Wanting a destination wedding, Aja and Miranda chose Tofino, where they first met, as the perfect location for their big day. Their ceremony was held on Chesterman Beach and the couple exchanged their vows by the sea in front of 75 of their closest friends and family. Following the ceremony, the brides and their guests headed over to the Tofino Botanical Gardens for a beautiful outdoor reception.

Special thanks to the talented duo at Ameris Photography for sharing the gorgeous photos with us!

intimate Tofino wedding

Aja & Miranda

Tofino, British Columbia, Canada

Wedding Date: August 3, 2013

Number of Guests:  75

Wedding Cost: $25,000 + donations

Wedding Ceremony Location: South Chesterman Beach, Tofino, BC

Wedding Reception Location: Tofino Botanical Gardens

foggy Tofino Trees

Tofino beach wedding ceremony set-up

champagne wedding favors

bride's polka dot bow tie

Tofino wedding portrait

woodland wedding portrait

brides kissing behind tree

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted a destination wedding so we knew we had to try to keep it small. Most of my family came from California and Miranda’s from Ontario. Because we met in Tofino about 40 of our guests were local.

wooden wedding sign

custom engraved wedding bands

succulent wedding bouquet

succulent boutonniere

flower girl in white dress

ring bearer in newsie cap

flower girl and ring bearer

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The remoteness of the location was our biggest challenge.

bride's oxfords

bride wearing boutonniere

bride in the woods

woodland wedding portrait

intimate same sex wedding portrait

black and white wedding portrait

brides hugging in the woods

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?


same sex bridal portrait

weding portrait by the sea

wedding portrait on the rocks

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?


wooden wedding signs on the beach

wooden folding chairs set up on the beach for wedding ceremony

wedding set-up on the beach

wedding drumming circle

people carrying wedding canopy down the beach

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Walking onto the beach for the first time, seeing the site and bursting into tears – it was like a dream.

flower girl walking down the aisle

bride being escorted down the aisle

beachfront wedding ceremony

beach wedding ceremony under canopy

same sex wedding on the beach

brides kissing under wedding canopy

beach wedding recessional

What were the highlights of the reception?

We did our welcome toast down away from where the main part of the reception was. Everyone crammed into a bit of a tight area and I loved that, forcing people to meet and mingle. There was also an amazing charcuterie board down there.

wooden reception sign

outdoor wedding reception with blankets and pillows

wooden boat decorated with wedding flowers

outdoor wedding reception

old wooden boat reception venue

vintage crate guest book table

plate and cutlery table

wedding food table

outdoor wedding beverage station

succulent centerpiece

wedding charcuterie plate

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Having everyone feel like they were really a part of the day.

bride making speech

mother of the bride

guests raising glasses of champagne

wedding cake with succulents

guests dancing at wedding

bride dancing with ring bearer

first dance

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

The more intimate, the better. I found even with 75, I was not able to see everyone. I feel like 50 would have been a better number.

brides hugging on dance floor


Photography: Ameris Photography assisted by Szymon Szymczakowski Photography

Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero

The Bride w/ Pants Attire: Forever 21 & alterations by George @ Main St. Tailors

Ceremony Location: South Chesterman Beach

Reception Location: Tofino Botanical Gardens

Cake: Friend of the couple

Caterer: Mare Bruce, Schooner Restaurant

Favors: Custom Ink

Hair: Studio One

Makeup: Tara Yamila Halil

FlowersSarah Hughes, Fresh View Events

Stationery: Aja Kai Rowley (Bride)

Planner: Rare Earth Weddings

Decor: Cheryl Rowley (Mother of the Bride)

Officiant: Rene Gibson

Sound/PA: Geoff Johnson

Band: Oliver McKee-Reid & Driftwood Geometry,