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.
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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.

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.

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

Removing "Obey" and "Giving Away" from Marriage vows and ceremonies

because someone just asked me  - here is an older article on how the Anglican and the Catholic church have each removed OBEY from their marriage service.  So it's nice to know that these large congregations see no need for outmoded language.  Modern marriage ceremonies also omit "Giving Away",  and often include a simple affirmation of love and support for the couple, from the attending guests and family.

Lists of restaurants with private rooms

(reposted from the ElopeToronto tweet)

Gayot.com
BizBash.com
RestoToronto.com

or just go into your local boite and talk nicely and see if they'll let you hold a small wedding between service (before lunch, before early dinner).  We suggest you don't start out by saying "wedding", but ask if they have a quieter table for a small 'presentation' or 'celebration', then you can let them know it's actually a little private wedding ceremony, no confetti, no fuss or muss, just standing in the corner for 10 minutes, and then champagne and signing things...

we've used Le Select's back terrace as well - reasonable with a prix fixe menu - a delightful wedding. And Frank, at the AGO let us have a small elopement (6 people) at 4, just in the back when they weren't busy.We just had a little signing party at Sauvignon in the Beaches. 

Sometimes you have to use your imagination - a snug at your local pub, the window area of a cafe, the upper room at a bistro, the back patio or garden of your favourite brunch place. Just chat with the staff. If you have more than 6 people in a smaller place that does not have separate "event" staff, they will probably need to assign a staff member as your waiter/server, and they may need to re-arrange tables before and after, but as long as you indicate that you're willing to order drinks and not put too many extra demands on their staff, they'll be willing to consider your event. You might start a trend!

Allan Gardens for an intimate wedding

is lovely.  Soft and warm in the cold winter.  And very few people wandering about in mid-day, mid-week.  Rather magical stepping into the conservatory from the dank grey outside.  There was another fashion photoshoot happening in the south gallery; we were in the domed center.  Be sure to book it for your event, don't just turn up.  Info on our locations page

Here's another wedding:

in 2016, the Banana trees and palms at Allan Gardens got hit by frost, when the power went out.  BUT, that means the other plants to more light.  Here is a 'vine lady' sculpture from the Toronto Garden show which is occupying the main palm court area...


Monday

Steampunk wedding cake


This is a UK cake company, VenusCakes, but this is such an extraordinary cake, I had to list it. If you don't know what "steampunk" is - think Murdoch Mysteries with a lot more edge and brass machines.. and, of course, laced white boots and corsets..

Steampunk is a genre of fantasy which came into prominence in the 1980’s/90’s.
It incorporates elements of the Victorian era such as steam power but also encompasses Victorian clothing such as corsets. If you are familiar with stories by Jules Verne or The Extraordinary League of Gentleman you will get an idea of the style."  ..
They also have gothic cake designs and other delights.  Go enjoy them.

Sunday

Small weddings - rent a hotel suite

You can rent a suite or just a big hotel room (try something quirky like the Gladstone or the Drake or something grander like the Royal York or King Eddy, if you want more space than the boutique hotels). The couple can stay there, (or in a smaller room), and you can have drinks catered (check about bringing in a cake or cupcakes) and hold the ceremony in the room. Then set up for a mini-reception, license signing and pictures, and take everyone to dinner in the hotel restaurant. Warm, cozy, and you don't have to hire cabs or walk through snow and slush to another venue.

Wedding photography - how much to book for an elopement?

I'm NOT a photographer - and I have some very nice wedding photography colleagues. So this is a personal opinion, and not a professional one.

Wedding photographers will offer you packages based on time, and quantity/type of photos. If you are eloping (private wedding), and not having a big reception, how long do you need a photographer? (And yes, it's a great idea to have a real photographer shoot your elopement).

In our experience, it's nice to have one meet you at home, (optional), follow you to the ceremony, capture the trip (climbing the stairs at the CN tower, taking the streetcar/subway, coming up in the elevator to the rooftop, etc.) shoot the wedding and the signing of the license (20 minutes), and the hugs and happiness after (20 minutes). If you want street shots, you can ask them to follow you to another location for some aftershots (20-30 minutes).

But you don't need LOTS of shots of preparation, unless you want them. So 1 hour minimum will cover the ceremony, or 2 hours the arrival, ceremony and aftershots, or 3 hours max will cover the home shots, the wedding, and the 'just married' aftershots. A photographer needs to know the real time you'll be using their services, so choose 1,2,3 hours, and then discuss the number of pix, presentation, etc. If a photographer is also acting as a witness, it's nice to add a little gratuity as well.