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.


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 Photography

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.

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!








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



April at Long Beach Lodge | Real Weddings

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 camera!