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Wickaninnish Weddings & Elopements | Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge

Chesterman Beach is known as one of the best beaches in the world. It’s at the end of the road, on the edge of the sea, the furthest west you can get in Canada! It’s white sands stretch 2.7 kilometres with a tombolo connecting to Frank Island right in the middle. Surfers come from all over the world to surf the winter waves. And summer vacation memories are forever etched in the sand and waves. All these things, surf, sand and sea are the perfect recipe for romance and it’s no wonder that Chesterman Beach sets the stage for hundreds or proposals and weddings every year! The only resort on Chesterman Beach is the Wickaninnish Inn. Well known for it’s hospitality and fine dining, the Wickaninnish Inn is a very special place, with an incredible grove of old growth rainforest and ocean views from every room. They offer full wedding planning to create the beach wedding of your dreams. They also offer an Elopement package for more intimate weddings that includes everything, from accommodation, commissioner, licensing, bouquet, boutonniere, witnesses if needed, professional photography, a cake, massage, and a keepsake. Here are a few photos from Phyllis and Taylor’s summer elopement, captured by Marnie Recker...

Tofino Wedding Fair & Contest

Saturday, January 23, 2016 All day! For the first time ever, the wedding experts in Tofino are gathering together to welcome people to learn more about all the incredible services that Tofino has to offer. This is not your typical wedding fair. Come discover what your Tofino destination wedding could look like – in person. Whether you’re envisioning a casual beach wedding for 50, a rainforest elopement, a same-sex celebration or vow renewal, we’d love to welcome you to the inaugural Tofino Wedding Fair! By registering for this event and visiting us on January 23rd, you will be entered into win an incredible Tofino Dream Wedding Grand Prize! Learn more about it...

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...

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. 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! 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. The brewery and retail store is located on Industrial Way and open everyday 11-9pm for sampling. Photos from Marnie Recker...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Rainy Day Tofino Wedding

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography I love rainy day weddings just as much as I love sunny ones. They push a photographer to the edges of their creativity and the results are often unique and very romantic. Although it can sometimes be challenging, rain brings humour, a lightness to the present moment, the rainforest is bright and lush, the clouds are gorgeous, and reflections are awesome in compositions. Umbrellas are great props and gumboots are the biggest trend at west coast weddings. Some tips for being prepared for the chance of rain on your wedding day in Tofino or Ucluelet! 1. Go outside no matter what! Rain and wind are not the greatest combination but there are always places that will provide some shelter from the elements. Rain is easy to work with. A rain and wind combo can be challenging but there are beaches and forests that provide shelter. Work with a local photographer that knows all the beaches and understands the weather patterns. 2. A rainy day wedding is a rainy day narrative. Rain is a great element in the story of your day. In your wedding album you will want images that reflect this. Be it with photos taken through a rainy window, a raindrop on a leaf that holds your rings or a dramatic night photo with raindrops illuminated all around you. 3. Rain boots are a necessity! They are stylish and comfortable to wear. And they add a splash of colour to your photos. Imagine your white dress, yellow, red or blue gumboots making splashes in the tide pools next to green anemones and purple...

Trash the Dress in Tofino

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...

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...

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 –...

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!   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!     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...

Planning the Perfect Proposal in Tofino

Tofino is not only a perfect destination for a wedding; seeing up to 600 marriages a year, but it probably gets about triple as many engagements. Wind swept beaches and lush green rain forests are the perfect setting for romance and Paul wasn’t wasting anymore time after eight years of being with his beautiful Elizabeth. So, he contacted a photographer that knew the area and they went to work to plan the perfect proposal. Paul decided on a breathtaking spot surrounded by crashing waves at Cox Bay. He also made dinner reservations at Long Beach Lodge so they could enjoy a delicious meal on the beach afterwards. The stage was set, Elizabeth had no idea and Paul got down on bended knee and presented a beautiful ring to Elizabeth. It was perfect. The sound of crashing waves, birds flying over head, a salty fresh mist, and then the sky opened up and gorgeous sun rays filtered through the clouds, bringing warmth and certainty to their commitment. Photography by Marnie Recker Photography   8 things to consider when planning the perfect proposal.   1. Know the location. Chances are that you may already have a special beach or spot on the coast that you want to do the proposal. But it’s sometimes a great idea to have a local help you decide on the best spot. Local wedding coordinators and photographers are great people to contact. 2. Know the tides. This become especially important in the winter time when high tide can mean that there is no beach to propose on. In which case, you will want to find higher ground with a great view....

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...

April at Long Beach Lodge | Real Weddings

Long Beach Lodge Resort has been recently recommended in Huffington Post as one of the best wedding venues in B.C. And it is no wonder! Situated on Cox Bay Beach, with spectacular views of the ocean and first-class service, Long Beach Lodge is one of Tofino’s most popular venues for weddings. The resort can accommodate weddings with up to 50 people and has a on-site wedding coordinator to ensure stress-free planning and an incredible wedding day. Rain or shine! The option to have your ceremony in the Great Room can be a wedding saver if the weather decides not to cooperate on your wedding day. And let’s face it, they don’t call it the ‘wet’ coast and ‘rain’ forests for nothing. But don’t let that deter you from having your wedding in Tofino. Here are some photos from earlier this month on a fine April day. Janine and Wayne decided to have their ceremony and champagne toast on the lodge’s beautiful patio. And it was an easy stroll to capture some photos on the beach, in the forest and out on the headland. Followed by a delicious feast prepared by Chef Ian Riddick and a beautiful cake from the resort’s pastry chef, Ryan Pike. Another plus is that the resort is dog friendly so you can have your puppy at the wedding too! Photography by Marnie Recker Photography   Curious to see what the weather and surf is like at Long Beach Lodge right now? Check out the Live web...

New Tofino Wedding Directory Website for 2014!

Thank-you for checking out the NEW Tofino Wedding Guide! Caitlin and I are very excited to share this new website with you. Tofino is a one-of-a-kind destination for weddings and we truly believe that our little town has some remarkable businesses.  This site is all about connecting people with the businesses that are committed to creating amazing experience on the coast. As a wedding photographer, I get tons of questions about the best beaches and venues to have a wedding, the most delicious food, the weather, the tides and I love connecting with my clients and helping them make great choices. For the past three years I have used my photography blog to make posts highlighting all the resorts and services in Tofino. Tofino Wedding Guide will continue highlighting the different businesses that I work with and my photography blog will take on a different format that I will be sharing in the upcoming months. With lots of tips, resources, and information, this guide will serve to help people plan their weddings in Tofino. We have also created links for Ucluelet businesses to share their services. Additionally, there will be full social media integration, with Tofino wedding highlights and updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. There is even a #locationscout on Instagram. And there is a monthly newsletter highlighting Tofino real weddings, contests, tips and events. You can become a member of the guide to be the first to see the newsletter and take advantage of the many contests and promotions that will be offered. The best part about the whole thing is that listings are FREE for...