How to Plan a Vancouver Island Helicopter Elopement
Unlock the adventure with a Vancouver Island Helicopter Elopement! Get whisked to the top of a mountain peak or along remote and rugged windswept shores to a secluded island for an adventure elopement like none other. For couples seeking something unique and adventurous for their elopement day, a heli-elopement offers an unparalleled experience against the backdrop of Vancouver Island's stunning landscapes. Skip the traditional and embrace the adventure!
In this guide, I'll walk you through the why, where, and how of a helicopter elopement, from reputable providers here on Vancouver Island to the best times to book. But it's not just logistics; I'll also share creative ideas to add a unique touch to your celebration and essential tips to ensure a seamless experience, covering everything from what to bring to a weather contingency plan.
So, if you're ready to elevate your wedding experience and embark on an adventure let's dive into the details of a Vancouver Island helicopter elopement!
Why plan a Helicopter Elopement on Vancouver Island?
Helicopter elopements are ideal for adventurous couples who love the outdoors. It brings tons of adventure and all of the advantages of a mountain summit with so much ease. It's the perfect solution for a mountaintop ceremony without the hike! One huge advantage of a helicopter elopement is that it provides access to the alpine throughout an extended season. Unlike hiking elopements limited to the summer months when trails are accessible, heli-elopements extend the alpine season to include the spring and fall months.
Who Offers Helicopter Elopements on Vancouver Island?
There are two reputable companies offering heli-elopement packages on Vancouver Island: 49North Helicopters in Campbell River and Atleo River Air Service in Tofino. Both offer custom packages to meet individual needs.
49 North Helicopters
49 North Helicopters based in Campbell River offers two Heli-Love Packages.
- 2-Hour Package to one of Vancouver Island’s Mountain Peaks:
- Stunning mountain flight.
- Remote mountain peak landing with epic views.
- Cost: $690 per person.
- 3-Hour West Coast Glacier Tour:
- Fly over the remote fjord-like inlets of BC’s coastline and into the Coast Mountain Range.
- Landing on a mountain or glacier.
- Cost: $1380 per person.
Atleo River Air Service
Atleo Air Service is based in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. They offer a west coast classic with their 'Peak to Surf' tour, a 2 hour tour from Tofino that captures the best of what Vancouver Island has to offer.
Peak to Surf Tour (2 hours):
- Start along the coast viewing beaches, sea caves and islands.
- Stop at a remote offshore island for your ceremony.
- Take to the sky again to fly into the mountains, landing on a scenic mountain top.
- Cost: $1982 for up to 5 people.
Choosing which company to book with comes down to which package suits your needs best and what region of Vancouver Island you will be based in for your stay. Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is a 3.5 hour drive from Nanaimo while Campbell River is on the east coast of Vancouver Island and is a 1.5 hour drive from Nanaimo. Both companies will fly into the same mountain range on Vancouver Island, but will land on different peaks.
When is the Best Time of Year to Book a Helicopter Elopement on Vancouver Island?
Heli-Elopements are weather dependent so it is important to be flexible as flights may be cancelled or delayed due to fog, wind or storms. The best times are spring, summer and fall when the weather is more predictable. I recommend booking between May-October. You can expect snow on alpine peaks from April to the beginning of June and as early as October. But don't let the snow deter you! The spring conditions are usually warm and the contrast of snow capped blue mountains in the vista is beautiful. The summer months of July and August will be dry and free of snow and potentially hot. You can expect wildflowers in June although the higher alpine areas will have limited flora.
Can we Bring Guests or a Photographer and Marriage Commissioner with Us?
Yes! But they will require a seat so budget each seat needed into the cost. Helicopters are limited by weight, so expect to give each passenger's weight ahead of time to determine the maximum number of people you can bring on board. You can expect to bring up to 4 people on 49 North Helicopters and up to 5 people on Atleo Air Service.
Marriage commissioners who work within the region are familiar with heli-elopement ceremonies and will join you to make your marriage official. Your photographer and the helicopter pilot can also double as witnesses for your marriage ceremony!
Ideas to Add an Extra “WOW!” Factor to Your Helicopter Elopement
Looking to add an extra pop of "WOW" to your helicopter elopement on Vancouver Island? Consider these creative ideas:
- Charcuterie Picnic:
- Pack a locally crafted charcuterie picnic to share on top of the mountain. Enjoy artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and fresh fruit with an alpine view. I don't know about you, but for me, charcuterie boards just make everything that much better! Picnic Charcuterie in Tofino offers boxed picnic platters to take onboard with you and On Board Charcuterie Co in Campbell River will create custom graze boards for your flight.
- Bottle of Bubbly:
- Pop a bottle of bubbly or champagne on the mountaintop, because YOU JUST GOT MARRIED on top of Vancouver Island! Just remember to follow Leave No Trace Principles and retrieve the cork before you leave.
- Virtual Celebration:
- Plan a Facetime call with your loved ones following your ceremony. Share the breathtaking view from the mountaintop, and let them be part of your special moment, even from a distance.
These thoughtful touches will add a personal and celebratory touch to the entire experience and are worth that little bit of extra effort.
Extra Tips for Your Vancouver Island Helicopter Elopement
Ensure everything goes smoothly with these extra tips:
- Ideal Tour Timing:
- Book your helicopter tour for later in the day if possible, preferably in the evening before sunset. This avoids the harsh midday light, ensuring the best lighting conditions for your photos. In the summer months this will also give a bit of a reprieve from the heat as there is no shade on top of a mountain!
- Stay Hydrated and Energized:
- Come prepared with water and a snack to keep your energy up during the celebration. Especially in the summer when it can get hot!
- Bundle Up for Chilly Peaks:
- Bring a jacket or a snuggly blanket for spring and fall flights. Alpine peaks can get chilly, especially on a spring evening. You can get creative with a beautiful shawl or a furry blanket that will still look stunning in your photos.
- Comfortable Shoes:
- Wear shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain so that you can confidently walk to enjoy the view. Some brides prefer to wear their hiking boots while others look for a simple flat shoe. Just avoid heels!
- Essentials Checklist:
- Don't forget the essentials! Bring your marriage license, rings, and vows to make your ceremony complete.
- Weather Contingency:
- Have a backup plan ready in case of poor weather. Being prepared ensures that your day can still proceed smoothly, even if nature throws a curveball. Your tour operator will let you know if weather is going to either delay or cancel your scheduled flight. They will do their best to reschedule within 24 hours. Discuss this possibility with your photographer ahead of time. As a heli-elopement photographer, I always leave the next day unscheduled to allow for potential rescheduling for my clients. Alternatively, you could plan for a ceremony closer to sealevel as a backup plan.
Get in Touch for Your Vancouver Island Helicopter Elopement
Finding a photographer who can capture your vision is the first step to planning your Vancouver Island helicopter elopement . I can help guide you and make vendor recommendations for the perfect elopement and provide you with photos that will help you relive your day for years to come. If you want to start planning get in touch below!