October 15th, 2016 was a big day for me. A little over five years into our relationship and three years after we started living together, my partner Laura and I got married with our families by our sides. Right from the start, we knew we didn’t want to go big. The two of us would definitely describe ourselves as introverts, and that was a major factor – we didn’t want to put ourselves on display in front of hundreds of people. Also, the average cost of a wedding in Canada these days is pushing $30,000, which did not appeal to either or us. So, how did we do it? We did it our way!
The first step was finding a date that worked for the two of us, as well as our families. Once we determined that, we were able to book the wedding chapel at Toronto City Hall. We chose a Saturday and ended up with a booking that was pretty early in the morning, at 10am. Initially this seemed a little too early, but it turned out to be perfect. The weather was ideal that day, and it gave us the chance to have our lunch relatively early so everyone could eat and be on their way. We also had great late morning lighting for our photos.
The next thing we had to do was get our marriage license, which is also done at City Hall and is required on your wedding day. After that, it was a matter of putting together the rest of the pieces.
We ordered our rings from Made You Look, a shop that works with local designers to provide their clients with custom handmade jewelry. We opted for matching bands made of titanium, with a yellow gold stripe down the middle. This is the one part of our wedding where we spent a little more than anticipated, but we don’t regret it one bit.
The next thing we both worked on was our outfits. I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say that my suit, shirt, tie, socks and shoes cost more than her dress and shoes, probably because there were more pieces to my outfit and she got a good deal on a dress she loved. We ordered a simple white floral and herb bouquet from Crown Flora, who also made my boutonniere. It was all coming together.
The day arrived, and suddenly, we were married. The ceremony was shorter than we had anticipated, which gave us some time to explore the upper level outdoor area at City Hall. I didn’t even know you could go up there and highly recommend it if you like to do a little urban adventuring. We were also able to spend a good amount of time with our photographer David (a very talented friend of a friend), getting some great shots of us and our families.
We picked a restaurant that we love that also happens to be fairly close to City Hall. Momofuku was very nice to accomodate us in their bar on the second level, which was closed to the public and gave us a nice private place to celebrate. We ordered their large format fried chicken meal and it was a hit. We also added some sides, such as rice cakes and scallion pancakes, and sent everyone home with dessert items from the restaurant's Milk Bar.
All in all, in our eyes, it was a perfect wedding. We were able to include our loved ones and celebrate in a way that felt natural and comfortable – with no public spectacles of affection and our savings still intact. It was relaxed, enjoyable and felt like the right fit for us as a couple. If you’re planning on getting married but dread the wedding itself, remember that it’s okay to have a simple celebration that reflects what you really care about. If you want to elope or get married with just your ten closest friends, do it. In the end, a wedding is about two people coming together – all of the glitz and traditions are options that you can take or pass by. We did it our way, and we’re happy we did.
Written by Dale Harrison
Dale can answer your questions about web development and technology, or how to grow your own vegetables.