Gone are the days where City Hall was your only option for a Toronto elopement. Now your options are vast, modern, and easy to plan. In my experience, an elopement includes a ceremony, portraits, and lots of candid moments in-between. It can be as quick or as unhurried as you’d like it to be. Cherish the moment and make it as unique as the two of you.  As a Toronto elopement photographer I am sharing my best tips on how to make your elopement simple and easy.

Guests. How many guests would you like to have? Bare minimum: you need two witnesses. In a pinch your photographer can be one, but the officiant cannot. The number of guests you want will also help determine your wedding location. 

Location. Indoor or outdoor? Do you visualize saying your vows in a garden, by the water, at home, or in a modern studio space? Discuss with your partner the esthetic that best represents you both. You can choose a location that has meaning to you (e.g., your home, cottage, favourite park, etc.). Gardens or parks often require a permit for ceremony or photography. These places are often open to the public, so your ceremony might not be private. To avoid crowds, choose a ceremony time in the early morning or evening. A venue, hotel, Airbnb, or studio is indoors, weatherproof, and can guarantee privacy. Photo studios can be booked on an hourly basis which allows for schedule flexibility. A hotel or Airbnb can also be used as both a ceremony space and honeymoon spot. Some venues currently offer small packages for micro weddings, which is a great opportunity to get married somewhere beautiful at a lower cost. If you are flexible or have a smaller budget there are often discounts for weekday bookings.  

Officiant. Take the time to chat with your officiant and see if you mesh. Your ceremony is sacred. Choose someone who listens to your desires and incorporates your story into the ceremony.  

Outfits. Need an outfit in a hurry? There are a number of fantastic clothing rental stores in Toronto. Studio Fitzroy has several looks to choose from: dazzling ball gowns, simple white dresses, jumpsuits, and suits. If you’re looking for a wedding dress, some bridal shops will sell dresses off the rack and there are preloved bridal dress shops as well. Suit rental stores such as Moores also have good options.  

Rings. A pair of wedding bands are all you need for the ceremony. If you’re looking for something vintage and glam, look no further than St. Eloi.  From a simple pair of wedding bands to an elaborate engagement ring, St. Eloi has got you covered. Past couples have also used silver rings (think Swarovski) if they don’t have rings in time.  

Flowers. A bouquet is a great accessory to your ensemble, and they give your hands something to do. A floral arch is also a great way to personalize your ceremony with colour and beauty. From neutrals and pastels to warm tones, your colour palette choices are endless.  

Virtual Guests. Bring a laptop or phone so your virtual guests can watch you get hitched! Hot tip, use bluetooth headphones (one for each person) as a microphone so your virtual guests can hear your vows. Remember to sync your headphones to your device and try a test run before the ceremony.

Photographer. I might be tooting my own horn here, but what’s a wedding without beautiful photos to remember it by? Your wedding will be one of the most monumental moments in your lives—don’t leave it up to guests to document it. For many of my couples, their wedding photos are how they announce their marriage. Their wedding photos give those who couldn’t attend an inside look into how the day felt. Choose a photographer who shares your style, understands what you’re looking for, and can be a mix of fly-on-the-wall and art director. I love photographing elopements. I find that the relaxed nature of elopements really let the couple’s personalities shine through. Your elopement can be as elaborate or simple as you like. You’ll look back on this day fondly for years to come. Choose vendors who share your vision, and the day will run smoothly. Your elopement is about living in the now and moving forward with your life together.