From coast to coast, Canada and its ten provinces are full of beautiful lakes, mountain peaks, glaciers, sandy ocean shores, forests, quaint towns, culturally rich cities, Provincial Parks, and National Parks. Endless activities and unique accommodations await couples who choose to elope in one of Canada’s breathtaking provinces. I’ve written the ultimate Canada wedding and elopement planning guide highlighting the best ceremony locations and accommodations across my favorite Canadian provinces, all with sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility in mind.
THE BEST TIME TO CELEBRATE YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT
TIME OF YEAR – LATE SUMMER | FALL
The best time of year for a Canada wedding is late Summer into Fall. In late Summer, lake and ocean temperatures are perfect for swimming. Summer activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and hiking are readily accessible, as opposed to the Winter and Spring when snow and cold temperatures bring trail and activity closures. In Fall, autumn colors flourish and paint Canada’s dense forestscape with bright red, yellow, and orange foliage. Eloping in late Summer and Fall also means you’ll likely avoid black fly season in the Spring.
TIME OF WEEK
Canada sees almost 3 million visitors each year. Popular areas such as Provincial and National Parks tend to be more crowded on weekends than weekdays. Planning your celebration on a weekday will ensure you have an intimate and private wedding or elopement, even at some of the most popular and beautiful spots around Canada!
TIME OF DAY – SUNRISE OR SUNSET?
Truthfully, it’s totally up to you and your partner! You can plan a Sunrise elopement at one of Canada’s many salt or freshwater beaches or a Sunset elopement over the Canadian Rockies. Here are some things to consider when deciding between a Sunrise or Sunset elopement:
- What type of lighting are you going for in your pictures? This is a great question to discuss with your photographer!
- What experience(s) do you and your partner hope to share? (ex. glacier exploration, hiking, or helicopter tours)
- Are you and your partner morning or evening people?
- What is the weather like at Sunrise/Sunset during your elopement season?
- Is ceremony privacy important to you as a couple?
THE BEST CANADA WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS
Home to mountains, forests, lakes, and glaciers, Alberta is Canada’s 4th largest province. With five National Parks: Banff, Jasper, Waterton, Wood Buffalo, and Elk Island, Alberta is the perfect Canada elopement location for couples who love the outdoors!
Banff National Park
Banff is Canada’s first and most well-known National Park. From alpine lakes to lush meadows, large glaciers, and roaring waterfalls, your ceremony backdrop will surely be memorable. One of the best parts about Banff is that its most beautiful spots are easy to navigate for those with accessibility needs. Two of my favorite elopement locations are Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Both offer short trails and overlooks that are accessibility-friendly, with nearby parking lots and restrooms.
Jasper National Park
Jasper is the world’s second-largest dark sky preserve AND the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies! Perfect for a Sunset elopement followed by an evening spent stargazing, this ceremony spot is ideal for couples that want glowy lantern exploration photos after twilight. Medicine Lake and Abraham Lake are THE best stargazing spots, especially in late Summer and Fall. Couples can also explore Athabasca Glacier on a guided excursion of the Columbia Icefield!
Home to the bustling city of Toronto, Ontario is one of the most easily accessible provinces in Canada, especially for visitors who reside outside Canada in the Northeastern United States and Europe. Apart from Provincial Parks, National Parks, and more than 250,000 lakes, Ontario’s beautiful coastline, diverse culture, and rich history make it a solid wedding or elopement location choice for couples of all ceremony wishes and needs. To learn more about eloping in Ontario, read my Ontario elopement guide!
Algonquin Provincial Park
Full of wildlife, lakes, rivers, overlooks, and ridges, Algonquin is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Year after year, visitors explore Algonquin and encounter some of the best scenic views of Ontario. Nothing beats Algonquin in the Fall. Autumn colors fill the forests of this Provincial Park, making for some of the most colorful ceremony photos captured in all of Canada.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Known for its breathtaking coastline and turquoise blue waters, Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of Ontario’s coolest elopement locations. Whether you choose to elope at The Grotto at Sunset or adventure along one of the park’s many hiking trails on an all-day elopement adventure, Bruce Peninsula National Park is a part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, so if you and your partner are passionate about the environment and big-nature lovers, you’ll love the perfectly preserved and wild landscape within this wonderous National Park. You can learn more about planning a Bruce Peninsula National Park wedding by reading my blog!
03. Nova Scotia
One of Canada’s most alluring maritime provinces, Nova Scotia is a dreamy elopement destination for couples looking for a charming coastal ceremony location. With an average daily temperature of 11 degrees, the cool breeze in late Summer into Fall makes it a pleasant outdoor elopement or wedding ceremony spot.
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
The Bay of Fundy lies between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Couples can enjoy various coastal activities, such as whale watching or rafting, and see the world’s highest tide. Onshore, couples can elope in Fundy National Park and celebrate afterward with light bites and drinks at a local vineyard or winery.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton was voted the #1 Island in North America by Condé Nast Traveler. Easily accessible via the Cabot Trail, couples of all accessibility needs can adventure around the island via this coastal roadway. With plenty of paved, overlook pull-offs, this 298 km loop passes through the Cape Breton Highlands and Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
04. British Columbia
British Columbia is a western mountainous province, home to the Canadian Rockies and hundreds of kilometers of Pacific Ocean coastline. While it’s most notably known for its capital city, Vancouver, British Columbia, is a nature-lover’s playground. From skiing to hiking, camping, mountaineering, biking, and more,
Assiniboine Provincial Park
Some of Canada’s best backcountry can be found in Assiniboine Provincial Park. A unique, alpine landscape full of calm blue lakes, jaw-dropping glaciers, towering mountain peaks, and rolling meadows. Assiniboine Provincial Park is THE elopement or wedding ceremony location for couples seeking an epic nature-focused experience.
Within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation lies Tofino, a unique, coastal town surrounded by the vast, wondrous land of the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. Home to incredible beach Sunsets, whale-watching opportunities, and a thriving art community, couples and surf lovers that value places with plentiful culture and deep heritages will truly appreciate being able to call Tofino their wedding or elopement ceremony location.
Known for its rolling hills of fruit orchards and wineries, Okanagan Valley is a couple’s dream escape, surrounded by lakes, pine forests, and quaint, inviting small towns. With nearly 200 wineries in this lush, green valley, you and your partner are sure to have a relaxing elopement experience full of delicious food and wine.
A year-round bustling mountain resort town is full of fun and adventure. Revelstoke Mountain Resort couldn’t be more perfect for weddings or elopements celebrated with family and friends. Revelstoke’s charming town below Mt. Mackenzie is full of restaurants, accommodations, and shopping, making it one of the best ceremony locations for a destination wedding in Canada.
As Canada’s only French-speaking province, Québec’s rich culture and incredible architecture in places like Québec City or Montreal make it a beautiful option for any luxurious elopement or wedding ceremony. Apart from its classic cityscapes and incredible food, it’s also home to Canada’s oldest national park, Mont-Tremblant National Park.
Mont-Tremblant National Park
With activities like kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, paddle boarding, and more, this ceremony location is perfect for couples who want an elevated outdoor elopement experience. Mont-Tremblant National Park is also full of amazing wildlife, such as wolves, moose, and white-tailed deer, along with flowing cascades and flowing fishing streams.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATIONS ACROSS CANADA
01. Fairmont Banff Springs – Banff National Park, Alberta
Fairmont is located in the heart of Banff Springs and is a large, luxurious resort surrounded by natural beauty, restaurants, and entertainment. This elevated accommodation is a short 20-minute drive from the entrance of Banff National Park. Fairmont Banff Springs strives to create a culture of inclusion and accessibility, with plenty of accessible rooms that are intently designed with comfort and safety in mind. For those fascinated with the spooky side of Canada, the Fairmont is thought to be haunted. Resident ghosts are said to occupy the hotel’s halls and rooms.
02. Glacier View Lodge – Jasper National Park, Alberta
Situated alongside the Columbia Icefield, the Glacier View Lodge is a cozy, rustic accommodation with contemporary flair and amenities. The lodge offers spectacular views of Mt. Columbia and is only a one-hour drive from the entrance of Jasper National Park.
03. Hôtel Quintessence – Mont-Tremblant National Park, Québec
This 5-star, luxurious boutique hotel is situated on the shores of Lake Tremblant. Hôtel Quintessence offers guests access to elevated amenities such as spa services, fine dining, and a concierge team dedicated to providing guests with water activity experiences. The hotel also features one-of-a-kind suites and designated spaces for couples who choose to celebrate their wedding or elopement on-site with family.
04. St. James’ Gate Boutique Hotel – Moncton, New Brunswick
St. James’ Gate Boutique Hotel is a warm and inviting accommodation located in the heart of downtown Moncton. The hotel’s first floor is a delicious restaurant and lively bar, making it a fun place to celebrate your Canada elopement with family and friends.
05. Blue Bayou Resort – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Glamp with a view at Blue Bayou Resort! Located on the shores of South Harbor, this rustic accommodation doesn’t sacrifice modern comfort and amenities for its quiet, secluded Highlands location. This nature retreat is not only dog-friendly but full of plenty of opportunities for couples to enjoy activities like hiking, whale watching, snorkeling, swimming, and cozy nights around the campfire.
06. Bartlett Lodge – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Located inside Algonquin Provincial Park is Bartlett Lodge, a unique all-inclusive resort for nature lovers. From hiking, wildlife viewing, water activities, and more, it’s the perfect place for you and your partner to explore and unwind. The lodge previously won an award for sustainable tourism, all because of the owner’s commitment and love for the land that surrounds and homes the Bartlett Lodge.
07. The Utility Room Cottage – Lion’s Head, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
A small, cozy getaway nestled amongst towering evergreens, The Utility Room Cottage is just a 20-minute drive from Bruce Peninsula National Park. This picturesque accommodation can also double as a ceremony location for couples seeking a quiet and intimate celebration.
08. Assiniboine Lodge – Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia
Full of rich history and heartwarming hospitality, Assiniboine Lodge is located in Assiniboine National Park. If you and your partner want a remote mountain experience without sacrificing comfort, this is the accomodation for you. Getting to Assiniboine is an adventure in itself. Accessible only by hike, cross-country skis, or helicopter ride, you’ll be rewarded for your trek upon arrival with views of beautiful starlit night skies, the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, and access to some of Canada’s best backcountry skiing and hiking trails right at your backdoor.
09. Ocean Village Resort – Tofino, British Columbia
Ocean, and environment lovers, prepare to fall in love with Ocean Village Resort! This accommodation is a certified, Ocean Friendly Business located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Remaining a family-owned business for decades, the Village values sustainability and financial inclusivity while regularly participating in fundraising efforts for local organizations. With over a dozen dog-friendly cabins and suites, you’ll have direct coastal access to ocean conditions perfect for paddleboarding, surfing, and kayaking.
10. Log Home At O’Rourke Family Estate + Peak Cellars – Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
If you and your partner are wine lovers, Log Home At O’Rourke Family Estate is the perfect elopement getaway. With five unique suites to choose from and the option to rent out the entire lodge, O’Rourke’s offers lake views and wine-tasting experiences. This unique accommodation can also double as a ceremony location!
11. Pur Lodging Mountain Cabin – Golden, British Columbia
A modern Scandinavian respite in the Canadian Rockies, Pur Lodging Mountain Cabin offers stunning mountain views, a hot tub, a fire pit, and more. This accommodation is ideal for couples looking to reconnect with nature (and unplug) while celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime Canada adventure elopement.
THE BEST ACTIVITIES IN CANADA
- Helicopter Rides (Banff/Alberta/BC)
- Brewery / Winery Hopping
- Great food
- Mountain Exploration (Banff/Alberta/BC)
- Glacier Exploration
- Backcountry skiing
- Shop Local
- Experience Indigenous Tourism
HOW TO FIND AN ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER
Finding the best and right photographer for your Canadian wedding or elopement comes down to finding someone you and your partner trust, bond with, and connect with. You’ll be spending most of your elopement day with your photographer, so choosing someone you’d love to share your most intimate, beautiful, and love-filled moments with that day is important.
I encourage you to sit down with your partner and list your must-haves for your elopement. Hop over to Instagram, Google, or Pinterest and start searching for photographers that travel to and are familiar with the location and style of photography you want for your dream elopement. Maybe one of those photographers is me!
After you inquire with a few photographers, schedule a phone consultation before booking.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER
- How would you describe your editing style?
- What values are important to you? (Quality, Inclusivity, and Passion are GREAT values)
- What packages do you offer?
- How would you describe your on-site photography style? (Directive, Interactive, Posed?)
- How many photos are delivered after our elopement?
- How and when do we receive sneak peek photos?
- Are your travel and accommodation costs included?
- What types of albums and prints are included in your packages?
- How do you integrate Leave No Trace guidelines into an elopement?
Ask as many questions as possible during your consultation with photographers! Your photos will be the most valuable investment you will make when planning your elopement. You want to make sure you make the most informed decision possible before booking. This will ensure you walk away with nostalgic keepsakes and have a beautiful experience that’ll make you and your partner happy for a lifetime.
If you like my style and vibe and feel like we could be friends, you won’t just get amazing photographs of your experience. You’ll also get a cheerleader, an adventure guide, and a friend. I’ll support you and your partner through the emotional roller coaster that comes with planning an elopement. On the big day, I’ll help you and your partner be fully present with one another. It’s my job to make sure you enjoy your elopement day, so I’ll take the itinerary, watch the clock, and guide you through the day’s big and small events. I’ll also gently nudge you into better lighting, fix flyaways, and adjust your dress or tux. Lastly, I’ll give you and your partner the space to enjoy and soak up every moment with each other while still capturing the small, intimate intricacies of your love.
THE BEST VENDORS FOR YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT
When you hire me as your elopement photographer, you’ll gain full access to a preferred, sustainable vendors list upon booking! I source and build sustainable vendor lists for all my elopement locations — from florists who plant their own flowers or source from communal gardens to plant-based caterers, local and experienced adventure guides, inclusive officiants, and more! I aim to make your elopement planning process as stress-free and streamlined as possible.
INCLUDING FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND PETS IN YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT
An important discussion to have with your partner during the elopement planning process is if or how you’ll include friends, family, or pets in your elopement. Take some time to talk over your elopement day priorities, wants, and needs so that you both have a clear vision of what your ideal elopement day will look like.
If you choose not to involve family/friends in your elopement, you may feel a little nervous when it comes time to tell them. Being nervous is totally normal! When it comes time to tell your family and friends that you’ve eloped, there are many different options. Of course, there’s always the option to tell family and friends in person or over FaceTime. But one of my favorite ways couples tell family and friends they’ve eloped is through announcement cards! I offer linen print boxes that include memorable snapshots from your elopement day. Sending these to your family and friends is a meaningful way to make them feel included in your elopement experience.
If you want to include family and friends in your elopement celebration but don’t want them at the actual elopement, hosting a reception or get-together once you return from your trip is an excellent option! This can look like a private, catered dinner reception in an event space or a low-key brunch at home with family and friends.
If you’d like to involve family and friends in your elopement day plans, I am happy to help plan an elopement that includes up to 8 guests. We can also include your furry friend(s) in creative ways! If your ceremony location doesn’t allow pets, don’t worry! We can arrange to celebrate with your pet(s) at an Airbnb or other pet-friendly outdoor location nearby.
HOW TO DESIGN YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT
When you hire me as your elopement photographer, you’ll gain full access to a preferred, sustainable vendor list upon booking! I source and build sustainable vendor lists for all my elopement locations — from florists who plant their own flowers or source from communal gardens to plant-based caterers, local and experienced adventure guides, inclusive officiants, and more! I aim to make your elopement planning process as stress-free and streamlined as possible.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT ATTIRE
In short, wear something that makes you feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable. While it may be helpful to consider terrain and weather, there are no rules when it comes to elopement attire. You can wear hiking boots and a wedding dress if you want! One of the best things about eloping is that it’s all about you and your partner, nobody else. Embrace the muddy hiking boots paired with a designer suit or wedding dress, and lean into a glamorous look with comfortable shoes. Heck, maybe you even want to go full-out and wear head-to-toe adventure gear. The choice is yours!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT OFFICIAL
ELOPEMENT AND WEDDING PERMITS
When eloping in places like National Parks — ceremony and photography permits may be required. As your elopement photographer, I’ll assist with arranging any necessary permits you’ll need based on your unique elopement location!
MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS & REGULATIONS
The details of getting legally married in Canada differ from province to province; however, here is some basic information that is true across all provinces and territories in Canada:
- Canada has no residency requirement for marriage.
- American couples, different-sex or same-sex, may go to Canada to marry.
- Valid forms of identification issued by your country’s government must be presented to the Registry Agent Office at the time of Marriage License application submission, such as:
- Original And Certified Birth Certificate
- Photo ID
- Health Card
- Both marrying partners must be present at the Registry Agent Office at the time of Marriage License application submission.
- A Canadian marriage license is valid for a designated amount of days (based on province) from the day it was issued and is ONLY valid in the province it was issued.
CANADA WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT PACKING CHECKLIST
- Passport / ID / Credit Cards / Canadian Dollars
- Elopement Attire
- Garment Bags (Shop here for the BEST eco-friendly garment bags)
- Vow Books
- GPS + Paper/Printed Map(s)
- Ski Pants + Ski Coat For Glacier Exploration or Cross-Country Skiing
- Base Layers
- Hiking boots
- Long + Short Sleeved Shirts
- Hats + Scarves + Gloves
- Umbrella + Poncho
- Adaptors + Chargers
- First Aid Kit + Medications + Toiletries
- Flashlights + Headlamps
- Hiking Packs
- Reusable Water Bottles
CANADA WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT TIMELINE
Prioritizing intentional planning when developing my clients’ elopement and wedding timelines is what makes The Organic Moment unique. I believe couples deeply benefit from slowing down and embracing the present moment. I want you and your partner to truly enjoy your day, so I always include and account for time spent in intentional moments. This creates a relaxed and stress-free elopement environment, all while we’re having fun in epic locations.
1:00 PM: Getting Ready Photos / First Look Photos At Fairmont Banff Springs
3:00 PM: Ride the Banff Gondola To The Top For Overlook Photos
5:00 PM: Drive to Banff National Park
5:30 PM: Vow Ceremony at Lake Louise
7:00 PM: Sunset Portraits
8:00 PM: Celebratory Champagne Toast, Picnic
9:00 PM: Photography Coverage Wraps Up
LEAVE NO TRACE DURING YOUR CANADA WEDDING OR ELOPEMENT
The beauty of eloping lies not just in the simplicity and intimacy of the experience but also within the location where it’s celebrated. We want to keep that scenery beautiful during your elopement so generations to come can also enjoy Mother Nature and all her amazing wonders. Leave No Trace is an organization that focuses on educating people on sustainability, and I’m proud to be a Leave No Trace Aware Photographer. I’m proud to practice the 7 principles of Leave No Trace in my daily life and while I’m out adventuring with couples. I want to encourage you to do the same!
THE 7 PRINCIPLES:
1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Others
You can learn more about Leave No Trace on their website.
NEED HELP CHOOSING WHERE TO ELOPE IN CANADA?
If you’re overwhelmed by all the beautiful ceremony locations across one of Canada’s many provinces, I’m here to help you choose the best location! You can fill out my contact form here and tell me a few things about you, your partner(s), your love story, and your vision for your elopement. You can also grab my free planning guide, ‘How To Choose Your Dream Elopement Destination,’ here. This 7-step guide was written by myself, all created to ensure you and your partner are able to intentionally choose the best place to elope on your wedding day.
I can’t wait to help you pick the perfect place to celebrate your love story in Canada!