Are you considering eloping in Ontario? If so, you’re in for a beautiful and intimate experience! There are many things to consider when planning your elopement, such as choosing the right season, which landscapes to consider, and what time of day to elope. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your elopement is everything you dreamed of! In this article, we’ll provide a guide to help make your elopement planning easier. Keep reading for more information!
Why eloping in Ontario might be right for you
Eloping in Ontario is becoming increasingly popular for couples looking to tie the knot. Why? Well, for starters, eloping in Ontario means that you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of planning a big wedding. Plus, you can elope in any season – whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland or a summertime paradise, Ontario has it all! Did you know Niagara Falls in Ontario is the elopement capital of Canada and the Honeymoon Capital of the World? So you KNOW you’re looking to elope in the right place! And let’s not forget the most important reason of all: eloping in Ontario means that you can say your vows surrounded by the people (and animals) you love most. So if you’re thinking about eloping, Ontario is the perfect place to do it!
The benefits of eloping in Ontario
Eloping in Ontario has become a popular option for couples looking to get married without all the hassle and expense of a traditional wedding. And it’s no wonder why – eloping can be a great way to have an intimate, unique and memorable wedding day. Not only is eloping meaningful and deeply personal, but it can also be more affordable, relaxing, and unique. Plus, there are plenty of amazing elopement locations in Ontario, from Niagara Falls to Algonquin. If you’re thinking about eloping, here are some reasons why you should definitely consider eloping in Ontario!
First of all, eloping in Ontario is incredibly convenient! Especially if Ontario is a place you already call home. There’s no need to worry about booking an international venue or coordinating with vendors speaking another language – you can simply show up on your wedding day and elope! Plus, eloping is typically much cheaper than having a traditional wedding, so you’ll save money while still having an amazing wedding day!
Secondly, eloping in Ontario means that you’ll have plenty of amazing locations to choose from. Whether you want to elope in the rugged Crown Land of Thunder Bay or in the middle of the stunning Muskoka wilderness, there are plenty of gorgeous locations in Ontario that will make your elopement even more special.
Finally, eloping is the perfect way to have an intimate and unique wedding day. Without the distraction of guests or the pressure of planning a big event, you and your spouse will be able to focus on each other and truly enjoy your wedding day. Eloping is also a great option if you’re looking for a non-traditional wedding – there’s no need to follow any rules or traditions when you elope!
So if you’re considering eloping, you won’t regret it eloping in Ontario!
Planning your Ontario elopement
So you wanna elope in Ontario? There are a few things to consider before you make the leap. First, where in Ontario do you want to elope? The province is huge, and each region has its own unique character. Do you want to elope in the wilderness of Algonquin Park, or among the Victorian architecture of Niagara-on-the-Lake? Pick a place that’s special to you, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. We can help you pick the perfect spot!
Second, what season do you want to elope in? Ontario is beautiful in all seasons, but each one comes with its challenges. A winter elopement means braving the cold, but you might be rewarded with a blanket of snow.
Third, what time of day do you want to elope? An early morning elopement means catching the sunrise over Niagara Falls, while a late night elopement could end with stargazing in cottage country.
You’ll also need to know the logistics of getting married in Ontario. How to make it legal, who needs to be there, and how you can make your elopement day legit without taking away from the experience. Once you’ve considered these factors, you’ll be well on your way to planning the perfect Ontario elopement.
Selecting a location
When eloping, one of the most important things to consider is the location. This can be tricky, as there are so many beautiful places to elope in Ontario. Do you want to elope in a secluded spot in the woods, or near a stunning waterfall? Perhaps you’re dreaming of eloping on a sandy beach, or at the peak of a scenic lookout. There are endless possibilities! (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you some of my favourites down below!) There are many great places to elope in Ontario, but make sure you pick a spot that feels special to you.
Once you’ve narrowed down your location, you can start planning the rest of your elopement day. Do you want a simple ceremony with just the two of you, or would you like to invite a few close friends and family? Perhaps you’re planning on eloping on a weekday, and want to keep the celebration low-key. What about the experiences you want to have on your wedding day? If you want to be able to have a bonfire and look up to see the stars, an urban city location won’t be the right fit. If you want to spend time at the lake surrounded by pines, then the farm fields of southwestern Ontario aren’t going to be your pick either. There are many different options available, so think about what would make your day unique and memorable. Whatever your plans, eloping in Ontario is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Choosing the right season
There are pros and cons to eloping in any season, but in Ontario, there are some things to consider before choosing when to elope:
Spring is a popular time to elope, as the weather is mild and the flowers are blooming. Late spring will also mean warmer, sunnier days and cooler nights. Even the ditches on the sides of highways burst into purple and yellow flowers, making beautiful spots to take photos plentiful. However, if you elope in spring, you run the risk of rain on your big day.
Summer is a great time to elope, as the weather is warm and there are longer days. It’s when you’ll have the most options for places, vendors, and activities to include on your wedding day. It will also likely be the best time for anyone you choose to invite to book some time off to attend your elopement. However, summer can be a busy time for vendors, and there is high demand and lots of competition. So book early to secure your dream team! You also might find summer TOO hot, especially in southern Ontario where temps can reach over 38C/100F and be incredibly humid. And depending on the month, black flies, mosquitoes, and other bugs will be wedding guests whether you want them or not!
Fall is personally my FAVOURITE time to elope, with the leaves changing colour and the air becoming crisp. It’s magical! Depending on where you go though, the rest of the province thinks so too! Places like Algonquin park are heavily congested when the fall colours come out, so if privacy is important to you, you’ll need to think of other factors as well. You’ll need to bundle up if you elope in autumn, as the temperatures can drop quickly in the evening, so make sure to think of that possibility too!
Winter can be a magical time to elope, with the snow adding a touch of romance. Who doesn’t love big fluffy snowflakes, cozy interiors, and the atmosphere of togetherness? However, you’ll need to be careful of ice and slippery conditions. And unless you are fully in LOVE with winter, managing the cold can be a big deterrent for some couples. (Not you though, Canadians know how to handle Canadian winters!) Ultimately, there is no wrong season to elope in Ontario – it all depends on what you’re looking for on your big day!
Consider the time of day
Eloping in Ontario doesn’t have to mean getting up at the crack of dawn to elope at Niagara Falls. Although eloping early in the day can help you avoid the crowds and may make it easier to get permits, there are other things to consider as well. For example, eloping in the early morning can often provide the best lighting for photos. However, it may also mean that you have to elope at a less popular spot, as many places are not open early in the morning. You may have to sacrifice sleep for solitude if you’re eloping in a park, popular location, or public land.
The lighting for photos will be different at different times of day, so if you’re hoping for a certain aesthetic, that’s something to keep in mind. Golden hour, (the time after sunrise and right before sunset) are the most popular times for photos. But if you’re planning on doing any activities like hiking or kayaking before or after you elope, you’ll want to make sure you leave enough time to do those things before the sun goes down.
The season you choose to elope can also heavily affect what time you choose for your wedding day activities. There is far less daylight in October than there is in June, and sunset in January will be before dinner, while in July it will be before bed.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what time of day to elope, but ultimately it’s up to you and what will make your elopement perfect for you.
The legalities of eloping in Ontario
Let’s talk about Ontario law. How do you legally elope? Well, there are a few different things that need to happen to be considered legally married in Ontario, but HOW you do them is up to you. before you run off to tie the knot, there are a few things you need to know about eloping in Ontario. Let’s look over the logistics:
The marriage license
First up, getting legally married requires a marriage license. You’ll need to obtain a marriage license from the province. You can do this by visiting your local courthouse or contacting the office of the Registrar General. Most major cities or municipalities will be able to put you in touch with the right office to get your marriage license. You will both need 2 pieces of identification and to be over the age of 18. The cost of a marriage license differs from city to city, but the province requires it to be a minimum of $75CAD. (You can usually expect to pay between $120-$175CAD.) Don’t wait too long to elope afterward though! The marriage license is only valid for 3 months.
It would be cool if Ontario was a self-solemnizing province like Colorado or California in the USA. But here in Canada, you’ll need an officiant to legally marry you. If you’re looking for who that could be, here are your options:
- A person registered with the Office of the Registrar General as a marriage officiant under the Marriage Act. This could be somebody eligible to perform religious marriages, like a priest, rabbi, or Imam. This can also be any individual celebrant who is registered and officiants private weddings.
- A municipal clerk
- A Judge
- Or a Justice of the Peace
Marriage Ceremony Requirements
You have to say the right words too! Both you and your partner must understand what it means to get married. Really understand. You must both voluntarily agree to be married in front of your officiant and your witnesses. The law calls this “enlightened and informed consent”. If you are forced to marry, it is not a legal marriage. It is against the criminal law to celebrate, help with or participate in a marriage ceremony if you know that one of the partners does not want to or is being forced to marry. The beautiful vows you say to each other are for you and you alone. The province only requires that you say out loud that you are both getting married voluntarily.
Who needs to be there
First and foremost, the two of you! No virtual marriages are allowed. You both have to be present and standing in front of your officiant to declare your enlightened and informed consent.
You’ll also need 2 witnesses to be able to, well witness, you make your declaration of enlightened and informed consent. Their status, relationship to you, nationality etc don’t need to be anything specific, as long as they are of sound body and mind, and can sign their name 3 times on the documents. They can even be total strangers to you that you meet on a trail or at the lake!
What happens next
After your wedding day, your officiant will send your completed and signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario to register the marriage. Once that’s done, you can apply for your marriage certificate. A marriage certificate is a legal record of a marriage. It lists the date and place of the marriage, and the names of the people who were married.
You may need this document to:
- show legal proof you are married
- apply for certain social benefits
- settle an estate
- change your last name
If you’re changing your name, (assuming your partner’s last name or hyphenating), you’ll need the marriage certificate! you can usually apply for your certificate about 6-8 weeks after your marriage date.
Planning the details of your ceremony
If you want to elope, especially if you want a “just us” wedding with as few people around as possible, having everyone around might not be the experience you were hoping for. The good news is that by throwing out the rulebook for traditional weddings, you get to make your own rules! It is EXTREMELY popular for couples to get married at a courthouse or something similar BEFORE their elopement! Yes really!
Couples who elope internationally often get legally married beforehand to avoid the sometimes complicated or time-consuming process of getting legally married in another country. Why not get the legal stuff out of the way before your Ontario elopement?
Let me debunk this elopement myth right here: Your wedding day is the day you choose to commit to each other in every way that matters. Doing the paperwork another day will NEVER change the date of your wedding day. That is the day that YOU CHOOSE to begin your marriage. There’s no shame in choosing to do the legal stuff beforehand to have the private, intimate experience that you both want.
You can also use the opportunity to invite your close friends and family to your legal ceremony to include them in your wedding plans. This is a great way to bridge the gap between an elopement and a traditional wedding that can satisfy anyone upset they won’t be able to join you on your elopement.
My favourite elopement spots
Ok, I know I promised to share my favourite spots, but how can you choose?!! There is something for everyone and it all depends on your style, what you want to do, where you want to go, when you want to get married, and who’s coming with you. And while individual location scouting is a service I provide exclusively for the couple who book with me so they can find the perfect spot, these regions are my absolute favourites for eloping.
- The Bruce Peninsula: The Bruce Peninsula is home to some of the most stunning scenery in all of Ontario. From the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay to the towering cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, there’s no shortage of breathtaking vistas. And with plenty of hidden coves and secluded beaches, it’s easy to find a spot that feels totally away from it all. Summer is a very popular time to visit, but if you want to see The Grotto and not run into a single person, look into eloping in winter like these two!
- Algonquin Provincial Park: Algonquin Provincial Park is a true wilderness paradise. With over 7,000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness to explore, it’s the perfect place to elope if you’re looking for an adventurous and truly unique experience. There are also plenty of beautiful spots to exchange vows, like at the edge of a secluded lake or beside a majestic waterfall.
Want even more amazing spots to elope in Ontario and across Canada? Check out the Most Scenic Places To Elope in Every Canadian Province
Final tips for planning your perfect elopement
And that’s a wrap! Now that you’ve read through all of my tips for eloping in Ontario, you should be well on your way to planning your perfect day. Just remember to keep things simple, stay flexible, and choose a location that truly feels like home. With a little bit of planning (and a whole lot of love), your elopement will be an unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Thanks for reading, and I hope this has been helpful!