Elopement on Vancouver Island, BC

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We just adore this sweet elopement complete with two adorable kids shot on Vancouver Island, BC by Erin Wallis.

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Michelle and Martin said “I do” with just their best friend and two wonderful children by their side.  Michelle told us all about the intimate day.  “Small.  That was the only thing we could come up with when we started planning.  Small served a few purposes — notably, it kept both of us sane during the planning process — but most importantly it gave us the freedom and flexibility to create a day that really was uniquely “us”. And “small” got even smaller very early on in the process, when we decided that, aside from a photographer, a marriage commissioner, and our best friend (and brother/brother-in-law/best-uncle-ever) Tim, it would be just the four of us. 

From that decision, everything else flowed.  “Only-the-four-of-us” opened up almost limitless possibilities in terms of date and location, but Vancouver Island was the only real option that we considered, and planning something over the summer holidays meant an opportunity to take the kids out to the west cost, visit Uncle Tim in Vancouver, and spend some time camping on the Island before the ceremony day even arrived.  All awesome…” 

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“…But even more awesome when we happened across Tofino-based marriage commissioner Gael Duchene and Island-based photographer Erin Wallis.  Because here’s the thing about eloping far from home:  unless you’re self solemnizing in Colorado and don’t want photographs, you’re probably going to need to deal with at least two strangers on your wedding day – a marriage commissioner, and a photographer.  And when you’re planning something as tiny and intimate as we were, the prospect of that is relatively terrifying. 

We needn’t have worried.   Gael was kind and gentle, laughed at our crazy jokes, and worked with us to create a unique ceremony that incorporated everything we wanted – including a “pinky swear” with the kids.  And Erin – well, Erin was magic.  We hadn’t met with either of them in person prior to 30 minutes before the wedding.  And it didn’t matter at all.  They were both perfect.”

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“More than anything, our wedding was just… fun!  As I wrote to Erin a few weeks after returning home, “between a 9am ceremony, excitement, nervousness, two crazy kids and 6 hours less sleep than normal… it’s safe to say that my hair and makeup looked better going to work this morning than it did on July 10. Sure, I could have done with eyes that were a little less puffy… but when we decided to elope, we decided that, for us, the most important thing about that day was joy. That’s it. Just joy. We wanted the kids to laugh, we wanted to eat tacos and drink beer, we wanted to hang out with Tim. We wanted to honour every mistake, every triumph, every wrong turn and every happy coincidence, to show Tenley and Duncan that there are no mistakes, there are no wrong turns… that sometimes life is darkest in the moment right before the light. We wanted to feel humble in the mystery of it all. And I wanted — selfishly, secretly, against-all-reasonable-expectations — images that would reflect *that*. ”  Erin gave us that – and so much more.”

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The ceremony was certainly a family affair with the kids getting involved in the action!  And of course, the laughter too – just as Michelle and Martin wanted.

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Then it was taco truck time and a casual beachside lunch.

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What’s a beach elopement without some fun in the sand?!?!  A family day by the sea.

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Love was clearly all around on this very special wedding day and it continues today.  “We were recently very saddened to learn that Gael Duchene passed away unexpectedly in Tofino on September 5 of this year.  As Erin continues to do with her art and with her smile, Gael radiated a generosity of spirit and love of love that left a permanent impression on the hearts of our family.  We are so very grateful to have had the honour of her blessing, and extend our sympathies to her friends and family.”

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Erin Wallis Photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Venue: Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC Flowers: Celsia Florist, Wedding Lunch: Tacofino, Wedding Dress + Wrap: Club Monaco, Groom’s Shirt + Children’s outfits: J. Crew, Duncan’s shoes:  Design-your-own Converse,  Tenley’s necklace: Elephant Heart, Groom’s jacket and pants:  Ralph LaurenHolt Renfrew, Groom’s tie: The Hill-side, Ring Box: Granville Island, Accommodations: Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino, BC, Marriage Commissioner: Gael Duchene