Toronto City Hall
Toronto City Hall is an unlikely place to witness the enduring power and beauty of marriage. Most people have a city hall wedding because they want something simple. They imagine they will sign a few papers in a dowdy office and that’s it. The reality is something else altogether. Toronto City Hall has a little wedding chamber on the third floor. Their, in house officiants, sort out all the details within twenty minutes. They go out of their way to make it a special moment. They play music. Offer you the option to walk down the aisle. They talk about marriage as a loving partnership but customize it. Whenever I photograph weddings here, the readings are always unique and relevant to the wedding at hand.
Eyes mist over, voices tremble. A mystery unfolds. The two emerge not just married under the laws of the Province of Ontario, but somehow transformed. Toronto city coordinates about 40 to 50 weddings a week. Some are spur of the moment, others arranged by family. Some couples arrive in shorts and T-shirts, others decked out in gorgeous saris or sharp dinner jackets. My couple today married during their lunch break. They work at a shop in Eaton Centre next door. And instead of eating, they got hitched.
I do a few Toronto City Hall elopements during the year. Most of my couples book me for two hours. This allows enough time to have a civil ceremony and take some photos with your attending guests/witnesses. Afterward, I take the couple on a little local tour of the city. This customized route depends on the couple’s personality and weather conditions.
For these two, the weather was the biggest challenge. A wet knot is harder to break. Superstition for sure. I’m not entirely sure how many couples believe rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck. Especially when that rain is a torrential downpour. When there is no option for being outside, having an emergency backup crucial. Allan Gardens Conservatory is my favorite backup. Though I have to admit that the restaurant’s bathroom we went to afterward might be a close second.
That was where their wedding ended and the family’s wedding began. They rented out a private room in a Toronto restaurant and hosted a mini reception for the bride and groom. There was a wedding cake, speeches, and iPod music selections playing in the background. These two probably figured they could have completed their wedding day in a couple of hours but the family wouldn’t allow it. They wanted to celebrate.