Your Complete Guide on How to Elope in Ontario

Ontario is a very underrated province when it comes to how much it has to offer, but don’t immediately write it off if you are looking to elope in Ontario. It may not have mountains or an ocean, but Ontario is home to the so many beautiful regions that each offer something special that will allow you to find the perfect spot for your elopement. Muksoka and Georgian Bay is home to thousands of fresh water lakes, crooked pine trees and the loveliest cottages. Head north into Northern Ontario where you will find the Canadian Shield, rugged wilderness and so many beautiful elopement spots. Eastern Ontario you will find Lake Ontario which gives some of the most beautiful white sand beaches with sand dunes and cozy airbnb’s dotting the beach front. Southern Ontario is where you will find the majority of the population and so many incredible industrial spaces as well as winding forest trails, the Niagara escarpment along with hundreds of waterfalls. You can plan an incredible adventure in Ontario no matter what you are looking for. This can make deciding on the best place to elope in Ontario hard, but that is why I am here to help you!

How To Elope in Ontario

If you have just started to dream of your special day or have already began planning but still not sure about some details this is the perfect resource for you. Whether you are a resident of Ontario or someone visiting I have compiled so much information to help you plan for your elopement in Ontario. From the best time to visit, the best places for your elopement and so much more!

Best Time To Visit Ontario

Ontario is a year round destination offering so much to do in all four seasons. The most popular time of year in Ontario is Summer and Fall which stretches June to October. Ontario gets all four seasons which can make your visit so unique and different depending on the season with each being Spring (April-Early June, Summer (June to Mid-September), Fall (Mid-September to Early November) and Winter (November to March). Depending on what kind of back drop you are looking for should come into play when choosing when to elope in Ontario.

Things To Know About Ontario

Ontario is a HUGE province. Depending on where you want to visit it can take up to 16 hours to get from the top of the province to the bottom. So make sure you do your research before arriving. The weather can also be very different in the northern part of the province to the southern part.

Ontario is home to 4 national parks (Rouge Urban National Park, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Point Peele National Park & Pukaskwa National Park) and hundreds of provincial parks. Each park is unique and beautiful in its own right. Ontario is a very dog friendly province and dogs are welcome almost everywhere – even some bars are dog friendly.

How To Get Legally Married In Order to Elope in Ontario

In order to get legally married in Ontario you need to be at least 18 years old. You must take this form (click here) and apply in person no more than 90 days before your elopement. You will receive your license the same day you apply for it. Check out all the documents you are required to bring to apply for your license here. 

You do not need to pick up your license in the city you are getting married in you can do it anywhere within the province. In order to get legally married an authorized official needs to marry you along with two witnesses (which I can be one of!)

Landscapes in Ontario

Ontarios landscapes are very diverse from thousands of fresh water lakes, old growth forests, Canadian Shield, white sand beaches and stunning waterfalls and so much more. Over 61% of the province is covered by the Canadian Shield, a beautiful rock dating back to precambrian times that towers over lakes and cities in certain areas making for dramatic landscapes. Filled with rolling hills, thick forests, lakes and rivers along with the Canadian Shield the province varies depending on where you are but can either be very flat, lovely rolling hills or filled with elevation from the Canadian Shield.

Getting To Ontario

Getting to Ontario is very easy. With Pearson International Airport located right in Toronto this is the easiest way to arrive in Ontario. Whether you are travelling from another province or another country Pearson International Airport is Canada’s largest airport and has both inbound and outbound flights from around the world daily. Once arrived in Toronto depending on where you are travelling to in Ontario you can either drive or fly to another airport. For a list of all airports in Ontario click here. Ontario has airports all throughout the province taking you almost anywhere you would love to go. You will likely need to drive your your elopement spot once you have arrived at your destination, but driving in Ontario is very easy and safe to do so.

Choosing Your Vendors For Your Ontario Elopement

This is such an important piece to having the best possible experience on your elopement day. Choosing the right vendors that support you and help you along the way both while planning your elopement as well as on your day.

I am not just your photographer when it comes to your elopement, I am also your guide. I am here to help you find these vendors that fit both your vision as well as your budget. I help you find the perfect spot that feels special and memorable for the two of you and ensure that the day is stress free and your best adventure yet! Not only do I help you find your locations, help plan activities on what you would love to do, I also help you find accommodations, make recommendations on things to do if you are staying in the area for a while and so much more. I truly want your elopement day to be a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget and that is why I am here to help you through every step of planning your dream day.

Here is a list of vendors you will likely need for your elopement day:
– Photographer
– Officiant
– Florist
– Hair + Make Up
– Dress / Suit
– Videographer

Here are the Top Places to Elope in Ontario:

01 A Private Island on Georgian Bay

There are 30,000 islands in Georgian Bay and many of them have cottages on them. So many of these cozy cottages can be rented on Airbnb and would be the perfect backdrop for your day. If renting a cottage is not for you there is also Beausoleil Island that is the largest island of Georgian Bay Islands National Park where there are day use areas as well as camping areas for both tents and o-tentiks, Parks Canada’s Yurts, where you can have a relaxed day right on the water.

My other favourite option is by far one of my favourites is heading to untouched islands with nothing but the majestic cliffs Canadian Shield, the crooked pine trees that inhabit the island and the serenity of Georgian Bay. These spaces are accessible by boat access only but you are in luck! We love to take couples out on the boat to these spots and your guaranteed to see more Beavers than people. The incredible rugged beauty of Georgian Bay is sure to take your breath away no matter where you go and make sure you plan for your day to stay out long enough to watch the sunset as the sunsets on Georgian Bay are like nothing else. 

02 Airbnb’s or Your Own Cottage

Dreaming of saying I do on the dock or along the water? Then a cottage could be perfect for you. There are so many great cottages in Georgian Bay, Muskoka, Kawarthas, Haliburton and beyond. The great thing about renting a cottage is you can narrow your search down based on how many loved ones will be joining you for your day or even staying the night! Some cottages can easily accommodate up to 25-30 and some are only meant for 2-4 people. You can totally make the day as relaxed as you want while at a cottage space. 

Here are some of our favourite Airbnb’s to rent for your Ontario elopement:
Fort Treehouse
The Blue Heron
The Buffalo Farm
The Happy Glamper
The Woodhouse

03 Algonquin Provincial Park

Ontario’s oldest and one of the most popular provincial parks, Algonquin Provincial Park has 7,653 acres of pure wildness to explore to fit your adventurous elopement dreams.  There are so many options in the park it literally can fit anything you have in mind! From a small intimate wedding at Bartlett Lodge, to saying I do at the incredible Barron Canyon, or even doing a portage trip to one of the many islands that dot the lakes of Algonquin. There is truly no limit when it comes to what you can do in Algonquin Provincial Park. If you love getting outside, hiking, canoeing, camping or so much more Algonquin could definitely be the place for you.

04 Killarney

Killarney is one of those spots many have not had the chance to visit as it feels just too far out of reach for a quick weekend trip, but is one of the reasons it is one of my favourite places in Ontario. Killarney is only home to 386 permanent residents but has so much to offer. From the beautiful Killarney Mountain Lodge, to a remote canoe trip or multi-day backing trip through the La Cloche Silhouette Trail or camping in a tent or yurt in beautiful Killarney Provincial Park. Home to the beautiful white quartzite mountains known as the La Cloche Mountains set the stage for some incredible photos and you don’t have to leave the province to get mountains.

05 Lake Superior

Oh beautiful Northern Ontario! Lake Superior is the largest and coldest of the great lakes but it is simply stunning! There are so many incredible places you could say I do up around this picture perfect area. From one of the many hiking spots in Lake Superior Provincial Park, the incredible Slate Islands that are home to Ontario’s largest boreal woodland caribou, a cozy cabin that sits on the rocky shoreline of the lake, in the incredible wilderness Pukaskwa National Park and so many more incredible options!

06 Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay is populated city in Northwestern Ontario and has so many incredible spots not too far from the city center. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is one of the dominant landscapes of the area visibly seen from Thunder Bay the sleeping giant is filled with incredible hikes and even better views which makes for a perfect elopement adventure. If you are looking for something more quiet and back country then consider a backcountry canoe trip in Quietco Provincial Park, the canoe capital of Canada.

07 Tobermory

On this long strip of a peninsula is the beautiful Tobermory that is home to Bruce Peninsula National Park where you will find the incredibly popular Grotto. Tobermory has so much to offer when it comes to places to elope. You could choose to rent a cottage right on Georgian Bay or Lake Huron, take a boat to Fathom Five Island and get married on Flowerpot Island or the lighthouse in your background, take a trip to an even more remote island on Georgian Bay, save your vows in the Grotto itself. The options are endless. This is one of those places you should visit whether you live in Ontario or are visiting it is well worth the drive.

08 Manitoulin Island

Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest fresh water island and an absolutely beautiful place for an elopement in Ontario. Offering so many great spots including Bridal Veil Falls, the Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail, the beautiful turquoise waters of Georgian Bay, a wide variety of lighthouses, Manitoulin Brewing and so much more.

09 Muskoka

Couple snuggled up during their Camp New Moon Wedding in Lake of Bays, Muskoka.

Muskoka is in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country that has over 14,000km of amazing shoreline, Canadian Shield, crooked pine trees and some of our favourite spots to host your elopement in Ontario. For all the best places to elope in Muskoka make sure to check out this post!

10 Bon Echo Provincial Park

Bon Echo Provincial Park, located about 3 hours from Toronto in southeastern Ontario is the perfect place for an elopement. Featuring tons of hiking trails, the beautiful Mazinaw Rock which also has ancient petroglyphs on the side of the rock as well as multiple lakes.

11 Prince Edward County

If you are looking for white sand beaches to elope on in Ontario then Price Edward Country is one of the best options for you! With rolling sand dunes, Lake Ontario’s waves lapping up on shore, driftwood and little inlets filled with warmer, shallow water it is a beach lovers dream.

12 Elora Gorge

Elora Gorge, located just under 2 hours from Toronto situated along the Grand River is the perfect place for an elopement. With Elora Gorge Conservation Area, Victoria Park and the newly renovated and restored Elora Mill are all incredible options for an elopement in Elora.

13 Your Backyard

Getting married in your own backyard is 100% an option and if you love your backyard space (or a family members) consider doing it there! When you get married in your backyard you are already comfortable in the space and will be able to look out everyday and know that was where the next chapter of your love story began! As well, there is no venue rental fee or permits required to have a backyard wedding!

14 Waterfalls in Hamilton

Hamilton is home to over 100 beautiful waterfalls which make an incredible backdrop for your elopement in Ontario. From 100m tall waterfalls to smaller ones that cascade down the rocks it is a very tranquil place to be tucked into the forest. The waterfalls make great backdrops year round even when they are frozen!

15 Niagara-On-The-Lake

Niagara on the Lake is the most lovely of towns that sits along Lake Ontario. Surrounded by wineries, a charming town and so many beautiful spots along the water choosing to elope in Niagara on the Lake would be a great choice!

16 Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Provincial Park is an incredible provincial park sitting just outside of Parry Sound (3 hours from Toronto) along the rocky shoreline of Georgian Bay. Here there are so many incredible hikes that offer beautiful views of the bay and allows you to explore the thick forest. Say I do under the iconic crooked tree along the rocky outcrop in Killbear is a perfect place for an elopement in Ontario.

17 Hardy Lake Provincial Park

Hardy Lake Provincial Park is a non-operating provincial park located in Torrence, Ontario in the heart of Muskoka. Hardy Lake is a great place if you are looking to hike to a quiet spot for your ceremony or just for an adventure. Filled with over 19km of hiking trails offering both short and long trails so you can pick your challenge and go explore. Hardy Lake Provincial Park is an incredible option to elope in Ontario.

18 Glen Oro Farm

Glen Oro Farm is a fully operating horse farm that is now offering the most incredible eco-retreat luxury camping. These glamping domes are an incredible place for your adventurous elopement in Ontario. Focusing on the important of the environment, sustainability as well as comfort and is available year round.

There are so many incredible places to elope in Ontario this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other options along little quiet lakes, under the pine trees in the forest, along your favourite hiking trail or anywhere that you truly love! Your possibilities truly become endless when you are looking at having a small wedding or elopement and I am here to help you find the perfect spot. If the places above don’t quite fit what you are looking for I would love to help you find a spot that really feels like the two of you for your elopement day.

Do you have a favourite place you would love to elope in Ontario? Let me know in the comments or send me an email so I can help you plan your dream day!

Nicole Alex Photography is a travelling Elopement and Small Wedding Photographer based in Ontario that loves adventuring with experience driven couples across Canada including British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and PEI. Learn more about Nicole Alex Photography and the elopement and wedding prices.