Romance is in the air this week as the Tofino Wedding Fair sails in for its second annual showing.
Presented by Tourism Tofino and Rare Earth Weddings, locals and visitors are invited to soak up the free event on Saturday, January 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Shore Pier waterfront building (368 Main Street).
“It will be a great opportunity to chat with other vendors in the local wedding scene. We don’t really get time to do that once the season starts,” says Mathieu Amin, owner of Crab Apple Floral.
Amin and his team provided fresh flowers to over 200 weddings last year. They said September has become their busiest month, with 40 wedding parties requesting floral arrangements and 13 weddings falling on the same weekend.
“It just doesn’t stop. Even the shoulder seasons are becoming busier and busier,” he says.
Guests who pre-registered for the Fair will have the opportunity to take venue site tours of several resorts that cater to weddings. Long Beach Lodge, Cox Bay Beach Resort, Pacific Sands Beach Resort, Tofino Botanical Gardens, Middle Beach Lodge, The Shore and the Wickaninnish Inn all offer varying options for intimate weddings as well as larger weddings.
Sheila Orchiston, owner of Rare Earth Weddings, will also be hosting 30-minute complimentary wedding planning sessions on Sunday.
She noted that, even if couples chose not to work with an official wedding planner, it will give her a chance to match them up with local vendors and photographers.
There are 35 exhibitors confirmed for the second annual Tofino Wedding Fair, and over 100 couples have registered.
“They come to Tofino because they want to showcase the beauty of the West Coast to their friends and family. I would say about 90 per cent of them want a simple West Coast wedding; lots of greenery, a beach ceremony and family-style meals. That’s platters to tables of local, organic West Coast food,” said Orchiston, who tied the knot eight years ago at Cox Bay.
“The majority of couples have been to Tofino before. Instead of looking at the traditional destination wedding spots like Mexico or Hawaii, they want something that’s meaningful to them and they want something in Canada,” she says.
Since opening her wedding planning business in 2010, Orchiston has seen a definite increase in the amount of couples getting married in Tofino and Ucluelet. In 2016, the District of Tofino issued 53 marriage licenses, whereas in 2015 they issued 35. Orchiston encourages locals to stop by the Fair on Saturday to say ‘Hi’ to fellow community members.
“It will give you a better understanding of the role weddings play in the community,” she says.
The list of exhibitors includes photographers, florists, caterers, event rentals, planners, videographers, hair and makeup, outfitters and venues.