Romantic proposal and wedding on University of Toronto campus

Short version:  the bench-where-the-proposal-was-accepted was duly labelled so by the groom.  We re-united here, with 2 witnesses, and had a short legal wedding, before the couple had their family celebration at the end of the week.
(then they went back to work at the University. I hope they have a working lunch together on the bench occasionally!)
It's tricky to have little weddings on campus, as security staff will usually stop you - but this was a lucky exception, as it was early in the morning at the end of summer term, and nobody noticed us, hiding away. In fact, most of the campus was locked up, so the staff could have a holiday.  But we had the romantic story & the bench to show, just in case.  
the proposal bench (it says: "She said yes")
Newly Married couple (and the bench!)
(again, don't try eloping on campus without permission. The job of the security guards is to stop you.  Please ask for advice, here's an enquiry FORM)

Riverdale Park - baseball and a wedding in the setting sun

Due to a broken scooter and a few snaggles, we didn't get to the wedding till the 7th inning (game going on down below), but we had enough sun for a lovely sunset wedding.   The team congratulated the couple warmly!
Riverdale Park wedding - CN tower view 

Riverdale Park wedding at dusk


Trinity Bellwoods elopement - in the north end, tucked in a small grove

Because sometimes you have to avoid the frisbee games, the jogging mommies, and the dogs - but it's a big park, and there is peace on a sunny afternoon 

Trinity Bellwoods Summer Wedding

Comment: and here is the eclipse!  I was wandering around Trinity Bellwoods a few weeks later, handing out safety glasses, and met a couple I married 3 years ago!  ah, Toronto....


Clubs and halls and stages - Tranzac Club wedding

We have had some lovely weddings in 'club' or 'performance' spaces - they come ready-made with stages, chairs, bars, sound people, lighting & mikes, etc.  We've used movie theatres, real theatres, club bars, ballrooms, and last month another wedding at the Tranzac Club @ Bloor/Brunswick.  Entirely wonderful.

Summer Wedding @ Tranzac Club


Downtown Patio Wedding - simple and sunny family wedding

We're actually on Baldwin Street, on the 2nd floor patio, with all of Toronto summer life passing beneath us, and "Despacito" playing from next door.  A short ceremony, some Veuve, and voila! A lovely afternoon. 


More millennial couples are opting to elope | Toronto Star

More millennial couples are opting to elope | Toronto Star
Well, this was funny. The Star called to ask me about eloping - so I sent them a zillion pages of notes - but they ended up with a just a snippet of text about Toronto, and not much info.  I did offer them some LOVELY stories about creative elopements,

 (today we took a limo + parents down to Polson Pier, where the couple met at the Night Market - voila!  Great time, great view!)
Polson Pier, morning elopement (before the nightclub pool rocks out)
What I wanted the Star to say was that 'eloping' is a historical term for a private wedding - and there are many reasons for a quiet legal wedding, from 'Romantic' to 'Practical'. Sometimes an elopement replaces a Big Fat Wedding, and sometimes it's a practical step before a fancy "destination" wedding.  But generally, it just means small and friendly.

Anyway, here is an article on Eloping in Jane Austen's day :
"The Marriage Act of 1753 made it increasingly difficult for upper class men to “marry down,” and for women to marry men outside their rank. To get around this law, a desperate couple could obtain a special license from the Archbishop of Canterbury, or elope to Gretna Green in Scotland, where English law held no sway and marriage at 16 was legal...

Over the years many couples would run away to Gretna Green for their marriages to take place. The ceremonies were usually performed by one of the village blacksmiths who in those days were at the heart of the community and held in suitable regard. Even today, many of the Ministers refer, in their services, to the similarity of a blacksmith joining 2 metals over the anvil to the marriage ceremony joining 2 people as one.


Little Toronto outdoor elopement in a 'secret garden' - in plain sight!

Of course it has been raining a lot this year - so we've had to be creative about outdoor elopements. Often, we have two or three ideas, and wait to see what the weather will do.  (It's important to have at least ONE backup location with a roof, though, or an indoor spot in reserve). This fun couple from the USA was at a downtown hotel, but the skies cleared and we slipped into Osgoode Hall as they were closing for the day (the grounds stay open).
Here's a little corner of greenery in the middle of Toronto, with a view of 2 city halls, old and new! 


Library Elopement for literary couples

This is actually a HOME library, but delightful, because it's only one floor of the thousands of books in the collection of a literature professor at UofT. This was a wonderful home elopement of a couple who had just a few close friends and family to their simple wedding.  Some of my colleagues from the writing world turned up too, which was a wonderful surprise for all of us. Book people keep bumping into each other, somehow...

I have held weddings in other libraries, including Robarts, and the actual library stacks at the Faculty of Information Studies, as well as many bookstores.  We had a couple of lovely weddings in the Library at the Grange (Art Gallery of Ontario), which will host a small elopement/family wedding and cater you a wonderful reception or historic afternoon tea.   Yay books.


Looking for Green Space: Elopements and outdoors ideas

The little pathway between the ROM/ Royal Conservatory and Trinity College is a lovely wooded walk we have used over the years for little informal weddings. Lots of nice trees, and a little paved nook or two to stand quietly in a circle.  Yes, people are always passing by, and you have to watch for the music camp children running around for recess (quite busy now in July, several camps - best at 5pm), and sometimes there are sports events at Trinity field, but it's a public space and you can't get/don't need a permit for 4 or 5 people to stand under a tree for 20 minutes.
Philosophers Walk 

NOTE: You MUST get a PERMIT for the main UofT campus, by Hart House, so don't even try holding an informal wedding or anything resembling a wedding photoshoot, or the security staff will stop you. Alternatives nearby are Queens Park (if there isn't a fair or expo), or some of the little Annex parkettes.  To the west, we had a little wedding in Bickford Park (south of Christie Pitts), under a nice tree, tho we had to compete with Saturday morning soccer! Once again, just 6 people. You can't bring a large group.  Rule of thumb: Over a DOZEN PEOPLE usually requires a permit. Because a dozen is a GROUP.  Write me if you have questions, please.

Trinity Bellwoods
Trinity Bellwoods still works for small groups, and Dufferin grove, tho you should ask the committee for larger groups than 8-ish. In the East, you can take a small group to the bottom of Withrow Park or Riverdale, or some other local small parks.  Don't even think of holding an elopement in the Distillery without a permit, tho. You can work out something with the Brickworks, and have lunch at Cafe Belong. Brickworks will want a permit and a fee for anything other than a small 'standing around-doesn't-look like a wedding' group. Be aware.
Northwards, there are little parks around Walmer, a nice little memorial park at Avenue Road and St Clair, and we've had little weddings in a few little community parkettes by people's homes.

Allan Gardens
In terms of downtown permits /rentals, (for elopements and slightly bigger groups, 12-30) you can 'rent a garden' inside Allan Gardens, Here we are last week. You can also get a permit for the Rose Garden at St James Park.  You can also RENT Casa Loma's Conservatory for just yourselves, or a group - same price for both ($$$$$). Be creative, scout your neighbourhood. Condo parks are great, because you can bring a group. Back gardens at restaurants are pretty.  You can get a picnic permit for the Island for a group event, or just wander over and find a spot - or arrange a little wedding at the Cafe garden, and yummy lunch!

Allan Gardens is great inside, but your permit also covers the grounds and the flowers outside. Here is the flower garden, and the wedding party in front of the greenhouse.
Allan Gardens front garden

Allan Gardens front of greenhouse