.  Include any other pertinent information, ensuring that the weekend goes by smoothly.

3. A Tofino map and guide book.  Highlight unique points of interest.  Send your guests on a scavenger hunt, include a gift certificate to one of Tofino’s fine eateries, book a fun group surfing lesson, whale watching tour, kayaking trip, yoga class or spa visit.  Tofino has an abundance of hot spots to mark on your map.

4. Add a small gift or token that is unique to Tofino.  There are numerous local artisans, boutiques and galleries in this town.  A few examples to get you thinking:  Sea Wench Naturals has a beautiful line of locally sourced body products and candles, Tofino Coffee Roasting Company sells bags of delicious locally roasted beans, Tofino Tea Bar offers premium quality loose leaf tea and blends, along with other locally crafted gifts.  The options are endless in this small town, you are sure to find the perfect memento to send your guests home with.

5. Snacks are always a good idea!  For the sweet tooth, Chocolate Tofino has a variety of delicious treats to spoil your guests.  Chips, granola bars and other savoury snacks are also a hit to get everyone through the big day.

6. Drinks, alcoholic or not, but why not get the party started early!  Toss in a bottle of Tofino Brewing Company‘s popular Tuff Session Ale or one of their seasonal brews.  A small bottle of sparkling wine also makes for an excellent welcome gift.

7. Hangover cure (from having too much wedding day fun) – hydration and aspirin.  A group brunch should also do the trick!

8. Thank You!  A hand-written, personalized thank you card shows your guests just how much you appreciate them being a part of your special day.


A Dog in your Wedding Party?

A Dog in your Wedding Party?

No problem! It is quite common for couples to want their beloved canine companions to take part in their special day and the beaches of Tofino are a dog’s paradise.

Big dogs, little dogs, you will find all sorts here. Your furry, four-legged buddy will certainly be in good company. Tofino beaches are scattered with dogs enjoying life and who would blame them, with endless stretches of sand, ocean waves and other dogs to play with.

Numerous resorts in Tofino offer specific pet-friendly accommodations with easy beach access, generally at an additional charge per night. Your dog will be lounging in luxury! These rooms tend to book up fast though, so make your arrangements in advance if possible.

Tofino also offers dog walking and care services with local business ‘Tofino Travelling Paws‘. If you are planning to head out with your family and friends for a long day of adventure and can’t take your dog with you, this would certainly be the lady to call!

When exploring the surrounding area and beaches, please respect any posted signs as some areas require dogs to remain on a leash. Also, keep in mind that during shorebird migratory seasons (mid-April to mid-May and mid-July to mid-October) dogs can disrupt birds during this crucial feeding and resting period, so best to keep them away from the water’s edge where the birds generally tend to gather.

Now, whether your dog bears the rings, adorns a bow-tie, pins a flower or shows up just as they are, they will certainly be a welcome addition to the celebration, not to mention the fun photo session to follow! So come on, let your tail wagging, four-legged friend escort you two newlyweds down the aisle for the first time. I have no doubt they will do so with style and grace.

Here are some tips for a stress free puppy full wedding!

1. Inquire with the resort or venue whether they have rules regarding dogs. Most resorts are dog friendly, but have rules about where dogs can be.

2. Determine whether your dog is suitable to have at your wedding. All dogs are different and some just don’t have the temperament to be a part of such a busy day. If your dog barks a lot, jumps up on people or pees on everything, it might be best to leave him at home. Maybe it’s best to express your puppy love through having a photo of our dog on the signing table.

3. Decide what parts of the wedding day your dog will be a part of. Will he walk with you down the aisle, carry the rings, or will be a part of a photo session after the ceremony?

4. Decide who will be responsible for your dog throughout the day. It is best not to bestow this responsibility on just one individual, but have a few people that will look after him at different/ or the same times.

5. Treat your dog to a grooming session. You are going to look your absolute best, why not your dog too!

6. Talk to your wedding party and family members about it. Does anyone have severe allergies or fears of dogs?

7. Bring your dog to the rehearsal and practice. See how he or she reacts to the new environment and practice any tasks he or she needs to do. In the days leading up to the wedding, introduce that new bow tie or ring pillow to his training routine.

8. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Have a sense of humour when your dog doesn’t do exactly what you want and be flexible when plans change unexpectedly.

9. Include your dog in a photo session! Here are some fun examples of proud pups at weddings in Tofino. All images by dog lover and Tofino photographer Marnie Recker.





Why Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

Why Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography, at Cox Bay Beach Resort

Your wedding should be a time of celebration and joy, not a time of stress, confusion and exhaustion.

Like many others, you have probably been dreaming about your wedding day ever since you can remember and now the time has finally come to start planning. Organizing a wedding isn’t always fun and games though…

Planning a wedding is hard work, not to mention you probably have a job, hobbies and other obligations that already keep you more than busy. Have you considered hiring a Wedding Coordinator to help you plan your special day?

A Wedding Coordinator is a valuable source of knowledge, offering the skills and contacts necessary to make your day come together seamlessly. From formulating a timeline, selecting a venue, communicating with vendors and wedding professionals, conducting the rehearsal and coordinating all activities on the big day, a Wedding Coordinator will be there for you every step of the way.

A Wedding Coordinator will help you:

  • Focus on your vision and turn it into a reality
  • Plan your wedding from out of town
  • Manage your time and create a timeline to guide you
  • Prioritize what matters the most, remain focused and organized
  • Make the most informed decisions when selecting a venue, hiring vendors and signing contracts
  • Stay within budget and save money where possible
  • Manage vendors, wedding professionals, guests and all the small details
  • Ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly without any unexpected hitches

Wedding Coordinators have a true passion for weddings, along with the education and experience, to ensure that your day will be as perfect and memorable as it can be. So why not take stress out the equation and SIMPLY ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!

There are a few resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet that have an on-site Weddings and Event Co-ordinator. Long Beach Lodge Resort, Jamie’s Rainforest Inn and Black Rock Resort are three resort that not only offer co-ordinating services, but have beautifully designed packages for elopements and weddings.

Sheila from Rare Earth Weddings and Events and Suzanne from West Coast Weddings and Events are the two local wedding planners. They have many beautiful packages to choose from and even offer free consultations!




Tofino Wedding Day Survival Kit

Tofino Wedding Day Survival Kit

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography

Get hitched without a hitch on the West Coast!

It’s easy to put together a Wedding Day Survival Kit that will keep you looking and feeling your best on the BIG DAY! You will no doubt be thankful that you did, as you can be sure there will be unexpected moments and mishaps along the way. Shoes will rub blisters, buttons will pop off, zippers will snag and hair will go askew, not to mention the unpredictable weather out here on the wild West Coast!

What to include in your “Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will” Kit:

  • Hair Pins, Hairspray, Comb – for when coastal winds pick up and to control flyaways
  • Compact Mirror – for quick touch-ups and to keep an eye on things
  • Band-Aids – those strappy shoes are not meant to be comfortable
  • Needle and Thread – buttons will pop off, zippers will break
  • Scissors – something will always need a cut or trim
  • Safety Pins – tighten straps, keep bustles in place, perk up a limp boutonniere
  • Super Glue – reattach ribbons, quickly mend a veil tear, repair a broken heel
  • Fashion Tape – hold up a fallen hem, keep clothing in place
  • Tissues – for those inevitable tears
  • Nail File – prevent snags in case of a jagged nail
  • Aspirin, Antacid, Stomach Relief Medicine – banish any pre-wedding aches and nerves
  • Sunscreen – you don’t want to look like a lobster if the sun is shining all day
  • Mints – breath freshener
  • Water – stay hydrated
  • Eye Drops – quell redness
  • Lip Gloss – for all those kisses
  • Deodorant – smell and feel fresh
  • Small Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Dental Floss – keep those pearly whites sparkling
  • Clear Nail Polish – stop a run before it gets out of control
  • Stain Remover – for unexpected spills
  • Gumboots – a Tofino essential for beach weddings and splashing in the waves
  • Flip Flops – great for the beach and later in the evening when your feet need a break
  • Umbrellas – just in case those rain drops start falling

Now of course there are numerous other items you could add to the list, but this is a good starter kit to help get you through your special day with ease and possibly a little less scrambling when things start to go awry. Ideally, the best way to handle any mishap  that may present itself, is with a smile and a sense of humor, as in the end that is what matters the most. Remember to breathe, have fun and enjoy every minute of your special day!


What is it about Tofino and Gumboots?

What is it about Tofino and Gumboots?

The two go hand in hand, it’s really just that simple!

Taking a quick step back in history – the Wellington boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the British aristocracy in the early 19th century, after they were popularized by Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. Today, these boots are also called wellies, rubber boots, rain boots, gumboots, gumbies and gummies.

Out here on the wild West Coast, they’re called gumboots and you must prepare yourself for the elements at all times. Whether protecting your feet from the rain, an unexpected wave lapping the shore as you stroll along the beach or a muddy trail through the magnificent rainforest, gumboots are a comfortable, waterproof wonder and standard attire on the coast.

Locals live in them, visitors bring them along for beach walks and puddle splashing, while Brides and Grooms have started to show them off as they say “I Do” and play on the edge of the ocean.

Gumboots are proof that there is always room for a bit of childish fun in fashion!

Originally worn strictly as functional footwear, gumboots today can be stylish, yet practical. They can be found in a variety of sizes and colours to suit all preferences, from the more traditional to the fancy. You and your wedding party will no doubt find a pair that suits your own unique style. Tall or short, with laces or lining, polka dots, stripes, flowers and dozens of more options, gumboots will surely brighten any rainy day and bring a spring to your step.

Just imagine your beautiful white dress with a pair of yellow, red or blue gumboots adding a SPLASH of colour to your special day!

So come on, grab your gumboots and get ready for a true West Coast wedding in style.

Photos from Marnie Recker Photography



Why Tofino?

Why Tofino?

Why choose Tofino as the destination for your wedding?

With the wild Pacific Ocean, long stretches of sandy beach, scattered driftwood, rocky coastlines, windswept trees, stunning sunsets and majestic temperate rainforest, Tofino will captivate your every sense. Tofino is a place for romance and for creating ever-lasting memories. Whether you are searching for adventure or relaxation, Tofino has it all. With countless activities and attractions, both on land and on sea, you and your guests will have fun playing and exploring on the West Coast.

Saying “I Do” on the beach couldn’t be more fun!

From an intimate affair to a larger gathering, you will find a variety of venues in Tofino to suit your personal style, from the rustic to the luxurious. Now, as you may know already, Tofino’s weather can be unpredictable at the best of times! We say that as long as you are prepared, the rain will only add to the magic of the day and the beauty of the area. Many venues have indoor and outdoor facilities, tent rentals may be advised and the forest canopy always offers some shelter from the elements.

Although a small town, Tofino boasts an impressive selection of local businesses and services to help you through the wedding planning process. The individuals behind these businesses dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that your day will be just as imagined. Please look through our local listings to see what services may be of interest to you.

Now, come and see for yourself!

Tofino is an unforgettable destination and one that will truly capture your heart.

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography