Welcome to ElopeToronto.com!

Welcome to ElopeToronto.com! We conduct simple, meaningful, 'civil' (non-religious, non-denominational, or secular) humanist weddings in Toronto. The ceremonies are similar to a 'city hall' wedding, or one conducted by a 'Justice of the Peace". We also provide simple legal weddings for couples planning a destination wedding. Mary is licensed as a Marriage Officiant by the Registrar General of Ontario, and the Ontario Humanist Society
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Wednesday

We make house calls! Weddings at home

We frequently perform marriage ceremonies at your apartment or home (or the Party Room of your condo, in the pix to the left, for instance). It's a nice alternative to City Hall, and you can cater your own wedding, arrange your own candles, flowers, even use your own music library.

If your apartment is small, and you've invited family, ask friends and family who have a larger apartment if you can hold the wedding there - it's a nice wedding gift to offer a space for a ceremony.

wedding in my apartment
We've had lovely evening weddings by candlelight, looking out over the City - and mid-morning wedding brunches, and sunset ceremonies on the roof deck - but all are warm and friendly, and a great alternative to rented halls or impersonal court house settings.

Here is a small elopement in my living room - though we didn't have a fire in the fireplace. You can easily arrange a 'parlor wedding', with a few candles, some flowers, and some champagne.

Elopement Weddings at the CN Tower

...must be discreet.  All small weddings in public places are really 'guerilla' weddings, or 'ad hoc' events.  As long as you have checked to see that they are not forbidden, you can always assemble and hold a little 10 minute private wedding in a public space - esp. if it's just 5 people:  the officiant, the couple, and two witnesses.
Avoid big wedding dresses, and other flashy items, do NOT set up video equipment to impede other tourists or bystanders, and simply assemble and hold the wedding.  Think ''engagement" or "proposal" scenario.
If you are interested in a bigger, flashier event, you're really going to have to consider renting the space or asking for a permit (which will probably not be granted, as security is always concerned about public access).  But we HAVE done a few small elopements at the CN tower, just ask for details and we'll try to help.  Hint:  A morning in FEBRUARY is fairly easy!

OR, you can get married with a VIEW of the CN tower!

Sunday

What to wear to an elopement

Whatever you wish, of course!  Dress down, dress up, bring along better shoes, change out of your woolies in the winter into something slinky, or get married in your fleeces - it's your wedding!
But you may be amused in a couple of decades to see the styles - just like you'd be amused to see my wedding pictures in a miniskirt and helmet hair.

Jackets and ties and cocktail dresses are not required for a wedding - as an officiant, my only rule is that I insist people take off their sunglasses so we can see if they're looking at each other .  

But why not have fun, dress up a little, and then go and have a super meal - whenever you elope, that day will always be your wedding anniversary, so you'll be celebrating together for many years to come, dressed up or dressed down, so enjoy yourselves and have a little fun on your wedding day.

Friday

Economical Eloping - with a personal touch

All you need for a wedding is a couple, two witnesses (over age 18), a marriage license and an officiant. As it says on the City of Toronto Website --
"You can get married in Ontario just about anywhere you like, provided you have a licensed minister to perform the ceremony and, if you are holding the ceremony in a public space, the proper permit" "City of Toronto"

Which means you can be married in your apartment, at Sunnyside, at Ashbridge's Bay, at the CN tower, or in Jamie Kennedy's Gilead Cafe at lunch (if he doesn't mind).  A wedding takes 15 minutes, plus time for signing the license, so you can be married on the subway - or the Toronto Island Ferry, if you wanted to - as long as you get OUT of the subway/ferry and sign the license at a real location.  So be creative.

You can also go City Hall, and even bring along your own licensed officiant to the York, East York, North York and Scarborough City Hall Marriage Chambers, and ask the officiant to conduct a personal ceremony for you (note: you can't bring your own officiant to the City of Toronto marriage chambers, which is a privately run business, but you can use their officiants-on-call). You can reserve the City Marriage Chambers at the other boroughs for 30 minutes for about $75, and have a very personal ceremony, with just yourselves, or a small group of friends.

For almost the same money, however, you can reserve Allan Gardens, though! Be married in an indoor greenhouse in January - how lovely. Or rent the Hart House Chapel, which also allows you to bring your own officiant (ask us for info). Here is a list of other historic spots, and how to reserve them for your elopement or private wedding.

Regardless of the special spot you pick, you can make your wedding as personal and distinctive as you wish, even if it's only 4 people, the marriage officiant, and the clouds over the moon this evening..

Wednesday

Surprise wedding: Engagement party and Wedding in One

We have had a few surprise weddings recently - and they are always very warm and exciting. The most common situation is when a couple decides to combine an engagement party and a wedding - and often a few guests and family are part of the plan, but not everyone. The officiant often arrives, introduces themselves, asks people to join the couple, and proceeds with the marriage service. Sometimes the couple slip away briefly and change clothes, and rejoin the group for the ceremony.

In two recent cases, we have held these ceremonies in the party rooms of condos, where it was already set up for a mini-reception for the 'engagement'.  Here is an example of a 'surprise' ceremony, from our other website.

Some advice:
** Decide in advance who will serve as witnesses - this can be an honour for people who were not part of the planning.
** Decide in advance who will need a little time to compose themselves before the ceremony (people who may be affected by the surprise).
** Take a few minutes to set up. Provide chairs in front of the couple to seat elderly guests and close family. Hug some people. Ask close relatives to hold your rings, and involve them.
** Provide a guest book or some other way to capture people's reactions.
** Pass out champagne during the signing of the license, to prepare for toasts and congratulations

Witnesses for a Elopement Ceremony

Even if you're eloping, you still need two witnesses over the age of 18 to be present at the ceremony, and to sign the license. Witnesses can be from any country, as long as they have some ID and are age 18 or over.
Some of your friends might like to be invited, or close family members - especially at the last minute. If you do not have anyone in town, you can ask your officiant for recommendations, or hire a photographer (and assistant, perhaps) for the wedding, and they will be able to serve as witnesses. It's an honour to serve as a wedding witness, so spend a little time thinking about this important element.

How to Plan a Simple Wedding in Toronto (full post)

HOW TO ELOPE or PLAN A SMALL WEDDING in Toronto
(here is the original list, moved from the First Page....)

1. Find partner. Propose. Rinse and repeat. You can be married anywhere in Ontario, indoors or out - from back yards to balconies to condo party rooms to a private room in a restaurant - but you may need a permit for some public spaces, esp. parks or waterfront.
3. Find all your IDs (passport, drivers license, birth certificate, divorce papers if relevant. If you have been divorced or widowed, bring documents and information regarding the previous marriage and spouse. You MUST disclose all previous marriages, including those in other countries. If you have been divorced OUTSIDE CANADA there are more requirements.
4. Decide if either of you will change your name. Not required in Ontario, and you do not have to make this decision when you apply for the Marriage License.
5. Go to one of the City of Toronto Registry Offices and apply for your marriage license. The cost in Toronto is currently about $140. You may print out the application in advance.  It is good for 90 days. You may get a marriage license from any municipality in Ontario, and use the license in Toronto or another Ontario city. One partner may print and sign the application and take the other person's ID in to obtain the license. Remember to have the other person sign the application line at the wedding.,,, (read more here)
6. Find a Marriage Officiant who is licensed to conduct legal marriages in Ontario. Check to make sure they are legally  registered.
[NOTE: Humanist Officiants are technically classified as RELIGIOUS 'clergy' by the Province - because thre is no category for 'ethical but not religious' in the province.  However, we perform Non-Religious, secular marriage ceremonies, legally equivalent to "Civil Marriages", much the same as a Justice of the Peace, but with more personal touches. 
We emphasize ethical rather than religious traditions and we also conduct other cultural rites of passage -  baby-namings, coming of age, funerals, etc., much the same as 'religious' clergy, but without any references to religion. We use poetry, (from Shakespeare to Leonard Cohen or Margaret Atwood) rather than scriptural texts.]
Here are some Sample Humanist wedding ceremonies

7. Choose your legal witness(es), 2 persons over age 18.
8. Buy a ring or two (not actually required by law). Yes, you can have tattooed rings. Or wooden rings. Or one ring. Or none.
9. Buy some flowers, or not - your choice, but nice, even at a corner deli - bring ribbons and pins!
10. Discuss your ceremony wishes with the officiant. You can ask for sample ceremonies, and discuss writing your own vows, or other personal touches. Some parts of the ceremony are legal requirements, but much of it may be customized. Most elopements are simple 15 minute ceremonies. 
11. Meet your officiant, exchange your vows, pledge your lives into the others keeping. Kiss.
12. Sign the license. Witnesse(s) sign the license. Officiant signs license with official date and time. You all sign the Marriage Register (your officiant's book of recorded weddings). Witnesses sign the Record of Solemnization, which is handed to you to keep as a record of your marriage.
13. The officiant will congratulate you, and take the signed license and THEY WILL REGISTER IT FOR YOU. Approximately 90 days later, you may apply for a Certificate of Registration of the Marriage, from the Provincial Office in Thunder Bay. That's the final step, and the Certificate is needed for passports or Driver's License changes.
14. Pop the champagne, and celebrate your new union!

And here is a post on 'jobs' for your friends and family to help you plan a small wedding.