Real Weddings | Eloping in Tofino

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Shawna Gardham
By Shawna Gardham, Public & Media Relations Manager
In the Media4 July 2018


Original article by Sarah Fulbrook for Real Weddings

Forego the stress of a traditional wedding and embrace the Island's laid-back charm by marrying on the coast

If you’re looking for a romantic, close but-not-too-close destination for your elopement, look no further than Tofino. With its picturesque beaches, stunning sunsets and relaxed vibe, Tofino is the perfect place to exchange I Dos.

While Tofino is accessible from Vancouver in only six hours (or a 50-minute flight), planning an elopement from home does present some challenges. But, fear not, here are some simple tips to get you started on planning your island nuptials.

Where to Stay

Tofino is spoilt with an array of accommodations, ranging from private vacation rentals to world-class hotels. Your ideal fit will depend on the location, price and amenities you are looking for. A wedding is certainly a special occasion, and with that in mind you can’t do better than the Wickaninnish Inn. Located on Chesterman Beach, the “Wick” (as it’s affectionately called) offers stunning, ocean-view rooms—all with private decks—and unparalleled service. Settle into wedded bliss by booking a room with a double-soaker bathtub. Finish your wedding day covered in bubbles, with a glass of wine in hand, looking out over the pounding Pacific, and the drama of wedding planning could not seem further away.

Planning the Event

Who will perform the ceremony? How do I hire a photographer? Where is the best place to exchange vows? If answering these questions by yourself induces more stress than an elopement should, fear not. Tofino offers a multitude of options for newlyweds-to-be who would like to hand the planning off to a professional.

If you’d like a flexible package opt for Rare Earth Weddings. This local company plans everything from huge wedding festivities to intimate elopements. They know all of the local vendors and can provide you with plenty of options. If you’d like to scale back from the all-inclusive package—perhaps organizing your own flowers and photographer—that can be arranged. Owner Sheila will work with you to ensure that everything is in order for your perfect day.

Alternatively, if you’re staying at the Wickanninish Inn their elopement package offers all of the necessities, along with a few splurge-worthy indulgences. The Wick’s full-time elopement coordinator will meet with you upon arrive to ensure that everything is in order and to show you several ceremony spots. Located on one of Tofino’s most beautiful beaches and flanked by old growth forest, the resort has no shortage of breathtaking locations for your vows. Included in the package is a couples hot stone massage and a romantic turndown service, in case the ocean-front view wasn’t romantic enough.

Where (and when) to Wed

Despite its small size, Tofino offers an endless number of breathtaking spots to hold your ceremony. If you’re here for the beaches and pounding surf, there are several options to choose from. The much-photographed Chesterman Beach, with its famous crescent shape, is ideal if you’re looking for an iconic location with an unobstructed sea view. It is easily assessable by car or on foot, and is only steps from the Wickaninnish Inn. However, in the summer months it is one of Tofino’s busier spots – families and surfers are often littering the shoreline during peak hours.

If you’d like a more secluded, but still beach front, option look to one of Tofino’s many “hidden” spots, such as Schooner Cove. To get to Schooner Cove’s numerous secluded beaches you’ll need to embark on a 2 km walk through lush rainforest. The trail is relatively easy, and provides for beautiful photo opportunities before or after your ceremony.

Regardless of where you choose, don’t forget to check on the tide charts. Depending on the time of year, some beaches will be almost entirely underwater in the late afternoon, so plan accordingly.

Where to Eat

Although it’s home to little more than 2,000 permanent residents, Tofino’s restaurant scene is the envy of much of Canada, so you can be assured that there are plenty of options for a post ceremony meal. If you are looking to keep travel to a minimum, most of Tofino’s resorts and hotels have at least one in-house restaurant, so there’s no need to venture far from your newlywed suite. However, local restaurant and bar Wolf in the Fog is well worth the short trip into town.

Wolf in the Fog specializes in shared meals, perfect for your first dinner as newlyweds. Start with a couple of their signature potato-crusted oysters, and then let your sense of adventure guide you through the seasonal menu. Depending on the night you’ll find locally-caught halibut, freshly made pasta or a bone-marrow appetizer. In addition to the ever-changing menu, Wolf in the Fog featured and acclaimed cocktail menu. Recommended is their cedar sour, featuring cedar-infused rye.

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