Welcome to ElopeToronto.com!

Welcome to ElopeToronto.com! We conduct simple, meaningful, secular (non-religious, non-denominational) humanist marriage ceremonies in Toronto, legally equivalent to a 'civil ceremony' or 'justice of the peace' wedding, for couples looking for an alternative to a 'City Hall' wedding. We also provide simple legal weddings for those planning a destination wedding. Mary is licensed as a Marriage Officiant by the Registrar General of Ontario, and the Ontario Humanist Society


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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?