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The Ultimate Guide For How To Elope In British Columbia

Picture of All images by Pursell Photography. 
All images by Pursell Photography. 

Quality Photography Experience That Is Different.

We are going to list our 12 tips coming from a wedding photographer’s perspective on how to elope in British Columbia!

How to elope in British Columbia

Check out more photos from this helicopter elopement.



1. Get in touch with an elopement photographer you love

Before you can plan your perfect elopement, it’s important to take the time and get in touch with a photographer that has a style you LOVE. We say this as step #1 because generally for elopements, photos are a big part of the day and what better way than hiring a photographer that can create an epic photo experience?

It can be really hard to organize a wedding. This is why it’s important to get in touch with your photographer first because they will give you direction for locations and timing as well as vendor recommendations.

Once we know which location or park you’re thinking about going to, we’ll be able to help coordinate an officiant who is available. And once all those pieces fall into place-we will also help coordinate transportation such as helicopter rides, boats or off-road vehicles in some of our packages!

How to elope in BC



2. Figure out the vision for your elopement

Eloping is the perfect solution for a couple who wants to get married but doesn’t want all of the stress and hassle that normally comes with planning their wedding. With an elopement, you have limitless options because you don’t have to worry about large guests counts, strict timelines, expensive venues and more. A good way to come up with a vision is to figure out what you two love doing together. Do you love hiking, kayaking, skiing? Are you looking to go on a fun adventure for your elopement? Do you want to go to a unique location you would never normally get to? Do you want something super laid back?

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Photos from Alice in wonderland elopement


3. Work with your vendors to pick a day

When picking a date for your elopement, weekdays often offer the most flexibility for locations and choice of vendors. Weekends are often reserved for full wedding days.

Unique places to elope


4. Pick an elopement location

British Columbia is an unrivalled Province in Canada for elopements. Eloping in British Columbia means you can get the most intimate and beautiful experience imaginable, one that will never be forgotten. There are so many fun locations to choose from- think of your wildest dream wedding scenario! From a secluded forest setting with tall evergreens overhead to rocky mountain peaks overlooking stunning vistas where every detail has been accounted for— You have amazing provincial parks, mountain peaks, and secret waterfalls to choose from.

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Helicopter to the top of a mountain

If you’re up for something more adventurous or enjoy seclusion then taking to the sky may be an option. It’s just what it sounds like: A helicopter flies you far away from civilization (and back) where two people can get married and have photos were taken afterward at mountain tops, glaciers–you name it!

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Secret waterfalls

Waterfalls are an awesome place to elope. Imagine a secret waterfall with your love on the other side, waiting for you. We have a great selection of waterfall locations we love to share with our clients!

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See photos from boat access waterfall elopement.


Mountain peaks

Ever wanted to take an off-road vehicle up a mountain peak? You can get to some of the most amazing views that no one has ever seen before! We offer off-road packages that can accommodate up to 6 people and will take you on a guided tour of our beautiful backcountry.

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Snowy mountain top helicopter elopement


Vancouver Elopements

Around Vancouver is a great place to elope, with world-class amenities and access to beautiful landscapes. There are international airports nearby that offer easy access for people from all over the world. And in downtown Vancouver, you can be surrounded by breathtaking nature within just an hour of driving.

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Photos from city elopement


Fraser Valley Elopements

We live on Harrison Lake, British Columbia, and think it’s one of the greatest places to elope with many options that you can have for yourself. Fraser Valley area has everything from epic secret beaches, waterfalls, and mountain peaks making it one of our favourites! Nothing cuts the stress of a wedding day than a soak in the hot springs hotel after your elopement for the most relaxing experience.

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Whistler Elopements

If you are an adventurous couple looking for a way to say “I do” and leave the stress of planning behind, then consider eloping at Whistler. With stunning views in every direction, it’s hard not to feel inspired by this alpine village located outside of Vancouver B.C., Canada.

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Vancouver Island elopements

For the couple seeking an extremely west coast elopement, Tofino is an excellent destination with its picturesque beaches and rugged shorelines. Keep in mind ferry travel costs and accommodations for your vendors if they are coming from the mainland.

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Okanagan elopements

The Okanagan Valley is a hidden gem in the heart of British Columbia. The region’s mild climate, rolling green hills, and picturesque vineyards will make your elopement day unforgettable!

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Kootenay Rockies elopements

The Kootenay Rockies is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in all of Canada. With rivers, streams, and waterfalls running through its valleys; alpine meadows with wildflowers making an amazing backdrop for your elopement ceremony. This area will make any destination elopement photographer drool!

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5. Marriage licence

Once you have a date set, a marriage license is needed for a legal wedding. It costs $100 and you need to show your passports in order to get it! Make sure not to pick up the license too soon, as they can only be used within three months of purchase. You can find your marriage license issuer at https://connect.health.gov.bc.ca/marriage-offices.

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See photos from Oceanside elopement


6. Book an officiant or marriage commissioner

One of the big parts of how to elope in British Columbia is the legal side of things. You can book an officiant or marriage commissioner. Marriage commissioners in BC work from an approved ceremony script created by the government with mandatory statements that they are required to say. Officiants, however, can rewrite and provide options for couples so as to create a perfect wedding.

You can find a marriage commissioner at https://connect.health.gov.bc.ca/marriage-commissioners.

We have partnered up with one of Vancouver’s best officiants that we are able to book in some of our packages!

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7. Figure out your two witnesses

BC law requires the presence of two witnesses at your wedding in order for legal fulfillment. In addition to this, they will have to sign both you and your partner’s marriage certificate. You can have your friends or family sign or if you are going very small you can have your photographer (helicopter pilot or boat captain) can act as a witness too!

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8. Find Out if You Need a Permit for Your ceremony Location

A permit may or may not be needed, depending on the location. It’s recommended to check with your local city office and clarify whether it is necessary for you personally. Some cities with groups/gatherings under 15 do not require permits. This is something that should be discussed before hosting any event at all!

If you are serving liquor you will need to apply for a permit from the BCL. You can apply for your liquor permit at https://specialevents.bcldb.com/help

Public areas:

City of Vancouver

For those who want to elope in Vancouver, you now need a wedding ceremony permit. You can apply for a permit for small wedding ceremonies at https://vancouver.ca/doing-business/park-wedding-permit.aspx#apply Photoshoots in Vancouver parks without a permit are still ok.

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Lower mainland city parks

Many other cities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser also can require permits. Just search “My City” wedding ceremony permits into google to find the right information.

British Columbia Provincial Parks

Provincial parks are the perfect place to say your vows or tie the knot. They often have scenic views and tons of space, so you can make it as personal or professional as you want without having a ton of people around for miles! Many provincial parks only require some permission before they’re willing to let someone get married there – an individual email should do just fine in this case!

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Private venues:

With a private wedding venue, you can ensure that all of the necessary permissions are covered in your agreement.

In addition to free reign over what goes down on your big day, it’s refreshing to know exactly where and how guests should arrive so they won’t worry about any unforeseen surprises when it comes time for them to enter into the event space.

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9. Purchase or rent attire

Elopements are the perfect time to get wild and free with your wedding attire, as you have fewer restraints than a traditional ceremony. You don’t need to match what other guests wear or worry about what guests will think! You can choose a dress or suit that YOU love.

Purchasing or renting attire will depend on many factors, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll want something versatile and comfortable for the day. The lightweight fabric is ideal for a warmer climate while wearing nude leggings underneath your dress if it’s wintertime!

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10. Decor and flowers

Just because you’re eloping, there’s no need to go on without some extra decorations for your ceremony or reception – arches, lighting, candles; anything will do that fits your vision! It might not take much effort but those little details really bring out an atmosphere of romance and beauty in any type of venue. Take a look at our Wedding lighting ideas blog article for some inspiration.

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11. Enjoy your elopement!

Get in the moment and enjoy your wedding! We melt into the background during the ceremony and during the portraits, we will guide you right through the process. Let’s go on an epic adventure!

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12. Order your wedding album and wall art

Once your elopement is done, your only takeaway (except your love for each other) is photography. A few weeks after your elopement we will have a zoom ordering session where we will design your wedding album and wall art in person! This way you will always be able to look back on one of the greatest days of your lives!

“Elopements are intimate, small weddings that allow couples to enjoy their day in a way they never have before. This is because the focus of this type of wedding ceremony is really about you two and what matters most to you both as a couple.”

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Popular questions for how to elope in BC

How much does it cost to elope in British Columbia?

Elopement prices in British Columbia can range anywhere from $3000 to $12,000. Things budget for are photography, wedding album, wall-art, officiant, travel (including fun travel like helicopters) accommodations, flowers, makeup and dress.

Where can I elope in BC?

You can find beautiful locations in British Columbia to have an elopement at including waterfalls, mountain tops, secret lakes, coastlines, and forests. These are popular areas for elopements in BC because they offer a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.. You can get help from your photographer when it comes to the best places to elope in British Columbia.

What are some reasons for eloping?

Less drama, stress & anxiety. More of what makes life worth living – intimate moments, adventurous journeys and a photo album of memories.

Can you get married at City Hall in BC?

Yes in Vancouver you can get have a “micro wedding” at City Hall. All the information for how to elope in BC can be found at https://vancouver.ca/your-government/weddings-city-hall.aspx

How fast can you get married in BC?

Marriage certificates are mailed to all couples who marry in British Columbia and is sent within three weeks of the ceremony. More can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/marriage

Can a friend marry you in BC?

In Canada, couples must be officiated by a marriage commissioner, licensed officiant, or a religious representative. You”ll need one of the above to officiate your ceremony legally.

Now you know how to elope in British Columbia!

If you are ready to elope we can really help simplify the process. You don’t have to worry about coordinating with a large group of people or pick out expensive details and you don’t want. It’s just all about you! We can still make your day special by planning personalized details- from intimate ceremonies in front of epic waterfalls or even on top of a mountain peak. If this sounds like something for you- let us know! The sooner we start planning, the better chance we will be able to get everything done before your big day arrives. This is especially helpful for busy couples who want their party without all the stress.


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