Tofino Wedding Fair & Contest

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 HERE!

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.

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.

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.


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!








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.





Rainy Day Tofino Wedding

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 starfish. Yes! I want to make this image with you!

4. Umbrellas! Bring them if you have them, but don’t work if you don’t. I have almost every colour of the rainbow, a rainbow one, white one, and clear one. And ALL the resorts have black ones!

5. Talk to your hair and makeup artists about rain proofing your mascara and hair-do. It’s impossible to protect your hair from falling a little flat with the elements, but it is something to consider when choosing the style for your day. This is also why preparation photos are so important because a few photos before the ceremony in soft pretty window light are wonderful to have. Get you while you are done up perfect before you get lip stick on your cheeks, the wind blows your hair around and a tear runs down your face while you say your vows to the love of your life.

6. Make sure your photographer comes prepared with back-up gear. Wet cameras sometimes stop working in the rain and gear can fall in the wet sand.

7. Have a bag with a warm shawl or sweater if it’s cold or windy.

8. Always have a Plan B. You never know what the weather is going to do on the west coast. The forecast is seldom right. It can give you a basic idea of what it might be like, but more often than not, it is wrong.

9. Have fun! Be open to the surprises that will happen on your day and be ready for an adventure. After all, that is what life is- a great big adventure and your wedding day is one of the milestones that you will never forget because you will have the photos to celebrate it. So breath deep, laugh lots and don’t sweat over the little things.


Trash the Dress in Tofino

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 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.



Photos by 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!