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


A nice winter morning wedding at the CN Tower, 12/12/12/ at 12noon!

So - on a wintery December morning, in the middle of the week, it's possible to have a short little wedding with just witnesses at the CN Tower which is *almost* quiet and personal.  You can see Pearson behind us.  This lovely couple then left for their honeymoon in Cuba, after a wedding lunch at the 360 restaurant.  What a nice morning it was!
[This works best when the CN Tower is not busy. And on a foggy cloudy day, tho - not much to see... be sure to have other plans available].


Hart House Chapel - lovely Fall wedding

Hart House Chapel!  Two wonderful people, both engineers - and they had their post-wedding pix taken under the Soldiers Tower with an experimental car prototype - and the crew!
Hart House chapel is dark, and Very Small, only 30 people, so it's great for a wonderful intimate family-sized wedding.
Pix by Simon Tanenbaum  Harvard Photo
Portfolio | Bio | Location

Walnut Contemporary Gallery on Ossington (looks like a nice event space)

Walnut Contemporary
Sometimes I notice new event spaces - this was on BlogTo...
Walnut Contemporary
"Walnut Contemporary is Walnut Studios' new new affiliated commercial gallery and event space. It's also blessed with a great origin story: it replaces the defunct Canadian Corps Legion Hall (a legion known more for its rowdy parties and live shows than the usual shuffleboard and keno). Of course, little evidence remains of the space's recent past, as the peanut shells and beer bottles have all been cleared to make way for hardwood flooring and pristine white walls. It's a beautiful gallery, with space enough to launch large-scale exhibitions and events (including a recent performance by contemporary dancer Meredith Kalaman).

Artscape Event Spaces: Wedding Locations

Artscape runs some great programs, rents studio space, and also rents locations for events.  We've held weddings in most of these places, except for the new Regent Park Space!

Artscape, Gibraltar Point, Toronto island

Regents Park, Daniels Spectrum
Artscale, Wychwood Barns


Brickworks Wedding - Wonderful setting, wonderful time

Beautiful!  More pix soon of this wonderful wedding at the Brickworks - note the groomsman in the middle holding the stuffed moose - which held the couple's rings...

Pix by Karol Orzechowski, Decipher Film + Photo


Unusual and delightful private weddings - Graffiti Alley

Lots of fun weddings this weekend - from the Brickworks to Hart House to a 'secret' wedding inside a library (significant for 2 librarians :-)
...but here is a most delightful wedding at "Graffiti Alley", a Toronto landmark.  The couple actually met on a photoshoot here, so it was significant for them.  We even had a few people laying down some artwork on another wall while we were there.... and the occasional tourist, too - quite polite and congratulatory...


Berkeley Field House - Super September wedding

Groom's party waiting in the Berkeley Tree House
Stunning Photos by Julius and James
Berkeley Field House Fall wedding
Stunning Photos by Julius and James

Lovely photo under the Tree House, Berkeley Field House
Stunning Photos by Julius and James


Lovely Wedding at St Lawrence Hall

A wonderful light-filled wedding at St. Lawrence Hall on King Street, with lots of participation by friends and relatives, including music, readings, and a wonderful chorus at the end of the "Libiamo" (champagne aria) from La Traviata.  You don't need much decoration or enhancement for St Lawrence Hall, as the environment of the ballroom is so spectacular and delightful. 
And besides - it's on the streetcar!

 Super Photos by DarrylBanks.com

Here's the view from the back


Wards Island Summer Wedding - Rectory Cafe

Lovely summer wedding at the Rectory Cafe on Ward's Island.  This was a family-sized event, and just a perfect setting. The weather was great, the breeze was lovely on the boardwalk, the bride wore red, the groom has a matching flower, the string duo was wonderful, and the food was lovely too!

and these super pictures are by Ryan Edwardson.


Registering a wedding: First the ceremony - THEN 'signing the papers'

Here's a lovely couple from a small wedding in Trinity Bellwoods.  We're 'signing the papers', which means signing the Marriage License, Record of Solemnization and the Marriage Register, and then our 2 witnesses will sit down and sign after us, to show they were there and heard the couple.
But note, we sign papers only AFTER we have a simple spoken wedding ceremony, as required by the Marriage Act of Ontario.
You cannot just 'sign the papers' to have a legal wedding.  The actual signing of documents is attesting that you have held a spoken marriage ceremony in front of 2 legal witnesses, under the jurisdiction of a legally registered officiant.The 2 witnesses sign the 'papers' to swear that they WITNESSED (saw and heard) the legal ceremony;  where you both said out loud that you accept each other as your legal spouse, in the words required by the Marriage Act of Ontario.
And then you sit down and sign!!  The ceremony can be brief, simple, and short.  But you must have qa legal wedding ceremony to be legally married.


Summer downtown wedding locations -

No time for many details - but we've had Trinity Bellwoods Park, Dufferin Grove Park, Centre and Wards island, Rectory Cafe, backyards, front porches, back porches, Condo roof decks, The Royal Conservatory,  the Gardiner Museum, Hart House and other UofT quads, down to Todmorden Mills, over to Ashbridges, and saw lots of  food themes: an Argentinian BBQ, Le Select French brunch, Gladstone Brunch, and a fun Twin Peaks theme with Coffee and Pie - and it's only July....

Here's Casa Loma Conservatory on Saturday morning, waiting for the bride.  NOTE:  ze touristas WILL stand at the back, peer through the doors and take pix.  Its just what they do - they're tourists, of course...but its kind of fun to sit on the terrace and wait for the guests and look over the garden and the fountain - with the touristas...


Pride Parade Wedding: Carter and Breken

Toronto Pride Parade: American couple ties the knot with Pride - thestar.com
"On a float decked out in wedding white, with signs that read “Long Live Love” and “Here come the Grooms,” Carter Etherington and Breken Elwood wore light grey suits. Prompted by humanist wedding officiant Mary Beaty, they exchanged rings, and shouted their vows and their “I do’s” into a microphone.    Then the grooms kissed and the crowd roared its approval.
Etherington broke out into tears and Elwood wiped them away. They embraced again as Whitney Houston’s “Your Love is My Love” started to play.
The pair had been thinking about getting married since New York, their home state, legalized same-sex marriage last year. Then they won a contest from Tourism Toronto that included airfare, hotel accommodations at the Windsor Arms Hotel and an official marriage ceremony during Pride.
 “It’s not only our responsibility but our pleasure to come to a country that allows gay couples to legally recognize their love and their relationships. We hope we’re able to make a different in the U.S. with our story,” Etherington said in an interview before the parade"

(we had a blast - but remember, we can't actually do the legal wedding on a moving float where the crowd is yelling so hard we can't even hear  - this was a re-enactment and "renewal of vows", we had a wonderful private ceremony the  day before at the Windsor Arms, with all the required bells and whistles - and then the whistles (and water cannons) were for the public parade. Two weddings!  Happy grooms - what a wonderful day..)
You can see lots of great photos at: A Brit and a Blonde

Island Wedding? Getting there takes advance planning - and patience

Toronto News: First summer weekend tests your ferry patience - thestar.com
"...Here’s one sure sign of summer in Toronto — ferry lineups. Thousands of men, women and children waited in long lines to board a ferry to attend one of the many events scheduled at the Toronto Islands, including the Dragon Boat races.. At 1:30 p.m. the line of people waiting to board stretched east of Yonge St. Would-be passengers shuffled on their feet and shielded themselves from the mid-day sun with everything from magazines and folded newspapers to wide brimmed hats and umbrellas. Wait times weren’t the only thing on the rise — the cost of parking in the area crept up to as much as $30. Parking in the area usually costs between $10 and $12.
The thick crowds of people waiting to travel to the islands prompted many to pay a bit extra to ride in one of several water taxi services operating throughout the day.
[and the water taxis line was also 45 minutes]. 

 Remember, even if you and your advance party make it to the Island in time, your guests, witnesses, photographer, and OFFICIANT, may not!  Ferries also leave unpredictably - sometimes before the time listed.

THE ONLY WAY to manage this is:
a)  Choose a weekday
b)  Buy paper ferry tickets IN ADVANCE, and buy them ON A WEEKDAY, FOR the weekday.



Weddings and a Picnic at Riverdale Park

Bring the picnic, the badminton and backgammon, some flowers, your best friends - and have a little wedding!

Wedding at Hart House Chapel

An entirely lovely spring wedding at Hart House Chapel, and nobody stopped smiling the entire time...
(Please note! HH chapel can REALLY only hold 30 people -  if we all get very friendly ... book a bigger room at Hart House for anything larger...)

Extra, Extra: Bride on the Street, Snake on the Train | Torontoist

Extra, Extra: Bride on the Street, Torontoist

Umm, no.  We can't actually marry you in the intersection of Dundas and Bloor in the time it takes the lights to change.  Nope.  But you gotta give them POINTS for bravado!


NEW: 2 pieces of ID now required for Marriage License

From:  City of Toronto Marriage License Information:
Note: You may also download a marriage licence application from the Service Ontario website or pick one up in person at one of our four Registry Services offices. The application must be SIGNED BY BOTH INDIVIDUALS and submitted to us by at least one of the applicants with the supporting documents for both applications as noted below. The licence will be issued in about 20-30 minutes.

Effective April 16, 2012, the marriage identification requirements have changed from requiring one piece of identification to two pieces of identification. Please see all requirements listed below:
Two pieces of identification are required for each person. See listing of acceptable identification. All documents must be original; photocopies will not be accepted.
The legal name is the one registered at birth or the one changed legally through adoption, court order/Change of Name Certificate or marriage.
The identification accepted is:
  • Birth Certificate
  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Driver's licence
  • Canadian citizenship card
  • Canadian Government refugee travel document
  • Conditional release identification card
  • United States green card
  • Native status card
  • Record of immigration landing
  • Permanent Residency Card
  • Citizenship card from any country
  • Ontario photo card
Please note: It is important that you bring identification that states your name in full. The marriage licence will only state what is written on your identification.
Age requirements
Both partners must be 18 years of age or older. If you are 16 or 17 years of age, parental consent is required. Please contact the Registry Services Office at 416-392-7036 for further information. If you are under the age of 16 years you may not marry in the Province of Ontario.
If your identification is in a language other than English, a written translation of the document is required. It is your responsibility to have an interpreter to accompany you for translation purposes, if necessary.
The City of Toronto issues marriage licences to all eligible couples. Same-sex couples have been receiving licences since June 11, 2003, following the June 10, 2003 Ontario Court of Appeal decision making same-sex marriages legal in Ontario.


Sabbatical in Rome - and spring weddings in Toronto

Rome! We spent a month in Rome in March.  Here I am on the oldest public road in the city, the "Clivus Publicus" - with rosemary bushes blooming and orange trees in fruit on either side.  We walked all the seven hills (and the 8th, the Janiculum, to visit Anita Garibaldi's statue - baby on her lap, pistol in her other hand!) and on rainy days, spent a lot of time investigating the Roman marriage ritual of "iunctio dextrarum" - clasping right hands in agreement.  It's the same ritual as the "fides" in the Renaissance, a willingness 'in good faith' - fides/fidelity, to share the joys and sorrows of life together.  We came home to snow, and brave crocuses (croci?).  And then, a lovely wedding yesterday, in a Beaches sunroom, and lots of laughter and happiness.

Everyone should go away - resets your hard drive.  Let's see what the year brings in Toronto now - and dream of oranges and rosemary....


Wedding in the wind and water

- in parkas and gloves and long underwear.  And hard to hear in the wind! - but oh, so very happy.  And then hot chocolate, and THEN wine!
Congratulations to everyone,  - you can see the wind on the waves!

House Call weddings - in your apartment!

A quiet morning wedding in a sunny apartment by the lake.  Just the couple, their witnesses, and me - and some yummy cupcakes.  And the cats, who knew something was up.  Best wishes and all happiness to this great (and funny) newly married couple!

Toronto's Historic Museums - Facility Rentals for weddings

Toronto's Historic Museums – facility rentals Here is their new website - info on renting historic sites for weddings. It's hard to find downtown sites, so MacKenzie House, for instance, is available @ $100 p/h (3 hour minimum).  That's the same price as the Hart House chapel, and about the same SIZE, basically - BUT, you have to pay for staffing as well, which is required at all city facilities. It looks like the East Sun Room at Spadina House is the same situation. And the rules can be strange, because the SITE and the GROUNDS are sometimes under different jurisdictions.  For instance:  it seems like  very inexpensive place would be the verandah at Colborne Lodge at High Park but again there is a 3 hour minimum (even if you don't use all that time), plus staffing. But note - you have to stay on the porch - so it's best to PHONE the booking staff, and see what you need to pay for.

Mackenzie House:
Bob Webber
  • The grounds surrounding Colborne Lodge are under the jurisdiction of Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Use of these grounds requires a permit from their permit office (416-392-8188)
We've had  nice weddings at the Blue Barracks at Fort York and I enjoy Todmorden Mills (modern facilities in the Art Gallery) as I can walk there from home.  Note - most of these places have little parking, and you can't use the kitchens, and you can only book them after hours, but some are quite nice for little ceremonies for 30 people or so.


Small wedding locations - private dining in Toronto

Private dining in Toronto

Here's a piece from BlogTo - with a few ideas for private dining rooms, where - of course! you can hold a wedding.  You can also book out a small restaurant for your 'private function'. (When talking to a venue, we strongly suggest you simply enquire about a private function/celebration booking before you use the word "wedding" - which may conjure up a bridezilla event). Our restaurant ceremonies are usually quite simple 15 minute functions, followed by a little champagne. You can discuss those logistics once you find out about the booking fees.

We've had weddings in private and semi-private spaces at places like Fuzion, Colborne, Local, La Maquette, Globe Bistro (both locations), Balzacs, Edward Levesques - and on patios at Fieromosca, Le Select, Les Provences Delices, Grace, (pix above), Vertical, etc. Sometimes the rest of the place stays open, and your party can ask for the patio or an inside room for a short simple wedding, and then brunch, lunch, or dinner for all.  Suggest you simply wander in to your local bistro/boite, and chat with them - we've sometimes had the 'first' small wedding in a restaurant, and when it goes well, they are happy to experiment with more events.


Winter Wedding by the City Hall Rink

Memories of winter past - here is an end-of-winter wedding outside at dusk near the ice rink at Nathan Phillips square (in front of Toronto City Hall ) Then the couple (the ones with the flowers :-) went for a skate, and we held thir dog.  Renovations at the plaza change things a bit now, but we hope that by summer the Peace Garden will permit some weddings by the fountain - dog or not!