Helpful Tips


Destination Wedding: Tofino & Ucluelet

Tofino and Ucluelet are two incredible locations to choose for a destination wedding. A destination wedding combines the picture-perfect setting while inviting your guests on the trip of a lifetime. Planning a destination wedding presents its own unique set of challenges. Need the expertise to ensure you and your guests are able to relax and enjoy! If you are considering having an outdoor ceremony or reception then here are ten things you need to know about planning a Tofino or Ucluelet wedding:

1. Location

An outdoor Tofino wedding is a dream for many couples, and there are a variety of locations to consider -- scenic landmarks, parks, one of the many stunning beaches, or even a botanical garden. Getting married outside in the sunshine, surrounded by the beauty of nature and your friends and family, makes for a lovely celebration. Need help you find that secluded beach, picturesque rainforest or rustic oceanside lodge that will serve as your ideal backdrop?

If your heart is set on an outdoor wedding, it is wise to choose a location that has both indoor and outdoor facilities, if possible. That way, if the weather doesn't cooperate, the show can still go on. At the very least, rent a tent in case of inclement weather.

Some parks and other outdoor locations may not be experienced in hosting weddings. Make sure you know the rules of the venue you choose. Ask specific questions; for example, do you need a permit? Is there a limit on the number of guests? Will you be allowed to serve alcohol? Are there restrooms? Always make sure to confirm that you'll have access to the amenities you need for a successful wedding. Rather have a professional wedding planner take care of all the important details?

2. Weather

Hosting an outdoor Tofino or Ucluelet wedding takes planning, forethought and attention to details. Locals will tell you, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.” Although you can't control the weather, you can work around it. Here are some tips for planning a successful outdoor wedding.

  • Consider rain and shine. Abundant rainfall is the primary contributing factor to the breathtaking beauty and eco diversity found in the region. Summer is warm are relatively dryer. July and August are the months with the least amount of rainfall but there is a lot of fog in August (giving the month the name 'fogust'). The wild west coast is beautiful but unpredictable, so have a back-up plan. As mentioned earlier, rent a tent in case of inclement weather. 
  • Bugs and outdoor weddings go hand in hand. But you can take measures to alleviate the worst of the problem.
  • At an outdoor wedding, Mother Nature provides most of the decorations -- trees, flowers, a view of the ocean or a magical rainforest. But you may want to embellish a bit. Many couples opt for a beautiful wedding arbour to provide a focal point for the ceremony or floral beach buckets. The arbour can be left simple and unadorned, or can be swathed in flowers to match those carried by the wedding party. Coordinate the arbour with raised planters or beach buckets sprouting matching flowers and you'll add enchantment to an already magical setting. And if you have to move your ceremony indoors at the last minute, the arbour and planters will provide instant decoration to the new location.
  • Prepare your guests. Before the event, visit the site at the same time of day as your ceremony to ensure your guests won't be blinded by the sun or uncomfortable from the heat. Be sure guests know they're attending an outdoor wedding, so they can dress appropriately. In addition, it is a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate. 
  • Keep the weather in mind when choosing a dress. Brides should choose a dress made of lighter-weight fabrics and consider not having a train, which will drag in the grass, sand and dirt. An aisle runner will help this problem. Brides and bridesmaids will want to stay away from shoes with spike heels, which will sink into the ground. Groomsmen should consider wearing vests with full backs so they can still look dressed up with their coats off.
  • Be sure the professionals you hire have outdoor experience. Caterers need to provide foods and food displays that keep well under warm, cold or wet conditions. Alcohol is dehydrating. Make sure there are nonalcoholic beverages available to quench people's thirst on a hot day or warm them up on a cold one.
  • Alergy alert, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you don't want symptoms such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes to flare up as you walk down the aisle. Make sure you have an effective allergy medication with you to relieve your allergy symptoms. Or consider hosting the ceremony in the afternoon or evening when pollen counts aren't as high.

3. Tides

Tofino and Ucluelet are located on the West Coast of the Pacific Ocean and as such it is important to be aware of the tide timetable. Understanding high tide and low tide and accessing that information will be helpful in planning your wedding ceremony, reception and activities that are focused around the beach and water.

4. Accommodation and Transportation

From negotiating group rates to managing multiple hotel reservations, our team will make sure you get the best prices and packages around.

Have you thought about how you are going to transport items like your wedding gown, jewelry and favors or gifts for attendants and other members of the wedding party? Having delicate, fragile or bulky items shipped to your destination by a carrier such as UPS or DHL is another option to consider.

What about getting all of your guests safely to and from your wedding ceremony and reception, if they are in different locations?

5. Be Flexible

A destination wedding may not be the best fit for a bride or groom who needs to have complete control over every aspect of the ceremony and reception. Be willing to go with the flow and you will find that the process will run smoothly. Consider the location of your wedding. For instance, if you are marrying in Tofino the floral options are abundant with local greenery versus imported ones. If you have your heart set on a DJ for your reception but there isn't one available, consider using a local band instead. Not only will these small changes be more easily accommodated, they will also lend a more individual feel to your wedding.

6. Start Planning Early

Because of their popularity, destination wedding venues get booked far in advance. If possible, book your location a year ahead of time, as this will give you plenty of time to talk to the wedding co-ordinator about options, as well as talk to other couples who have tied the knot at your desired location. Planning early also gives you the added benefit of getting a better deal. You should also let your guests know about your wedding plans as early as possible so they have enough time and notice to arrange for their travel and accommodations as well.

7. Do a pre-wedding site's a good idea?

If at all possible, I would suggest that every bride and groom conduct a pre-wedding site inspection. I find that most of the brides and grooms that I work with who are planning their wedding from afar, have ties to the immediate area. Should the bride and/or groom not be able to make a trip to the location before signing a contract, arrange for a family member or close family friend to check out the location. Also, have your wedding planner assist with the site visits. Rare Earth Weddings will do up to 6 site visits for you with full reports. You want to come prepared with detailed lists of questions. It would be helpful to select a weekend to visit multiple top choices for both ceremony and reception sites. The booking of these two sites go hand in hand. Be sure to phone the contacts at each location to make sure that they, or a colleague, will be able to meet with you. No sense flying 1000 miles with hopes of viewing a venue, only to find that noone is able to meet with you personally.

Some of the tasks that you will want to accomplish during this site visit include:

1. Your tasting
2. Meeting with florist to make all floral selections
3. Meeting with Bakery to select wedding cake
4. Hair/Make-up Trial
5. Rehearsal Dinner and Post-Wedding Brunch site exploration/selection

Depending on the length of your engagement, the number of your pre-wedding site trips will vary. Certainly take advantage of more trips if possible but know that if you have Rare Earth Weddings taking care of things you can save money on the trips as most of the work will be done on the ground for you taking away the need for you to make the trip to Tofino/Ucluelet.

Important: Be sure to take time off the week before your wedding and be sure to arrive to your destination well in advance of your wedding day!

8. Know the Destination/Community

Rare Earth Weddings will ensure that you are aware of the following:

Marriage Laws – We’ll make sure you have all the information on marrying in British Columbia and that all of the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed to ensure an easy transition to Mr. & Mrs.

Local Customs - Understanding the local customs, traditions and community of your destination will help you get the best out of your visit and can even provide some unique inspiration for your day!

Vendor Selections – Recruiting high quality and trustworthy vendors when you’re far from home can be nerve-wracking. Leave the leg work to us and we’ll make sure you get the best of the best.

More than just the wedding day - With a destination wedding it's important to keep your guests entertained for more than just the wedding day. We’ll help you plan activities so that your guests can get the most from their destination wedding experience.

Many brides are unsure where to start with a wedding planner as you are not sure about costs, services etc. That is why I recommend an initial meeting to discuss my services and to see where you are at in  your planning and what your needs may be.

Read more about how we can help make your destination wedding ‘your’ perfect.

9. Be the hostess with the mostess!

What can brides do to make guests feel welcome upon arrival? One thing is to meet them when they arrive or set up a meet & greet. Welcome baskets with a personal note or letter, local gift (art, local maps, post cards) or gift bags that are personalized for each family is such a nice welcome memento. Include weekend agenda, freshly baked cookies, bottled water or favorite wine. These ideas can be so easy and so nice and certainly very thoughtful. Some hotels and resorts have a dedicated TV station on their TVs. Perhaps prepare a welcome message to be played on the channel and/or have a voicemail message left on everyone’s phone greeting, which welcomes them and their families to the resort and your event.

How can a bride work with the hotel to help arrange activities for guests?

Most of these activities do cost some money. The welcome basket, letter, bag can contain all the brochures for activities in the area. These items can be picked up from the hotel or mailed to you in advance. The gift basket idea can be put together at a very reasonable price. It might also be nice to have an organized hospitality room or suite for the evening where people can gather before or after dinner, socialize, play cards or just visit. One of the relatives could have this or do this as a wedding gift to the couple. This is a great way to get people together. An organized breakfast the day after your event is another way to say thank you for coming. Have a special room set with light breakfast from 9am to 12noon, and be there to say good-bye and thanks for coming to celebrate such an important event – your guests will be very impressed.

10. Enjoy the moments with your loved ones

Don't forget why you are here and take the time to enjoy it! Try hard to not get caught up in everything, try to make time for yourself and your loved ones to relax. Don't have every moment planned, leave some free time to catch your breath and reflect on seeing what you had dreamed become reality.

inspired by the elements
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada