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.

Sunday

Trinity Bellwoods Elopement in early morning

as in -- 9am!  And we saw the white squirrel! And then we went to the White Squirrel Coffeeshop to sign the Marriage License, of course.

Morning Elopement in Trinity Bellwoods

At the Gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park

Tuesday

Condo and Hotel Weddings - suites and party rooms

Just off, over the river (the Don) and through the woods (Ravine) to a nice family wedding in Granny's condo.  Condo party rooms and your grandmother's lovely apartment might be a nice place to host a small family wedding, if she's willing.


OR, you can invite everyone to your hotel suite.  We had a nice winter wedding in THIS beautiful suite at the Yorkville Four Seasons - they have a couple of large suites available for group event, AND the wedding was catered by the Four Seasons hotel, with the chef preparing the meal in the condo suite, and wait staff. Here's the dining table in this view.  And marvellous flowers, as well.

Monday

Little legal wedding in a Yorkville Art Gallery


Asking the witnesses participation
Signing the Marriage Register
 Here's an entirely wonderful wedding in an art gallery in Yorkville.  First comes the short ceremony (we're asking the witnesses for their legal participation in the top picture) and then after the ceremony, we're signing the Marriage License and Register.  We're all pretty happy. What a nice afternoon this was - and best wishes to them and their family!

Note about a legal wedding:
When couples are looking for a simple legal  wedding, it's possible to hold the ceremony in any location, and then we will all sit down and sign all the documents to swear that we actually HELD a verbal wedding ceremony in front of two witnesses.  The documents we sign are the record of the ceremony, because the ceremony itself is what creates the legal wedding.  

So - if you are planning a SECOND celebration (a destination wedding or even a religious wedding) please note you must have a short simple legal CEREMONY for the legal wedding, with two witnesses.  "Signing the papers" is a record, not a substitute for the actual legal ceremony.

Tuesday

Casual outdoors weddings in Philosopher's Walk at University of Toronto

Philosopher's walk can be used in various seasons. This little walkway between the Royal Conservatory and the Gates on Harbord runs behind the ROM and the Music Building.  It's a public walkway, but has lots of lovely trees, and is a great oasis with nice backdrops.  They're rebuilding the law school on the south end, but there's lots of other room.  In high summer, there are lots of kids at music camp, so it's good to avoid recess time while they're rolling down the hill, but they are also delightful.  (also, of course you should avoid this during the PanAm games...)






Friday

Couple learns wedding 'officiator' unauthorized after ‘mortifying’ marriage ceremony | Toronto Star

Couple learns wedding officiator unauthorized after ‘mortifying’ marriage ceremony | Toronto Star

I hate to post this article, as it is very sad.  (And it uses the non-existent word 'officiator', which seems like someone who drives a plane in an office?)

But PLEASE, check your officiant's legal status with the Ontario Government before hiring an officiant.  It's easy, you can check online:

https://www.ontario.ca/document/religious-marriage-officiants

A properly licensed officiant will always be able to confirm their status, and provide you with up-to-date information.  

Note: our Humanist officiants are listed under the "religious" category, even tho we do not perform religious ceremonies.  This is because there are ONLY two categories allowed in the Marriage Act:  municipal officiants (city clerks trained as marriage officiants, and paid by the municipality) and 'religious' officiants. Some judges may qualify, with conditions, as well. 
Humanism is an ethical philosophy of living, and like Unitarians and others, we have been classified as clergy by the province, as we have ethical standards that are stated in our charters, and we belong to organized ethical bodies. We are not employees or clerks of a municipality. That is why you can find our registered officiants under the links above.

Wednesday

Zombies were not invited to the wedding

We had a lovely wedding at the Arts and Letters Club on Elm Street at the end of October.  But somehow a few thousand zombies also decided to take to Yonge Street on that Saturday.  Photographer Neil Ta got this great picture of the calm couple in the midst of -- the zombie apocalypse.
Zombie March on Yonge Street

Wedding, rehearsal, performance, events spaces in Toronto

Here (courtesy of my theatre children) is a database of performance/ rehearsal/ event spaces in Toronto.  I've listed many of these before in other databases, but this is new, and searchable AND BOOKABLE.  Feel free to send us any other unique spaces you've found. Here are two art galleries, as examples.
Project Gallery
Alison Milne Gallery

Monday

Royal Conservatory of Music wedding event space

I just helped a bride find the contact info for event rentals at the Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor.  It's a lovely space for weddings.  The event contact page is a bit buried in the website, so here is the info:
For more information and to book your event, contact Kristin Campbell at rentals@rcmusic.ca or at 416.408.2824 x500. 

Saturday

Small private winter weddings - indoor locations

We have a small flurry of winter elopements scheduled, mostly for under a dozen family and friends. We've been outside, in a few restaurants and 'secret' city spots.  But in rainy cold weather, it's good to have an inside option, and one of the best is a HOTEL SUITE.  You can dress up nicely, pour some champagne, take lots of pictures, and everyone has a place to sit down.  You can even order room service for the cupcakes or smoked salmon.  Look on groupon and other sale sites for hotel deals -  Expedia has a deal at the Royal York right now!  You can ask the hotel about their policy of wedding photo permits, but if you are a guest, they should be helpful.  The older hotels often have bigger rooms, the newer boutique hotels are also used to requests for small weddings.  The concierge should be your friend, see what you can arrange with them (room service, even flowers).  Or just book in, call your witnesses, book your officiant, and have a lovely quiet wedding. 

Friday

Burroughes Building - downtown with a vibe and a view

Had a lovely wedding last night at the Burroughes building on Queen West - despite the usual adventures with the meandering Bathurst bus and those delightful detours.  The absolutely great photographers were A Brit and A Blonde, - and if you can grab them when they're not in Costa Rica, say hi for me.  This room can be set up for any purpose (they moved the chairs after the ceremony, and set up a wet bar in the back).   Great feeling in the room.

Tuesday

Fantasy Farms, stormy weather, lovely brides

So the radar was scary this season - but we've managed all the outdoor weddings with some sort of magic timing luck!  In this case, the heavens opened JUST after the ceremony!  But we had a great wedding on the Fantasy Farms verandah, and here's a pix in the garden afterwards. A few clouds are good for picture contrast!



Wednesday

Unlicensed wedding officiants - how to verify your officiant's legal status

More charges for fake ceremonies | The London Free Press
Oh dear, here's a case of wedding fraud in London, Ontario.  However, you can always check the current status of a registered wedding officiant on the Ontario government website:
https://www.ontario.ca/government/religious-marriage-officiants-listed-name
https://www.ontario.ca/government/religious-marriage-officiants-listed-municipality

A properly licensed officiant will always be able to confirm their status, and provide you with up-to-date information. 

Hart House Chapel - delightful family wedding

Hart House Chapel
Funny moment at a lovely family wedding at the non-denominational chapel at Hart House, University of Toronto.  We have held many elopements in the chapel, and it's good for a small family wedding (the maximum capacity is 25-30, but kind of squishy).
Lovely photos are by Nika Jaksic
Photos at the Carillon tower

Thursday

Le Select Jardin - lovely indoor/outdoor downtown venue for a family-size wedding

Le Select Jardin wedding
Here's a great recent wedding at Le Select on Wellington (the lovely bride is an elegant dancer!)  We are standing in front of the wooden wall, to the right of the greenery and fountains (panoramic view below). Their overhead canopy is useful with inclement weather, and you can have a private brunch or lunch or dinner in the adjoining dining rooms.  Great atmosphere, great food!

Le Select Jardin

Sunday

Room with a view - wedding locations en haute

Someone wrote me this morning asking for ideas for a wedding for 30 people with a stunning view of the city.  Well, there's always Canoe... or the Thompson Hotel patio, or a wedding in a suite at the Park Hyatt and then a drink at the sky lounge (above)  Or the Royal Conservatory of Music, with that great balcony looking down Philosopher's walk to the CN Tower. Or over at the Gardiner, with a view of the ROM from those tall windows and the Patio.

But the city is changing so fast, the view you book today might be of building cranes (instead of birds) by the date of your wedding - think ahead!

My first suggestion is always to crowdsource - ask your hive for ideas, including anyone who knows anyone who has access to a condo party room with a view. Then go potluck, or hire George Brown catering/waitstaff, or some serving staff.

30 people is really just a dinner party.  So try restaurants who advertise a view - and tell them it's a dinner party with a SHORT SECULAR WEDDING, 15 minutes, probably standing. No fuss, no muss, no moving of furniture and erecting gazebos and confetti to clean up. Perhaps a cava toast for all, and then food. You can probably also suggest a cocktail party, with drinks and table / sideboard appetizers (passed appetizers mean more wait staff, which they have to redirect from other jobs). 

Here are some views  - of varying angles (and cuisine).
Best restaurants in Toronto with a view
Best 10 patios with a view
Toronto Great View restaurants

And of course there's always the Algonquin Club House on the Island - you can walk to the shore and have great pix of the city behind you!  (You can also charter a boat, and grab any view you want ).

Thursday

Happy Pride! Lots of weddings!

Happy 2 weekends of weddings - at the Bathurst Community Centre, Allan Gardens, Edwards Gardens, and on some nice backyards and roof decks.  I was already booked during the Pride Parade this year, so my friend Arran is conducting a little informal wedding at the Ontario Humanist Society BOOTH at the PRIDE Parade!  Sounds perfect (and a lot quieter than being up on the float in the parade).  Perhaps he'll send pix.  I was recently asked to help with a Hindu-Secular-Vegan -Non-dairy-Same sex wedding, (wow!) and again, wasn't available, but my colleagues and I worked together to offer advice and help.  Lots of creative couples, with lots of good ideas.  We make sure your wedding follows the LEGAL requirements of the Marriage Act of Ontario, and help with advice on combining rituals and traditions to add your personal touches.  Always feel free to write with questions or ideas....   And here was LAST year's Pride wedding! The one on the float!


Sunday

Wedding Ceremonies & Formal Photography - Permits & Rentals - Parks, Forestry & Recreation | City of Toronto

Wedding Ceremonies & Formal Photography - Permits & Rentals - Parks, Forestry & Recreation | City of Toronto
We've gotten several enquiries about Park weddings for this year.  Here's the info page again (above, and a short link here) bit.ly/1daSbin   (or call parks office from 311). 
Note the Rules:
Facility listings:  Parks

Rates:"Rates for wedding ceremonies and photography are approved by City council.  Rates can be adjusted at anytime, please discuss the permit rental rates directly by calling (416) 392-8188."

How to Apply for a Permit

To obtain a permit or get further information on rates and availability, call 416-392-8188 and press 1, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. Payment by VISA, Mastercard or American Express is
accepted over the phone. You can also book your permit and pay by cash or certified check in person by visiting your local permit office.

Wedding Ceremony Parks List

this is from the City of Toronto Website
"Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation offers many beautiful outdoor parks and indoor facilities available for your stand-up wedding ceremony.
NOT ALL PARKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR WEDDINGS.

"Please note that ceremonies are stand-up only, no chairs are permitted. Accompany your ceremony with soft taped music or a live  non-amplified trio"

MUSEUMS:
The parks list above does not include green space associated with Historical locations, such as Colborne Lodge, Todmorden Mills, Fort York, etc.  You'll find those facilities under MUSEUMS. We had a great wedding on the steps of Spadina House, with guests in the front lawn. (Reception held at another location.)  The Couple booked a permit for the steps of Spadina house. Another couple is holding a wedding AND the small outdoor cocktail reception at Spadina, (as you have to book a minimum of 3 hours for the space). 

The above city parks and museum list does not include Riverdale Farm, Dufferin Grove, Campbell House, the Children's Peace Garden, the Toronto Island clubhouses, Black Creek, Kortwright, and other green places you can also rent for weddings. Some of these are managed by community groups, and you can apply to them for an event. You can obtain a photography permit at the Brickworks and hold a small wedding in the ravine, for instance.

NOTE: very small informal weddings in a park are sometimes possible, please write to me directly. But for any group larger than a dozen or so, you will need to consider a proper permit, a photography permit, or permission.  Drop me a line :-)

Saturday

Smaller Spring weddings! Inside/outside

We've braved the elements this spring, in the snow, in the rain, and had some lovely lucky days, in Philosopher's walk, in some local parks, and cosy inside Allan Gardens in the spring flowers.  The back patio at Le Select is sunny now, and the Brickworks is coming up a few times soon.  We might slip into the Ravine next week for a little family wedding, and they're cleaning up the garden in front of St James gazebo.  For inside comfort, several couples have used hotels, and smaller meeting rooms or suites:  the Trump Tower, the Park Hyatt, Gladstone, Four Seasons, etc.  And I've seen lots of new condo party rooms, some quite wonderful.  Restaurants are good spring ideas, some have nice patios you can snag if the sun is out - been to Bravi, Le Select, and Terroni's, all for family-size weddings.  You can always book the Hart House chapel and have a great lunch at the Gallery Grill (but only September thru June, alas! tho they now have sunday brunch and a cocktail hour!

update - finally! hot weather! Off to the Brickworks, (stunning tonight - baby ducks, too...) then Todmorden Mills, the Ravine, St James Cathedral park, and the top deck of a few townhouses - nice to see the sky.  Some Pride weddings, in homes and backyards, and a bar or two -- Happy Summer!

Friday

Winter weddings - cosy inside!


We've had a few brave weddings in the park - though everyone had to stamp their feet a lot and we rushed back inside for warm drinks!  But it's been a loonnng winter for outdoor weddings, and spring may be the same, cold (or) muddy.  Have a backup plan!  A friend's sunny condo party room, indoors at Allan Gardens,  a nice brunch wedding at a friendly bistro, an old-fashioned wedding at home around a fireplace, if you can find somebody who has one! Check the usual places, 'private dining' is a good google/yelp term.  We're still planning outdoor elopements for a few hardy souls, but if your numbers are larger, the logistics for an outdoor wedding are tricky in early spring if you have to redirect guests to a different location due to weather problems. Thinking ahead, if you're planning an island summer wedding - buy those paper ferry tickets in advance! The lines are too long on hot summer weekends for wedding guests in dressup clothes. You also get a discount on paper tickets.  Station a friend with a guest list at the docks to hand them out.