When it comes to getting married in British Columbia, you can’t go wrong with any location in the beautiful province. Whether you’re choosing to get married and have your wedding in Victoria, British Columbia, or prefer the eclectic city of Vancouver, you’re in for a treat.
The coastal city of Vancouver is on the mainland of BC. It is the eighth largest city in Canada, having a population of just over 600,000. It’s attractive for many reasons and doesn’t go unrecognized. In 2009, it was named as the “Top City of the Americas” in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and dubbed a Top 100 World Destination pick in TripAdvisor’s 2008 Travelers’ Choice awards, and one of ten Best Family Vacations in Canada in the 2011 Travelers’ Choice awards. It has been chosen as the world’s “Most Liveable City” in 2011 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)–an award it has received eight times in the last 10 years.
It welcomes beautiful weather and scenery, being close to both the Pacific Ocean and many mountain ranges. Though it is often known to be rainy, it’s actually protected by Vancouver Island, making it have less precipitation and more sunshine that most of the other coastal areas around BC. If you’re choosing to get married, the best time of year is often the spring. The daily average temperatures in the springtime are around 15 degrees C, and beautiful to boot, with snow-capped mountains with some ski-worthy slopes, then mild enough for golfing or sailing in the afternoon.
In the summertime, however, Vancouver is pleasantly warm–not overly so. It reaches about 22 degrees in August on average, but highs can top about 30 degrees C. Outdoor weddings at this time of year are excellent. These conditions head into the fall, though as it continues, lows reach around 10 degrees. The fall, though beautiful, isn’t always the best time of year to get married here, as November is often Vancouver’s wettest month. When it turns into wintry snow, it doesn’t last. Lows only hit about 3 degrees C, so snow often turns to rain, making it the wettest season for visiting.
Visiting Vancouver is always a treat, and the city is known for its natural beauty and diverse culture. It is rich in history and culture, primarily from the Coast Salish people, then later inspired by European settlements to the region. A gold rush in 1858 brought even more to the city, along with the Vancouver legend “Gassy Jack” Deighton, who established the first saloon in 1867, in an area now known as Gastown.
There are plenty of reasons to get married in Vancouver, BC, and outdoor weddings are a common choice. After all, wouldn’t you want to get married in one of the world’s most beautiful parks, on the beach with the waves roaring behind you, or with the backdrop of snow-kissed mountain top?
A popular destination is Stanley Park, which has five garden sites available. These include Cathy’s Garden and Gazebo, which has a beautiful white gazebo among a flourishing garden setting. There is also the Rose Garden, which has won the American Wildflower Society Display Garden Winner of the A.A.R.S. “Outstanding Public Rose Garden” Award. This is in thanks to over 50 varieties of roses and 2,500 rose bushes which surround the lush garden. The Herb Garden is slightly more spacious, with numerous varieties of fragrant, culinary, and medicinal herbs and large old-fashioned formal perennial gardens with colorful annual planting. The highlight of the Arboretum is the 30-foot fountain, nestled inside a five-acre area with flourishing trees and shrubs. The Japanese Garden includes rare and unusual exotic plantings of alpine conifers, rhododendron, azaleas, and flowering deciduous shrubs with an authentic Japanese Tea House made with genuine bamboo. And finally, the Duck Pond includes a pond area with swans, ducks, and trout. It also has a working old mill, a water wheel, an old meeting house, a carriage shed, a blacksmith shop, and a rustic covered bridge. It is filled with native habitat and surrounded by the sound of waterfalls. In all gardens at Stanley Park, wedding receptions can be held in the sheltered pavilion.
Another popular wedding site is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Located right in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is an authentic representation of Ming Dynasty-era tradition and the first of its kind outside China. It is based on the harmony of four main elements: rock, water, plants, and architecture, perfectly balancing yin and yang. The garden is home to winding paths, rocks, plants, beautiful vistas, unique rock forms, water lily-covered pond, pagoda, and lush plants. There are wedding options for spaces available. The Hall of One Hundred Rivers & Courtyard can accommodate 152 guests seated for a ceremony. The Magnolia Courtyard is excellent for intimate wedding ceremonies and can hold up to 20 guests. And the Scholar’s Study & Courtyard can seat 60 guests for a ceremony. Whatever you choose, they offer an excellent venue for any wedding.
For a different garden option, consider the VanDusen Botanical Garden. The garden offers some of the most unique settings for your outdoor wedding. With stunning azalea beds, flowering trees and peonies as the backdrop, you’ll marry among your friends and family while enjoying views across the treetops into the mountains. Choosing the Great Lawn as your location of choice, you can accomodate up to 800 guests. Heron Lake is another popular choice, albeit far more intimate. Featured as the romantic setting in many films, it is filled with willow trees surrounding clear, glistening lakes, and can accomodate up to 100 guests. For something even smaller and far more secluded, Meadow Pond, located at the south west corner of the Garden, is available for wedding ceremonies of up to 30 guests. The garden itself is enormous in size, featuring 22-hectares of lush foliage and natural habitat, with over 250,000 individual plants from ecosystems across the world.
Queen Elizabeth Park is a smaller, but just as glorious, option with many attractions featured for the perfect background to your wedding. Get married in the arboretum or Celebration Pavilion, take photographs in front of the many fountains, visit the quarry gardens for exchanging your vows, or head over to the painters’ corner. It is also home to the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, a perfect option if you are concerned about weather while you’re here; you can have all of the features of an outdoor wedding but stay indoors. This is made possible with the beautiful of the Bloedel Conservatory, dedicated to the wonders of the natural world. Emphasizing birds and plants, over one hundred birds of many different species free-fly in the spacious dome, with over 500 different exotic plant and flowers.
If you’re not looking to get married in a park, there are many other unique options available. You might be drawn to Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours, where you can be wed on an authentic paddlewheeler. It is available for weddings and wedding receptions for up to one hundred-passengers, with room for dining and dancing in a comfortable warm oak interior with two levels and a bar facility on each. There is also plenty of outside and sheltered deck space, available catering, and access to hotels for post-party relaxation.
Another option is the Crystal At York Banquet Halls, which has your huge wedding in mind. Considering it can fit up to 1,500 guests, this lavish venue is located just outside of Vancouver in Surrey, BC. The regal ballroom is elegance at its finest, and all types of catering are available.
The beautiful Chapel at Burnaby Village Museum is for those who love simplicity. It is home to a simple white chapel, with hardwood floors, traditional stained glass windows, and wooden pews–perfect for that cozy, intimate wedding. The church can accommodate up to 80 people and is surrounded by gardens, early century buildings and a 1912 vintage carousel. During the season, guests are invited to tour the site where costumed townsfolk welcome visitors into their picturesque shops and homes, a fun experience in a beautiful setting.
And for a moment you’ll never soon forget, couples can even get married while floating through the air in one of Vancouver Balloon Rides‘ popular flights. Say your I Dos in a hot air balloon ride over Vancouver and the BC coastline, and take in the breathtaking, one-in-a-lifetime views during your small, private ceremony.
There is so much to do when you’re here visiting Vancouver. If you, your wedding party, and your guests love the outdoors, you’ll be enamoured with how much the area has to offer. There are plenty of beaches that are perfect for swimming, options for boating and sailing, many cruises, boat tours. Available diving lessons. Hot springs to head on over to. Fishing, kayaking, canoeing, river rafting, and other water sports. And, perhaps the most popular, whale watching. Orcas are the most commonly sighted whale in Vancouver, however minke, grey, and humpback whales are also common. For those who want to take whale watching to a whole new level, consider making reservations at Harbour Air Seaplanes, where you can enjoy a 20 minute Vancouver Panorama flight featuring spectacular aerial views of the city, the surrounding mountains, and overtop the oceans for a whale watching package. Visitors can also book the Fly ‘N Dine tour, which includes a seaplane flight to Horseshoe Bay, 3-course dinner, and limousine back to downtown Vancouver.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, there are still plenty of options for the outdoor enthusiast. Skiing–whether backcountry, cross-country, heli-, cat-, or downhill, are all among the options available. Snowboarding is just as common for single board folks, and dogsledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are popular, as well. Having been home to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, skiing here has become even more popular. Whether you choose to head to Whistler, or the smaller Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain, skiers will appreciate the many options available.
Folks who like to keep it a little more low key will appreciate all of the rich culture of the city. With over 50 cultural museums, art galleries, monuments, theatres, and more, there is plenty to do and see. Popular venues right in Vancouver include the BC Sports Hall of Fame, where visitors can learn about BC’s best athletes, relive the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in the Vancouver, and partake in fun activities, too. Another option is the Vancouver Maritime Museum, where you will discover the history and the maritime traditions of the Pacific Coast. There are plenty of exhibits, including authentic shipwrecks, early fur trade, deep ocean exploration, and others. And for the ultimate in relaxation, head over to Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Though they are a full fledged resort, and do offer wedding packages, the real draw is the five different hot-spring-fed mineral pools.
Finally, when it comes time to tempting your tastebuds, it no wonder why Vancouver is known for its world class dining. Tojo’s has been providing the best Japanese food in Vancouver since 1971. The restaurant has even been featured in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. If Indian food is more your pleasure, head over to Vij’s, with an eclectic menu that changes with each season and with each trip to India. Jade Seafood Restaurant has won awards for best chef, best dim sum, best signature dish, best formal Chinese restaurant. And Cibo is rustic Italian at its finest, featuring offal and classic recipes with a focus on local food.
With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that Vancouver is a wedding destination of choice. Whether you’re local, nearby, or planning a destination wedding, we can’t wait until you come and experience everything that Vancouver has to offer you on your wedding day!