The Tofino Guide to Weddings
The Good News
Tofino is perfectly set up for destination weddings. With its white sandy beaches, incredible restaurants, opportunity for adventure, and plentiful hotel rooms, this corner of Canada might actually be the best spot in the country to get hitched. Consider this; wedding guests can fly in, drive in—even boat in—to Tofino Resort + Marina, and then get married in any number of beautiful resorts, on the shoreline amongst crashing waves, on a sunny-but-snowy mountain top, or even on a remote island beach. The experiences here is limited only by your imagination. Guests can choose their own level of accommodation, from budget camping options to luxury beachfront resorts. This place is set up for love at every turn.
The Bad News
There are few places on the true west coast of Canada that can accommodate the average of 129 wedding guests so easily as Tofino can. Prince Rupert, Port Renfrew, Ucluelet and—maybe—Gold River, are the only other towns on the west coast that are, well, towns. All of them are lesser equipped to handle a real wedding. What tha means is Tofino is hella popular—if you want to get married on the west coast of Canada, Tofino is the only big sandy beach town with the amenities most people expect for their dream day. If you and your partner are planning for a Tofino wedding, plan ahead.
Experiences Over Centerpieces
Many fiancés will not want to hear this, and most wedding planners will not tell you it, but few guests notice the subtle styling of the floral arrangements or the delicate hand-feel of the luxurious linen finish paper on the seating arrangements. Guests want good vibes, clear direction on their role, and music that makes them dance freely. Tasty, plentiful food matters big time. We know it’s “your day” and all but step back, Bridezilla. If you’re fortunate enough to have friends and family who have come from all over to honour you and recognize your love, it’s a day for everyone. Reward your guests with cheap or free booze, a stress-free experience, and some ass-shaking music. They’ll recall your bliss-filled day forever, and you’ll remember their smiling faces.
Destination weddings cost you guests time and money, so be sure to plan some pre- and post-wedding adventures and activities. In Tofino, the range of options is vast. Whale watching, brewery tours, fishing, surfing, and karaoke are only a few activities to bring together the insufferable in-laws and the odd outcasts before the big day. Love is about acceptance and generosity, so give ‘em something to do while you’re dialing in the dress and trying to find the cufflinks. Consider a “treasure hunt” of all of Tofino’s experiences: beach picnics, crabbing, and the legendary Tacofino included.
The Big Date
Did you know 23% of Canadian weddings happen in August? In Tofino, it feels more like 95%. We lovingly call it Fog-ust, as the sun tends to disappear regular. Consider getting creative as to when you want to pull the wedding trigger, and you’ll gain a unique marriage experience, less pressure to book venues, and a much better price. Shoulder seasons on Vancouver Island are glorious. Spring can be a little rainy, but it also means vibrant greens, blues and whites for your photos, and the surfing is still solid (we tend to think adventurous…even at weddings). Plus, everything is fresh and scent-filled in the spring, like love in the air. With the right shelter, an outdoor wedding is still guaranteed perfect. Autumn is the secret season here. Locals and Tofino regulars know that after everyone goes back to school, the coast comes alive. If you want great prices and an experience unmatched by all your friends, winter is the answer. Get married with the Pacific waves crashing on the beach in the background.
Food Is The Answer
Here’s a secret—just feed the masses well and give them easily-accessed, cheap booze. Seriously. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a wedding audience’s heart is through tasty and—this is important—easy to access food, plus an open bar. Over 60% of weddings use caterers, and Tofino has many options for great food services. Most of the resorts will cater your affair, and many of them have top-shelf restaurants like 1909 Kitchen at Tofino Resort+ Marina or The Great Room at Long Beach Lodge Resort.
- 35% of engagements happen between December and February, with a full 20% taking place in December. Consider a stormy Tofino beach as the dramatic and emotional spot to ask your loved one?
- The average cost of a Canadian wedding is $30,717, including ring and honeymoon. That can go a long way in Tofino if you divvy it up strategically…and stay for your honeymoon. Why wouldn’t you?
- One-in-three honeymoons is adventure-focused, and the average honeymoon is 8.8 days long. Consider spending half the time in Tofino after your wedding, and then heading to Mount Washington Alpine Resort (a beautiful three hour drive away on Vancouver Island) for the rest of the celebration. Ski and surf is the answer.
A Resource Guide for Tofino Weddings
Popular Tofino wedding photographer, based out of Vancouver. Find her here.
Born and raised Tofitian with an eye for the lighter moments in between. Find her here.
Crab Apple Floral
Crack team of wedding flower experts pulling off “almost 200 weddings per year” providing weekly, fresh flowers to Tofino weddings.
Wild Bloom Floral Design
Tofino-based Darcey Welch has spent years honing her craft under master florists; Julia Hoogevean of Pemberton, BC and Kate Healey of Big Sur, CA.
Tofino Wedding Caterers
Red Can Gourmet
Chef Tim May has been creating menus for Tofino events for many years, and is well acquainted with large and small scale weddings. Hit him up here.
Chairs, tents, glasses and napkins…Smashing Glasses Event Rentals offers high-end products, superior service and local knowledge.