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.

Tuesday

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...