Your Ultimate Sea to Sky Gondola Elopement Guide

January 23, 2024

If you’re getting married in the Vancouver or Squamish area, a Sea to Sky Gondola elopement may be just for you. The stunning views, minimal hiking, and time spent out in nature is not something you’re going to want to miss. Sea to Sky Gondola is one of my all-time favourite places to photograph, and it should be way up there on your list of eloping locations.

Today, I’ll focus on those small, intimate elopements that involve just taking intentional time for the two of you (and maybe your closest loved ones).

Ceremony

When having a Sea to Sky elopement, there are two options for where you can have your ceremony take place (both with some of the most jaw-dropping views in this region) for groups of 10 or less.

The first location is the Howe Sound Lookout. It holds 10 people and has optional seating for guests. With a stunning view of the water and the mountains as your backdrop, you can’t go wrong with this location. This location is ideal for midday or sunset ceremonies as the light comes in from behind the mountains, creating that dreamy sunlit look (with a sun flare or two of course).

The second location is mere steps away from Howe Sound Lookout, but feels like you’re in a completely different place. The Sky Pilot Lookout looks onto jagged, rocky mountains that you just can’t help but wish you were on top of. This location has room for 10, with no option of seating.

At both sites, staff closes public access for 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. The location closes for 1.5 hours from the public, giving plenty of time for a ceremony and photos afterwards.

Activities

When choosing to elope at Sea to Sky Gondola, you might want to consider adding other activities to your day. Luckily for you, there’s no shortage of things you can do around the Vancouver and Squamish areas.

Book a helicopter or float plane

Views from the top of the Sea to Sky gondola not enough? Go for a tour on a float plane or in a helicopter! There are endless options of where you can go on your tour, but here are just a few:

Book a boat tour

Not a fan of heights? You can go the opposite route and book a boating experience. Yet again, there are so many options you can go with for your boat tour!

Other ideas

Those didn’t pique your interest? Here are some more ideas I found!

Pricing

A Sea to Sky Gondola elopement has an incredible bang for its buck, and you won’t be disappointed on the money you’re spending to say “I do” at this location.

Costs are varied depending on the time of year you book as well as the day of the week. On the official Sea to Sky Gondola website, you will find a colour coded calendar outlining these dates and associated prices, but I’m going to break it down for you here.

The calendar has three different colors, each with different meanings. It’s categorized into 

  • premium (very popular dates) – typically Saturday and Sunday’s in the summer
  • peak (popular dates) – long weekends throughout the year and Thursday and Fridays in the summer
  • off-peak (least busy dates) – weekdays in the summer and any other days

Because of the nature of small elopements and ceremonies, these cannot be booked on premium dates as these dates are reserved for large weddings.

The TLDR: Sea to Sky elopements in the summer can only be on weekdays.

To book an elopement and ceremony on peak or off-peak dates, the investment you’re looking at is $1500, which includes tickets for guests and up to 6 vendors. If you’d like a 15-minute sky bridge closure for photos, it will be an additional $250.

A deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking the venue, and then you’ll be set up on a payment plan. 50% to be paid 180 days before the event, and the remaining portion is due 30 days before the event.

Lodging

Picture this: you return to your airbnb after a full day of exploring nature and declaring your love for your other half. You peel your wedding attire off and step right into the hot tub outside your A-frame cabin.

Doesn’t that sound glorious?

Eloping doesn’t have to be just a single day event! The best thing you can do to treat yourself is book an airbnb to get ready in the morning of, and crash into that night. There are SO many lodging options within an hour of the Sea to Sky Gondola, settling is not an option. Here are some options that will complete your Sea to Sky Gondola elopement experience:

Waterfront Cabin

This waterfront cabin is not one that you want to miss out on (especially not with its sauna, ocean views, and beach access). It’s a short 25 minute drive from the Gondola, meaning you won’t be spending a huge chunk of your day going from point A to B – leaving so much more time for you to spend doing something you’re excited about on your special day!

Treehouse

The squamish treehouse is a more unique one that you shouldn’t just pass over. It’s the perfect size for two (plus a fur baby) and has a kitchen and proper bed. This is the glamping experience you need. Nestled in the trees, you really will feel like your spending a night at summer camp (but probably with a better sleep).

Tea Tree House

So you’re having a Sea to Sky Gondola elopement for the views – why should they stop there? This tea tree house will keep on giving you those stunning views (quite literally from sunrise to sunset), and is only a mere 5 minute drive from the gondola.

Spa Retreat

And last but not least, is this Paradise Valley spa retreat. This retreat has you feeling deep in the forest, but has with 3 gas fireplaces inside the main building, a wood-fired hot tub, cold plunge, and an outdoor fireplace. What more can you ask for?

Timeline Example

8:00am

begin getting ready in the cozy waterfront cabin air BNB. you spend slow, intentional time with your partner as your vendors begin working on your hair and makeup. before getting on your wedding attire, you take a few moments to write out your vows in your custom vow notebook.

10:45am

you and your partner put on your wedding attire and your photographer assists in getting both of you into position for a first look at your air BNB. you spend a few intimate moments with your partner as you take it all in.

11:15am

after gathering together everything you need for the day, you depart from the air BNB to head to the gondola, approximately 30 minutes away.

11:45am

you arrive at the gondola and head on up, taking in the views as you climb higher in the gondola. once you get to the top, you meet with event staff who give you instructions and guide you to your ceremony spot.

12:30pm

staff close Howe Sound Lookout to the public and your small ceremony begins. you say the vows you carefully wrote out earlier in the morning and say “I do.” you sign the marriage papers, making it official, and celebrate with your partner.

1:00pm

you spend time exploring and taking in the park while also taking portraits with your photographer. you walk around on the trails enjoying the different view points, and end your time at the top of the gondola with a closure of the suspension bridge for photos.

2:30pm

head back down the mountain to begin your journey to the helicopter hangar. you stop for a quick bite to eat along the way.

4:30pm

you arrive at the sky hangar, where you meet staff and the set you up with everything you need to know before flying and gear you up.

5:30pm

your helicopter journey begins. you fly through the mountains and your pilot lands at an alpine lake. at the lake, you read letters written to you and your partner from your closest friends and family. you follow this by popping a bottle of champagne and having your first dance as a married couple.

6:30pm

you return to the sky hangar where you gear down, and then head back to your airbnb.

7:15pm

you enjoy a private catered dinner at your air BNB, and hop out of your wedding attire and into the hot tub for more intimate photos. your photographer departs after this, and you enjoy the rest of your night as an officially married couple.

Not sure where to begin planning your elopement? Check out my blog on the 5 phases of elopement planning to get started!

A breathtaking LGBTQ+ elopement at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Vancouver. In the image, one partner wears a beautiful white dress, while the other dons a navy suit. They exchange vows and share a laugh as their family and friends watch from behind.
A breathtaking LGBTQ+ elopement at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Vancouver. In the image, one partner wears a beautiful white dress, while the other dons a navy suit. The couple shares an embrace in front of the mountain view.
A breathtaking LGBTQ+ elopement at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Vancouver. In the image, one partner wears a beautiful white dress, while the other dons a navy suit. They sit against a stunning backdrop of majestic mountains and the vast ocean, touching their noses together.
A picturesque scene unfolds as the LGBTQ+ couple, radiating joy, strolls hand in hand along a suspension bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Vancouver. Dressed in a stunning white gown and a white jumpsuit, they traverse the bridge with a backdrop of lush greenery covering the mountains, creating a serene and unforgettable moment.
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amanda reed is an elopement photographer based in vancouver, british  columbia capturing authentic love stories for the couples who don't take themselves too seriously.