Hiking Brandywine Meadows for an Elopement Shoot

December 13, 2021laurenslighthouse

Last updated on June 26th, 2023

Scouting a location for an elopement, whether you’re the one eloping or the photographer capturing this beautiful day for the couple, isn’t easy. There are tons of beautiful places near Vancouver you can’t go wrong with! Countless major hikes that are absolute mountain, lake or ocean view classics make the perfect setting to to tie the knot. But this one stands to be a top tier choice! Keep reading to visualized what it’d be like to do an elopement shoot in Brandywine Meadows.

All photos in this blog post are taken by the marvellous Indy Hunjan Photography!

I had honestly never even heard of Brandywine Meadows until our photographer Indy mentioned it to me when planning this styled elopement shoot. I was like, “oh you mean Brandywine Falls? We love it there! But isn’t it dangerous to get down to the base of the falls?” These two locations are not to be confused with each other! The exit off Sea-to-Sky (Highway 99) to the meadows is another five minutes north from Brandywine Falls, right off Callaghan Road. But the ride to Brandywine Meadows does not end here – not even close.

The main reason why this hike is more secluded is this: the terrain to the parking lots is not at all a smooth ride. Driving up the Brandywine Forest Service Road is exactly as should be expected on a service road. The road is bumpy with gravel and potholes and you’ll want to drive a vehicle with decent clearance. We did spot a minivan that made it to the fork in the road where you can choose to continue on to the lower lot or turn right for the upper lot. This section of the route is much easier on your car, but definitely consider having a spare tire on hand.

If you continue forth for the lower lot, the hike from this trailhead is not easy. The trail is steep and definitely more of a scramble than your average hike. It’s short in distance at 3km one-way, but has a high elevation gain of 550m. It could take more than two hours to reach the meadows from here. If you’re planning on doing the full hike from the lower lot, you can read up on more info on Vancouver Trails.

But for an elopement, I definitely don’t recommend hiking the full way! You’ll either be the one carrying heavy camera equipment, or a full-on wedding dress/suit with your hair and makeup all done up. So why not put your car to the test instead of yourself!

You WILL need an AWD vehicle with high clearance to make it up. It is a steep climb! Thankfully, Indy and her husband Bim had a Jeep Wrangler Sport to drive us all the way to the upper lot, and we made it there unscathed. If Jason and I had our 4Runner TRD Offroad, that would’ve been a great choice too. There were a few times where Bim had to park and stand up on the door ledge to see over the massive hill of dirt in front of us to make sure we wouldn’t hit the bumper against the ground on the other side. That’s how steep this path can get. So just go slow, be safe and cautious, and try to drive here in daylight.

We were thankful that Bim got us to the lot safely and we quickly grabbed our backpacks and headed up the trail by foot.

The hike was laughably short from the upper parking lot. I would say it was about 20 minutes for us to reach the meadow at barely an incline. Since we were pretty high up, we could see a few of Whistler’s peaks to the south of us with no obstructions. Wild flowers and berries paved the sides of the trail all the way up to the open field.

The meadows were 1000% worth the drive up! (Yes, I know I wasn’t the one driving! But nonetheless, it’s worth the stress sweats and saving you the time and effort of climbing up the trail by foot.) It was like deep serenity being up there with only a few other people in sight. In the quiet of the meadow and surrounding mountains, it honestly felt like we were the only ones there.

I changed into the beautiful mermaid lace wedding dress that Indy picked up courtesy of Union Bridal, Jason slipped into his dressy attire, and we set out for the shoot!

Photoshooting out in Brandywine Meadows was absolutely blissful. I could just imagine what it’d be like to say “I do” in this magical place because it completely enchants you, making you fall in love all over again! I can see why people would love to camp under the stars here.

In its beauty, Brandywine Meadows is definitely a wet and luscious area. It hugs a creek that flows through the marshy land throughout the season, creating an attractive habitat for bugs. Be warned that there are mosquitoes here so do not forget to grab your repellent and spray that stuff everywhere! I got bitten all over my upper body and even on my forehead! Thankfully, photo editing took care of that round, pink dot on my face, but it wasn’t comfortable dealing with the bites in real time.

Indy and Bim surprised us with a bottle of sparkling wine to create a grand finale for the elopement shoot as the sun started to set over the mountains. Even though this was an extra set of things to carry (the bottle of wine plus two glasses), it honestly helped me and Jason get more comfortable for our last photo moments.

Floral bouquet from Leis de Buds

Planning to shoot in Brandywine Meadows this coming summer? Sunset time is the way to go!

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