Even if they came from Utah, Anna & Aaron are a true West Coast couple. They had met in Vancouver while working on the 2010 Olympics and really fell in love when they came to Tofino together for the first time. So it only seems appropriate that five years after they met, Anna and Aaron would be back in Tofino once again along with their new daughter and all their closest friends. Their love for the area is obvious and they really wanted their guests to embrace what the west coast has to offer. On the evening everyone arrived in Tofino they were greeted with a crab cookout right on the beach amongst the driftwood, then on the morning of the wedding they all cast off to enjoy a whale watch with Jamie’s Whale Watching.
I admit that when I heard Anna & Aaron had both worked to plan the opening and closing ceremonies for the Vancouver games, a part of me wondered whether I might see animatronics and fireworks during their ceremony. As it turns out their wedding was decidedly the opposite of spectacle. The only fireworks were emotional, the ceremony was held deep in the rainforest and reserved only for Anna & Aaron’s closest loved-ones. The reception dinner was held on the Wickanninish Inn‘s secluded Shell Beach, and in true west coast style they enjoyed a salmon barbecue followed by cocktails around a bonfire. The wedding as a whole was intimate and beautiful, but most importantly it celebrated the love that Anna & Aaron shared together. In the end the only nod to their connection with the Vancouver Games was their wedding cake in the shape of the Olympic rings which came out aglow in sparklers.
Despite being such an intimate wedding, it was packed full of so many great moments that all needed to be included in the final film. From the whale watch to Anna & Aaron’s vows, so many priceless moments with their adorable daughter Meena and such great toasts from both Anna and Aaron’s fathers, none of it could do to be left out and the end result is my longest wedding film yet! Thank you so much, Aaron & Anna, for making me a part of your special day.
I have come to realize that part of my job involves keeping secrets. Sometimes I have to keep planned surprises by grooms hidden from brides, like I did with Scott and Fiona and their fireworks show last summer. More recently, I helped hide the surprise entrance of a bride to her ceremony via helicopter (stay tuned for that video)! When it comes to elopements, the secret is often the wedding itself. After all, isn’t that part of the excitement of eloping? Running off to get married before anyone finds out! Well, people will find out eventually of course, so it is nice to have something from your special day to share with the people who matter when you’re ready to break the news. In Scott & Melissa’s case, while they came to Tofino to marry with just a few witnesses last spring, they decided to keep the details a secret until a family party this past August weekend. Now that the secret is out, I finally get to share their video! I’m glad the time has come because I really think it turned out great.
Melissa & Scott were married at Long Beach Lodge by June Hanton, and photographed by Karley Bracey. Flowers by Crab Apple Floral.
A couple weeks ago was the 6th Annual Tofino Film Festival and my favourite event of the year, the Guerrilla Film Competition! This event is so fun because everyone in town crams into the Shelter to show off their videos, which are usually pretty silly and hilarious. Last year, I actually won the event along with a couple of hilarious friends, Sarah and Kaela, for our video “Sh*t Tofitians Say”. This year, Kaela and I were making videos apart from one another, so I knew I’d have some stiff competition if I wanted to win again. So I went big. Once I got my idea, I knew that if I could pull it off it would be amazing.
To be honest, this is a video I’ve wanted to make since high school, when I started making shorts for fun with friends. That’s exactly what this video was really all about, me and a few buds making a movie just for the fun of it. The Guerrilla contest just gave a good reason to do something we always wanted to do! Winning again was just a bonus!
The Local Menace from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Storm Watching from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Today was the biggest storm of the winter so far, so I decided to grab my camera and head to Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail to capture some of the 20 foot swells coming to shore. I shot this in a couple of hours and slammed the edit together right after. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun to see what I can pull together in a short time.
The wild, unpredictable winter weather we get on the west coast is a big part of what I love about living here. Today was my first time really checking out Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail, and I was really impressed with what it had to offer. With all of the old growth forest and abundance of ocean viewpoints, the trail easily rivalled anything inside the neighbouring National Park.
Heather & Mark from On the Beach on Vimeo.
So many couples choose to get married in Tofino because this place already means so much to them, and Mark and Heather are no exception. Mark and Heather both came to Tofino as kids with their families, it was their first getaway together when they started dating, and it was on Florencia Bay where Mark proposed to Heather. So, it’s only fitting that Tofino was their wedding destination. In true Tofino fashion, their wedding day was blessed with unseasonably nice west coast weather. The forecast called for a downpour and they even held their rehearsal under the tent. But, after a little morning fog, the weather broke in time for the ceremony, and the sun even broke through as Mark & Heather were pronounced husband and wife! Aside from the weather, what made their ceremony so memorable was that it was officiated by a close friend of theirs, Paul. This made the ceremony that much more intimate and personal to them and everyone involved.
Their reception was held at the Tofino Botanical Gardens and featured the best cocktail hour I’ve seen yet. Put on by Chef Tim May of Red Can Gourmet, it featured champagne, oysters and appetizer stations spread throughout the garden paths and old growth forest trails for the guests to wander and explore. The entire day was organized and facilitated by Sheila and her amazing crew at Rare Earth who did an outstanding job in making sure Mark and Heather had a seamless, perfect wedding day. I’m so grateful to Mark and Heather for having me along for such an important day in their lives and I can’t wait to see them in Tofino again (and there is no doubt I will)!
Also, be sure the check out the days photos from their friend and photographer Tegan McMartin.
Scott & Fiona’s wedding day was all about their guests. I mean, of course the day was about them and the important milestone that they were about to achieve. However, so many of the details were about making sure their guests had a great time and felt like an integral part of the day. When I asked Scott why he wanted to have his wedding in Ucluelet, one of the reasons that stood out to me was that he and Fiona wanted to get all of their friends and family together not just for an afternoon and evening, but for a weekend. He had heard from friends that a wedding day will fly by, and Scott and Fiona wanted to make the most of the time they had with everyone together.
When they were planning the wedding, one of the things they put most of their time and effort into were their centrepieces for the reception. Instead of an elaborate flower arrangement, Scott and Fiona built photo albums customized to each table, filled with memories that they shared with each group. During the cocktail hour and throughout the night, it got people talking, laughing and reminiscing. The photo books also acted as a guestbook that guests could sign at their leisure. Being especially interested in technology, Scott and Fiona built their own awesome, custom wedding website for their guests that integrated with the “appyCouple” smartphone app. While it did help their guests with information about the logistics of the day, the best part of the app was that all the photos that people took with their phones were shared online for everyone else to have and enjoy. Going through the photos was like a collage of hilarious, spontaneous, touching, (and sometimes blurry) moments from the entire weekend. Of course, guests were also treated to the ever popular “Four Frames” photo booth.
The high point of the entire day was Scott’s surprise fireworks show. It was a surprise for Fiona to be sure, as only Scott, the photographer Angela and myself knew about it until minutes before. Once it was dark enough and Fiona had been coaxed out of the reception hall, Scott quickly rallied the entire wedding back out to the Fetch patio overlooking Big Beach. What resulted, you can see in the video. It was the perfect surprise for Fiona, who loves fireworks, but it was also the ultimate way that Scott made sure his guests were part of it all.
Mike & Korah’s wedding was as much about their family and friends as it was about them. With just over 100 guests making the long trip to Tofino from Kamloops or even further, I thought that this couple either had big families, or a lot of people who loved them. It turns out to be a little bit of both, but with so many people travelling so far to be there it’s obvious that Mike & Korah are important to them. (Then again, maybe they just came because they enjoy a good party. Mike and Korah clearly came through there!) Family was such an important part of the day because Korah, Mike and his son Brandon already are such a tight family. Mike’s Dad spoke about how proud he was of his son and his grandson, while Korah’s Dad talked about the thrill of having and ‘instant’ grand-child with the prospect of more to come. Mike & Korah are blessed with the love & support a large family provides.
The entire wedding day was hosted by the the Tin-Wis Resort, which is a beautiful property overlooking historic MacKenzie Beach. Korah’s stunning bouquet and flowers were provided by Crab Apple Floral. Her and her bridesmaids enjoyed some pink champagne in the morning while having their hair done by the girls at Studio One. I also had the opportunity to work alongside the wonderful photographer Kathleen Ferguson. Congratulations, Mike & Korah!
Sarah & Devin’s Wedding at Long Beach Lodge from On the Beach on Vimeo.
There was never any doubt that Devin & Sarah were going to get married in Tofino. They both had such fond memories of visiting Vancouver Island with their families when they were growing up, so they knew Tofino would be the perfect spot to start a family of their own. At the beginning of their ceremony the officiant, Rene, announced that “Devin and Sarah want to get married, and they want to get married here. It’s as simple as that.” It was as simple as that. An intimate wedding surrounded by only their closest friends and family.
So when Devin and Sarah found out that they were the winners of Long Beach Lodge’s “Pimp Your Wedding” contest, it was icing on the cake. No, actually it was a whole wedding cake. And dinner. And the Penthouse Suite. The works from the Lodge, and the works from Tofino’s finest. Flowers from Crab Apple Floral, hair and make-up from Salty Dolls, photography from Marnie Recker, and a video from yours truly. Sarah and Devin were thrilled to have it all. All those things that make a wedding day just right and a way to capture the memories. But in their eyes, I think it just made a perfect day better. Their real gifts that day were the family and friends that came from across the country to their little wedding on a big beach at the edge of the world.
Congratulations, Devin & Sarah.
Natasha & Steve – May 25th 2013 from On the Beach on Vimeo.
Finally, after two years of planning and postponing, Natasha and Steve were able to tie the knot. It happened at Terrace Beach in Ucluelet, on a perfectly warm and sunny May afternoon. It could have happened anywhere, really. Steve and Natasha both work as flight attendants so they have the opportunity to travel almost wherever they want. They had their first date in Halifax, on the other side of the country. Steve proposed to Natasha in Beijing, on the other side of the world. But they chose to have their wedding here. I think we can see why….
Natasha and Steve both worked hard to plan for their day, and their efforts paid off with perfect execution. This really came through in the details. If the ceremony on the beach was fairly simple, then the reception was elegant. The hall at The Cabins is beautiful by itself, but Steve & Natasha made it their own. From the personalized menus to the giant heart casting it’s glow from above the mantlepiece, Steve & Natasha really took care to make sure everything was in place to create a memorable experience for their guests and for themselves.
After spending a few days with the couple and getting to know them as much as I could, it became clear to me that they already knew each other in and out. In the morning, Natasha was telling me that Steve loved airplanes and would always stop and look up when one flew over. Sure enough, only moments after the ceremony ended and Steve and Natasha were hugging their parents, a plane flew over and Steve let go of his mom and watched until the plane was gone behind the trees. But, as much as Steve loves airplanes, he loves Natasha more. He summed it up in his speech to Natasha but you don’t need to hear the speech to see it. Natasha and Steve had an incredible wedding day and I was grateful to be a part of it.