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How and Where to Elope in Vancouver during COVID 19

How and Where to Elope in Vancouver during COVID 19

We all dreamed about our big day. Some of us including myself and my partner have planned for almost a year for our wedding day. And now in the midst of COVID 19, we’re all scrambling for a change of plans. You may be frustrated, sad and exhausted coming up with a new plan every few weeks. However, throughout this, you are still getting married. You get to still experience all this with your best friend whom you are going to get to enjoy the rest of your life. Although these small details are not when you envisioned, I can tell you from first-hand experience that your wedding, elopement, or micro wedding will still be one of the happiest days of your lives. If you’ve had to change your plans due to COVID, and are now wondering how and where to Elope in Vancouver, here’s a guide to help you get started!

Bride and groom hugging at Cecil Green

 

Micro Wedding vs Elopement

These two words have been thrown around quite a bit in 2020. So what is the key difference? According to Betches :

Elopement: “An elopement is an intimate ceremony—usually just the couple, officiant and/or a witness. While traditionally elopements are spontaneous, they are now becoming much more planned events, with couples travelling to breathtaking destinations to do them.”

Micro wedding: ” “Think of a micro wedding as a cross between an elopement and a big traditional wedding. Micro weddings are 50 people or less, but still, have design details.” Basically, it’s like a pre-2020 wedding, but on a smaller scale.”

Which One is For You?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. This is a heart to heart conversation you and your partner need to discuss. For myself and my partner is was important to enjoy this day with friends and family. Relationships with these people were important to us. Although we couldn’t invite all our extended family, we still had a small group that was there in attendance. Although we had a micro wedding this year, we’re still planning to do a celebration down the road when restrictions are lifted.

The Legal Stuff

To be legally married in BC you only need three things! A marriage licence, an officiant and two witnesses!

BC marriage license on a table

Marriage Licence

The cost of a marriage license in BC is $100 no matter where you go. You’ll need to do this up to 3 months before the wedding date. For the proper identification needed you’ll need to go to the government website here to find the proper ones ( you’ll need to dust out your old birth certificate).

Marriage Commissioner or Officiant

Before you decide on which one there are some differences between the two. Marriage commissioners are appointed by the government who only fulfill the legal marital requirements. In addition, they cannot use any religious aspect. For a more personalized touch to your day, which I personally love are officiants. Although they tend to cost a bit more, you only get married once, and you want someone who can make this day special. For a list of marriage, commissioners check out this link.

My top 3 officiants in Vancouver:

  1. Young Hip and Married
  2. Ceremonies by Joel
  3. Christian Sawka

Witnesses

Last but not least you need two witnesses over the age of 19! This can be literally anyone! From photographers to strangers, this can be anyone that is present!

Best Elopement and Micro Wedding Locations in Vancouver

Given our current conditions, indoor locations may not be the most suitable. However below I’ve listed a few of my favourite spots that you can elope.

1) Stanley Park

Stanley Park has everything you need. From a classic Pacific Northwest look, you can find a great spot just about anywhere. Here’s a beautiful Stanley Park Elopement with N+T

Bride sharing vows during Stanley Park elopement

2. Queen Elizabeth Park

A classic spot is Queen Elizabeth Park in the heart of Vancouver. In case it rains there’s a backup spot with some shelter by the fountains. Here’s a sample of a micro wedding in Queen Elizabeth Park for Natalie and Elliot’s wedding.

Outdoor micro wedding at Queen Elizabeth Park

 

3. Golden Ears Provincial Park

Simply a breathtaking spot, with gorgeous mountain views. Depending on the time of year this location can get quite windy. There’s also no reception here, so be sure to have clear directions for your guests! Golden Ears Pronvial Park info!

bride and groom walking on the beach at Alouette lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park bride and groom walking on the beach at Alouette lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park

4. Backyard Wedding

One of the perks of doing a backyard wedding is that everything is covered. No permits and you have most of everything you need in the comfort of your home! Kristen and Guo’s Jericho micro wedding was exactly that!

Backyard wedding Vancouver during Coronavirus

5. Golden Eagle Golf Course/ Pitt Lake

Golden Eagle Golf Course and Pitt Lake are two spots I can’t recommend highly enough. For starters, their staff Lorae and Lamica are tremendously helpful in helping you plan your wedding. On top of that their venue offers an outdoor gazebo and an incredible backdrop. Lastly, if you’re feeling adventurous Sky Helicopters can whisk you away right after your ceremony to some exclusive locations. For more of their micro wedding packages check out their micro wedding packages here. Here’s Jenny and Razvan’s Golden Eagle Golf Course Wedding.

6. The Vancouver Club

For an elegant, classic and luxurious feel to your micro wedding, look no further than the Vancouver Club in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. Having been in the city for over 130 years, they know how to do weddings! Here are their micro wedding packages.

wedding decor at The Vancouver ClubPhoto credit: The Vancouver Club

Photo credit: The Vancouver Club

 

7. The Polygon Art Gallery

A little bias here, as this was our original wedding venue before COVID ( we’re still crossing fingers to have a reception here)! This is the best of both worlds for people looking for an indoor space but wants stunning views of the city. Check out some of our wedding planners below! For more inspiration check out The Poylgon Art Galleries website!

Polygon Art Gallery ceremony space

Photo Credit: Polygon Art Gallery Website

8. Parq Vancouver/ JW Marriott

Although we can’t technically travel to get away ( during COVID), look no further than Parq Vancouver. With outstanding food and service, Jorin and his team will take of you during the whole planning process. For that extra something, make sure to check their spa out, the day before or after and make it a mini-moon.

Parq Vancouver Wedding

9. Bel Cafe/ Hawksworth

Bel Cafe in the heart of downtown can be converted to a private dining space. Plus since it’s attached to Hawksworth you’ll get some top-notch food and service.

wedding ceremony at Bel Cafe

10. This Open Space

This Open Space is like Airbnb for venue spaces. I used this personally for my own wedding! Tons of fantastic options when looking for indoor venues for about 5-50 guests!

This-Open-Space

 

11. The Pipe Shop

Located in North Vancouver, by the Lonsdale area, The Pipe Shop is a heritage building revamped for a modern look! With natural light, tall wooden beams, concrete floors this space can do no wrong. Another beautiful venue space where you can make it your own. For more on their pricing info, here is the link here.

12. The Wallace

The sister property of the Pipe Shop!

“The Wallace is a beautiful, modern-industrial venue located on the Lower Lonsdale waterfront in North Vancouver. Featuring an expansive 2,400 square foot outdoor patio, and 3,500 square feet of open-concept event space that can be designed to fit any event. The Wallace is located on the third level of the reconstructed Machine Shop in the new Shipyards development.” Their website gallery offers beautiful visuals for those looking for a blank canvas.

13. Sitka Farms

For a hidden gem with a complete rustic look, Sitka Farms is your venue! The farm is in Squamish, nestled in-between Cloudburst Mountain & the Tantalus Mountain range about an hour from Vancouver.

Thank you, Chanel the owner for contributing to this post with this tidbit. “Sitka Farms is a family-run rustic venue in the heart of the Squamish mountains. I’m Chanel and my fiancé is Kenny; we both love the whole concept around love! It is so beautiful watching people tie the knot and witness the most nerve-wracking day of their life to date, in a good way. Nobody is ever as in love as a newlywed couple, it’s special to be able to lend our farm to couples where they will always look back and remember their wedding day. ” 

wide-shot-of-sitka-farm

Photo Credit: Sitka Farms Website

14. Edge Catering

A hidden gem in the city is Edge Catering by the Sunshine Hastings area. A small cafe that offers natural light and a clean backdrop, that allows your decor team to get creative!

wedding couple in front of wedding arch at Edge Catering

15. The Lodge on Harrison Lake

From the first time I saw this location, I knew it had to be added to the list! This boutique lodge is about 1.5 hours out from Vancouver. However, making the drive out here is worth the stunning mountain views along the lakeside. If you have friends and family visiting from out of town, they have accommodations as well. You can find their wedding packages here.

wedding ceremony at Lodge on Harrison Lake

Photo Credit: Lodge on Harrison Lake

 

 

Tips for a Perfect Elopement and Micro Wedding

1. Permits

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding different cities require a permit. For Vancouver check out this link here to see information with COVID changing.

2. Time of Day

The best thing about micro weddings and elopements is you get to be flexible with the time. As a general rule of thumb, the best lighting is 1.5 hours before sunset. Start from there and work backwards when planning.

3. Details and Decor

Just because you won’t have a huge guest list at your ceremony don’t be afraid to make it special with a touch of decor and details. Whether you want a wedding arch, bouquet, or a mini runway make it special with some details! To help you with all this, hiring a wedding planner to take care of these small details is the way to go!

 

Check out these exceptional vendors for setup and decor

  1. Elle Weddings 
  2. Lisa from Shing Weddings
  3. Sit Pretty Events+ Rentals 

4. Getting Ready Photos

Getting ready photos are still important! These details tie the whole day together and are some of the most special photos.

bridesmaid helping bride with her shoes

5. Do Something Special

Now that you two are married it’s time to celebrate! Even if it’s a small dinner, or going to a hotel for two nights, make sure to splurge and reward yourself!

Pros of Micro Wedding and Elopement

Although downsizing your guest lists, changing venues multiple times is not exactly what you had in mind there are still SO many pros to have an elopement and micro wedding during this time.

  1. No timelines is a gamechanger. First, it means more time with guests. These interactions are more meaningful than you might have not had if you had a larger wedding. One of the biggest factors with timelines is also the added stress of going from one location to the next and squeezing everything in. No timeline takes the stress away! In addition, with no timeline, you can get some amazing photos during the golden hour with no rush to head back to reception.
  2. Expenses can be a huge factor when planning a larger wedding. However, with micro weddings and elopements, you can spend to your budget and still enjoy the day!
  3. The party still goes on. Although not all your friends and family can attend your wedding, you can still celebrate after. Plus I’m sure friends and family will be itching to get out and hit the dance floor with you after this is all over.
  4. When planning a wedding, the location you get to pick can sometimes be limited. However, with an elopement and micro wedding, the venues and breathtaking locations around BC are endless.
  5. Stress-free! No need to think about seating charts, people running late. For the most part a drama-free day!

Adapting to Change

Much like 2020, our daily lives are changing. Every day is different, and although we may have an idea of what to expect, COVID may otherwise. Regardless of what you’ve planned remember that this is about you and your partner. What is most important is you get to enjoy your day the way you want to enjoy it. If that means having a small group of friends to celebrate and having quality time together

Regardless of what happens, you two are about to embark on an amazing journey together. Having a backup plan or going with the flow, and be willing to adapt makes for great stories and moments.

I hope this guide has been of tremendous help to you. I’m not sure where you are in your planning. Whether your plans have had to significantly change or whether this was your initial step, I’d love to chat with you and get started on this journey. Contact me here, to get started!

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