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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.

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.
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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!