George and Caitlin's Vancouver Island river elopement at the falls
Today I’m excited to share this Vancouver Island river elopement on the blog. Over the last few years, especially since the pandemic, I’ve noticed that more and more couples are choosing to elope. A private, intimate ceremony allows a couple to focus on what truly matters: each other. And when you combine an elopement with the natural beauty of a provincial park, magic can happen. That was definitely the case for Caitlin and George. They tied the knot (literally – they had a hand fasting ceremony!) at Englishman River Provincial Park on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island views at Little Mountain, Parksville
The day started out overcast, but Caitlin and George were undeterred. We met at the top of Little Mountain, just outside of Parksville, for some portraits before the ceremony. These two got ready together and drove together, so it wasn’t technically a first look, but the emotions were flowing!
Little Mountain is one of my favourite spots for wedding photos. Although we have many epic viewpoints here on Vancouver Island, they are often difficult and time-consuming to access. Totally worth it if you’re on a day-long hike, but on your wedding day? Easy access is best. Little Mountain doesn’t require a hike-in at all. You just drive to the top of the road, and there is a small parking area right next to the viewpoint. It’s usually very quiet up there, and on this particular day, nobody else was around.
After taking some portraits around Little Mountain, which looks out over a quintessential Vancouver Island vista, we were ready to head to the ceremony.
The ceremony at Englishman River Falls
Caitlin and George chose Englishman River Falls Provincial Park in Errington as their ceremony spot. We needed an additional witness, so we flagged down a passerby in the parking lot to sign the marriage license. After Barbara Densmore, the incredible celebrant, said all the important legal lines and our witness signed the license, we walked down the trail to the river for Caitlin and George to say their vows.
Although Englishman River Provincial Park is open to the public, we were easily able to find a very quiet, peaceful spot beside the river. Caitlin and George exchanged heartfelt vows, while I sniffled back a few tears from behind my camera. Barbara proceeded with a hand fasting ceremony, and the knot was officially tied! (Moment of appreciation for Barbara – her ceremonies are always incredible – very custom to every couple, and I cry every time).
Finishing the ceremony with a river plunge
The real magic happened after the ceremony. The couple had brought swimsuits with them, and they decided to take a dip in the river to celebrate their marriage. They love to cold plunge together so it was the perfect way to end the day. I followed them down to the water’s edge, capturing candid shots of them slowly easing into the (frigid!) water. They shared a kiss, and then quickly made their way back out. Getting married is already an adrenaline rush so I can imagine they were on cloud 9 by that point!
Thank you to Caitlin and George for trusting me with photographing this special day. If you are considering Englishman River Falls for your Vancouver Island elopement and you are looking for a wedding photographer, get in touch! I would love to hear all about what you are planning. For some more Vancouver Island elopement inspo, check out Katelyn and Remy’s intimate wedding in Deep Bay, BC!