Advice from a Vancouver Wedding Planner: Should you have your Wedding in the Gulf Islands?

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Here’s a fun idea for those of you who are into the idea of an outdoorsy, island-themed wedding. Why not consider a wedding on one of the Gulf Islands? It’s like a destination wedding, but without the jet lag and airport security lines!

Many of the small islands off the coast of Vancouver make absolutely magical places to say I do and they all have distinct perks. As a Vancouver wedding planner, some of my favourite weddings have occurred on these islands. Here’s a rundown on some of the most popular Gulf Islands and how they stack up for the big day.

Talk to your Vancouver wedding planner about these fabulous locations.

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Photo credit: @cottagesonsaltspring

Salt Spring Island

The largest of the Gulf Islands, Salt Spring is a fun destination where you can easily spend an entire weekend visiting farms, tooling around the organic markets, swimming, hiking or art gallery hopping. Despite being one of the more populated islands, the trend here is for simpler, private weddings and the available venues reflect that.  

The good news is that it makes a great “destination” wedding because there really is enough to do for an entire weekend. From the Saturday market at Ganges harbour to winery tours to whale watching, it’s definitely a unique experience.

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Photo credit: Fossil Beach Farm

Hornby Island

One of the smaller northern Gulf Islands, Hornby has a special kind of folksy, whimsical charm where hitchhiking is a totally acceptable way of travelling around.

There are a few potential venues to choose from, including Sea Breeze Lodge, a rustic timber-style lodge on the water that can accommodate up to 80 guests, and Fossil Beach Farm, 80 acres of fields and forestland that would make a great location for a woodland-inspired ceremony.

I’ll be candid with you: Hornby isn’t a place where you’ll find five-star facilities, so there’ll be no complimentary Veuve Cliquot or luxurious spa treatments before you get ready for the big day. But if you love the idea of a wild, rustic wedding with a unique island vibe, this might be your ticket.

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Photo credit: Bodega Ridge

Galiano Island

Meet Galiano! This quirky, forested stretch of island is just off the coast of Salt Spring. It’s equally easy to get to from both Victoria and Vancouver and despite its small size, it features a surprising number of wedding venues. One of these is Bodega Ridge, which features 22 acres of almost untouched natural scenery. They can accommodate everything from intimate ceremonies to larger-scale wedding parties and even feature a farm-to-table menu option, sourcing most of their ingredients from local organic farms.

If you’re kinda woodsy but kinda glam, the Galiano Inn and Spa is also a favourite place to get hitched and boasts a number of gorgeous waterfront options for ceremonies, dining and dancing. Some of their spa features are out of this world, like the eucalyptus steam room and chocolate body masque.

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Tofino

This is a pocket that really brings together the best of forests and seascapes for a quintessentially west coast experience. Situated on the edge of Vancouver Island, it’s a beautiful spot no matter what season. It’s a popular surfing getaway in the summer and in the winter makes a great place to hole up and watch the waves crash from one of the numerous inns and resorts. Be prepared for some dazzling sunsets!

I also love Tofino because you’re not locked into one venue or aesthetic like you are on some of the smaller islands. There’s a whole range of options!

For a more upscale feel, The Wickaninnish Inn provides the best of both worlds with rustic beach access and a luxurious venue, complete with a day spa.  

The Pacific Sands Resort is another option for the couple who likes to indulge. Featuring sweeping beach views and a luxurious outdoor venue with gourmet kitchen and dining facilities, this is a great option if you want a beachy, west coast feel but still want to feel pampered on your special day.

If you’re looking for a simpler, more nature-inspired setting, there’s plenty of options for that too. In fact, if you’re wild at heart, this is a great location to consider getting married.

 

Have you ever been to a wedding on one of the Gulf Islands? What did you think? Personally, I love it when my clients take the plunge and try something a little out-of-the-box and the islands make such charming spots for day or weekend trips. Whether you want a boho-style ceremony in a meadow with the mountains rising behind you, or a cozy boutique wedding complete with a luxury spa treatment, you might just find yourself thinking about one of these for your special day.

For more information on how to make your dream island wedding come true, contact experienced Vancouver wedding planner Susanna Stewart.

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