All About Weddings 2019
Choosing The Perfect Venue
Are you thinking about getting married? Already engaged perhaps?
Well you’re in the right city. We are fortunate to live in Toronto, where we can be who we are and are free to marry whomever we love. One of the biggest decisions when getting married is to find that perfect venue. One that is, first and foremost, LGBTQ welcoming and secondly one that meets all your needs and looks Fabulous! Here at Pegasus Hospitality Group, our collection of venues endeavors to meet all of those expectations. Our Grand Dame Palais Royale, resting on the shore of Lake Ontario, is truly a jewel in the city, taking its place as one of Toronto’s premier wedding venues. Our Grand Luxe Event Boutique sitting just north of the city, is where Avant guard meets luxury in this sophisticated and contemporary event boutique.
We would also like to introduce you to our newest gem, Harding Waterfront Estate, also overlooking the picturesque waters of Lake Ontario, and bordered by Joshua’s Creek in Mississauga. This venue is perfect for smaller weddings. We’ve realized that many of the same-sex weddings we’ve hosted at Palais Royale or Grand Luxe is a smaller, intimate gathering, which would also blend seamlessly at Harding. Rich in history and charm, Harding Waterfront Estate consists of the enchanting Bell-Gairdner House, a Coach House and an outdoor tented area. The Bell-Gairdner House, the property’s main building, is a beautiful mansion offering vintage appeal, grandeur and exclusivity, creating the perfect intimate atmosphere for events smaller in size. Larger functions are hosted on the Estate grounds in the tented area adjacent to the mansion May – October accommodating events with guests up to 200+.
Whether you are planning a large or small wedding, our venues Palais Royale, Grand Luxe or Harding Waterfront Estate offer elegance, acceptance, quality and excellence. We will help you plan a wedding day that will surpass all of your expectations.
Mary Lou Borg
Partner, Pegasus Hospitality Group
Love Is All You Need
Since 2005, same-sex marriage in Canada has been legal. And over the 13 years since, approximately 33% of same sex couples in Canada are legally married. Now, it’s no secret that not all people in the LGBTQ+ community agree with same sex marriage, but those who do enliven their weddings in so many special ways. Some do so in non-traditional venues, and some mark their day with a drag queen stomping it out on the dance floor. Regardless of their uniqueness, same sex weddings are inevitably joyous celebrations of something that is so universally common to all of humanity: love.
As a relatively new wedding officiant, I have had the privilege to lead the marriage ceremonies for a number of same-sex couples. In fact, the first gay wedding I ever attended was one where I officiated. It was the most remarkable of days, as the two grooms (one of whom I have known since high school) entered their venue to the loudest and most joyous round of applause I have ever heard in my life. They appeared at the venue entryway, following their well-groomed gaggle of groomsmen, hand in hand with smiles that grew only bigger as the cheering from their family, friends and loved ones marked the beginning of this very special moment in time. In fact, it took nearly three minutes for the applause to die down so we could get things started!
But I remember being amazed in that very moment, not only as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but also as an officiant, at how much love there was in that room. It was remarkable.
At the same time, not every couple has as easy a path to their marriage. Amid the joy of the occasion, for many LGBTQ+ people, the act of marriage is still political. For example, I remember another couple, where one of the grooms asked me to make sure I looked directly towards his father when I addressed the guests in saying “That no matter who we are, where we’re from, what we believe, or who we love, we know this for certain: love is one thing we’re actually doing right in this world.”
The groom’s father, in spite of his attendance at the ceremony, didn’t necessarily approve of the union. The couple believed that it was so very important at that moment in time for this father not only to hear those words spoken to him, but to hopefully realize that even though his son was gay, the fact that he found love in such a crazy complex world, was an indication that his father essentially, had done love right.
So, regardless of how your special day is captured, remember that your officiant can work closely with you to make sure it reflects who you are in this world. Same sex marriage is a right that generations of LGBTQ+ people fought for, and it’s a right that people need to continue to exercise – especially in complex and tumultuous times. Because when it all boils down to it, at the end of the day, straight or gay, love is all you need.
Chris McGrath is a wedding officiant with All Seasons Weddings. He has lived in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood for 15 years and he will be happy to help celebrate your bilingual (English/French) wedding ceremony in any of Toronto’s vibrant communities. Chris volunteers with the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation’s Friends for Life Bike Rally, loves cooking and entertaining, and exploring the city’s parks with his rescue dog, Jolene.
PDA On Your Big Day—To Kiss Or Not To Kiss
“I declare you married, you may now smooch!”
Officiating at Toronto’s World Pride wedding ceremony at Casa Loma, I was pleased to see my instructions were followed with gusto more often than not. Only a limited number of supportive family and friends were invited to participate in the largest wedding ceremony in North America, and their pride for the 115 LGBTQ couples shone through. But despite occasions like these, some couples continue to express, or exhibit, a discomfort with the globally recognized grand finale to the wedding ceremony—a romantic kiss.
My advice is: lock those lips if you want to! You are entitled to embrace the romance and tradition of sealing your vows with kiss, without worrying about the comfort levels of a few family members. Let me explain why I feel passionate about this.
At the start of every ceremony, I say, “By your presence you celebrate with them the love they have discovered in each other and you support their decision to commit themselves to one another for the rest of their lives.” By the simple act of their attendance, your guests have agreed to bear witness to your love and commitment. Even though you may not have been very physical with your partner in the company of certain family members, there is still the expectation that a kiss completes the ceremony. And you are entitled to honour that tradition.
Embracing the kiss, and putting your attention on your beloved and the step you are making, rather than on the opinions of others, legitimizes your marriage ritual. And there is no better time to express this than while surrounded by a room full of those who clap, cheer, and demonstrate that they are fully accepting and encouraging of your love and its physical expression.
Here are some ideas to help prepare you for this moment if you’re feeling worried:
- Consider a message in your wedding invitation that sets the expectation that a guest’s attendance is act of love and acceptance.
- Provide a program at the wedding service which outlines the ceremony, ending of course with the word KISS at the end!
- Prior to the wedding, warm yourselves and your family up by touching your partner at family functions, your engagement party, or rehearsal. Use gentle intimate approaches such as leaning on each other, cuddling, linking arms, holding hands, kissing the hand, cheek, forehead.
- Come out to your parents before you make your marriage announcement. Some families may be aware that your ‘special friend’ is more than just a friend, but avoid meaningful conversations. Now is the time to be more open and explicit.
- Don’t feel obliged to kiss at all. This is a tradition that may not apply to all personalities, cultures, and couples. Much like it’s your ceremony to kiss if you wish, it’s also your right to not to as well.
Some alternatives for you might be:
- Have a member of your wedding party unfold a fabulous fan in front of you while you seal the deal.
- A joyous hug.
- Cheek and forehead kisses.
- Have drapery fall from an arch, which you can dramatically exit from once you have your moment.
I’ve married straight couples who have also struggled with PDA and “the Kiss” in front of others. If your culture doesn’t typically express intimacy, and you hold that value as well, then do not feel committed to kissing if it doesn’t suit you.
In the same way that a ring physically symbolizes the vows you have made, the wedding kiss is a physical act that destigmatizes the intimacy that is, by love and law, your human right to express. This act is a visual demonstration that you and your partner fully acknowledge, accept and believe that your partnership is true, meaningful, and worthy of the same allowances of all other couples.
Your love is real, your commitment is celebrated, your right to express intimacy is valid, so if you wish, share a KISS!
Rev. Tade (Teddy) Credgeur, The Marrying Lady
Toronto Officiant, same-sex advocate offering spiritual & non-denominational customized ceremonies.
(Offers free weddings to couples arriving from countries where their rights are not recognized!).
Couples reviews are here.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile # 647-409-8233
Around the City: World Pride Mass Wedding Officiant, CBC Documentary “Let’s Get Hitched”, “Crazy Beautiful Weddings”
Podcast: Wedding Confessions
How To Pick Your Destination Wedding Squad
Did you say YES to a proposal this past Valentine’s Day?
Even before the glow of showing off your new bling has faded, you begin to ask the questions – Where? When? Who to invite? What kind of ceremony represents our love?
If you hold your nose at the thought of a big church wedding and pews filled with second cousins, and mom’s backyard doesn’t feel special enough, envision saying your vows at sunset on a warm beach, at the base of a rainforest waterfall, or in a tropical garden.
Apart from the romantic views, almost one third of same sex couples plan a destination wedding to celebrate their commitment because the organizing details are all taken care of, so the couple and their guests who want to be part of the experience can get to know each other in a relaxed vacation setting.
Having a team that includes a Destination Wedding certified Travel Agent who partners with an in-destination Planner ensures that services meet quality expectations, and that you will be welcomed and free to be open to show your affection to the love of your life.
Options on where to celebrate grow every year as more countries pass legislation to legalize LGBT human rights, including same sex marriage. It is now legally performed and recognized (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in 25 countries, and soon to be legal in Costa Rica & Taiwan.
Few places on earth can match the tropical beauty and biodiversity of Costa Rica, which is why many couples choose to get married there. Once they know the location and understand their client’s vision, the in-destination Planner looks for suppliers based on the available budget, adding suggestions and advice.
LGBT Wedding Planner Jeffrey Cervantes takes care of the planning, coordination, and logistics to create a unique celebration, adapted to client tastes and preferences, without losing sight of their budget.
“The only task of the client is to approve, discard, taste, indicate changes, and choose colors and styles among others. We take care of the hiring of each supplier and the follow-up of this.”
Many LGBTQ couples want to perform exotic weddings, beach weddings or mountain weddings. “Popular locations include La Fortuna de San Carlos, Bahia Ballena, Tamarindo Beach, Conchal Beach, Papagayo, Puerto Viejo Beach, and other beautiful places. After the ceremony, guests enjoy many beach and water activities, rainforest walks and hot springs, and visits to volcanoes, historic centers and animal sanctuaries” says Cervantes.
“LGBTQ newlyweds want to have the same wonderful memories as a straight couple”, says Robert Townshend, owner of Toronto-based Total Advantage Travel & Tours, which specializes in Destination Weddings and group travel to destinations that welcome LGBTQ travellers. Their Destination Wedding Consultants monitor trends and developments in LGBT destination weddings, where same sex couples can legally get married or have commitment ceremonies, and which resorts and countries will welcome all members of the wedding party. They encourage couples to have a civil ceremony at home first, and then be creative about how they completely customize their vows to reflect their relationship and commitment to each other.
“A destination wedding is a magical event you can host to bring your family and friends together”, says Townshend. Having a squad both here and there to make your celebration all about your love and commitment to each other ensures that you will be wrapped in care by your new besties from the moment you leave for the airport until you return back home filled with memories of love.
Liz Devine is a Social Entrepreneur, Tourism-For-Community-Good Advocate & Career Connector. She explores new horizons, admires romantically silly honeymoon selfies, and promotes destinations that welcome LGBTQ couples. Follow her @lesbiantravel . Contact the team at www.totaladvantage.com to plan your Destination Wedding, Honeymoon or romantic getaway. Contact Costa Rica Wedding Planner at www.jeffcervan.wixsite.com/crweddingplanner
How To Hire A Wedding Band
Welcome to the first Fusion Events blog post. As a talent agency and event coordination/consulting firm we have a unique view into the world of weddings. Our first post is near and dear to our hearts…wedding bands! CEO “Arthur Kerekes” comes from an entertainment background and started his career playing in wedding bands, specifically Juno nominated Toronto Powerhouse, God Made Me Funky. The following post is written by him:
“Face it you’ve probably never hired a band in your life…and chances are you never will again after the wedding. So what makes a good wedding band? It might be very different from what makes your favourite bands like U2 and Arcade Fire good. When hiring a wedding band remember that if you want a truly successful event with a packed dance floor all night you need a band that is versatile! Just because you love the Rolling Stones doesn’t mean that a tribute band is the answer. Of course you will want a band that can play some of your favourite songs and artists but you also want to entertain your guests…..don’t forget about the other 100-150ppl in attendance. They don’t all have the same tastes as you.
The first step to hiring the right band is sourcing out your best options. Wedding planners and your venue can be a good place to start as they have experience working with all kinds of vendors. The next logical choice is to ask around and see who your friends have been using. Keep in mind though that you maybe don’t want the same band as all of your friends. Will there be a lot of the same guests at your wedding? The next place to look is the internet. In 2011 90% of brides will book all of their wedding vendors using the web. If a band does not have audio and video samples on their website, or even worse, don’t have a website that raises serious red flags. Any good professional wedding band should have a website with audio and video. If they don’t even have a myspace page which is free and easy to set up they are not worth wasting your time and money on. I would suggest searching google and youtube and watching videos of bands on their websites and compiling your top 5 choices.
The next step is contacting the bands. First send an email inquiry and see what their initial responses are. Do they respond right away, the next day, 3 days later? This may give you some indication as to their level of professionalism. Do they call you on the phone? If they email you what information did they provide? How the potential bands respond might give you some idea as to who is right for you.
Before you make your decision make sure you do two things. First speak to the agent, manager, or band leader (depending on who handles their bookings) in person on the phone and make sure the band is available for your date. If they are have them hold the date and give you the right of first refusal. Do they sound like they know what they are talking about? Are they familiar with bands repertoire, band members, set up etc? Second, find out when they are playing and ask to see the band live before you book. If the band has no upcoming gigs for the next 3months are you sure you want to hire them? Most professional bands work 12months a year however keep in mind that January through to March can be slower than the rest of the year.
When looking to hire a band, ask questions, be informed, and most importantly feel confident in the person you are dealing with. This could be one of the single most important decisions you make about your wedding reception. If everything is perfect from decor to food, but the entertainment is bad everything else that was good will be instantly forgotten. So do your homework and good luck!!!
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