Love is in the salty sea air this weekend as the Tofino Wedding Fair sets-up for its third annual showing.
Presented by Tourism Tofino, residents and visitors to the Coast are invited to soak up the romance on Saturday, January 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Shore Pier waterfront building (368 Main Street).
“The event is open to the public. Locals should drop-in to see our local business community putting their best foot forward,” said Tourism Tofino’s marketing coordinator Caitlin Hedley.
Tofino continues to flourish as a Canadian destination wedding.
According to a B.C. Vital Statistics report, Tofino hosted 321 weddings in 2017.
July was its busiest month with 54 marriages followed by September with 48 couples saying ‘I do’.
By comparison, Ucluelet hosted 142 weddings last year and Whistler hosted 313.
Zoe Baillie, owner of West Coast Cake Co. and wedding planner at Rare Earth Weddings, wasn’t at all surprised by the stats.
“We have barely even begun to book up for the summer and we are already at 65 and up weddings for this season. We will probably do 80 to 100 from now until next November. It doesn’t shock me at all that there is that amount.”
Out of all the weddings she helped plan last season, she said one of the coolest ones took place at a local airport hangar.
“I think people come here because they want it to be more about the love and family and it’s always a little bit more laid back here. I think everyone kind of feels that same thing when they come through the pass you can take a deep breath. I certainly feel that when I’m away for a while and come home,” said Baillie.
Like most Tofino businesses that will be on display at the Wedding Fair, the young entrepreneur tries to infuse her product with as much of the West Coast as possible.
“I pull a lot from Tofino. I try to incorporate cedar rounds and eucalyptus, salal, mussel shells… I try to pull all the elements that I can from Tofino just to showcase how beautiful we have it here,” she said.
“People come here and they find comfort in the rainy Tofino West Coast feel. And I think I’ve embodied that and tried to show that in my cakes.”
There are 36 local businesses from both Tofino and Ucluelet confirmed for Saturday’s Wedding Fair.
Exhibitors include local photographers, florists, caterers, wedding planners, videographers, hair and make-up, outfitters, venues, and more.
Guests who pre-registered for the Fair will have the opportunity to take venue site tours of several resorts around Tofino that cater to weddings. About 60 to 100 couples are expected to attend.
Baillie encourages locals to stop by the Shore and show support.
“Wedding industry supports a lot of tourism here,” she said.
“It’s good to see some new faces too and recognize that there are some fresh things happening and it’s not the same old stuff.”