Welcome to ElopeToronto.com!

Welcome to ElopeToronto.com! We provide simple, meaningful, secular (non-religious) humanist marriage ceremonies in Toronto, legally equivalent to a 'civil ceremony' or 'justice of the peace' wedding, for couples looking for a personal alternative to a 'City Hall' wedding.
SEND AN [ENQUIRY] FORM HERE


See FAQ: HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING: How to get your license, find a location, legal requirements, witnesses, the process of 'signing the papers', or 'registering a wedding' and how to apply for your Certificate of Marriage Registration. See the Toronto Registry link for information on a MARRIAGE LICENSE and MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE (online application, hours & location, fee, divorced applicants, IDs required, etc.)

Mary is licensed as a Marriage Officiant by the Ontario Humanist Society.
HUMANISM is an ethical philosophy of secular living, stating we all have the duty of care to lead ethical lives of compassion and respect, for each other, and for the world we all share. Humanist Wedding Ceremonies are simple, meaningful, non-religious marriage ceremonies written specifically for each couple, which reflect your wishes, your values, and your story. We also provide humanist ceremonies for baby-namings, memorials, and other life events.

Monday

How to arrange a simple legal non-religious 'civil' wedding in Toronto

QUESTIONS? SEND [ ENQUIRY ] FORM
We provide simple (non-religious) legal weddings;  elopements and private ceremonies, family weddings, and legal ceremonies for destination weddings (aka 'signings' or 'registration of a marriage'). See FAQ and  main website for more information. Questions? Send an [Enquiry] form with any questions, and I'll write back.

Sunday

Little private weddings in Dufferin Grove and Christie Pitts

This morning, Dufferin Grove. They were just firing up the pizza ovens.  Kids, dogs, baseball - and a little wedding. Pretty happy couple!

And South of Christie Pitts, under another nice tree! Still only 7 people, but a little 'fancier', as in, a white dress, a couple of chairs, and no tennies. The tree is hiding the intense soccer game!
Pix below by Pep Phaxay Photography: http://www.pepphaxay.com/


Saturday

Storys Building - a classy summer wedding!

Fabulous wedding at the Storys Building, a downtown loft near Roy Thompson Hall.  This (and other great weddings) by Photographer Natasha Bardin


Wednesday

"If I get married in another country can I just 'sign the papers' here?"

Here is yet another variation of a query for 'signing the papers', or 'registering a marriage'.  A couple just asked me: they had picked up a proper Ontario marriage license, and then went abroad and had a wedding, and thought we could now just 'sign the papers' certifying their foreign wedding.

Nope.  To get legally married in ONTARIO, and apply for an ONTARIO MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE, you must hold a short verbal legal wedding ceremony in ONTARIO, with a properly licensed Ontario Marriage Officiant, in front of two legal witnesses.  Then you sign documents, immediately following.

What marries you is this legal ceremony, not 'signing the papers'.  It must be a short verbal ceremony, in front of your witnesses, and it MUST include the legal Mandatory Declarations from the Marriage Act.  It's not long, and the legal parts are of course not religious, but they must be followed.

THEN you can sign the 'papers' (Registry, Marriage License, Record of Solemnization), and your officiant will certify and file the papers with the Registrar in Thunder Bay within 48 hours.  After the data has been entered in the records of the Province, you can file for your Certificate of Registration (eg., "Marriage Certificate").

I seem to be discussing this weekly, so here is yet another reminder.  
Please see:  Legal Weddings FAQ

Friday

Toronto Island Rectory Cafe - lovely wedding, and pix on the boardwalk

What an entirely wonderful lunch wedding on the patio of the Rectory Cafe at Ward's Island - feels like the proper start of summer.  They can handle a big event, but this was just family and friends, so we had our own ceremony area under the tree, and they set up the bar and dining tables for the wedding party and guests.  Wedding ceremony AND reception all in one place, with absolutely wonderful scenery and food.  The weather was BEAUTIFUL, so here we are on the boardwalk! 
Rectory Cafe Wards Island Boardwalk wedding
RectoryCafe Wards Island Boardwalk

Monday

Peter Pan Bistro - small family wedding downtown

Peter Pan Bistro, 2nd Floor
Had a lovely smallish family wedding this weekend for about 40 people on the 2nd floor event space at the Peter Pan Bistro, on Queen West.  Here's the space (we held the ceremony by the fireplace in the front window, then flipped the room for dinner, while they set up a bar in the back space). 
The staff was wonderful, the post-wedding cocktail hour was yummy (crab cakes, cheese straws and fun things). I hadn't eaten at the PPan for 30 years or so, so it was really fun to see it transformed.

Private morning wedding in Casa Loma

Yes, you can actually 'elope' or have a private wedding at Casa Loma! It will be the same fee to rent the Conservatory (where they hold weddings) for a hundred people or for 6 (or 20, or any small group). There will be tourists in the main part of Casa Loma, but you can have the conservatory to yourself for an hour.  These weddings are normally in the morning (light is good!) and then you can take photos in the fun parts of the castle, and also in the gardens.  This couple is from Quebec, and they just liked getting married in a Castle.

Casa Loma Elopement

Wednesday

CN Tower Skypod: small morning wedding

Here we are, up in the CN Tower SkyPod again!  Two happy grooms, and their sisters and dad - and those that are nervous about heights are holding onto the others! Note: you can't 'book' the CN tower for a wedding (unless you book the BigFancyRestaurant?), and this is in the Skypod, where you really can't fit more than 5 people - and other tourists will be passing around and beside you during the wedding, (usually smiling with delight, tho!), and often they take photos and congratulate you.  But if you want a 'special' elopement, this is certainly an idea. It's best on a WEEKDAY MORNING before school is out.  Tho' you never know when busloads of students will turn up.  But it's certainly fun!



Saturday

Surprise streetcar wedding - bumpy but fun

Here is a quick picture of a streetcar wedding last Sunday. More pictures from the photographer to come soon. 
1) You can rent Toronto streetcars, minimum, 3 hours. They travel on a circuit, and stop briefly at one end for a break/ pictures / etc.  No drinking tho - but some food and live music are nice. We had 50 people, tho there are seats for 46, so some people are always walking around.
2) This was a surprise wedding for the guests (we picked up the musician and me along the way). But you must tell your parents (it might break their hearts not to know) and maybe your BFF.  Then they can be in on the surprise. Note the mum in front holding the flowers.
3)  You should rent a portable amp with a mike.  The TTC mike is only used by the driver.
4)   This is a TRAVELING SHOW.  Toronto natives know how to walk on a moving streetcar. We managed a walk down the aisle with parents, and even a first 'dance' in the back.  We didn't drop the rings, or the bouquet, and the bride is brave in heels.  But I am wearing floor-gripping flats with rubber soles, as I'm holding a few things, including the groom when we went around bends.

TTC Streetcar wedding
This weekend - off to the skypod in the CN tower.  Send me an email if you want to know about either of these things.... 

Monday

Hart House Gallery Grill - a lovely and yummy restaurant venue at UofT

Hart House: Gallery Grill
If you like Hart House at the University of Toronto, but are also looking for a great chef and a 'different' ambience than one of the halls, we've had a couple of weddings lately at the Gallery Grill at Hart House.  It's housed in the old Faculty dining room, overlooking the Great Hall.  We're having a wedding in the intimate grill area later this year, in front of the Fireplace, but this event was in the dining room.  You can have a reasonable number of people - 30-60? Just ask them - esp if this is a seated dinner, which is usual.  But it's best with under 50, I'd think. You also have the front bar area for cocktails, and then the dining room for the dinner.  So, about the same size as the Wedding at Frank at the AGO, or at Le Select, or other restaurants we've used.
Here's a link to more pix of this wedding, and the photographer, Nuno, at StrawberryFinch.com

Saturday

Small Family Wedding at FRANK, AGO

Here's a nice venue for food and art lovers:  Frank Restaurant at the AGO.  This was a delightful wedding for about 40 people. You could squeeze a few more in, but not too many, if you're going to have a seated meal after.

We had the ceremony in the front gallery on Dundas street, and then moved to the private dining room behind it for the dinner.  The restaurant was still open to other dining guests, but the wedding guests had their own dining room and servers.   Nice art, lovely couple, airy and bright and easy to reach on the streetcar.  Pix is from Alicia Thurston.


Friday

Downtown Gothic: Arts and Letters club wedding

There are many stylish modern wedding venues in Toronto - the Gardiner Museum, Tech lofts, modern bars, and cool hotels.  If you are looking for wood beams and stained glass windows, however, there's Hart House, (and Vic college and UC and the Faculty Club at UofT), plus bits of Casa Loma, faux Tudor at the Old mill - and then; the Arts & Letters club, right downtown at Yonge and Elm.  We're having a wedding there tonight, for a couple of great guys from Newfoundland, and about 100 people.


Although the Great Hall can seat lots of people, you can also hold a smaller wedding for 50 or so. There's a grand piano, and a stage, and a fireplace, and original Group of 7 work scattered throughout the building and in the comfortable lounge. Call Joseph, he's great to work with.

Thursday

Toronto Hotel Elopements - cosy private weddings

Several couples chose to hold small private weddings and elopements in Toronto hotels this last couple of weeks, specifically, the King Eddy, the Windsor Arms, The Grand Hotel on Jarvis, the Gladstone, and the Templar Hotel on Adelaide. It's a nice way to have a special event, and some privacy. The witnesses were mostly friends, family, or in one case, their children.

It's your choice whether to inform the hotel you're holding a wedding.  It can have benefits, or it can add costs.  One couple informed the staff they were getting married, and they got 'upgraded' to a penthouse.  (They also moved the furniture out of the way a bit, scattered some biodegradeable rose petals and brought a guitar along instead of an IPAD). note: the Windsor Hotel has some rooms with guitars - they are, however, mostly out of tune...  Some rooms also have pianos, tho this might be more useful in the sitting room than the bedroom?

 
Windsor Arms Hotel Suite with Piano
Another couple BOOKED a penthouse room, but just said they were 'celebrating an occasion',  A third was so discreet I don't think the hotel ever realized we were holding a small wedding.  Some couples chose to go to dinner afterward (in the hotel, in a couple of cases) or just to the bar for oysters and champagne to celebrate.  Finding outselves without one witness, one hotel sent up a Concierge, who had a lovely time and even got a little verklempt!

We have held larger family weddings at hotels that cater in-room events, like the Four Seasons and the Plaza and the Trump. They will deliver drinks, a cake, and at the Four Seasons, even a chef.  But if you just want a quiet romantic elopement, find a nice cozy room with a view, and bring your own champagne.
Small Private Wedding at Templar Hotel
Small Private Wedding at King Edward Hotel

Wednesday

New Venue for small weddings: Grange library at the AGO

Just had two wonderful winter weddings in the library of the Grange, behind the AGO. The library window is the last one on the left.  I remember taking my children here when the Grange was still a museum. And now the event planning staff is experimenting with small weddings in the wee 19th century library off the 'members lounge'.
Today we had 2 weddings; the first had a formal seated afternoon tea service (delicious! Earl Grey pannacotta!), and the second had a cocktail reception.  There isn't room to serve more than about 15/20 max at the tea tables, and 12 is about right, so a seated tea service is limited. You could have more people for a standing ceremony and a cocktail hour, but not much more than 18-20, perhaps? (Same size as Allan Gardens).
The staff will also accompany your group or the couple for photos in the galleries of the AGO itself.  The 2nd couple had cocktails and toast in the library at 5, then dinner at FRANK, which is also easy access.    Drop me a note if you want to know more! You can contact the event manager directly:  Jennifer_prince@ago.net
 This is a dinner setup, not a tea, and it's for about 24, but you can see the setting.  This is too many for a ceremony, as we need to stand together by the fireplace, so ceremony AND TEA should max out at about 18.

Monday

Small legal wedding behind Trinity College - happy and informal

A very lovely couple who are going abroad were looking for a small legal wedding somewhere around the University.   You can't do this many places, as you need a permit (esp near Hart House).  But if you don't  SEEM like a 'wedding', and you don't bother people, and there's just 4 of you, it's possible to find a little nook and be discreet.  Here's the 5 of us, looking very happy indeed, on the hill behind Trinity College - the new couple are in the middle, witnesses surrounding them. 

At the same time as we finished filling out the papers, a large wedding party marched up the path, bridesmaids in more ruffles and platform shoes than I've seen in ages.  It was quite a fun contrast - both couples very happy, and a beautiful fall day, and cheer all around.  I don't think the fancy wedding realized what we were doing, but the couple who were eloping were tickled by the other entourage!

Sunday

Happy vows at Fantasy Farm - between the rain showers

It's been a showery summer for outdoor weddings, and sometimes we  had to judge the wedding time closely to fit inside the storm radar (always have a backup location plan! the couple can stand under umbrellas, but you can't move elderly guests out of the showers in a fast-moving storm).

But in this case, we had a great window between showers, and here we are laughing through the vows, and relieved to be out among the flowers.  And overcast is great for photos!


Saturday

Handsome grooms at the Spoke Club, King Street W

Sunny top deck at the Spoke Club at King/Bathurst - and some handsome grooms (we're looking a bit squinty at the sun - but fortunately, the rain went away!)

(Note: you must be referred by a member of the Spoke Club to book the premises at the members rate)

Monday

Simple wedding environments can be elegant - and fun

Sometimes a simple setting is very nice .. tho this isn't a perspective shot, the groom was certainly taller than the bride and I!  A very happy couple, and a simple, elegant wedding.