Unique Wedding Venues in the GTA
If you’re in the process of planning a Toronto wedding, I’m sure you know how endless the possibilities are when it comes to choosing a venue. Planning a wedding in a city brimming with stunning wedding venues to choose from can become overwhelming very quickly. A wedding planner often comes in handy when it comes to this aspect of the planning, but if you’re on your own the options can seem endless. With all of these choices, how do you know what to look for?
Worry not, we’ve created a comprehensive list of wedding venues in the GTA to help you decide where to have your big day; this is only the first post of a new series where we will list a number wedding venues in and around the GTA. Focusing on the aesthetics of each venue, we’ve linked the website to each respective site below, so that you and inquire about pricing and decide which works best for your budget. For our first addition to this series, we’ve chosen unique and “artsy” venues that would likely be best suited for those who aren’t fond of garden gazebos and banquet halls, and who would like something a little different for their nuptials. Keep reading to find out what are some of our favorite wedding venues in the GTA!
Imagine the insane wedding pictures you’d be able to get, having your nuptials inside Toronto’s aquarium that houses jellyfish, stingrays, and a variety of exotic fish.
The only thing cooler than saying your I do’s alongside sharks is doing it beside dinosaurs. Choose to get married in your favorite exhibit at the ROM!
Located in Toronto’s quaint yet popular Distillery District, Arta Gallery exhibits world-class pieces from international artists.
Get married in the Gardiner Museum’s Terrace room, where you’ll have a stunning view of Queen’s Park through their floor-ceiling-windows. The ceramic pieces in the actual museum will have your guests raving!
Originally a stone distilling and milling building, the Fermenting Cellar features heavy timber beams and trusses, as well as Kingston limestone walls from its initial construction in 1861.
This multi-purpose lounge and venue space features incredible exposed brick walls, as well as tasteful vintage furniture that will transport you back to the 19th century Victorian era.
Located on Queen Street West and constantly featuring new exhibitions by a variety of artists and photographers, Twist gallery is the perfect venue for a modern, intimate wedding in the city.
Aside from the food, the architecture of this restaurant is the real stunner. High pine ceiling, concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and reclaimed timber bar and tables combine the contemporary style with the historic tradition of the Distillery District.
Originally built in 1907 as a department store, the Burroughes now functions as an event venue, boutique retail spaces, and office suites on the ever-trendy Queen Street West.
Prestigiously located on Toronto’s University Avenue in the heart of the city, the University Club of Toronto is an inspiring and historical space. To top it all off, there’s access to a treasured wine cellar!
It’s a castle… Need we say more? Doesn’t everyone dream about getting married in a castle? This Gothic revival style house and garden is located in midtown Toronto was built in 1911. It’s now a museum and landmark with decorated suites, secret passages, stately towers, estate gardens as well as luxurious stables
This is only a small portion of the available wedding venues in the GTA. If none of these sites pique your interest, look out for our next addition to this series, where we’ll be featuring more tradition banquet hall styled venues. Wedding Venues In The GTA.
Bridal Party Duties
What the heck is everyone supposed to do?!
You chose your bridesmaids and groomsmen because they’re the ones you love most, and you want to be surrounded by good vibes and positive people on your wedding day. Although they’ll help you have the most amazing wedding day full of memories you’ll never forget, they also have certain duties they need to fulfill. Here are a few key bridal party duties we think that they should handle:
Make sure the bride AND groom make it to the wedding in one piece.
There are a million and one things that can go wrong on the day of your wedding, but none of those things matter as long as both you and your significant other make it down the aisle and live out your happily ever after. Cold feet, flat tires, hysterical family members, and wardrobe malfunctions are all crises that can be diffused by your loving bridal party. You can choose to prep them before the big day with all of the emergency phone numbers and materials they may need, so that they can take care of all the minor calamities themselves.
Throw the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Let’s be real, you and your spouse to be haven’t been ‘single’ since you met, but you can both still enjoy your respective parties. Take this chance to go out and really appreciate the friends who have been there for all the upsand downs, and who’ll continue to support you. Let your bridal party spoil you and take care of you on your bachelor or bachelorette party- let free, relax, and enjoy yourself before the big day!
Host the bridal shower.
This job is typically left up to the bridesmaids, but the groomsmen can definitely be enlisted to help with the bridal shower as well! There’s a lot that goes into planning a shower- decor, venue, food, favors, games, and more. This is an important event that requires a copious amount of care and attention to detail- it’s where you’ll get (almost) everything you need to start your new life with your husband or wife to be!
Go to dress fittings with the bride.
Bridesmaids, the most important thing you can do at your bride’s dress fitting is learn how to properly bustle her dress! You know what they say: a dress is only as beautiful as its bustle. Well, they don’t say that… but they should. Many brides will only let their train bask in its full glory during the ceremony, and will spend the majority of their reception with their dress bustled. Since you’ll be wearing your bustle for a while, it’ll likely be in pictures- and you don’t want to be looking at a lopsided bustle in your wedding pictures 30 years from now.
Help with the details.
Tying and curling ribbons on 250 wedding favours is a tedious task, but your bridal party should be prepared to do just that. It’s important that they lend a helping hand to you with all of the little details- you have a ton going on as it is, and we’re sure any help is appreciated. After all, they are your maids and men, they should be doing all they can to make your life easier!
These are just some general guidelines of what your bridal party should be handling throughout your wedding planning process. Don’t be afraid to enlist them to some heavy lifting- they’re honored enough to be an integral part of your big day, and they should help make it come to life!
Do you have any fun memories of your bridal party, or of being in one yourself? Leave us a comment and let us know about your bridal party experiences!
A warm sunny day at Ashbridges Bay
Last week we had the pleasure of working with a number of amazing vendors on a rose gold themed style shoot at Ashbridges Bay. We collaborated with makeup artist Sonia Kang, photographer Thomas Zitnansky, florist Therese Guidolin, and Sinfully Sweet by Sonia J. With the combined efforts of these vendors and the entire Whim Event Coordination and Design team, the outcome was nothing short of stunning. The day was sunny and beautiful, and Ashbridges Bay was packed with people, all enjoying the gorgeous weather. The team arrived in the afternoon and quickly put together a simple, but stunning sweet table.
With the initial theme development by Whim, event coordinators Alisha and Michelle decided to execute their vision in a park-like setting at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto. The table decor and beautiful mock invitation made by Michelle was meticulously set up underneath a large oak tree near the beach, with Thomas Zitnansky expertly using the natural light to complement his photographs. One of the table setups included a soft rose coloured satin tablecloth with a delicate pink lace overlay. The second table setup featured a white satin tablecloth with a rose-sequined tablerunner down the front and sides of the table.
Despite the number of passersby and disruptive wind, the team of vendors managed to pull off a phenomenal shoot. The shoot was a wonderful experience, with many spectators stopping to say hello and ask about our shoot. By the end of the day, we all enjoyed some of the yummy sweets, had fun taking many photos, and had tons of ideas for our next collaboration. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and we have many great photos for the new version of our website (coming soon!). Stay tuned for more pictures from this lovely styled shoot, and please check out our awesome team of vendors!
Toronto Wedding Venues
Choosing a Toronto wedding venue is a crucial step when planning your wedding. The location and inner workings of the wedding venue that you pick are equally in importance, which is why it’s critical to ask all the right questions rather than selecting a site merely for its aesthetic value. Are you new to site visits and are unsure of what to inquire about? Don’t have a wedding planner to ask all the right questions on your behalf? Worry not; we’ll help you cover all the basics! Here are 20 questions that you need to ask your Toronto wedding venue!
- What is the maximum number of guests you can accommodate?
- Is this facility wheelchair accessible?
- Do you have an on-site coordinator or facility director? Who will be here to oversee the setup on the day of my event?
- Do you have a valid liquor license? Is it valid for your outdoor grounds?
- Am I allowed to bring in my own alcohol?
- Do you have in-house catering? Do I have the option of bringing in external caterers?
- What are your decoration guidelines & restrictions?
- Some venues don’t allow open flames, etc.
- Do you supply tables, chairs, linens, or place settings? Do I have the option to bring in my own?
- Is there a designated area for cocktail hour?
- You don’t want your guests crammed into a small lobby or left outside.
- Is there a private bridal suite?
- It’s nice to have a quiet place when you need a few moments alone. And no one wants to have to bustle their dress in the bathroom!
- Do you have on-site security? Am I permitted to employ my own security guards?
- Do you have a list of preferred vendors? Will I be allowed to employ vendors outside this list?
- If you haven’t started looking on your own, you can use their list get a kick-start with finding a DJ, caterer, photographer, etc.
- Who will be responsible for setting up and taking down the decor, tables and chairs? When will it be completed?
- Does the price per guest include liability insurance?
- If your venue doesn’t have liability insurance, you’ll want to get your own- you don’t want to be responsible if someone gets hurt at your event
- What are the taxes and service charges on the food and beverage cost per person?
- Is the SOCAN fee included in your price?
- SOCAN licenses allow you to play any music during your event. Visit their site for more information.
- Is there sufficient parking in accordance with the maximum capacity of this venue? Is there a fee associated with parking? Is valet parking available?
- Are there any additional service charges?
- Do you have an alternative plan for outdoor events, should they be disrupted?
- What time must the venue be empty by? Is there a fee if I exceed this time?
Pro Tip: Try to schedule your site visit during the time of day (and year) that your event will be happening. This way you can get a good idea of the natural lighting in and outside of the venue, so that you can coordinate your photos beforehand. And make sure to get any agreements you make in writing, so that you have something to refer back to should there be any discrepancies in the process.
Be as thorough as possible when touring possible Toronto wedding venues- don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you want. If you have a number of venues in mind, asking the same questions during every visit can help you create a comprehensive pro and con list in the end, to aid in your decision.
Do you think we missed some questions? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think the most important question to ask your venue is!
By Tarisha Beniprashad
Wedding Planner vs On-Site Coordinator?!
What’s the difference? Do I need both? What do they do?!
The wedding planner vs on-site coordinator debate is a pretty popular one in the wedding industry, but to be honest, we don’t think it should be a debate at all. The roles of a wedding planner and the duties of an on-site coordinator are completely different- each position has its own merits. If you’re unsure of your stance in this debate, we’ve got you covered- we’ll tell you all there is to know about wedding planners vs on-site coordinators!
That’s us! Wedding planners are independent planners that you can hire to help you coordinate all of the little details of your wedding day, and even the days leading up to it. We help you plan everything from the invitations to flowers to caterers to transportation, and pretty much everything in between.
We’re with you on the day of your wedding from the beginning right until the end to ensure that everything runs smoothly from the morning of the wedding to the end of the reception. We aim to build both professional and personal relationships with our clients and really get to know them during their wedding planning journey so that we can do our best to make sure we plan a day they can’t forget, and have a little fun along the way!
These guys are usually employed by the venue of your wedding or reception, and don’t typically work with you on details outside of that. They’re the ones you meet to sign contracts and go over food and beverage choices, and pretty much anything else that’s going on at the venue. Their main job is to ensure that the festivities run in a smooth and timely manner, and that all of their services are delivered flawlessly. They may also suggest some vendors to you that they’ve worked with in the past, but that isn’t necessarily a part of their job description. You can depend on these guys to be present during your time at the venue, but they’ll likely leave before dinner is over and turn things over to the Banquet Manager, who will supervise things until the party is over.
So now that you know the specific roles of a Wedding Planner vs On-Site Coordinator, we’re sure that you can understand where we’re coming from when we say this shouldn’t be a debate in the first place. These positions cater to different needs, and generate the best results when they work together. If you’re trying to decide between a wedding planner vs on-site coordinator, here’s our advice: why not both? These two can work together to ensure your day goes off without a hitch, and will actually make each other’s jobs a whole lot easier. With a wedding planner you get someone to guide you through the entire planning process from start to finish and manage your vendors, and your on-site coordinator will take care of all the logistics relatingto the venue on the day of. Their jobs are equally important, and you’re guaranteed to have the day you’ve been dreaming of with both of them working together to make your vision a reality!
Whim Event Coordination and Design is a team of Toronto wedding planners who service the GTA and beyond. Leave a comment below and let us know what your thoughts are on the wedding planner vs on-site coordinator debate, and contact us today so we can help you get started on your wedding planning!
Today on the blog I want to address a common question:
Why hire a wedding planner?
I’ve had many brides and grooms tell me that they don’t need my services because they have a (insert friend, relative, co-worker, etc) who can handle their wedding planning for free, or that they consider wedding planning/coordinating to be an unnecessary expense. While I do not doubt that friends and family have the best of intentions with regards to assisting with wedding planning, even the best laid plans can fall by the wayside on the road to your big day. Let’s discuss three reasons to hire a certified wedding planner.
I say certified because the wedding industry is largely unregulated, and hiring an uncertified wedding planner is risky because essentially anyone can masquerade as a wedding professional. Insisting on hiring a certified planner creates a safeguard for the investment you have made into your big day. For example, Whim Event Coordination and Design is certified through the Wedding Planners institute of Canada, and as such we are governed by a strict Code of Ethics. A certified wedding planner will offer you expertise, convenience and value.
A certified wedding planner brings many skills to the table. For example, Michelle and I have an intricate network of vendors who know their way around most venues in the GTA. These are consummate professionals who are dedicated to customer service and creating a magical day for our brides and grooms. Since wedding planning is our passion, we are careful to create lasting relationships with other vendors who are just as passionate about weddings.
A good planner will have the skills to avoid (and if required, artfully fix) most wedding-day disasters. By employing a wedding planner at the onset of your planning, you will avoid a world of headaches on your wedding day itself. Your planner will know the vision of your wedding day, will be intimately familiar with your venue, and will have met and communicated with all of your vendors. Your planner will assist in creating your wedding day timeline, and will have a detailed list of your vendors and their set up times. Michelle and I usually act as a buffer between the vendors and the bride and groom on the wedding day, so that our couples can sit back and enjoy their day, and the vendors still have a point person to work with to ensure that everything flows smoothly.
An expert planner also has a fully stocked wedding day emergency kit and knows how to use it! A knowledgeable planner knows how to get red wine out of your white dress, how to quickly sew on a missing button, will have extra hairspray to fix your hair, knows how to repair a run in your pantyhose, and probably even has double sided tape to ward off any wardrobe malfunctions. Michelle and I always carry a huge emergency kit that has everything from safety pins, backdrop pins, snacks to keep the bridal party alive during photo sessions, lint brushes for the groomsmen’s suits, and even sanitary napkins in case of an ill-timed monthly visitor!
Probably the most common reason that Michelle and I get contacted for wedding planning services is the convenience that we provide to our couples and their families. Since we are so well connected in the events industry, we are easily able to provide our couples with recommendations for almost every type of vendor to suit the theme and feel of the event. If we don’t have a particular vendor recommendation, we are always able to reach out to our WPIC network to find a great vendor who is backed by other planners who had positive experiences using them.
The average wedding takes over 250 hours to plan, and that is time that most couples do not have to spare to comb through every vendor in the pool of thousands that exist in the GTA. By partnering with Whim Event Coordination and Design, you are afforded the luxury of time – time that you can use to enjoy the fun aspects of wedding planning, like dress fittings, cake tastings and being pampered!
We often have couples tell us that they feel as though they cannot afford a wedding planner because of a tight budget. While expertise and convenience ultimately save you time, which is, of course, valuable, a qualified wedding planner can save you actual money. We are the advocates of our clients and we represent their interests with every interaction with other vendors. We also spend a lot of time ensuring that your budget is followed so that you do not break the bank on your event.
I also mentioned that Whim Event Coordination and Design is WPIC-certified, and as a result, we adhere to a strict code of ethics. A key aspect of this is that we do not accept kickbacks. What I mean is that if a vendor offers us an incentive to refer our clients to them, we pass on any savings or perks that we receive directly to our clients. The reason for this is simple – when you sign a contract with us, you are our client and we are working for you, not for anyone else, therefore we do not accept payment from any vendor for referring them to our clients.
Many vendors offer kickbacks to incentivize their services, but a WPIC-certified wedding planner recognizes that vendors are only referred based on their merit, not based on any perks they may offer us. We have many vendors who are more than happy to offer discounts to our clients simply because of the relationship that we have built with them. Since we work for you, we are always very excited to pass along these perks to you! After all, it in our best interest for you to have the best wedding experience possible!
After spending so much money and time dreaming and planning for your big day, it would be a terrible shame to see those efforts wasted because there wasn’t an extra set of hands and eyes dedicated to making sure that all of the details were in place. At this point you have spent a lot of money to have a wonderful event for yourself, your family and your friends, so doesn’t it make sense to take precautions to protect that investment? As certified wedding planners, we are like insurance for your wedding; we make sure that your wedding runs beautifully and you get a top return on your investment!
Thanks for reading,
The Ladies of Whim