You’re engaged and you want to get married in Vancouver? Congratulations! We love planning destination weddings in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a beautiful place for a wedding at any time of year and we love welcoming guests from far and wide.

In this guide, we are sharing seven steps to take when planning your Vancouver destination wedding:

Step 1: Start with the fundamentals

Hiring a wedding planner located in the place you are getting married if helpful of course but these points are the foundation to planning a wedding with or without a wedding planner:

  • Determining your budget.
  • Determine guest count. We always suggest sharing the guest list with anyone who has a say in the wedding planning, either financially or emotionally, to ensure there are no surprises later on. One great thing about planning a wedding in Vancouver is that we have lots of locations that can accommodate varying guest counts.
  • Determine your priorities (e.g. budget, guest list, food, accommodation, experience, photography, decor… etc).
  • Ensure you, your partner and any must have guests are able to travel to Vancouver for the wedding.

Once you have these points laid out, you’ll be better able to make other important decisions down the line. 

Step 2: Choose a time of year for your wedding

When do you want to get married? Things to keep in mind as you choose a wedding date for a destination wedding:

  • If you are eloping you have less people to consider when choosing the time of year for your wedding. If you are planning on throwing a larger event, you may need to select a date that falls over a long weekend or a holiday to ensure more people are able to attend.
  • Determine if you are wanting your ceremony outside or are happy to be inside. Vancouver does have a reputation for having a long rainy season so this is something to keep in mind.
  • Consider the cost of travel and accommodation, as well as availability, at the time you would like to be married.
  • Are there any activities you would like to do with your guests when you are here in Vancouver? Despite the idea that Canada is always snowy and cold, in Vancouver we only get snow 1-3 times a year here. If you are wanting a winter wonderland wedding, perhaps Whistler (just 2.5-3 hours outside of Vancouver)with your guests could be fun!

Step 3: Select your venue

If you are planning on keeping it small — whether you’re eloping or doing a small ceremony— there are a lot of lovely small spaces in Vancouver that are ideal. Consider your favourite park or an outdoor location that has special meaning to you both from a past visit to Vancouver. You could also consider having a micro-wedding at City Hall. If you are considering an elopement, we plan those too and are always up for a helicopter elopement!

For larger or more elaborate events, we have created a list of Vancouver wedding venues which can give you some ideas.

Step 4: Plan your wedding weekend

We are huge fans of planning destination weddings that last the weekend. This really gives you and your guests time to enjoy one another and get to spend quality time together and not feel rushed. We love an event that kicks of the weekend, it can be causal or an activity that show cases Vancouver. We find that guests who have the opportunity to hang out with each other before the wedding have even more fun on the wedding day it’s self. Some of our couples like a post wedding brunch, others opt for a sleep in for all of the guests and plan for a afternoon send-off instead.

Step 5: The Nitty Gritty

Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, then it’s time to start planning all the other details for your wedding. Whether you’re looking to plan an intimate reception or a big blowout party for your wedding, we can help! Our planning philosophy is all about creating events that align with who you are as a couple and how you want to celebrate your love.  If you are tackling the planning on your own, we suggest breaking down the planning steps into manageable ‘to dos’ so you can take it one step at a time.

Step 6: The home stretch

Once your wedding date and venue are secured, you will want to secure the person who can legally marry you. Marriage commissioners in BC are registered with the Vital Statistics Agency and provide a flexible nonreligious option. You can find the marriage commissioners available in Vancouver by filtering the list on the Government of BC website.

Note that in BC, we do not have the option of friends or family obtaining the legal requirements to do one off ceremonies, like Joey did in Friends. If you were wanting to have a friend or family member perform the ceremony, you can still get legally married before (or after!) the celebration. Some of our destination couples get legally married in their own country before coming to Canada and have the ceremony here.

Step 7: Get your  marriage licence

To get married legally, you’ll need to provide a marriage licence to your wedding commissioner. This is a document that is purchased within three months of your wedding date and can be acquired at a number of different issuers. Believe it or not, some London Drugs locations sell marriage licences!

Some things to note: 

  • Only one person in the couple is required to show up in person to apply for the licence
  • That person must show primary identification (e.g. birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card) for both of you

Your officiant will then take the signed document and ensure your marriage is registered.

Let us know if you have any questions!