Vows & Toast with Mark McKeough

Vows & Toast with Mark McKeough

Word and video from wedding videographer extraordinaire, Mark McKeough of On The Beach Wedding Videos.

The reception at your wedding will likely be the most fun part of your day. If you’ve made it this far, you’re married now! All of your planning has paid off and things happened (more or less) perfectly. Now you and your guests, can relax, have some fun and celebrate your new milestone over food and drink.

But receptions can also hold some of the most emotional parts of the day. Think about it, such a unique collection of friends and family doesn’t get together very often. So when the speeches start, you’re just as likely to see a few tears as you are to share a few laughs. That’s why toasts are often the backbone of my wedding films, they say so much about the couple and often come from the people closest to them: brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, best friends…

Moments like these are why video is such an important part of any wedding. The payoff comes later on, when you are able to revisit all of these moments as a family. It’s not uncommon for me to hear that couples were unsure about whether they should get a video, only to have it be their favourite keepsake. One of my brides, Sarah, summed it up best in her Facebook review:

“At first we didn’t think to have a wedding video taken… After watching our video many times over the last year. I would say it is the most treasured memory of our wedding… Something like this is priceless especially since Tofino tends to be a destination wedding place. My aunt now jokes that we will need to watch it over and over again to remind us how much we love each other! Life goes on but we don’t have to forget that feeling.”

Another bride, Rebecca, actually hired me on the advice of her friends who were recently married. The consensus was that if they could do it all over again the most important thing they would have done differently would be to hire a videographer to capture their day!

Here is Rebecca & David’s Film, which features some very touching moments from Mom’s on both sides of the family.

David & Rebecca from On the Beach on Vimeo.

Chesterman Elopement with a Pint of Courage

Chesterman Elopement with a Pint of Courage

Tofino is a fantastic place for an elopement, especially in the off season when couples can take advantage of the great rates and empty quiet beaches. Kristen and James choose to get eloped in Tofino because of it’s small town charm and natural setting. With a few friends as witnesses and their puppy, they exchanged vows under a beautiful September sun on Chesterman Beach.

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Chesterman Beach is one of Canada’s most famous beaches. It’s a residential beach about 5 minutes from downtown Tofino and is a wonderful setting for a wedding anytime of year. The beach is made up of three parts: North, Middle and South Chesterman Beaches. The Wickainnish Beach is on the far North End. The homes on the Chesterman Beach have one of the best views on the coast and many are made up as vacation rentals. At Middle Chesterman, a tombolo leads out to Frank Island- a great place to storm watch!
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For something a little different, Kristen and James also decided to hit up the Tofino Brewery to enjoy pint with some locals before the ceremony.

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The brewery and retail store is located on Industrial Way and open everyday 11-9pm for sampling.

Photos from Marnie Recker Photography

Surfing + Wedding = Tofino

Surfing + Wedding = Tofino

Tofino is well known as one of the top places to surf in Canada. It’s also one of the best places to learn to surf. Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay are two of the most popular beaches to learn and there are a ton of surf schools and camps that can show you how to catch your first wave.

Tofino is also well known for being an amazing destination for a wedding, so it’s no wonder that many couples bring surfing into their wedding plans. Sometimes this means surfboards as a photo session prop, or even getting on a surfboard during a trash the dress session. Quite often the groom and his men will hit the waves the morning of the wedding. And it’s also becoming really popular to book a group surf lesson the day before the wedding.

This is exactly what Dani and Chris did. They booked a surf lesson for 18 of their guests with Pacific Surf School and had an absolutely unforgettable experience. Not only did they catch waves, but their wedding guests were able to get to know each other and have fun before the big day. The 4 instructors were super motivating and hilariously fun.

“Pacific Surf School was perfect for our pre-wedding activity. They made the planning process easy and gave us excellent information for us to give to our guests prior to our lessons. The girls at the front desk were amazing and very accommodating to our last minute, morning of add-ins. The four instructors we had were good natured and enthusiastic, making it that much more fun! They were amazing coaches and have this amazing talent of making everyone feel as if they were born to surf. They were attentive and patient. They made sure no one left without riding at least one wave, including our 12 year old niece and 50 year old aunt. It was the perfect start to our Tofino wedding!” ~Dani & Chris

Here are some photos from wedding and portrait photographer Marnie Recker. Check out her Facebook page for a ton more photos!

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West Coast Weddings & Events | Real Wedding

West Coast Weddings & Events | Real Wedding

Planning a wedding is both exciting and fun! There is a lot to take into consideration and it’s helpful to have assistance with your planning from someone that knows the area. Tofino is a destination wedding location and there are a lot of great resources to make your day absolutely perfect. Hiring a wedding planner will bring you in contact with the best of the best and can be one of the best investments you make for your wedding day.

West Coast Weddings & Events is run by Suzanne Ryles. With 26 years experience of living on the coast and working in the hospitality business, she has the right background and connections to ensure the success of your wedding.

Shondra and Darin hired Suzanne to coordinate their day at the Tin Wis Best Western Resort on Mackenzie Beach so they could concentrate on what mattered the most on their day- each other and all their friends and family. Shondra and her bride’s maids started the day off right with champagne and orange juice while getting their hair and make-up at Studio One Aveda Concept Salon. The ceremony took place in the restaurant of the Tin Wis, looking out on Mackenzie Beach. The reception and dance party took place in the restaurant and was fully catered by Tin Wis. Photography by Marnie Recker.

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Trash the Dress in Tofino

Trash the Dress in Tofino

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Photos by Douglas Ludwig

Trash the Dress (AKA “Rock the Frock” or “Drown the Gown”) photo sessions are not a fade… they’re a terrific excuse to take out your wedding dress one more time, have some fun and create some stunning images. It’s a bridal session without all the expectations of a wedding day. No ceremony, no reception… just you, your husband (maybe?), a photographer and your dress. A time to fully express yourself and feel beautiful in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

If you want to consider all the places that you could stage your Trash the Dress session, Tofino is probably one of your top choices. The rugged coastline, waves, and rainforest are breathtakingly beautiful and the contrast of a gorgeous wedding dress against the elements is sure to make for some memorable images. And no worries if it rains on your Trash the Dress day! The more rain, wind and stormy seas, the better!

To trash or not to trash, that’s up to you. The most important thing is that you have fun doing it! You don’t have to completely submerge in the ocean or roll around in the sand, but on a day that is not your wedding day, you might feel a little more adventurous to try something new. And if you feel like wearing your dress while surfing, paddle boarding, going on a hot springs tour, a 4×4 backroads lake mission or a whale watch trip, than that’s great too. Find a photographer that you connect with and discuss some of your ideas. Anything goes!

It’s refreshing to be carefree and adventurous during a session, but it’s also important to be safe. The west coast is wild. During storm season it is especially important to be cautious when photographing near the ocean. Images on the rocks with waves breaking all around you are incredible, but be sure to work with a photographer that knows the tides, understands the currents and wants to make the experience not just fun, but also safe and comfortable.

Marnie Recker and Douglas Ludwig are two local Tofino photographers that specialize in artistic wedding photography and Trash the Dress sessions. Contact them to inquire about pricing and availability this summer and fall season.

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Photos by Marnie Recker

101 Things to Do on Your Tofino Wedding Adventure, A Guide for Brides, Grooms and Guests

101 Things to Do on Your Tofino Wedding Adventure, A Guide for Brides, Grooms and Guests

Photography by Marnie Recker
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1. Visit Tonquin Park and hike the new trail
2. Learn all about Clayoquot Sound on a guided kayak trip
3. Take a trip back in time in a traditional dugout canoe with T’ashii Paddle School
4. See a full grey whale skeleton at The Whale Centre & Museum
5. Stop by West Coast Wild Zip on the way to Tofino for a thrill of a lifetime
6. Stop by the Village Green to play on the zip line at the kid’s playground
7. Be mesmerized by the sun filtering through the trees on the Rainforest Trail
8. Go whale watching and see grey whales, humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, otters and tons of migratory and resident birds
9. Get a new west coast inspired outfit at Habit Clothing or Covet Boutique
10. Get a bird’s eye view at Radar Hill
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11. Pamper yourself at Scared Stone Spa
12. Enjoy some drinks on the patio at Jack’s Pub and watch the boats go by
13. Trek out to the Bomber, a World War II plane that went down in 1945
14. Book a fun family or romantic couple photo session with West Coast Portrait
15. Buy some fresh dungenous crab and cook up a delicious feast
16. Margaritas on the patio at Sobo Restaurant
17. Pick up a few growlers at Tofino Brewery and enjoy in your hot tub overlooking the ocean
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18. Enjoy morning coffee at Tofino Roasting Company
19. Enjoy mussels and frits while watching the latest surf videos or a Canucks game at Shelter Restaurant
20. Tackle a Titanic Caesar at Schooner Restaurant
21. Bring the whole family to Sunday Brunch at The Spotted Bear
22. Indulge with a Vegan Josie Jelly at Rhino Coffee House
23. Be thirsty at the newest beach side patio, Sandbar Bistro at Long Beach Lodge
24. Enjoy some local entertainment and pint at Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge
25. Bring some famous Tacofino fish tacos to the beach
26. Get some coffee and pick up the Tofino Times at Tofitian
27. Slurp an oyster or 100 oysters at the annual Oyster Festival in November
28. Pick up some freshly caught local seafood at Wildside Grill
29. Bust out some downward dogs at Coastal Bliss Yoga Studio
30. Try a rejuvenating acupuncture session with Arbutus Health Center
31. Rent a beach cruiser from TOF Cycles and cruise the bike path and the beach
32. Swing by Scoot ’N’ Aboot scooter rentals
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33. Grab an ice cream cone from Chocolate Tofino
34. Explore the boardwalk trail and beaches at Schooner Cove
35. Beach comb along Long Beach
36. Watch the waves roll in from Sunset Pettinger Point
37. Join a paddle board tour with Tofino Paddle Surf
38. Take the water taxi to Meares Island and walk the Big Tree Trail
39. Paddle board under a full moon at McKenzie Beach
40. Get your hair did at Studio One Aveda Concept Salon or Salty Dolls
41. Spend a day at the Hot Springs, don’t forget your swimsuit!
42. Float plane tour, Clayoquot Sound from the air!
43. Helicopter sightseeing adventure
44. Roy Henry Vickers Art at Eagle Aerie Gallery
45. Wander through the Saturday Market at the Village Green and see what the locals are selling
46. Jingle into Christmas and mingle with the locals at the end of November
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47. Boogie board at Cox Bay
48. Try the Crazy Ron Roll at Tough City Sushi
49. Taste the variety of teas at the Tofino Tea Bar
50. Hike the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet and climb the rocks around the Lighthouse
51. Skip rope with bull kelp
52. Wander dreamily through the Tofino Botanical Gardens
54. Check out the tide pools at Crystal Cove
55. Hike to Radar Beaches
56. Graze the Gardens at the annual Food and Wine Festival in June
57. Go bear watching by boat and see bears roaming the shoreline
58. Pick fresh wild salmonberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries, sahlal berries, black berries and strawberries (season permitting!)
59. Design your own hoodie or t-shirt at Pina
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60. Meet Mark Hobson, wildlife and landscape painter, at his gallery
61. Enjoy the best that Ucluelet has to offer during Ukee Days at the end of July
62. Walk Chesterman Beach on a clear night at low tide to take in the stars
63. Grab a 4th Street Wrap from Tuff Beans and enjoy it on the dock watching the fisherman pull in their catch
64. Visit the sea lion at Marine West dock
65. 4×4 out to Virgin Falls
66. Jump off the Kennedy Lake bridge and camp on Rainbow Beach
67. Fly a kite at Cox Bay
68. March in the annual Box Parade at the end of April
69. Build a driftwood house on Long Beach
70. Check out the Eik Tree and it’s steel girdle to keep it upright, half a block from Jamie’s Whaling Station
71. Catch the Big One at the Tofino Salt Water Classic Fishing Derby in July
72. See world class professional surfing at Rip Curl Pro Tofino in June
73. Storm watching from The Pointe Restaurant
74. Kite surfing at South Chesterman when the winds are right
75. Visit the Kwisitis Visitor Center at on Wickaninnish Beach and learn about the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation
76. Feel like you are in a Dr.Seuss book on the Bog Trail
77. Drive out to Grice Bay and launch your boat for a cruise up the inlet
78. Walk out to Frank Island at Chesterman Beach at low tide and photograph the lighthouse on Lennard Island
79. Welcome back the grey whales at the annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival in March
80. Drop into the bowl at Tuff City Skate park
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81. Bring your appetite and take part in some of the amazing events during Feast Tofino in May
82. Meet master carvers at the annual Carving on the Edge Festival in September
83. Find your favorite author at Mermaid Tales Bookshop
84. Go to the Ucluelet Aquarium and see the octopus have lunch
85. Pan for gold at Florencia Bay Beach
86. Support woman’s surfing at the annual Queen of the Peak in October
87. Be inspired at the annual Tofino Lantern Festival in August
88. Hike up Lone Cone on Meares Island and enjoy the most magnificent view of Tofino and Clayoquot Sound
89. Go for a polar bear swim on New Years Day
90. Have a bon fire and make some s’mores
91. Play 18-hole mini golf or enjoy the 9-hole championship course at Long Beach Golf Course
92. Have a steam and treatment at Ancient Cedars Spa
93. Get a tattoo
94. Go to a Monday Night Movie at Clayoquot Community Theatre
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95. Run the annual Edge to Edge Marathon in June
96. Take a boat tour and see some newborn eaglets nesting on Dead Man’s Isle
97. Learn something new at a Parks Canada presentation at Green Point Campground Theatre
98. Bring your mountain bike to the Tuff City Bike Park
99. Hike up to the look out at South Cox Bay
100. Host a sandcastle competition at the beach
101. Get married on the beach!

Win a Tofino Vacation Photo Package!

Win a Tofino Vacation Photo Package!

Tofino Wedding Guide is having a Facebook contest for a chance to win a Tofino Vacation Photo Package!

The Grand Prize

2 night stay at Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino
Hair and makeup by Studio One Aveda Concept Salon
A couple, engagement, anniversary or trash-the-dress session photo session with Marnie Recker Photography!

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How to enter:

1. Send us a photo of you and your partner and a short love story. It can be a story about how you met, how you proposed, or how you got married. Anything goes! Send the photo and story to tofinoweddingguide@gmail.com or to the Tofino Wedding Guide Facebook page to enter. Include your full names, address, and phone number with your entry. Voting starts June 1st, 2014 noon PST, so get your entries in soon! We will accept entries at any time but you have a better chance to win if you send early!

2. Like the Tofino Wedding Guide Facebook page HERE.

3. Sign up to be a Tofino Wedding Guide member for our monthly newsletter and news about weddings, contests and Tofino HERE.

4. Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to vote for your photo by liking the Tofino Wedding Guide Facebook page and liking, commenting on and sharing your photo.

June 1st, 2014 noon PST, we will post all the photos and stories on our Facebook page to be voted on by Facebook users. June 14th, 2014 noon PST, the winner with the most votes wins!
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Contest Official Rules

Please read the rules before entering this contest. By participating in the contest, you agree to be bound by these official rules and represent that you satisfy all of the eligibility requirements below. No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win this contest. The contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law.

Eligibility: By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that they are 18 years or older and a resident of Canada.

Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

Entry deadline: Contestants are encouraged to submit their photo and story by May 31st, 2014 noon PST.

Submission guidelines: Photo should be submitted as a jpeg. The photo must not contain material that violates, misappropriates, or infringes upon any law or regulation or the rights of any third party, including any copyright, trademark, or any rights of publicity or privace, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights. Entires are declared invalid if they are illegible, incomplete, mechanically reproduced, mutilated, forged, falsified, altered or tampered with in any way.

Include your full names, address, and phone number with your entry. Submission can be made to tofinoweddingguide@gmail.com or to the Tofino Wedding Guide Facebook page.

Voting: Facebook users will be encouraged to vote with a ‘like’ for their favourite photo and story from June 1st, 2014 noon PST to June 13th, 2014 noon PST.

Fake accounts and vote cheating will not be tolerated and the contestant may be disqualified if they are suspected of voter fraud. Any abusive, aggressive, or unsportsmanlike commentary will be deleted and the user be banned from the page.

Winner Selection: On June 14th, 2014 noon PST, the entry with the most votes wins! Prize cannot be transferred, substituted or redeemed for cash value. The winner will be contacted via email and must claim their prize before June, 2015.

Prize: 2 night stay at Long Beach Lodge. Hair and make-up with Studio One Aveda Salon. Photography session with Marnie Recker Photography. Prize may be redeemed between October 1st, 2014- May 31st, 2015 *excluding holidays & long weekends. All prize winnings must be redeemed at the same time.

Prize winner shall be responsible for all costs and expenses not explicitly stated to form part of the prize, including but not limited to taxes, fees, gratuities, insurance, or travel to and from the airport where a prize includes travel.

Additional Limitations: Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prizes is permitted. Tofino Wedding Guide and its respective parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, agents, and representatives are not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the contest, including, but not limited to, errors in any printing or posting or these Official Rules, the selection and announcement of any winner, or the distribution of any prize. Any attempt to damage the content or operation of this contest is unlawful and subject to possible legal action by Tofono Wedding Guide. Tofino Wedding Guide reserves the right to terminate, suspend or amend the contest, without notice, and for any reason, including, without limitation, if  Tofino Wedding Guide determines that the contest cannot be conducted as planned or should a virus, bug, tampering or unauthorized intervention, technical failure or other cause beyond Tofino Wedding Guide’s control corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the contest. In the event any tampering or unauthorized intervention may have occurred, Tofino Wedding Guide reserves the right to void suspect entries at issue. Tofino Wedding Guide and its respective parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, agents, and representatives, and any telephone network or service providers, are not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information, or for any human error, technical malfunction, lost or delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, line failure or malfunction of any telephone network, computer equipment or software, the inability to access any website or online service or any other error, human or otherwise.

Indemnification and limitation of liability
: By entering the contest, each entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless sponsor and its parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, the Facebook platform, administrator, advertising and promotional agencies, and all their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents from any liability, damages, losses or injury resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from that entrant’s participation in the contest and the acceptance, use or misuse of any prize that may be won. Tofino Wedding Guide and its parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies do not make any warranties, express or implied, as to the condition, fitness or merchantability of the prize. Tofino Wedding Guide and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotional agencies, and all their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents disclaim any liability for damage to any computer system resulting from access to or the download of information or materials connected with the sweepstakes.

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Publicity: By participating, each entrant grants Tofino Wedding Guide permission to use his/her name, likeness or comments for publicity purposes without payment of additional consideration, except where prohibited by law.

Any questions regarding the contest should be directed to Tofino Wedding Guide at tofinoweddingguide@gmail.com