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Recently, many couples are having to postpone their weddings due to Covid-19. Even though many couples are still looking forward to the large celebrations they had originally planned, city hall elopements are becoming a popular trend. Eloping is a simple solution for those wanting to get married now rather than later. Before you decide to elope at City Hall there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, to elope doesn’t necessarily mean to run away and get married without telling anyone. In modern times, if the couple wants to elope it may be because they want to forgo a large and traditional wedding. In today’s world, with the situation surrounding the coronavirus, couples may have no other choice but to get married sooner rather than later. Having a quiet and simple wedding is better than no wedding at all. Especially now, with governments putting a limit on the number of guests you’re allowed to have at gatherings. The smaller the wedding, the better.

In saying that, there are many benefits to eloping or having a micro wedding. For instance, having a wedding with 50 guests or less is not only the safer and more healthy alternative to a wedding with 150+ guests, but it also allows for a more personalized celebration. With limitations on how many people are allowed at city hall elopements, this type of celebration is probably best kept amongst your closest family and friends. If you decide to have an elaborate reception afterwards, then you may choose to invite more guests. 

Things to consider when getting married at city hall

Applying for a Marriage License

Your first step is to apply for a marriage license. Of which, you can either choose to apply online or in person at any City Clerk’s Office. Both you and your partner will need to bring two pieces of acceptable government issued identification along with your completed application. Please note that a marriage license is only valid for 90 days from the date it was issued. So when you apply for your marriage license make sure it is within 3 months of the date you wish to get married.

The Amount of Guests Allowed at a City Hall Elopement

The City of Toronto has four wedding chambers you can book for your ceremony. The most popular is Toronto’s City Hall Wedding Chambers that has seating available for up to 15 people. The guest count varies for any of the three Civic Centers. For instance, the North York Civic Center can seat up to 40 people, the Scarborough Civic Centre can seat up to 22 people, and the York Civic Center can seat up to 25 people. The maximum occupancy in each of these chambers is not to be exceeded.

The Costs of a City Hall Elopement

On average, a city hall wedding can cost $500, not including the reception you have afterwards. For your convenience, I’ve provided a break down of the fees you can expect to pay. In Toronto, a marriage license costs $140, not including HST. To book any of the wedding chambers at the three Civic Centers we previously listed will cost $117.10. Please note an officiant is not provided at any of these locations. An officiant is only provided at the Toronto City Hall Wedding Chambers. To have your elopement there though, will cost $290. The duration of the room rental for all of these locations is only 30 minutes, but if needed, you may request additional time.

How an Elopement Ceremony is 

Typically, city hall weddings last for 15 minutes. With the room rental, you are allotted the space for 30 minutes, giving you some extra time for pictures. During your ceremony you will need to show your marriage license to your officiant and have two witnesses present to sign it. A record of solemnization of marriage, which is not a marriage certificate, will be given to you at the end of the ceremony. You may only then apply for a marriage certificate 10-12 weeks from the date your marriage took place.

Other Things That May be Happening There

For the most part, weddings tend to be intimate and quite occasions, but keep in mind that city halls and civic centers are very busy places. You will have to deal with the traffic of people, other celebrations and of course, protests that may be happening outside.

Alternative Elopement Locations

If eloping at city hall doesn’t appeal to you, you can choose to elope anywhere. Especially during the summer months when the weather is nice. City parks, gardens and indoor conservatories are lovely locations to have a small and intimate elopement ceremony. The fee to use these public spaces in Toronto is $192.01, which is just a little more expensive than any of the three civic centers, but it will be well worth the extra money.

Hiring a Wedding Planner

Many wedding planners have now added elopements to their service offerings. If eloping is something you are interested in doing, and would like to hire a wedding planner to coordinate all the details, take a look at our Pas De Deux all-inclusive elopement package. All you have to do is select a date, time and location and we’ll take care of the rest. Making your wedding planning journey a simple and stress free process. This elopement package is great for couples who have postponed their wedding and don’t want to wait to get married. As well as for those who are wanting a smaller more intimate ceremony. Covid-19 may have caused us to change the way we look at weddings but no matter how we choose to celebrate, love will always prevail!