how to plan helicopter elopement

How to plan your adventurous helicopter elopement

If you’re considering a helicopter elopement or adventure, this post is for you. Over the past couple of years, Jelger and I had the pleasure of photographing a few adventurous helicopter elopements. Based on our experience, here are my best tips and recommendations on making the most of your helicopter adventure.

1. Expect the unexpected

Helicopter flights (and therefore your elopement) are extremely weather dependent, and in the mountains, the weather can change in a blink. Conditions like heavy rain, snow, local turbulence, wind, clouds, thunderstorm or fog can all be sufficient cause for a last-minute flight cancellation.

I myself experienced it a few years ago, when flying with a couple into the mountains of Pitt Meadows. When an unexpected blanket of fog crawled over the mountains, the pilot decided we needed to return right away (helicopter pilots fly by sight).

What is most important for you, is that you’re aware of the weather factor when planning your helicopter elopement. Expect that anything can happen. Whether it’s a different location for your wedding ceremony, or a flight cancellation. Additionally, you can plan ahead and choose several ceremony locations that you pick depending on the circumstances.

2. Ceremony practicalities

Number of people

The number of people that can be transported to your elopement is of course depending on the size of the helicopter. Some helicopters can only carry 5 people (the pilot, the two of you, the officiant and 1 photographer). While others have space for 6 or more. Definitely double check when you book your flight to make sure you don’t have to leave one of your photographers behind! 😉

For a legal ceremony in BC, you require two witnesses, which in case of a 5 person flight, can be your pilot and your photographer.

What to bring

Every company has their own rules about the amount of weight the helicopter can carry. They’ll ask you to provide body weight for yourself, your partner and all passengers. On top of that they need to know the weight of the photographer’s gear and of the other items you’re bringing.

Our clients love nature as a backdrop and don’t bring much more than a bouquet and maybe a bottle of champagne to their helicopter elopement. But in case you’re considering bringing other decor items, keep the weight/size requirements in mind!

Of course, make sure to bring your marriage certificate and wedding rings! Once you take off, there’s no going back. 😉

Find more practical info on how to find your officiant and how to plan your elopement here.

3. Other practicalities for your helicopter elopement

Because you’re in the mountains, we highly recommend you bring comfy shoes for your helicopter elopement! I’m always talking about shoes, haha. But for good reason: I’ve seen too many people suffer because of uncomfortable footwear. Remember that you can always change your hiking boots for dressed shoes once you’re in your exact ceremony spot.

Bring a jacket. You’ll be in the mountains. Even in Summer, it can be unexpectedly cold and windy. Stay comfortable for as long as possible and only brave the cold when you have to. There’s no harm in taking off your jacket just before for the ceremony.

Bring an umbrella. Again, the mountains are unpredictable. The bluest sky can change into a clouds and rain within 10 minutes. It doesn’t mean the helicopter needs to take off right away, you might even continue the elopement ceremony and photos. And you’ll feel so much better not getting soaked.

Bring water. All my previous scenarios included the idea of terrible weather, lol, but in the Summer it can be HOT. Make sure you’re staying well hydrated.

Bug spray (in Summer). You don’t necessarily have to bring it, but it might be smart to give yourself a good spray before taking off. Depending on the location, there are areas in the alpine range where mosquitos and black flies are CRAZY. 😉

4. Recommended helicopter companies

I’m sure there are other great companies out there, but we’ve personally worked with the following three companies and feel comfortable recommending them.

Black Comb Helicopters

Although we’ve only flown in the Squamish region with them, apparently they have several other options for taking off from Whistler and Vancouver as well. It might be worth looking into the price differences about where to take off. When working with them we enjoyed the pilot’s relaxed energy and his friendliness. Check out this elopement we photographed with Black Comb Helicopters.

Find their info here

Black Tusk Helicopters

Same as before, we’ve only worked with them leaving from Squamish, but they also can leave from other locations. When photographing an elopement with them, our clients were so happy with their services that they wanted a photo with pilot Darren. Here‘s an elopement we photographed thanks to Black Tusk Helicopters.

Find out more info about them here.

The couple and their pilot!

Sky Helicopters

Taking off in Pitt Meadows might be your best bet, but for an additional fee you can also choose a different location. I enjoyed working with them! (no space in the helicopter for Jelger, though, haha) 😉 So make sure you check out the size of your chopper. I couldn’t help myself, had to say chopper at some point. 😉 Find their info here.

5. All-inclusive helicopter elopement vs plan your own

Some of the companies offer all-inclusive helicopter elopements. The advantage is that you don’t have to plan anything: just show up and that’s it. They supply everything from flight to photography, flowers, makeup artist etc. The tradeoff is that this formula allows less for customizing, and therefore can feel like a cookie-cutter experience, rather than your own unique one.

On the other hand if you prefer your own experience, it’s more interesting to hire those vendors that fit your vision. It all depends on your priorities.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you’d like to read more planning tips, feel free to check out these posts!