Planning your Gulf Island destination wedding

and other tips on how to make your wedding just a little bit extra

It’s not your job to entertain everybody, but why not try?

One of the best parts about living in British Columbia is the access to the Gulf Islands. And one of the best parts about getting married in BC is being able to share your love of the province’s landscapes and unique resources with your guests, especially if they’re from out of town.

But, that also means that you might be feeling the pressure to entertain the guests who may never have explored the Gulf Islands before. If you’re looking to make your destination wedding uniquely BC some of the activities listed below will help you keep your guests busy while you finish up the last to-do’s the weekend of your wedding.

Let’s take this wedding up a notch…

1. Host a welcome dinner with locally sourced beer and wine food pairings. The Gulf Islands have enough craft breweries, vineyards, and organic farms that make their own cheeses that you could easily use mostly local products to help your guests get to know the island a bit better. Even better would be to include information about tours that any of these vendors might offer so they can go visit them on their own time.

2. Custom classes and adventures. Yoga, a group hike, or maybe even sea kayaking with a guide are all ways to keep your guests active while introducing them to what makes BC so special. Each island has completely different resources so make sure to check their local tourism info to see what is offered (and how to book it).

3. An art crawl. If you’ve been to the Gulf Islands before then you’ll be very familiar with all of the roadside signs for pottery studios, glass blowing, and other great crafts. This is a great activity for your older guests and can easily be paired with a vineyard stop or lunch at a local cafe. Most islands will have a bus you can rent, or at the very least a driver and van that can tote the folks around from studio to studio. But, don’t be surprised if you end up getting a painting of an orca as a wedding gift.

4. Beach time! If you have guests that have to travel quite a ways to your wedding they may not want to pack giant swan floaties and towels with them, so if your wedding will be located somewhere with accessible beaches why not provide some inexpensive floaties for them to use while they enjoy the sunshine. Or, even better, ask guests that are local to bring extras to share. It’ll help them get to know somebody new!

5. Lawn games and board games (and hey, why not scavenger hunts) are all great ways to get your guests to interact during the welcome dinner the day before the wedding. Pop some Jenga on the tables, put some crib boards out, make a custom “get to know your couple” scavenger hunt or set up a video game station if that’s more your jam. The more people have to do with their hands the lower your alcohol bill will be (but probably only marginally).

6. Put together some S’mores snack packs. Does your venue allow campfires? Put together some S’mores packages to really bring that outdoorsy vibe to the party.

7. Hire a babysitter incase some parents want to let loose. Attending a destination wedding can feel like a mini-vacation and some parents might want to party, so hire a local babysitter to watch and entertain the kids while the party rages.

8. Create party-focused and relaxation-focused zones on the property. Not everybody will be ready to party the weekend away, and not everyone will come looking to finish off the book they’ve been working on all year. By having a comfortable area for each of the “modes” they might be in you’re showing your guests that they truly matter and will make the weekend just that much more special for them.

planning your gulf island destination wedding


Make a wedding guide for your guests that outlines the must-knows about ferries, information about groceries, gas, and other vital resources, as well as any tours and activities that are available on the Island. If you want to step it up a notch you can book activities for them, or better yet, assign an activity leader to arrange it all for you.

What else can you do to make sure that your guests are properly prepared for your Gulf Island wedding?


Make sure that all of your guests and vendors book their ferry tickets WELL in advance. Sure, there's a chance that they can show up and get on the one ferry per day that goes to the island (depending on the island) but there is a higher chance that if they don't plan appropriately they won't be able to get on that boat. Make sure they are familiar with the routes, times, and how long before departure they need to arrive at the terminal.


Prepare your guests with information about appropriate attire including rain coats, umbrellas, info about wether the ladies can wear stilettos or if wide-heeled shoes are better, if swimsuits and hiking gear should be packed, you get the idea. There's nothing worse that showing up and finding out that you should have brought that water-proof tuxedo that you took out of your bag.


Make sure to check what resources are available on the Island. Many of the smaller islands don't have gas stations and have limited options available for groceries, especially for those with special diets, so make sure to let guests know wether they should bring groceries or not. There also aren't hospitals on the islands so anybody with serious allergies should be reminded to come prepared for emergencies.

That’s it! Do you have any ideas to share that you’ve seen done at destination weddings? I’d love to know what they are. I’m always looking to expand the resources I offer to my clients so feel free to drop me some ideas if you haven’t seen them here.

Happy planning!