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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.
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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 share a 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 legal 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.

Tuesday

Soltice Winter Wedding in the Beaches by moonlight

First, a candlelit wedding at Kew Beach pavilion - just a few of us, standing in a circle in the cold, and watching the moon.  Then we went to Sauvignon Bistro on Queen Street East to sign the license and drink champagne.  (They have a private room at the back, which could probably be used for a small simple wedding. There were 12 of us.)
Then I went home and set the alarm and we got up at 3am for the Solstice Eclipse - and the meteor shower!! Happy Winter Solstice to all.

Monday

Civil Weddings in Italy - my vacation shot

Just returned from our (45th) wedding anniversary trip to Venice and Verona (hurrah!) I did some touring of Civil Marriage chambers - include this wonderful Municipal wedding room in Verona, near 'Juliet's tomb' (which isn't 'hers', of course). I love renaissance domestic frescoes - what a pretty place for a wedding!

Saturday

Parks, Forestry and Recreation : Permits - Wedding Ceremonies and Photography

Parks, Forestry and Recreation : Permits - Wedding Ceremonies and Photography
Here is a new web page for booking Toronto Parks for weddings and events. (Note all the typos, my goodness!)
* Application Start Date:Apply for your 2011 wedding permit beginning November 1st, 2010.
* Permit Season: April 30th to October 30th

I'm not sure what the booking season means, if you want a nice winter wedding any any of these locations...

They have also lowered the capacity of the Music Garden from 40 to 20, as well as reducing the capacity of St James to 40. Please note our other post on Sunnyside, as this is also a problematic location.
I'm not sure the prices are current (I think Allan Gardens is about $104 instead of $96) but call to make sure. I also don't know WHERE the location on the Toronto islands for 100 people is -- or the Ashbridges Bay location. If you find out, let me know!

St. Lawrence Market Kitchen wedding

Lovely family wedding tonight at the St. Lawrence Market Kitchen (Mezzanine). I had some photos, but I seem to have left my camera at the reception, alas!  Here is the window arch where we held the ceremony, and these tables were re-arranged down the center of the hall to serve as dining tables (with preserves and flowers) for 45 people to sit to dinner. The view out the window is of King Street, the Flatiron Building and the CN tower, all lined up.   Of course the caterers used the market kitchen ovens, and it was all full of candlelight and fun.  The only drawback was the roasting meatsmoke drifting up from the market itself which might be noticed if you have a lot of vegetarians -- but the market IS open of course on a busy Saturday.  The price is reasonable, and the view is great for a smaller (30-60?) person wedding. The specs say it can hold up to 100.  Rental specs here.

Thursday

Wedding idea: Toronto Christmas Market, December 3 to 12, 2010

Toronto Christmas Market, December 3 to 12, 2010
Well, it's not REALLY a Bavarian Christmas Market, tho' there will be Alpine Dancers - but if you're really adventurous, you could probably have a little guerilla elopement at the Distillery District on the week of the Christmas Market - there will be a tree!

We're going to have a little winter wedding at Nathan Phillips Square in December (on the rink), but you might check out this site too, if you want to have a quick ceremony and then some celebratory drinks!

Monday

Nice fall elopement at Trinity Bellwoods Park

Yes, it can be done!  A beautiful fall day, and a circle of us standing in the fallen leaves while dogs ran on the left and workout mommies jogged with strollers on the right of us. We signed the license at a picnic table and took pictures by the gates.
Remember, you can't officially BOOK a park like Trinity for a wedding - but if you're just having an impromptu celebration, with a handful of people (we had 8) you can usually just turn up and have a small, brief wedding. And hugs all around.

Saturday

Very pretty candlelight wedding at Enoch Turner

You can have a bigger wedding in the vaulted gothic hall, but a little wedding in the schoolhouse room is lovely.  Move the benches around to make an aisle, enter through the gothic arched door, and it's warm and intimate. Be warned, the light is low.  So we moved some of the stanchion lights. There ARE outlets, so you could bring other (period appropriate) lights, and we had nice tealights on the table and windows, so if you're considering it, visit AT DUSK to see what the light is like.  Absolutely great downtown location on the King streetcar @ Trinity.

Wednesday

Pretty Guildwood wedding on 10-10-10

Here we are, on the cliffs at Guildwood, at 10:10am on 10/10/10  (yes indeedy!)  We had a permit - very important for Guildwood - but it was really quiet early in the morning.  There were flocks of birds and gently falling leaves, and it was rather magical, actually!

However, it's NOT on the subway, of course, so you'll need a car to get there - or at least pick people up from Kennedy subway.  It's worth the trek on a beautiful fall day.  Be warned, the wedding limos were pulling up as we left....

High Park Wedding - small and impromptu

This was a lovely little wedding - we signed the license on the bench where the couple used to meet when they were in school.  Note:  You can't really get a permit for a BIG wedding in High Park any more - too many people abused the privilege.  But you can stand around in a little group of 5 or 6 people and have a private wedding or elopement - as long as you are discreet.  Just find a little spot off the regular tourist areas (and then come back and take a few pictures and sign the license)

Tuesday

Sunnyside - an unsettling jurisdiction

Yes, Sunnyside is cool. In a peeling-paint, industrial abandoned, spent-cigarette butt and pigeon-guano way ... and the light is great.  We had a wonderful wedding there on Sunday, even if the gate got stuck...and the beach volleyball game finally moved away too - so we could hear ourselves.

BUT, it also seems to be jointly owned/booked/managed by the City AND the owners of the Grenadier Cafe in High Park.  And they both dispute who books it.  SO this weekend the High Park people had 'leased' it to a film production company, and the caretakers turned away three weddings - we were fortunate, as they weren't filming Sunday.  Permits - Schpermits!  Too bad, so sad...  It's very hard to get to the bottom of the booking muddle, and in the meantime, that guano keeps piling up (filling up the pretty white billowing sheets suspending from the 2nd story - just don't look too hard at all those things that look like grey toothpaste....)   The filming company was turning the downstairs courtyard into a "Venezuelan Market" - which, with the peeling paint, was just about right....

Wedding spaces: The Young Center, Distillery District

As the mom of an acting family, I think weddings in Theatres are wonderful. The new Young Center in the Distillery District has lots of cool spaces.  You can see some wedding setups on their Site Rental pages, here. Like other event spaces, the background is cool enough that you don't need much additional decoration - a swag or two of tulle and a few flowers are probably more than enough - and the setting itself is interesting and of course already in the Distillery District.  Remember, it's used by the Theatre on performance nights - so I'm not sure about weekend availability...

Event spaces: the Richmond

We had a trendy wedding at The Richmond last month. This is a view from the top of the balcony, where we signed the license.  The room is bare, airy, and transformable - though we did have to stand on the first step of the stairs, with the couple on either side, and then march up the stairs to the balcony (which is darkish) to sign the papers.  Good for a casual, trendy, wedding - where most people can stand for the ceremony, and you want good music, talking, and lighter refreshments.

Monday

Wedding: Changing your Facebook Status

Well, the most lovely thing happened - we had a small home wedding, and were just about to cut the cake, when the groom unaccountably excused himself and went to the computer - we all watched, a little bemused, until he got up, smiling, and said "I just changed my facebook status - I've been waiting to do that for months..."

Here's the fun times with technology.
And then we opened the champagne - I don't think there's an app for that....

Two pretty Hart House weddings, University of Toronto

Two pretty Hart House weddings - not in the big Great Hall, but upstairs in the Music Room, and the Debates Room.(In fact one wedding had the ceremony in the Debates room, and moved to the Music Room for the seated reception).  One couple actually met playing volleyball at Hart House, so the venue was sentimental as well.  The acoustics are great - you don't really need the mike setup, and the light is wonderful, but watch for the backlighting in the window at dusk. You don't need much other decoration, as the wood and stone are enough. It's human-sized, and what could be better for a friendly, warm, family wedding.  We had a guitarist for one, and a piano for the other, and they didn't need any amplification either...; Warn guests about parking, and why not just come by subway @  Museum, walk down Philosopher's walk, and enjoy the view.

Booking: Hart House Events

Friday

Discreet Patio Weddings - Distillery District Eloping

There are always a zillion brides at the Distillery District, and we often do weddings at the usual venues.  But we also did a quick and lovely elopement last week.  I tweeted about this, but you can't edit tweets, and it was confusing - so here's a clarification. 

We met the couple and their parents on the patio at Archaeo - (you can't reserve the Patio cabanas, I think - but it was early, so we found a nice one with a table and sofa chairs).
The bride and groom put on some flowers, we stood under the patio umbrellas, and had a short, lovely ceremony. The DJ (who we'd met before) turned off the housemusic and played a couple of songs for them, other people on the patio lifted their drinks and applauded, and then everyone went back to their own premises, and we signed the license and had some champagne.  Then I took the streetcar home.  Lovely evening.

You can do this on most patios, the problems/challenges are usually the same:  music (befriend the DJ), weather (nada to do), reservations (choose a non-busy time), house rules (be discreet, or warn the Captain you are going to make a little speech to your group, or let them in on the secret and order champagne).  15 minutes, duly married, toasts for all.

Suggested location: Children's Peace Theatre

The Children's Peace Theatre is in the old Massey Estate, on Dawes Road in Scarborough - a 15 minutes walk from Victoria Station. It has a large outdoor amphitheatre, a sunporch (holds 10), a hall (holds 30-75), and various other configurations. So it's not for HUGE weddings, but would do nicely for smallish ones. A couple we know is going to hold their reception there, after being married in a downtown location.  A good cause, and a lovely setting.

Tuesday

Black Creek village - candles and weather and wind and wildness

We had a lovely wedding at the village - candlelit ceremony in the church, and then a walk to the reception pavilion.However, though the reception pavilion is well-roofed, it can be cold in the shoulder seasons if the wind comes up. (And very hot in the church in the summer, of course!)
Remember the obvious: Pioneer settings, camp settings, conservation settings (Kortwright) and anything outdoors is NOT climate-controlled, so plan accordingly, warn your guests to bring wraps, bug spray (and a change of shoes - high heels on grass and cobblestone are treacherous). It may be obvious to you, but it won't be clear to those who haven't visited the venue.

Fall weddings - spaces and places

Beware of crab apples in the grass! Slippery slopes under the trees right now.

You can't predict outdoor weather, so you really need a backup plan (which is more than umbrellas).  We're planning a hot air balloon wedding in a couple of weeks (we hope!) but it's been so windy this year that a lot of the air rides have been canceled.  Indoor/outdoor locations mean gazebos, patios with tents and roofs, condo rooms with terraces, and somewhere to get warm as well as stay out of the wind.  Boat weddings are delightful, but its going to get dark sooner, and very few people will be up on the top deck once the sun drops.  It's almost better to plan the INDOOR wedding, and then hope for an outdoor event if possible.

Saturday

Weddings for Older Couples: Elopements for Seniors and Baby-boomers

We've had a few nice small weddings lately for older people - not just second marriages , but for people who are actually ELOPING at 64 (or earlier, of course, but since I'm that exact age, the Beatles refrain naturally runs through my head - how did I get here already? grin)

Most of these couples have been living together for quite some time - often decades - but just never got married.  Some come to us because of financial planning, or other retirement concerns which suddenly pop up as you are nearing retirement.  Some are doing things as practical as going on holiday, and are concerned about health issues.  SOME are simply romantic, and want a small private wedding (sometimes with adult children - and grandchildren in tow) to celebrate their decision.

We've had the ceremonies in our office, in their homes, backyards, and at restaurants - sometimes with family, sometimes with long-time friends, sometimes just the couple (and their witnesses) but the weddings have been lovely, simple, and very touching. 

The words we say change a bit when you have been keeping house together for 30 years - we often talk about the couples life not changing, but simply becoming stronger. We can talk about the years they've spent together, and their plans for the future, or simply celebrate their partnership. 
 
"...for N & N their relationship has not changed – it has endured thirty years.  Today their relationship simply grows stronger, made more powerful by their pledge to each other to support and love one another through all of life’s joys and challenges. For marriage is not the beginning, but the maturing of love - it is love freely given and gladly returned and it is both ordinary and extraordinary because it is simply about everyday living.."

Here is a reading I like to use for couples who are 'getting married at 64'
Captain Corelli’s mandolin, Louis de Bernieres.
Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two

Wednesday

Two ROM wedding tales: Royal Ontario Museum & Philosopher's Walk weddings

On the weekend, we had a big lovely wedding in the Rotunda of the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) Lots of people - great food, and a super band.  I may write a note about it, as it was quite special - a secular / Hindu ceremony, with candles, some traditional elements, and some modern multicultural elements. Great acoustics in the Rotunda!

Today, however, I met a couple inside the Museum, and we went out into Philosopher's Walk, next door (between the ROM and the Royal Conservatory of Music), and we found some nice students relaxing on the path who offered to serve as witnesses, and we held a small impromptu wedding in under the trees and sat on the grass to sign the license.  Then the new couple went BACK into the ROM to explore the Mineral Gallery. Because it was Free Admission Day!  (They planned to zoom down to the AGO afterwards to take in 2 free museums on their wedding day.  Two styles, two events, with the ROM between them...

Saturday

Drake Hotel Wedding Location

And down the block from the Gladstone, still on Queen Street West, is the Drake Hotel , of course.  We also had a bit of a retro themed wedding, but that seems natural in the SkyYard (roof deck).  We used the tiki bar as a backdrop, and signed the license on the bar.  Fortunately, the rain held off!  So all the guests could crowd around the middle area.  The food and drink service was great - as was the boardroom area for the bride, and for signing things and collecting ourselves.  The guests had a ball.

Gladstone Hotel wedding location

We've done weddings at the Gladstone Hotel in suites, in the tower room, and in the ballroom - left. (I've actually been inside every 2nd floor room, since my kids did the Gladstone Variations play cycle there a few years ago).
Today's wedding was a retro theme, which fits in beautifully with the Gladstone. And of course elderly guests (and anyone else) will enjoy the antique elevator lift. And the wonderful bathrooms. It's great for a brunch wedding, too.
.

Toronto Wedding Venues - discussion on Chowhound

Sometimes couples discuss wedding planning and venues on Bride-y websites (you know, ze knot, bridezilla, etc.).  But for foodies, the discussion threads on Canadian ChowHound are fun - they talk about the catering and food, not just the decorations.  Most of the places people chat about are downtown Toronto locations where we've held the ceremony first, and then cocktails and dinner on-site.

The usual suspects are on the list - Canoe, St Lawrence Hall, Berkeley, SteamWhistle, ROM, (no one has mentioned the Royal Conservatory yet, which I enjoy as a venue), Distillery Restaurants, and the 'event' mansions - such as Graydon Hall, McLean House, -- and the discussion includes the food at places like the Gladstone Hotel, where we were today with about 80 people - wonderful wedding!

Posters also compare service and pricing - from Carlu to 1King West, etc.  There are a few unusual listings, such as the Ballet School Atrium, but not too many restaurants on the boards.  Most couples in the threads are looking for larger weddings (100-200), though some restaurants can squeeze in 80-100 (like Terroni, in the side room), but you may have to consider event spaces (Berkeley, Arcadian Court, St Lawrence Hall) for larger groups. 

Fun to find discussions of menus, especially this discussion about a specific menu (Canadian, Chinese, Indian) and how it was developed.  Yum!

Wednesday

Toronto Island Weddings - logistics

Most of the yacht clubs have their own launches, which leave from different quays downtown. You can get a water taxi, but it's expensive, and they get very busy at certain times.

 If you're taking the ferry, to an elopement, the Rectory Cafe, one of the clubhouses, etc. - be sure to plan for the TICKET LINES.  Mid-week, it's daycamps and tourists, weekends, it's the whole city.  There is only one booth that takes visa, you can't buy your tickets online, and the single automatic ticket dispenser is terrible and only prints one ticket at a time. The best idea is to go a few days before and buy a block of tickets (minimum is $10, for about 5.80, you get a discount) they are good 'forever', and you can skip lines.

Once you get there, it's easy.  Elopements on the picnic grounds under a tree, the beach, even by the fountains on Centre Island - nice gardens.  But the ferrying over of guests and party is difficult if the streetcar is late, the line is long, etc.  EARLY is better.  About 11 things start to heat up.

Tuesday

Get Married on the Toronto Island

So you want to Get Married on the Island
We just had a lovely wedding at the Rectory Cafe (Ward's island) - the weather cooperated, so the ceremony was on the terrace, the pix on the boardwalk, and the the wedding supper on the patio (lovely food). Here is a link to other venues on the island - the Wards and Algonquin Island clubhouses (shown here). I think you can also rent St Andrew's Church (see this link for email to enquire) they now have an accessible kitchen.

Monday

John Lundberg: The Tragic History Of Chelsea's Wedding Poem

John Lundberg: The Tragic History Of Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Poem
Perhaps some of you might be interested in this --

Leo Marks's poem "The Life That I Have," read as part of Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinsky wedding ceremony, seems on the surface to be the perfect wedding poem. It's straightforward and employs simple language-- easy for the guests to understand and appreciate with one listen-- and it comes across as genuinely emotional with its incantatory and almost pleading repetition of "yours and yours and yours." Here's the full text of the poem:

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have 

Is yours

The love that I have 

Of the life that I have 

Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have 

A rest I shall have 

Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years 

In the long green grass 

Will be yours and yours 

And yours

The emotion behind the poem, it turns out, was genuine and intense. Marks wrote it on Christmas Eve in 1943 for his girlfriend Ruth, who had just died in a plane crash. In his 1998 memoir "Between Silk and Cyanide," Marks wrote of the poem's purpose, "I transmitted a message to her which I'd failed to deliver when I'd had the chance."

That's heartbreaking enough, but there was more tragedy to come. When Marks wrote the poem, he was serving as chief code breaker/cryptographer for Winston Churchill's famed Special Operations Executive, the group tasked with encoding allied messages and cracking German codes. A mathematical genius, Marks reportedly cracked Charles de Gaulle's personal cipher during a spare moment on the toilet.

When Marks joined the Special Operations Executive, it was common practice to use well-known poems as the ciphers for encoding messages. Marks found this appalling, as any Nazi with a book of British classics could crack the ciphers, so he took to using his original poems instead.

"The Life That I Have," turned out to be an ideal poem to use as a cipher, with its "absence of the high-value Scrabble letters like 'z' and 'x' or words with double letters that make code easier to decipher." Marks eventually gave it to a beautiful, young agent with the French resistance named Violette Szabo to use as her personal code. Before the end of the war, Szabo was compromised then tortured and killed by the Nazis. Her travails, along with the poem, are remembered in a 1958 film called Carve Her Name With Pride. You can watch a scene from the movie HERE

Wednesday

Nice little article in the Star about a Toronto Island Wedding

This was a great wedding - a couple of scientists, a ferry trip, a rainy day, a SKYPE call overseas, and the STAR article mostly got it right.

The important thing is that Hala and Florian got married - and we called up their mum in Lebanon on Skype so she could hear the ceremony. And the food was great, and the Rectory Cafe was lovely,  And a great time was had by all - I love Hala's dress, and Florians shoes!

This is the 4th wedding this summer where the groom wore track shoes.  Last week the BRIDE surprised the groom with black adidas under her wedding dress.  Great style!

Sunday

Rainy Day weddings - plan B is important

While I don't mind standing under an umbrella in a soft rain (which can be romantic), your granny and your friend in the new 5 inch heels, and people who DID get dressed up for you may mind, a lot.  Last night we had to move a wedding ceremony from the Music Garden, where the metal gazebo has no actual roof, to the reception site at the last minute.  That meant the groom had to wait at the garden for all of those people who were still coming to the first site, even though the skies opened and it should have been obvious the rain wasn't going to stop. 

Please have a "Plan B" - and a way to CONTACT your guests. 

You will usually need to contact them BEFORE they set out for the wedding -- or it's going to be a logistical nightmare (in the rain) trying to get everyone to your other location.  Appoint a contact person who is NOT in the wedding party, and give out their phone number to everyone.  Post them at the original location to redirect - so the groom won't have to stay at the original site.  Have a rain time already prepared, which is usually an hour later than the original wedding, so you have time to set up.

If you have the ability to simply move inside at the same location, talk to the site staff in enough time for them to adjust.  We often have a ceremony area roughly set up in another room, and all you'll need to do is move chairs, or set up some chairs for family and older guests and have other guests stand at the back

Respect your guests - their clothes and shoes and hairdos - and respect your musicians - string players can't cope with rain, and they won't want their instruments to get wet. Electronics can't get wet - so ditch the DJ and let them go inside.  In case of passing showers, you can always reasssemble outside for post-ceremony pix, toasts, and group pictures.

Wednesday

reminder: You must get your OWN marriage license!

It may be a function of the summer heat - but a few people have been confused lately about the legal process of getting married.  YOU MUST GO TO CITY HALL AND OBTAIN YOUR OWN MARRIAGE LICENSE. BY YOURSELVES (or at least one of you, with the other persons signed application and ID).

THE OFFICIANT DOES NOT OBTAIN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE.  Nope. No way.  I'm not getting married TO YOU - I'm officiating at your wedding.  To the person you love.

Once you have gone to the Marriage Bureau, and satisfied the City Clerk that you meet the conditions for getting married - proved your identity, shown that you are of age, and not currently married to someone else, and not related to the other prospective spouse in one of the excluded categories - and filled out all the questions with the names of your parents, your full legal names (yes, you have to use all those names on your birth certificate) and your legal address, etc., and paid the fee, you will obtain an official license-to-be-married.

THEN, you can bring the license to a REGISTERED MARRIAGE OFFICIANT, along with your intended, two witnesses and your IDs, and you can get married. 

If you have any questions, please check with your officiant and with City Hall. Turning up at kind Father O'Flaherty's in the pouring rain on the Brooklyn waterfront to be married in the parlor with him in his slippers only happens in movies.  And trust me - a former Brooklynite - it doesn't happen in Brooklyn, either.

Tuesday

of bars, patios, and wind tunnels and outdoor weddings

If you read  Toronto Life, Now and the Eye, you'd think Toronto is known for summer patios.
We've done a number of weddings on restaurant patios - and mostly, the result was underwhelming.
It's not the restaurant's fault, they have some sidewalk real estate, and brides like to be outside in summer.

But the noise factor is significant.

Patios in clubland, bistros, trendy bars, etc., are too close to the street.  Sirens, buses, trolleys and blaring radios make it smelly and hard to hear.  And hot.   Even fancy places, like the Jump patio at Commerce Court are fairly nice (with the fountain in the background) but as most Torontonians know, downtown is a wind tunnel.  A little bit of weather or wind turns into a gale in the concrete forest, and stray jets, birds and tour buses all echo. So then, you need a mike. And why hold a wireless mike OUTDOORS in a concrete patio?

If the restaurant has indoor facilities, consider them for your ceremony and hold the cocktail hour in the outdoor patio.  Then you're a bit protected and quieter.  Or go to the Islands, or the bluffs or the Kortwright or even Allen's Back patio on the danforth - but avoid the financial/club district patios, if you want people at the back to hear.

Wednesday

Cherry Beach wedding

Cherry beach (lifeguard station at left) was quiet, nice, and a little too full of cigarette butts, lurching we labradors and goose poop. But we wrote the couple's name in the sand, had a simple ceremony, and watched the sunset across the channel. Much cooler than the city.


For a fancier early morning, consider Rosetta McClain park on the bluffs -  there's a nice tree/sward area (above right), or the view over the cliffs. you'll have to book it for a full wedding, but you could zip in early for a morning elopement, I expect.  The City website says hours are "dawn to dusk everyday".   hmmm

Sunday

Sugar Beach - for a small little wedding?

Promenade through Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach view onto Lake Ontario Although it hasn't officially opened, Toronto's newest park is ready for the public. Canada's Sugar Beach is one of Waterfront Toronto's many projects aimed at revitalizing the city's shoreline. Along with the recently finished Corus Quay, Sugar Beach is one of the few "completed" projects (it's not entirely finished) in the East Bayfront portion of the entire Waterfront plan.

As in all things Toronto, they probably won't issue wedding permits for this nice view - it would take too much bureaucracy.  But you could certainly wander down, stand on the end, and have a short private ceremony.  Until the whole place gets run over with condo-iters.

Saturday

A few weddings in backyards

A big one: (fiddler! piper! lots of children! potluck reception) and a lovely happy family gathering. The bride watched the gathering from the upstairs deck - in disguise - and then we all went and got her.  The music lasted through the night...
Then some little ones:  a dozen people in a backyard - birds and flowers and more children, signing the papers in the gazebo, champagne for all.  Or just the couple and two friends as witnesses, quiet and peaceful, with a little Sarah MacLaughlan for background and some yummy food from St. Lawrence market, and then another nice wedding with the couple and parents and two special dogs, and then a couple of weddings on balconies, and a little one in the woods.  In bad weather, we can meet you in our office for a wee elopement, but it's fun to set out a little repast and have a toast in the comfort of home - especially with kids and backyards!

Kortwright Centre - wedding in the woods

Beautiful woodland wedding last evening - the birds were singing, a simple willow arch in the woods, handspun cloth on the signing table, birdseed for celebration -  the groomsmen wore suspenders and stovepipe pants, the ladies in canary yellow and orange sundresses, and a wonderful banjo and guitar player to bring the groom and bride up the path.  After supper and dancing, plans were afoot for a bonfire and singing.  What could be better?

Wednesday

Toronto Islands - Rectory Cafe wedding

Here we are, having a delightful indoor wedding in the Rectory Cafe on the Toronto Islands.  The planned terrace ceremony was moved inside, as the wind and rain rapped on the windows - but we were able to go outside after the ceremony for some windy pictures on the boardwalk.  The staff was great at re-arranging things, the food was lovely, the service was attentive.

This was a small informal wedding for about 30 people - and I have just asked the guests for their support for the couple. The resounding "Yes" was so hearty that we are reacting to the happy sound. Check out the great footwear.

Saturday

Morning wedding at McLean House - inside and outside

So the rain determined we should move inside for the ceremony, and it was quite lovely - and the wedding couple's 2 dogs behaved beautifully indoors (well, the Golden Lab behaved beautifully). Perhaps there were less distractions - like the fountain and the birds. But we couldn't have the harpist outside in the drizzle - that's too expensive for such an instrument (I used to play one). 
But the clouds lifted just in time to go out into the garden and have great family shots on the grass.  The wedding couple were great - and the jazz ensemble was stunning.  I'll try to get the info for the musicians.  Congratulations to Paul and Pierre!

A pretty dawn wedding in Ashbridges Bay

A lovely family wedding at dawn at Ashbridges Bay. We're in the midst of the wedding ceremony, and the couple's young son is helpfully pointing out some sea gulls behind us (not to worry, his granny was watching him while his grandfather took pictures). 

We often include small children in the ceremony, sometimes they hold the rings (in this case) and sometimes we can add a ceremony of encirclement at the end - but our young lad was so excited by the birds and the rocks that we just let him explore a bit while we did some important talking. 

Wedding Musicians for Hire - Royal Conservatory

Musicians for Hire
Royal Conservatory teachers will often play for your wedding.  See Anita Beaty for instance (disclosure! she's a family member! who brings her own keyboard and can play any ceremony music, as well as classical and jazz for a reception)

You can also hire her students. A list of qualified and professional musicians currently studying at The Glenn Gould School is available HERE. These musicians would be delighted to play for your special event.  Info:


Do you wish to hire soloist or a group of musicians?
You can usually do this with one phone call. Contact one of the soloists on the list and ask for their help in assembling a group to perform for your event. The soloists work with other musicians regularly and will probably be able to assemble a group to meet your needs.

How much does it cost to hire musicians?
Pricing should be discussed in advance, directly with the musician(s). Fees typically range from $85 to $175 an hour, per musician, plus travel expenses. Some instrument types will be more costly to hire, such as harp, due to the logistics of moving the instrument and extra time for tuning and set up. However, fees are always negotiable on a one-on-one basis. If you require further help, please do not hesitate to contact our Musicians for Hire coordinator:
Phone: 416-408-2824, ext. 888
Email: musiciansforhire@rcmusic.ca
Please allow 48 hours for a response.

Friday

A Royal Conservatory Wedding - and a Philosopher's walk elopement

The 'big' wedding at the Royal Conservatory was lovely today.  Great Views from the Board Room at the top, where the groomsmen hung out.

But if you aren't having a big elaborate wedding, why not choose Philosophers Walk, right down below the Conservatory glass windows? It is lovely and green, and has lots of little nooks.  We could see it delightfully from the glass windows at the Conservatory...

Here is a couple getting married in the little rock amphitheatre behind the Music Building (just up from Trinity College).

Tuesday

Small weddings - tasks and jobs for friends and family

Small family weddings are some of the most delightful, and seem easy to plan.  But a) people NEED jobs, because they want to be helpful, and b) you need THEM, because the wedding couple can't do everything, especially on the day of the wedding.

So here are some tasks and suggestions for willing helpers:

1)  Site selection, pre-site prep and cleanup
Whether it's the beach, your backyard, a park or a patio or your condo roofdeck, someone needs to get there early, pick up hamburger wrappers and cigarette ends, and politely inform other people that there will be a short ceremony.  You need to assign someone to pick up your own discards - from ribbons to flower wrappings to champagne corks.  If you're borrowing chairs, someone needs to set them up and put them back.

2)  Greeting guests
Post a friend near entrances, along park roads, in the parking lot, at the corner of the block, to direct lost people.  Everyone should know when you're going to try to start, and who you need to wait for, and what to do with granny. 

3)  Drinks - toasts - glasses
If you don't have a bar person (with a SmartServ certificate), someone needs to pro-actively handle refreshments and clean up.  I have a friend who hired a 'butler in training' from a hospitality course at a community college, to go around the apartment, serve drinks and buss up, so the guests could talk and relax.

4)  Music and flowers and photos
Ipod or live, someone needs to provide ambient music, and to organize plugs and playlists on the day, so the couple don't have to worry about patch cords.
You can get flowers from a corner deli - but give someone that task, and ribbons and pins and tell them to take on the task of bringing the flowers to the reception - even if its back inside the house.
If you don't have a professional photographer, deputize ONE or TWO people as 'official' photographers, and tell everyone to give them their email so they can get pix - and tell guests that there WILL be pix, so they don't all have to snap the ceremony, and can actually listen

5)  Prezzies and guest book
You can get a little book from a dollar store, and ask someone to make sure everyone signs it.  Ask someone to collect gift cards and presents, and bring boxes or bags to contain them.  We often have to run for a kleenex box or something to hold envelopes safely.

6)   Granny minding and other relative ideas
Assign someone to monitor special guests and relatives - see that they are seated, they have food and someone to talk to, and that they get a moment to talk to the couple

7)  Ceremony honours
Signing the license, holding the rings, readings, lighting candles, speaking, ring warming, holding flowers, bringing the wine glass, all tasks can be split between friends and relatives to honour and recognize special people in your lives.

8)  MC and Wedding-Planner-stand-in
Even in a teeny wedding, the couple are busy doing lots of tasks, and they can't micro-manage their day. One or two people can take over as 'managers', fielding phone calls, seating granny, moving the presents inside, paying the musician, caterer & officiant, organizing toasts, and assigning small errands.  Thank them with a special toast AND a gift certificate for a massage, afterwards!

Friday

it's Spring! Lovely Toronto Island Wedding

What a beautiful day for a small, simple wedding on Centre Island.

The couple and friends had reserved a picnic spot with a view, and we stood on the dock and performed their lovely, simple wedding ceremony and signed the papers on the picnic tables.  The island was pleasantly deserted - for a Friday!  More geese than people.   You do have to wait a bit longer for ferries, but you can time things nicely if someone goes ahead and sets up the picnic, and then you can have a Wedding Barbecue!

Tuesday

Taking His Name? You Must Be A Girly Girl

Taking His Name? You Must Be A Girly Girl
Can a woman take her husband's name and still be independent? The answers from society may surprise you.

"Via Broadsheet, a new study claims that women who take their husband's names are viewed with many more of the stereotypical characteristics of women:
Marital name change is not without consequences. Women who took their partner's name appear to be different from women who kept their own name on a variety of demographics and beliefs, which are more or less associated with the female stereotype (Study 1). Subsequent studies show that women's surnames are used as a cue for judgment (Studies 2-4). A woman who took her partner's name or a hyphenated name was judged as more caring, more dependent, less intelligent, more emotional, less competent, and less ambitious in comparison with a woman who kept her own name. A woman with her own name, on the other hand, was judged as less caring, more independent, more ambitious, more intelligent, and more competent, which was similar to an unmarried woman living together or a man.
How does this "less intelligent, less competent" belief play out in real life? Well, according to the study, this would result in, among other things, lower pay for job applicants"

Mary's comment:  well, this is a small sample, and interesting as a discussion starter.  We also see couples who MERGE their names (Pepsi + Cola = PepsiCo) or where the groom takes the bride's name, esp. when she is the 'last' in her family, or where girls take their mom's name and boys keep their dad's - all sorts of permutations these days...

Here is info on changing your name in ONTARIO

Sunday

Mixed marriage couples in Canada

Mixed marriage couples increasing rapidly in Canada
No news here! "Mixed" marriages, which simply means couples from different backgrounds, are so common as to be unremarkable, in my experience. Visible ethnic differences are the focus of the article, with the remarkable fact that 75% of Japanese in Canada marry non-Japanese. However, we also often marry people from different cultural & faith backgrounds. My first wedding ceremony, ten years ago, was Jewish and Catholic, which we call a 'New York wedding'. Since then, we've married Hindu and Jewish, Buddhist and Jewish, Atheist and Protestant, Mormon and Catholic, Muslim and Catholic, Jain and Atheist, Shinto and Greek Orthodox, Korean and Japanese, Russian and Irish, German and Chinese, Filipino and Indian, Celt and Trinidanian, Pagan and Catholic - and many more combinations. When you add the country of origin to the religious tradition, the ceremony are quite complex - and always interesting.

However, as a secular officiants, we include cultural traditions, but we do not perform religious traditions ourselves. We have co-officiated with spiritual leaders (especially if you have a friend or family member who would like to participate), and welcome a discussion about your wishes to honour your cultures.

Here is a wedding we did on the Toronto islands for couples from different backgrounds:

"....Conrady, 33, is originally from Germany. Chaoui, 36, is from Lebanon. “We are part of an international culture,” explained Chaoui in an interview before the wedding. “We did not want to be bound by traditions. We did not try to satisfy any vision of how it should be,” she said. “We did not want it to be conformist and we wanted it to be affordable and fun. We are not rooted in any particular culture. We could have adopted North American traditions or German or Lebanese – but they are not really ours. We are a cultural hybrid.”
For example, in the Lebanese culture traditions are varied, she explains. “It is an eclectic country,” says Chaoui. “Often people spend a fortune on weddings. And the invitations to the festivities are very open. They are less structured. Everyone in the village is invited. There’s traditional folk dancing and belly dancing.” Conrady, as well, says typical weddings in Germany are large, open affairs.
By contrast, their Ward Island wedding was intentionally small, intimate and economical. Beaty was recruited because the couple appreciates humanist ideals. “We wanted everything relaxed and open-minded,” says Conrady."

Friday

Secret little spot on the Leslie Street Spit

Who built this little shrine on the Leslie St. Split? - thestar.com
Well, why not? It would make a great little elopement, if you can FIND it - (a slight secret, watch the video and guess). Even a little brick path! And you'll have to build your own shrine for a little memorial, won't you?

Monday

eco|stems ~ an environmentally and socially sustainable flower shop in toronto: Vase and Pot Amnesty!

eco|stems ~ an environmentally and socially sustainable flower shop in toronto: Vase and Pot Amnesty!

Sustainable Florist! Queen Street east!

"Here at eco|stems we are always thinking of ways we can lessen our collective impact on the environment and get our customers involved. With that in mind, we wanted everyone to know that we will happily take any used vases and/or pots you've got collecting dust. Bring them in and we'll trade your vase/pot for a flower. Cracks, chips or scratches are no problem, we'll take those too! Metal, glass and ceramic etc. are all accepted.

We'll put them all to good use and keep them out of landfill. Give us a call if you have larger quantities and we'll arrange to pick them up. A big thank-you goes out to those individuals who have already brought in their vases and pots for reuse!"

Unusual transportation wedding venues: Boats, Trains, Planes and Aeroplanes - and Streetcars

We often read of exciting weddings - bungee jumping, center ice, scuba diving, even the roller coaster.  Yes, of course it's possible.  You can say "I do" anywhere.  Though you must always do the formal wedding paperwork (and say "I do " again) on land, with a street address. People simply get confused about the legal parts of the ceremony, and the 'ceremonial' parts.

The official Provincial registry does not (yet) use GPS coordinates for the legal location of your wedding, nor latitude and longitude.  That's why you can get married ON a boat, but you have to sign the papers on land at the dock.  You can have your ceremony underwater, but you have to do the legal bits on land.  We have married people in boats, on rooftops, and on the train, in a special car set up with a SpeakEasy bar.  But once we alight from the fun place, we must sit down and do the legal parts at a (non-moving) legal address.

I lose my mind and my lunch on roller coasters, and will NOT marry you on a ride at Canada's wonderland . I have piloted a plane, but decided not to skyjump out of one. It's too hard to HEAR in a helicopter.  I love boats, and I like horses (and love Riverdale Farm, for instance!) so canoes are a definite possibility.   I like hiking, and would consider remote parts of the Scarborough Bluffs, and hiking trails.  But I have friends with Lyme disease, and I won't venture into tick-infested groves.  No matter how idyllic.

So - leave something for the honeymoon, in terms of adventure and escape - but plan your wedding elopement in a location with an address, a view, and a minimum of moving parts.

UPDATE:  Yes, we had a nice wedding on a Mariposa Cruise Line Yacht in July.  We signed the papers while docked, and performed the ceremony at the Island lagoon - then I caught a water taxi and came back to Queen's Quay.  A bit windy, and the party boat that crossed our bow during the ceremony was annoying, though everyone yelled "congratulations".  But it's an option...

UPDATE:  OK - Streecar wedding! Moving vehicle! Get out and sign papers on the group photo break! This was fun, but you have to rent a loudspeaker amp - you can't use the TTC one.

Wednesday

Spring! Go outside and get married!

Grab two witnesses and go to the Beaches, or find a little corner of a park, or go out on your balcony, or in your backyard, or your friend's backyard - who knows? Under the trees by the river beyond the dog run at Riverdale Park? On the footbridge over the Don? Down by the lake at the bottom of High Park?  wear your wedding wellies, though! 

"Green" elopement locations in Toronto

...are very hard to find.  The parks dept would like you to book the BIG parks, and won't issue permits for the small ones for weddings.  So you can hold a small informal elopement for a handful of people, if you are discreet and happy to fade into the less well known areas of parks, or the Rosedale Ravine, or Cherry Beach, or the Spit, etc. You could even discreetly gather on a NON-busy day at the foot of this pretty bridge on Center Island - which looks just like Bow Bridge in Central Park.  Indoors, you can rent Allan Gardens conservatory for a small wedding (they say up to 40? seems crowded) and it's reasonable and very lovely. 

But if you're dreaming of a bigger bunch of people in a sylvan glade, you may have to go out of town, to the Toronto Islands, or the Kortwright - though I disapprove of chairs in a forest [amended: we had a lovely simple wedding at the Kortwright where simple wooden chairs were on the path]. It's not THIS picture - hope to have pix shortly...
You could bring a folding chair for granny, but the rest of you should simply stand around and leave no footprint... The Toronto Regional Conservation Authority books most of the pretty places, including Black Creek Village (which also offers a glade and a green).   The largest 'downtown' gathering option seems to be Woodbine "Millenium" Park, which holds 100 people, or so says the Parks Department. Kew Gardens gazebo is up to 50 people - all standing, of course, and the St. James Park (gazebo) downtown is 40 people. You can book the fountain at Center Island for 100 people, but need to ask the island authority first. Otherwise, the Music Garden has lowered its capacity from 40 to 20 people, and Sunnyside will charge a lot for a max of 40 people.

Part of the problem with park weddings is the number of people who have gone before you and ruined it all - bridezillas with chairs and high heels and videocams and altars and arches and rice... So naturally, the caretakers of our common spaces try to minimize the damage, and have restricted weddings to easily monitored spaces.  This is an ongoing discussion, so we'll tag these thoughts "green" and "location", etc.

Thursday

Vintage Dresses - Mirvish Village

VintageBride.ca is a tiny bridal boutique tucked into Mirvish Village.  It's run by the Refinery, a vintage store across the street.  You can make an appointment to view their vintage bridal dresses, or go chat with the lovely person who curates the bridal collection from her desk over at the Refinery (where you can enjoy some of the fun things she brought back from Paris). Be sure to source bridesmaid dresses and accessories at Refinery, as well - and also bring along your beau for vintage clothes for men - why limit yourself to the same boring wedding + funeral suits?  Linen jackets are much classier :-)  Here's a post I wrote about Men and Wedding suits after a summer of red-faced grooms in black suits...

Weddings by Fountains!

Spring!  Small little elopements by fountains - here are some fountain locations you may know

and some more!

Wednesday

Websites with event spaces and private rooms


Some of these are large event spaces who are already set up to hold weddings. They will usually have an event coordinator.

However, some of these are places that usually book meetings and events - but also cater for parties.  Be adventurous, and contact some of the places that have NOT held weddings, and ask to book a room for a celebration.  See what they will offer. Suggest you say "Private Event" instead of  "wedding" until you get the specs.
http://www.rostiegroup.com/servicesMeetingRooms.asp  has a Queens Quay location
http://www.toronto.ca/parks/permits/events/weddings.htm  permits for Park weddings

http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/facilityrentals/index.htm   permits for historic site rentals

Check smaller hotels (Drake and Gladstone will be listed in the above websites)
http://89chestnut.com/catering/home.htm    Chestnut street hotel
http://metropolitan.com/toronto/meetings.asp Metropolitan Hotel behind City Hall


See other other post about private dining locations

and simply hunt around your neighborhood, and use your imagination.

Monday

Inexpensive locations for smallish weddings

Are hard to find, yes?  For a simple wedding ceremony, everybody standing (except Hart House),  here are some ideas.  Do try small restaurants.  Almost ANY restaurant will be happy to accomodate a group for dinner or cocktails or brunch, but don't say 'wedding' until you chat about the room and food. Then say "small private event, with a short little ceremony".  Do check hotel rooms! You can probably find a suite in most hotels, suitable for a meeting for a dozen or so - often with a view! Ask friends and relatives about  Condo party rooms, or nice lounges they have seen, including, rooftops, back patios, all very suitable for a nice wedding.  Or try:

The Music Garden, Harbourfront (no chairs, 20 people). No shelter for rain.
Hart House Chapel  30 people. Also other small pretty rooms available.
Allan Gardens   12-40 people? No chairs. Lovely plants, and rainproof.
The Gazebo at St James Garden.  40 people, 1 hour bookings (lots of pigeons tho)
The Gazebo at Kew Gardens.  50 people.
Meeting rooms and pretty lounges at your local church, if they rent to outside groups - such as Bloor Street United Church.
The Multifaith Centre at University of Toronto - lots of nice rooms for 6-100 people ask Mary (Chaplain at UofT) especially if you are staff or student.
Rectory Cafe on the Toronto Island - including their terrace.
Small terrace area and private room at Le Select Bistro

Tuesday

Toronto Island weddings - events and permits

Of course you can hold a fancy wedding at the Yacht Club, or a not-so-fancy but lovely wedding at the Rectory Cafe.  For a beach wedding, you can try to get an event permit.  - be prepared to be frustrated, though. If your event is casual, picnic permits are needed for groups over 25, or for a corporate party. If you mention the word 'wedding', always say "simple, low key, no fuss, civil ceremony" - and be prepared for lots of questions about props and confetti and high heels and champagne and photographer, etc. The only officially bookable spot on the island is the fountain at Center Island, available for up to 100 people with the Parks department, though you have to check with the Island Authority first.

Here is a handy pdf of the PICNIC SPOTS on the island - all numbered.  The circle with the x is a fire pit.  We suggest you go exploring before you call to ask about booking a wedding spot. And here's a Toronto bride, on her way to Algonquin island for a summer wedding and reception at the Algonquin Island Association clubhouse - which IS bookable for a large party.

Monday

Weekday elopement at the CN Tower

A lovely small wedding in the SKYPOD of the CN Tower - just us, a couple of witnesses, and a few German tourists...

This works best on a weekday at 10am - particularly in winter!  It's a little crowded in the summer months, course - but we nearly had the skypod to ourselves. 

We had lunch at CANOE afterwards - for another great view!

Thursday

Make your own Wedding Rings

The popular classes at the Devils Workshop are now running night at day. "...Many students are empowered by learning how to safely and properly use such tools as an oxy-propane torch and jewellery saw. Students will learn how to measure, cut, forge and polish precious metals into unique pieces of art. It is a hobby that provides a creative outlet, handcrafted gifts for loved ones and a great way to adorn yourselves in jewellery you have only imagined possible..."

We blogged about myo rings in Brooklyn a couple of years ago - and the trend is obviously widespread.  You can even find places that let you put your fingerprints on the rings.  If the Devil is full, consult other ateliers - who may allow you some personal input into your rings. 

Make sure the gold is ethically sourced, however.  Here are a few posts.
Also see conflict diamonds and no dirty gold

Tuesday

Elements of a simple legal marriage ceremony

HOW to HOLD a SIMPLE LEGAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY

The couple themselves are responsible for obtaining a legal marriage license before the wedding. You may apply online, but one of you (or both) must go IN PERSON to pick up the license and swear that the information is correct.

You must be married by a LICENSED ONTARIO MARRIAGE OFFICIANT.
After a simple verbal legal ceremony in front of 2 witnesses, the legal officiant will give the couple a Record of Solemnization, signed by the Officiant and the witnesses, to state that the wedding took place.  The officiant must then file your official Marriage License with the Registrar General within 48 hours.

In 6-10 weeks, the couple may request a Certificate of Marriage Registration (known as a "Marriage Certificate") from the Province of Ontario (note, this is not mailed automatically, you must apply for it).  See more information here: Toronto Registry Office, and  Getting Married in Ontario

Note requirements for divorced couples, those with foreign identity documents.
You must also provide TWO legal witnesses, over the age of 18.

'SIGNING THE PAPERS'
Couples often ask us if we will just 'sign the papers', because they want a very simple legal wedding ceremony, or perhaps they are planning a more elaborate ceremony later, with friends and family, and want a legal ceremony first, or sometimes they have had a cultural ceremony which was not legal, or they have asked a friend of the family who is not a legally registered officiant to perform a 'celebration of marriage' ceremony, and want to legally 'register' the marriage. 

While 'signing the papers' is the closing part of a legal marriage ceremony, the Marriage Act requires that we first hold a simple verbal actual ceremony, in front of 2 witnesses, which includes the required elements legislated by the Marriage Act of Ontario. This means the voices of the two persons, repeating the words from the Marriage Act. This is because because marriage is a formal  legal agreement between two parties - which is enacted in a public 'marriage ceremony', where you state in front of the legally certified officiant that you are accepting the other person as your legal spouse: this is the same whether we're meeting in your kitchen, my office, the CN Tower, the beach - or in a formal wedding location.  You sign the documents AFTER the ceremony, to show you all participated in the legal wedding.

Wedding Ceremonies may thus be informal or formal, but the following parts must be included, and the LEGAL MARRIAGE OFFICIANT must conduct the parts listed below. 

If you wish to include other family or friends, other persons can offer statements, readings, blessings, introduce the couple, and also perform the ring exchange (which is not a legal requirement. This is called a 'co-officiated' wedding, in which the legal officiant performs the required parts, and the other person may conduct the traditional or family-oriented parts.

ASSEMBLY, STATEMENT OF PARTIES. The officiant will introduce themselves by name, as a licensed representative of the government, and announce we have assembled together at this time for the wedding ceremony of (your full legal) NAME1 and NAME2.

WITNESS AFFIRMATION. The officiant notes the presence of the witnesses, and asks for their participation. They may also acknowledge the presence of guests - family and friends, and remember those who are not present (optional).

STATEMENT on MARRIAGE. The officiant makes a short statement about marriage, so that we all know we are present for a wedding ceremony.

The INTENTION to MARRY or CONSENT. The officiant asks the couple individually if they are here freely, knowing no legal impediment to being married, and are prepared to enter into a legal marriage at this time with the other party, and asks them each to repeat:  "I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I (Name1) may not be joined in matrimony to (Name2).

THE VOWS. The officiant asks the couple to each state out loud to the other person that they accept the other person as their legal spouse. They must say:  "I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (Name) do take you (Name) to be my lawful wedded husband/wife/partner/spouse".  You may add personal vows or statements after this legal portion.

DECLARATION. The officiant states that this contract has been entered into by these two persons, and that the witnesses have witnessed this agreement (example: "In front of us all, this couple have exchanged their promises and agreed to meet sorrow and joy as one family") Then:

 "I  [OFFICIANT NAME] by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Marriage Act, do hereby pronounce you Name1 and Name2 to be married"

Then the officiant, the witnesses and the couple each sign the MARRIAGE LICENSE, MARRIAGE REGISTER, RECORD of SOLEMNIZATION.

The officiant congratulates the couple and INTRODUCES THEM as a married couple.

KISS (optional) and CELEBRATION!

The officiant files the MARRIAGE LICENSE in 48 hours, and 4-8 weeks later, the couple can apply for the CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE REGISTRATION, described above.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a CHECKLIST for organizing a simple wedding, including music, handling of guests, announcements, etc.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OPTIONAL CEREMONY ELEMENTS:
The Exchange of Rings, Music, Poetry, Candles, Flowers, Readings, and other rituals are traditional, and optional. THE KISS IS OPTIONAL. RINGS ARE OPTIONAL. The couple may write their own vows, and say them in their own language. At any point during the ceremony, the couple may address their family or assembled guests, or ask a friend or family member to make remarks, to offer readings, music, or other appropriate contributions.

The OFFICIANT may also read appropriate selections, as the couple requests. The couple may exchange flowers, a wine cup, tea, candles, or other symbols. The tone can be formal, informal, humorous, family-oriented, or anything you choose, as long as the required elements are included.

Be sure to ask your officiant for the options available to expand upon these required elements, or to add cultural elements from your tradition. (Glass smashing, wine toast, 7 blessings, 7 steps, circling, ring warming, handfasting, tea or saki ceremony, etc.)