Welcome to ElopeToronto.com!

Welcome to ElopeToronto.com! We conduct simple, meaningful, 'civil' (non-religious, non-denominational, or secular) humanist weddings in Toronto. The ceremonies are similar to a 'city hall' wedding, or one conducted by a 'Justice of the Peace". We also provide simple legal weddings for couples planning a destination wedding. Mary is licensed as a Marriage Officiant by the Registrar General of Ontario, and the Ontario Humanist Society


Covid winter weddings - small, outdoors, special

 We had a few very small, very cold, and very lovely weddings in December.

Here's a couple on their back porch, (pretty cold! the ink in our pens wasn't running very easily!)

Covid Back porch wedding, December

And this brave couple is having a 'first dance' in the park, to a cell phone tune, while their family holds sparklers.  AND it snowed JUST for the wedding.  Very cold, very pretty, very special.

Covid park wedding, December


A few quiet COVID weddings this fall

Guidelines (which may change):  Everyone download COVID tracing app. Wedding is Outdoors, social distancing, all wear masks when signing, guests limited to witnesses & very close family. Still lovely!  (weather permitting).

Small park (Eglington) 
Here we are, midmorning, in a laneway near a downtown bar.  Lots of air circulation!  Just 2 witnesses and the super nice couple.  TheĆ½'re off to celebrate.

Downtown Toronto

High Park 

Condo garden 


Ontario Extends Expiry Period of Marriage Licences

Newsroom : Ontario Extends Expiry Period of Marriage Licences:
Ontario Extends Expiry Period of Marriage Licences

Proposed change would reduce the financial burden for engaged couples July 16, 2020 2:30 P.M.Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

The Ontario government is taking steps to extend the expiry period of most marriage licences that have not been used due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This change is being made as a proposed amendment to the Marriage Act, and if passed, will help reduce the financial and administrative burden for many engaged couples.


The province is proposing to extend the expiry date for most marriage licences issued between December 1, 2019, and the end of the province-wide Declaration of Emergency due to COVID-19. These licences would still be valid and could be used for up to 24 months from the end of the Declaration of Emergency. Couples with a qualifying unused marriage licence issued during this timeframe are encouraged to hold onto it. They would have up to 24 months to use it and would not need to replace their marriage licence.

If there has been a change of name or marital status, or a couple no longer has their unused licence, they would have 24 months from the end of the province-wide Declaration of Emergency to apply for a replacement licence at no provincial cost.

The replacement licence would be valid for three months from the date it was issued, so couples would only apply for a replacement within three months of their rescheduled wedding. Couples needing a replacement licence are encouraged to contact the municipality where they purchased their unused licence.

In Ontario, marriage licences are issued by municipalities and are typically valid for three months from the date issued. Couples can still get married in-person but must adhere to the current provincial restrictions on gatherings and requirements for physical distancing.

If the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 is passed and receives Royal Assent, marriage licences issued between December 1, 2019, and the end of the province-wide Declaration of Emergency due to COVID-19 would still be valid and could be used for up to 24 months from the end of the Declaration of Emergency.

Ontario will waive the $75 provincial fee if a couple requires a new licence because critical information on the licence purchased between December 1, 2019, and the last day of the province-wide emergency is no longer accurate or the original unused licence has been lost or destroyed.

Couples requiring a replacement licence can apply at a municipality that issues marriage licences. There would be no provincial fee for a replacement licence, but municipal fees may still apply.


Covid-19, CoronaVirus and WEDDINGS

Please note:The earlier post below was written April 16.
UPDATE June 22>
As part of the City’s COVID-19 response, marriage licences will only be issued by appointment only. Contact marriage@toronto.ca for more information. Registry services counters at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall and the North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough Civic Centres are closed for walk-in services. Stay up-to-date on all affected City services and when they may resume by visiting toronto.ca/covid19

1) Marriage Bureaus are closed.  You cannot obtain a Marriage License at this time. The Registrar General is also closed, to register marriages.
2) Marriage licenses are good for 90 days.  We have no information on whether expired licenses may be renewed, or couples would have to apply again.
3) There is no provision in Ontario for "online weddings", weddings by Zoom or video, or proxy weddings (weddings with one partner using a stand-in).  ALL PARTIES, including 2 witnesses over 18, must be present in the same room.
As discussed in many places in this blog, a legal wedding requires a short legal spoken ceremony, not just signing of papers.
4) Therefore, it is not possible at this time to arrange a legal/civil wedding, except in very unusual circumstances, where the couple have a valid marriage license and a valid reason for an emergency wedding.  (Parties standing 6 feet apart, nobody but the couple and the 2 witnesses and the officiant present, no photographers, etc.).
4) Most officiants are very happy to chat by video or phone or email about your plans and concerns, and to help plan a wedding after sequestering is over.



How to arrange a simple legal non-religious 'civil' wedding in Toronto

We offer simple 'civil' legal wedding ceremonies:  secular, non-religious & non-denominational, (similar to a 'City Hall' or 'Justice of the Peace' wedding) including elopements, private ceremonies, legal ceremonies for destination weddings, (aka 'signings' or 'registration of a marriage') and friendly family & community-style weddings.
We make house calls! We will perform the wedding at your home, apartment or condo, in a park, hotel, restaurant, or other location of choice.

Questions big or small? Or want to see if I'm available?  SEND ME YOUR DATES IN AN [ENQUIRY FORM] and I'll write back! I will also send a sample contract and a fee scale. Fees are simple, and based on the size of the wedding, and include transportation and office fees.
See FAQ and main website for more information for both small and larger events.

Mary is licensed as a Marriage Officiant ("wedding Celebrant"_ by the Registrar General of Ontario, and the Ontario Humanist Society and has performed over 1500 civil weddings. I am currently the Secular Humanist Chaplain at the University of Toronto  
HUMANISM is an ethical philosophy of secular living, stating we all share a duty of care to each other, to lead ethical lives of compassion and respect, for other people, and the world we all share. Humanist Wedding Ceremonies are simple, meaningful, non-religious legal marriage ceremonies, which reflect your wishes, your values, and your story. We also provide ceremonies for baby-namings, memorials, and other life events. 


Legal ceremonies for destination weddings

It's that time of year!  Couples are planning 'getaway' weddings in warm places, and we provide the legal ceremonies in Canada before their 'ceremonial' weddings at the holiday destination. 
For a small legal wedding, you need a Marriage License from City Hall (good for 90 days), and 2 legal witnesses over age 18 (friends, family, neighbours, etc.), and about 15 minutes for a legal ceremony.  Then time to sign lots of papers and take a simple documentary photo (cell phone is OK).
You can save your ring exchange, vows, readings, music, family toasts and ceremonies for the destination wedding, and we will perform a very simplified legal wedding, which fulfils the government requirements.  Here's a sample text.

We can hold your legal wedding in your apartment, balcony, garden, or in a hotel, office, or even in *my* little apartment downtown.  Then the officiant completes all the paperwork for you and we send the documents off to the Registrar General in Thunder Bay for them to process the marriage - while you pack for your 'getaway' wedding.
informal legal wedding in a townhouse
Here are some world travellers who got married this winter, and are off to their family wedding in a few weeks.  We had a nice glass of champagne to celebrate.