Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park Wedding
Leah and Carla wanted a forest wedding as the setting for their marriage. Travelling from Victoria, these two had actually never been to the popular Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, a wonderful local hiking area for residents of Port Alberni, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Coombs. When they visited in February, they fell in love with the park. We had just had a very intense windstorm days before Christmas, which blew down hundreds of trees in the area. Even with branches and trees literally all over the trails, these two could see it was perfect for them. They decided Little Qualicum Falls would be the setting for their Autumn wedding. They found an Airbnb home on the Little Qualicum River Village side of the park, which was a five minute drive away. The house was large enough to fit thirty of their closest family, friends and half a dozen dogs.
About the Park
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park was established on December 20th, 1940. It is 440 hectares in size, and has an abundance of things to do. From April to October, camping is available at the Upper and Lower Campgrounds, with 96 total sites. There are tons of hiking trails, a few scenic bridges and many breathtaking views of the river and waterfalls. Maidenhair Ferns, thick moss, Old Man’s Beard (Usnea), Douglas Fir, Cedar, Pine Trees, a few Arbutus and a handful of Maples Trees make up a healthy and diverse forest. The locals know of a couple safe swimming spots, but it is advised not to enter the water unless you are absolutely sure you won’t get swept downstream- taking a tumble down those waterfalls is not the best idea! The best time of year to visit the park is a very difficult question to answer. As a local, I love going during the absolute wettest weeks of winter to see and feel the mist of the falls in their most raging cycle. During the summer, the falls are at their lowest, especially in late August if there hasn’t been much rainfall. June, July and August are also the busiest months for the park. September and October, you’ll see the Maples turning and the colors are incredible.
A Perfect Day for an Autumn Wedding
Leah and Carla chose a perfect day for their Little Qualicum Falls Autumn wedding. It was September 19th and the area had received a couple weeks worth of rain, enhancing the river flow and increasing the mist of the waterfalls. They were very lucky that their wedding day was a sunny day. The leaves had started to turn and were still hanging on the trees. They married around 2pm- the sun shone through the trees brightly, allowing enough light in the denser forest setting. When we took some romantic portraits of them in front of the waterfalls afterward, the sun was back lighting the waterfall, catching the mist and creating a brilliant glitter in the images. Sometimes everything just works out perfectly- you can’t always plan perfection. Leah and Carla chose this as their wedding day as it was exactly nine years after their first date. What incredible luck!
Please Invite Your Dogs to the Wedding, Thank You
Leah and Carla are fierce animal lovers. They have two dogs and a couple of cats, and were very keen on including the dogs in their wedding. Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park is a dog-friendly park and you will always see those four-legged friends when hiking there. When inviting their guests, they extended the invitation to include their dogs. I didn’t do a tally, but there were at least six! When the ladies were walking down the aisle trail to the ceremony steps, the flower girl and ring bearer were also each holding a dog. As they walked down the aisle, the dogs had a little greeting party and the kids had to untangle the leashes. Leah and Carla loved that! Getting married on a trail is a very comfortable place for dogs. It’s a setting they are familiar with- even if they’d never been before- they understand that they’re going for a walk of some sort! After the ceremony, when the newlyweds were taking their intimate portraits, guests could take their dogs for a stroll on one of the many trails before heading back for cocktail hour. Oftentimes there is a gap during this period in a wedding day timeline, how awesome is it that their guests could go walk the dogs!?