Cape-Spear-Wedding-Photography


Cape Spear and Signal Hill Weddings


Are you planning a Cape Spear wedding or Signal Hill elopement in Newfoundland? This article, from a wedding photographer’s perspective, will guide you through the process and outline everything you need to know to get started.

St. John’s is one of the foggiest, snowiest, wettest, windiest and cloudiest cities in Canada. If after learning that you still want to plan an outdoor wedding at Signal Hill or Cape Spear, well, you sound like the kind of couple we want to work with. If you’re seriously considering having your wedding at Cape Spear or Signal Hill, chances are you already know a lot about the area. But when planning your ceremony, it’s important to know of any events or closures that are being held that may coincide with your day.

For official information on Signal Hill, visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/signalhill/index.aspx

For official information on Cape Spear, visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/spear/index.aspx

“Unofficial” sources (which can oftentimes be the best sources of information) include TripAdvisor (here) and the East Coast Trail Association (here).

Past Work

We’ve photographed two weddings/elopements at Cape Spear. The first involved an August sunrise (yes, sunrise) photo session at 5am, followed by a noon ceremony. The second was a mid-afternoon ceremony in July. You can read about them here and here.

Do I Need a Permit? Insurance?

You will need a permit to hold a wedding or elopement at Signal Hill or Cape Spear. To obtain a permit, you will need to contact Parks Canada. I’ve included their contact information below. The cost usually runs $3.90 per guest, with bride/groom/JP/bridal party or witnesses free of charge. A pass for each guest to visit the site will be provided.

You will also need liability insurance to the amount of $1,000,000.00. Most insurance companies offer this, usually named “Event Liability Insurance” or “Special Event Liability”.

How Many Guests Can I Have? What About Chairs?

There is no maximum number of guests but the available locations on site naturally restrict the numbers a fair bit. A guest list of around 50 would be a good working maximum; however, most elopements are much lower than this. Chairs are allowed and Parks Canada can even provide them, depending on how many are needed and providing they aren’t being used for another on-site activity that day. Parks Canada will be able to offer further guidance based on where you’d like your ceremony to take place and the number of guests attending.

Thea-Chris-Cape-Spear-Wedding-Photography32

Are There Any Other Restrictions or Noteworthy Items?

Visitors to the area are free to roam the grounds and Parks Canada cannot restrict them from going in the vicinity of the ceremony. In most cases, you’ll want to position your ceremony away from high traffic areas, to ensure less noise and more privacy. Usually visitors to the park won’t intrude as long as long as you stay off the main walking paths.

Guests or the wedding party are not permitted to throw confetti, rice, birdseed or similar items that will litter the ground. To play it safe and if in doubt, ask!

Parks Canada does not have an indoor option in case of inclement weather, which is why planning for the best likelihood of good weather is very important (see below).

Guests and the wedding party will have to park in designated parking areas – the great news is that parking is rather generous at Cape Spear.

Electrical hook-ups are available, but do depend on where you’d like to hold your ceremony.

Some locations at the sites are only accessible via trails and stairways with up to several hundred steps. Please keep this in mind when it comes to guests with mobility issues, your choice in footwear, and anything else you choose to bring with you (chairs, tables, etc.).

Lastly, alcohol is not permitted.

Cape-Spear-Sunrise-Newfoundland-Landscape

The Best Dates and Times

Newfoundland, and especially Cape Spear, is known for unpredictable weather.

Based on historical data, the best time to plan a Signal Hill or Cape Spear wedding is between mid-June to mid-September, with July and August offering your best chance for a warm and dry wedding day, with typical highs in the low 20s. There are several websites that have historical data on temperature and precipitation. These are a few I recommend checking out: {URLs}

During the summer months (mid-June to mid-August), the best times are either in the morning before 9am or later in the evening – at least after 5pm. The light during these times is usually less harsh. Granted, on a cloudy or overcast day the sun can be quite defused but predicting light levels is like rolling dice. Even so, the grounds will also be less busy early in the morning and later in the evening.

Another factor you need to contend with is the wind. Newfoundland in general has the strongest winds of any Canadian province, with winds in St. John’s averaging 24 km/h (expect that to be higher on the coastline). Keep this in mind when choosing hairstyles, decorations, how to keep paper items from flying away, etc.

Note that at Cape Spear, the washroom facilities and lighthouse close at 6pm. If having no washroom service is okay with you, my advice to get the best images would be to have a later ceremony around 7pm, followed by formals of attendees and then creatives.

Who to Contact at Parks Canada

Parks Canada will require information about your wedding date, time, the number of guests, location, etc. You can contact them through the following:

General Contract Information – Cape Spear
Phone number: 709-772-5367
Email: cape.spear@pc.gc.ca

General Contact Information – Signal Hill
Phone number: (709) 772-5367
Email: signal.hill@pc.gc.ca

Ashley Parsons – Interpretation Coordinator
Cape Spear Lighthouse
Email: ashley.parsons@pc.gc.ca

Richard Klass – Visitor Experience Team Leader
Parks Canada
Email: richard.klaas@pc.gc.ca

Photography Contact Information – Zach Wheeler
Phone number: 709-730-6055
Email: zach@zachwheeler.ca

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