It’s spring, that time of year many of us look forward to new beginnings. We slowly venture back outside, the trees and flowers star to bud, and love is in the air! For some that means taking things to the next level by getting married. PinkPlayMags has compiled a list of wedding tips and tricks to ensure that special day is the best it can be, by having companies who are experienced in same-sex weddings offer you their personal advice and suggestions.  From choosing the right venue and officiant, to deciding on the scope, size, and location, we’ve got you covered. Read on and contact any of the companies listed below for more information, and please let them know you heard about them on PinkPlayMags special Matrimony Supplement.

Your Ceremony, Your Way

The wedding ceremony is the cornerstone of your wedding day. Without it there will be no reception, no flowers, no caterers, no photographer, and no guests. Planning your ceremony can be a perplexing task. Over the years in Canada, LBGTQ weddings have streamlined themselves with the “straight” styled weddings. There are no long lists of “what you must do”, since you are probably breaking the pattern of expectations of family weddings. How you plan your ceremony is entirely up to you and the comfort level of your officiant.

It is no secret that many of us in the LBGTQ community know we are different. We have known for many years, and due to the acceptance of who we truly are, we have become more conscious, more aware and more creative. Our relationship may be a fairy tale romance, or one that empowered each of us to become better than we were before, and for that reason we can celebrate our wedding day in a variety of amazing ways.

How you share this commitment to each other is entirely up to you. Many of your guests will be attending your ceremony with anticipation of experiencing something different and memorable. Determining your budget will enable you to decide on the type of wedding you can afford, and the level of luxury you wish to implement. Once you have chosen the officiant who you feel relates to the ceremony you wish to have, you have some work to do. Although there may be many ideas that can be found online, the best ideas will come from your own designs.

In the past we have officiated gender-neutral ceremonies at high-end venues with a large guest count, and an even larger budget. We have also conducted ceremonies in a couple’s living room with very close friends, followed by an elegantly catered dinner and a night out in the village. Whether it was a large banquet hall with a vinyl covered dance floor, or the ceremony where the couple’s dog sat on a groom’s lap, these events have had similarities. They were all personal, meaningful and enjoyed by all in attendance. As long as you are true to yourselves, the rest will fall into place.

You can choose to include some traditional and cultural rituals. It can be great fun to go with a themed wedding; from attire to decorations to food and favours. You may choose to have a very simple ceremony followed by a destination wedding or luxurious honeymoon. You may choose to have a wedding that follows family traditions with a touch of creative flair. Being able to marry is still new to “us” and it has a high reverence for many. However, this is also the opportunity to step out of the box and create a memorable event for all.

Whatever the possibilities, you are in control of your ceremony. Although there is some legal wording that may need to be included, a good part of your ceremony script and ideas should be the reflection and celebration of your love. Let your heart be the rule book for your wedding and don’t be fearful to create the memory of a lifetime!

Robb McDonald and Patricia Glogowska, All Seasons Weddings Ceremonies Limited

Robb McDonald and Patricia Glogowska are experienced officiants at All Seasons Weddings and have great knowledge and experience in helping create meaningful ceremonies. They are both passionate about weddings, especially those in the LGBT community. Gay Weddings Ontario is a wedding ceremony service for the LGBT community, with services in Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Windsor, and most communities in Ontario.

All Seasons Weddings Ltd. 3249 Yorks Corners Rd Kenmore (Ottawa), ON K0A 2G0 1-800-545-3681 ,

Weddings in the Village
Romance Comes in Different Packages

A growing trend in The Six right now is to skip the formal and more traditional style of wedding that requires planning (as much as two years) in advance. What options do you have apart from a drab City Hall ceremony, and then going for drinks at the local? People interested in traditional weddings, go for luxurious locations and they quickly grab every Saturday available. Couples now are searching for options. Options that cater to their busy professional lifestyles. What is on the trend? A more laid back celebration, a party with style, but without all the pomp. It doesn’t have to take place on the traditional Saturday, and a Friday night or mid-week would work perfectly.

The challenge with bar and pub locations is they lack character. There often is no history and memory that can be remembered when tying the knot at the same place you get your cheap pints at on a Thursday. So how do you celebrate your love in an epic location all the while adhering to a reasonable budget? Not to mention without disrupting your busy lives?

Berkeley Events introduces Chapel Weddings  at The Berkeley Bicycle Club. Celebrate your love in an intimate fashion at their unique venue with only the closest people in your life. We recognize the vision of a perfect wedding is different for everyone, and if the idea of a small, shortened and intimate gathering appeals to you, Berkeley Chapel weddings are the perfect fit. Every detail has been considered for your special day. Arrive, say I DO, and then celebrate with family and friends. Create a moment that you will cherish forever.

If a traditional ceremony is more your style then Berkeley is the best place to get married in Toronto. After being in the wedding business for 20 years, they are known for exceptional customer service, and provide not only the venue for your ceremony, but a coordinator, flowers, catering, photography and more. Voted by BlogTo as one of the top places to get married, experience the Berkeley magic for you and your partner.

The Berkeley Bicycle Club, 504 Jarvis Street, – 416-361-9666

Jonathan Walsh, Marketing Manager, Berkeley Events

Operating Toronto’s most unique event venues since 1999, Berkeley Events is the authority on full-service event execution. Pioneering creative spaces and memorable experiences is what Berkeley Events does best. Launching with the much-acclaimed 1871 Berkeley Church, Berkeley Events has expanded to include The Berkeley Field House, Airship37, La Maquette, The Berkeley Bicycle Club and a full-service catering division.

Berkeley Events – 315 Queen St. East. Toronto, ON. M5A 1S7 416 361 9666

The Importance of Choosing a Venue That Gets You

So, you’re getting married… Congratulations! You’re in the midst of planning your wedding and you’re looking for the perfect venue. Have you and your partner ever walked into a wedding venue and when the person greeting you realizes you are gay, the response is over the top “oh wow, that’s fantastic, so cool that’s great, so great …” On the one hand, hearing that is kind of odd and can feel like you’re a spectacle. On the other hand, it’s truly amazing that we live in a city where people can and do say that. However, it’s time to be acknowledged as unique for who you are, not what you are.

So, what is it about choosing a wedding venue that would be important to a same sex couple? The ambience, for sure. Location, yes. Price, absolutely. But what about the intangible. That something that you just can’t put your finger on, finding the venue that gets you, that understands you. A venue that gets that it’s not about being gay or lesbian or transgender, it’s about who you both are as individuals. That is the most important factor in planning one of the most important days of your life. At Pegasus Hospitality Group, their venues, Palais Royale and the Grand Luxe Event Boutique, have been host to all kinds of weddings of various ethnicities, religions, traditions and lifestyles, including same-sex weddings. No two couples are alike, therefore there isn’t a cookie cutter recipe for the perfect wedding. The perfect wedding is what the couple creates. We understand that for many same-sex couples, a wedding in the traditional sense, may or may not be a true reflection of who they are.

Realistically, for any wedding there is no right or wrong, and many couples choose to reinvent their special day, choosing venues that welcome you with the understanding of going above and beyond your expectations, no matter the religion, the tradition or the style of your event. Staffing is also important when choosing a venue. Both Palais Royale and Grand Luxe pride themselves with their diverse team.

Having Also, having an owner who is a member of the LGBTQ community has led to the production of numerous events coordinated by the Pegasus Hospitality Group for the LGBTQ community over the past 10 years, and has nurtured a diverse team of staff to execute their events in a positive environment, that is safe and inclusive.

When planning a same-sex wedding, it’s important that the venue and vendors are LGBTQ positive and listen to your needs and desires, taking pride in the respectful and enjoyable manner with which an event is planned for their clients.

Keeping diversity at the forefront has kept Pegasus constantly growing and has also given them the ability to create new events that are forward thinking. They’ve created a business of elegance, acceptance, quality and excellence, and now you are invited to find the wedding that is uniquely yours where Style, Originality and Service Beyond Expectation will become a reality!

Mary Lou Borg, Pegasus Hospitality

Mary Lou Borg has spent her career in the hospitality business. For the past ten years, she has been partner at Pegasus Hospitality Group, which encompasses the Historic Palais Royale Ballroom, the Grand Luxe Event Boutique, The Exchange Café and The Food Studio Catering. She has also established CHIC Productions, an event company which produces leading edge events for the LGBTQ community. Pride events at the Palais Royale are one of the largest in the city of Toronto. Much of the business at Palais Royale and the Grand Luxe cater to weddings, and Mary Lou strives to continue to produce weddings for the LGBTQ community with style and originality.

Robert Van Horne, Senior Sales Coordinator, Palais Royale Ballroom

Robert first encountered Palais Royale when he was hired to perform in drag as his alias Alisha Van Horne, for Chic Productions in 2009. He was then hired on as an Executive Event Assistant, where he learned the ropes and was then promoted to become an Event Coordinator within the company. Currently, as Senior Sales Coordinator, he works on various projects and locations within the company. Robert became a more involved member of the LGBTQ community when he started his drag career as Alisha Van Horne in 2005, working alongside many other queens and performers at various establishments, fundraisers and Pride events on Church Street and beyond. He holds many titles, Miss El Convento Rico 2008, Miss Gay Ontario 2008, and Miss Gay Toronto 2014.

Pegasus Hospitality Group – 416 533 1573,

Palais Royale – 1601 Lake Shore Blvd. West Toronto, ON, M6K 3C1 416-533-3553 ,

Destination Weddings for the LGBT Community

You’ve asked your partner to marry you. Now what?  Will it be the tranquil waters splashing against your guests on the beach as you say your vows, or the chiming of the church bells in a Gothic cathedral as you stand together? Determining where and how to be married is a big chunk of planning. Having the internet at your fingertips makes it easier to browse destinations no matter where it is you want to go.

If you desire to stand on the warm sand and walk down an aisle of roses, then a destination wedding would be perfect for you. Before making any financial commitments to any travel operators you’ll have to do some homework.  First off, find out what the local laws are regarding same-sex marriage.  Many of the beautiful destinations we see online and in tour operator magazines do not support or tolerate non-traditional marriage.

For those wanting to get married in a warmer climate, one of the best destinations is Mexico – either Cancun or the Mayan Riviera. In the state of Quintana Roo same-sex marriage is legal and widely accepted. Speak to a destination wedding expert before securing a hotel, as some offer special rates and packages for LGBT weddings.

A destination wedding is a wonderful way to combine your honeymoon and ceremony. Resorts are eager to host your wedding and will have a vast array of wedding packages to choose from. Some couples may choose to invite only a few close friends and family to join in the adventure, while others may invite a large group.

When planning a destination wedding keep in mind that some people may not be able to attend due to work constraints, inability to afford the expenses, or other issues. Some may not have passports or be able to afford the added expense of getting those completed. If you decide to do a destination wedding having a family celebration upon return would be a wonderful way to include the family members who could not go.

Currently, most Canadian tour operators have promotions for LGBT destination weddings. In some cases you can hold up to 40 seats for a 120-day period with just a $300 deposit. This will allow you time to send out your invitations and get your guests to respond.

A great way to keep your guests informed of your destination wedding is to create your own wedding website. Through your own site you can keep your guests informed and give them something to look forward to when your date is far into the future. It will also allow some guests the opportunity to give you a wedding gift through an online registration system. This is great for any couple that has everything, yet could use some extra funds for their magical destination wedding.

When you take that next step you’ll need a hand. Total Advantage Travel and Tours Inc can offer you a wealth of help in planning your dream destination wedding. They have all the resources, and their expert travel planners are eager and ready to answer all of your questions to make your special day the most beautiful day of your lives!

Total Advantage Travel and Tours Inc. specializes in Destination Weddings. Your dedicated Destination Wedding Consultant takes care of all the details, from researching the resort that best matches your vision, negotiating rates, your on-site planner and your seat assignments, to helping you order custom gifts and arrange special events for your group. Destination Weddings: fun, stress-free, memorable and affordable for everyone on your guest list!

Total Advantage Travel & Tours Inc.
Phone – 416 240 7700
Toll Free – 1 800 419 1635

Robert Townshend, President and Founder, Total Advantage Travel & Tours Inc.

Robert Townshend is a graduate of Ryerson University and the Canadian Travel School. He was a professor at Centennial College teaching Travel & Tourism Courses. He sits on the travel agent advisory board of Air Canada Vacations.

Liz Devine, Total Advantage Travel and Tours Inc.

Liz Devine is a Social Entrepreneur, Tourism-For-Community-Good Advocate & Career Connector. Exploring new horizons, she is looking for honeymoon selfies from romantic destinations that welcome LGBTQ couples. Follow her @lesbiantravel . Contact one of our team members to plan your Destination Wedding, Honeymoon or romantic getaway.

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