Step by Step Guide to Eloping in Toronto

If you are on this page then it means that you are in interested in getting married. This is big new, huge news (in fact). We are only given so many days (by the Almighty) and it is up to us to use them wisely. Getting married is good for your soul, assuming you live our the promises made during the ceremony. 

 

Eloping is when you decide, for whatever reason, that you want to be legally married without the stress of a conventional wedding. It is a rather simple process, guided by the wedding officiant every step of the way. It can be performed intimately, perhaps at a local park or restaurant. The guest list should be small, allowing everyone to focus on you for your moment.

Your elopement day will be (relatively) smooth and stress-free, guided by myself and my wife Esther. She is truly a woman of valour and I am proud to have her (and baby Asher) by my side. I have amassed a small (but growing) wedding resource collection, allowing couples to simply their planning. While I officiate the wedding, Esther is busy snapping shots to stun the married couple after-the-fact. We believe in family, the sanctity of the wedding vows (or "wedding wows" in some cultures) exchanged at the alter. I will do everything I can to maximize the enjoyability of the ceremony, working within the couple's budget. While my fee is fair and reasonable, the reception constitutes the biggest variable. In other words, you can get married for under a thousand or you can emphasize hospitality. Regardless of what you choose, your wedding day will be your's alone. 

Forgive me for "flexing" a bit but I have been officiating (at least present) since I was in utero. My mother accompanied by father at a huge number of celebrations, perhaps causing my personality to develop in response. There was something magical then and there is something magical now. That magic inspired my curiosity, forcing me down my intended trajectory. You can rest certain that you will received a truly unique service, world's apart from alternative's who use templates and other shortcuts. A wedding is a fresh start, a reflection of both the couple and their story. 

Perhaps you have been married for many years, seeking to renew your vows to each other. While every year is a cause to celebrate, many couples choose to mark a specific milestone with a party. This does not mean that it has to be an huge affair, instead it can be small, reserved, and just the two of you. It can be done at home, at hotel restaurant or even online. Again I emphasize the centrality of the wedding vows, even more than the legal registration. I believe that the Creator expects more from us, at least when compared to the expectations illustrated in the Canadian Marriage Act. The Bible calls us to monogamy, putting the other person before ourselves. The "magic" of marriage is it's ability to transform people, merging two souls together for a common pursuit. 

 

 

 

  1. You select a Registered Wedding Officiant, one that is in good standing with the Provincial Registrar. 

  2. With that officiant you select a date, and make plans to obtain a marriage license from City Hall. While Toronto City Hall used to offer wedding services, they have since stopped offering their wedding chapel to the public. 

  3. With your fiancee's identification in hand, go to City Hall and pay the necessary fee. It costs between $125-$180 and will come partially completed. Do not write anything on the form as it will render void, requiring the purchase of an additional copy. 

  4. Meet with the officiant over Zoom. The three of you will discuss the date, place, time, and ceremony. Remember that you will need an addition two people to witness the ceremony, and mandated by law. This is the correct time to discuss these details, especially the guests and the roles that you want them to play.

  5. We can host your wedding at our small wedding chapel, which accommodates no more than 10 people. It is not a bougie spot, more a fascinating time capsule highlighting Canadian Jewish history.  The wedding chapel has hosted hundreds of weddings over the years, performed by rabbis and officiants alike. If you would like to host the event at your cottage, lake house (or any other wedding venue) please drop me a line and I can do what I can to help. 

  6. The wedding "script" is a reflection of you and your story. The best approach is to provide as much context as possible, whether it be writing, images, or other types of media. This will allow me to to tailor the wedding service, capturing the essence of the couple. This is where I deviate from City Hall Weddings, at least when they used to offer them. Instead of meeting the couple "the day of" the elopement, I get to know them in advance. This allows me to craft my message, integrating the vows into a meaningful service. 

  7. Some parks require a fee for weddings but may waive the fee if the party is below a certain threshold. Be sure to check ahead to ensure that all laws are being followed. Toronto has some awesome cool places to get married and you should check the fees (and health guidelines) way in advance of your chosen day. The key is to think of everything in advance, something difficult for soon-to-be-marrieds. That is why I am here, guiding the process and anticipating any potential stressors. 

  8. During the meeting (60-90 minutes) the officiant will ask a series of questions, not to cast judgement but to (instead) personalize the wedding vows, liturgy, and (if desired) wedding announcement. Feel free to bring things to the meeting, such as cultural (or family) traditions that you want to incorporate into the ceremony. Perhaps you come from Scottish lineage, from a family with a specific tartan. There exists the opportunity to highlight the colours, discussing the story of how the design came to be. While not of Scottish stock, I can easily source some interesting tidbits to amuse the wedding party. Furthermore I can read from a specific Scripture, or a passage from your favourite French Renaissance author. The more information that you provide to the officiant, the more accurate the "words from the pulpit".

  9. Pay the wedding officiant half of the fee to secure the date. The other half is due on the day of the wedding, prior to the signing. Good practice suggests paying all vendors in advance, at least a week prior to the function (brief caveat** adjust vendor gratuities after service, not before). The deposit secures your day, ensuring the the officiant is both dedicated to the time slot and prepared for the festivities. The date is not guaranteed until the deposit is rendered. 

  10. Receive the preliminary wedding script outline, submitted for your approval and review. If a correction is needed it can be returned with notes by email. It is recommend to go over the "beta" copy together with your spouse, using a pen to adjust the wording as you see fit. It is common for couples to remember things-after reading the first copy-as it tends to jog their memory. 

  11. The officiant will arrive 30 minutes prior to the service. The wedding service will be roughly 30 minutes in duration, with an additional 20 minutes for signing the marriage license. 

  12. After the ceremony, three documents will be signed. The first copy is the official marriage license, delivered completed to the Registrar General in Thunder Bay. The second is a temporary marriage license, signed by the wedding officiant and the two witnesses. It is very common to take a picture with this document, the first “official” proof that you are now husband and wife. Lastly, the third document is the official marriage register, another requirement of the Ontario Marriage Act (2005). Regardless of where you are, remember that you are there together as one. My job is not to generate the fire between you two, but to instead serve as a mirror illustrating your passion for one another.

  13. The wedding officiant will send your completed marriage license to the Registrar, sent by Xpresspost. This comes with a tracking number, arriving within 3 days or so.

  14. Once you have waited a couple weeks, apply for your certified marriage licence in the mail. The short form is shaped like a credit card while the long form is a verified copy of the marriage license that you all filled out together. This is for travel visas, immigration, inheritance and so forth.

  15. Congrats! You are married! I wish you happiness, success, fulfillment, and a strong relationship with our God.

If you have any questions, please contact me using one of the many forms available on this website. While based in Toronto, eloping options are available around Southern Ontario. This includes Muskoka, Prince Edward County, Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Oshawa, Bowmansville, Belleville and surrounding area. 

Please note that all fees reflect a Toronto Elopement package, with addition fees rendered for driving. If cost is a factor, please consider the drive in to the city. 

My name is Brother Jeremy and I am your Toronto Wedding Officiant. 

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