Between the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean and the gagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains is the province of British Columbia. Just outside the urban cities is a wild natural landscape, perfect for any adventurer! If you want to get married in Canada’s westernmost (and my personal favourite) province, keep reading this guide to learn how to elope in BC – from finding the perfect place to say your vows to planning your unique adventure.
Why Elope in BC?
If you aren’t quite sure if an elopement in BC is right for you and your partner, maybe this will convince you!
A Wedding Day That Reflects You
A lot of couples feel pressured to have a big wedding – because it seems like as soon as anyone gets engaged, the expectations of how your wedding “should be” just seem to pile on! Eloping is about letting go of the stress and expectations of the wedding industry, and getting married in a way that feels right to you. An elopement isn’t just a quick ceremony and some photos – it’s about spending the day doing what you love, and celebrating the start of your marriage in a way that actually makes you happy.
Of course, one of the best reasons to elope in BC is the landscape! We’ve got the ocean, the rainforest, the mountains, and so much more – so whether the two of you want to go for a rewarding hike with an incredible view or to take a helicopter ride over the mountains, you’ll find what you’re looking for in British Columbia. For outdoor adventures, this is the place to go.
The Best Wine Selection
For locals and international travelers alike, the Okanagan Valley is a prime destination for wine enthusiasts. Known for the wineries sprinkled throughout the region, this is the perfect way to relax after a day of adventures. You could get married in a vineyard, or spend your honeymoon in a beautiful airbnb while sipping your way through the city. Some of my personal favourite wineries in Kelowna include: Ancient Hills Winery, Crown & Thieves, Priest Creek, Quails Gate, and Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
The Best Places to Elope in BC
This might be the hardest part – choosing a spot to say your vows!
Close your eyes and let your mind imagine your elopement. When you imagine yourself saying “I do”, are you in the mountains, chasing waterfalls, beneath giant trees in an old-growth forest, or overlooking a rugged coastline?
With so many beautiful places, choosing just one may be a challenge – but here are some of my favourites to get you inspired.
Mountain Elopements in BC
The Rocky Mountains are home to some of British Columbia’s most epic scenery. For any couple that wants to go for a hike on their elopement day, the mountains of BC make an incredible elopement location. Even if you don’t want to hike, there are plenty of easily accessible spots that are just as beautiful! Check out Meadows to the Sky Parkway in Revelstoke and Trophy Mountain in Wells Gray Provincial Park if you want to get married in an alpine meadow.
Some of the best places to elope in BC for mountain views are Garibaldi Provincial Park, Yoho National Park, and Mount Revelstoke National Park. You’ll find towering glaciers, turquoise blue alpine lakes, and gushing waterfalls.
Forest Elopements in BC
The lush forests of BC make an incredible backdrop. The Great Bear Rainforest is a unique spot, and as the world’s latest temperate rainforest, there’s plenty to explore! Or, head to Nakusp to bask in the natural hot springs and stay in a yurt on the lake, or check out some of the gorgeous waterfalls in Revelstoke and wander along the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail!
Coastal Elopements in BC
Whether you want rugged views of the rocky coastline or a place to relax, there are plenty of spots along BC’s coast that make for incredible places to elope! Check out San Josef Bay for a secluded place to adventure, or the relaxed town of Tofino for some of the best places to surf year-round. Don’t miss your chance to have one of the best tacos at Tacofino, and pay a visit to Tofino Brewing Co while you’re there!
The Best Time of Year to Elope in BC
British Columbia covers a lot of land – which means lots of different ecosystems and microclimates. Deciding when to elope in BC will depend a lot on the weather, so once you decide where you want to elope, make sure to do some extra research!
Autumn: Mid-September – October
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Wine Touring
Autumn in BC is all about colourful foliage and cozy cabins. The mountain sides explode into gold, red, and orange hues. The vineyards morph into golden and crimson fields. Fall in BC is a dreamy, snoozy extension of summertime without the crowds.
Winter: November – March
Activities: Ski-In/Ski-Out Chalets, Dog Sledding, Snowshoeing
Here comes the snowy season—and with it come that crisp, dazzling white scenery that you’re likely to fall in love with. Winter brings skiing & tobogganing in the mountains, and marveling at waterfalls frozen into spectacular crystal ice columns. Winters are a great time to avoid crowds, though you’ll likely face some Canadian chill (so keep this in mind if you’re all about a winter wonderland wedding).
Spring: April – June
Activities: Hiking, Biking, Discovering Waterfalls
This time of year is all about the springtime blooms. BC is famous for its alpine meadows, lush forests, and comfortable temperatures. Imagine fragrant lilacs and blooming lupin surrounding emerald lakes and rugged snow-capped mountain tops.
Summer: July – Early September
Activities: Camping, Kayaking, House Boating
BC summers are absolutely stunning! There is heaps of coastline to enjoy, delicious sunshine, and stunning vistas of glacier fed turquoise lakes. In general, the weather is best in the summer – but this also means that summer is the busiest season. If you’d like to elope in the mountains, plan for the end of summer as the snow can often linger into July and August.
Getting Legally Married When You Elope in BC
Paperwork and legal stuff may not be glamorous, but to get legally married when you elope in BC, here’s what you’ll need.
A marriage license is required, and you’ll need to visit a licensing office within three months of your ceremony. You can find an office here – only one of you needs to go in person, but you will need to show an ID for both of you. A marriage license in BC costs $100, but make sure to check ahead of time as some offices only accept cash!
A commissioner is a person registered with Canada’s Vital Statistics Agency who can legally perform marriages. You’ll need one to sign your marriage license, unless you’re having a religious ceremony, in which case a religious representative can marry you!
To find a commissioner, you can search here. However, some couples choose to do the legal paperwork before or after the elopement ceremony. That way, you can have a friend or family member symbolically perform the ceremony (or keep it simple and just exchange vows), and you won’t have to worry about logistics and paperwork on the big day.
Two witnesses need to be present when you get married. The only requirement is that they be over 19, so your elopement vendors can double as witnesses! If you plan to elope without any guests, this may be another good reason to do the paperwork ahead of time.
What to Do When You Elope in BC
This day is an adventure! And there’s plenty of adventures to be had in British Columbia, so dream big and plan something that would make this the best day ever. British Columbia is a non-stop wonderland that’s full of enchanting landscape, breathtaking scenery, and infinite opportunity for adventure—no matter what you love to do.
One of the most unique things you can do on your elopement day is take a helicopter tour! Whether you soar over the mountains or the coast, the views are unbeatable.
BC has some of the best skiing destinations around! So if you want to have some fun in the snow on your elopement day, you can totally shred the slopes in your wedding attire. Some of my favourite mountains to ski at in BC are Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, Fernie Alpine Resort and Whistler Blackcomb near Vancouver.
Imagine hiking into your ceremony location, with only the ones you love and a vast mountain range hovering above you! Or, what if you said “I do” in front of a majestic waterfall with no other souls in sight? There are countless kilometers of trails to explore – so lace up your hiking boots and see all the wild beauty that BC has to offer!
Elopement Packages in BC
If you’re ready to start planning your elopement, contact me! I can’t wait for you to experience how good it feels to get married on a day that is true-to-you and focused on your love for each other. As an elopement photographer, I’m here to help you plan a unique day and to cheer you on as you get married in a way that feels right to you. And I’m here to document all of it, of course. Reach out to dream up your wedding day with me, and to see my elopement packages in BC!