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THE INDEX

How To Pick a Wedding Venue + My 5 Faves

You’re engaged! What an exciting, wonderful time in life. Next step: book your venue! It may seem a bit overwhelming at this point, but here are a few tips on how to navigate the venue scene, and my top picks for the best wedding venues in Toronto.

I got engaged last spring, and was SO excited to start looking for a venue. I wanted to get married at a place that I had never shot at before, so I didn’t feel like I was at the office at my own vows. But man, I didn’t realize how tricky it was. So many factors to consider and so many choices to make.

Here are my tips for how to select a wedding venue that’s right for you.

Gorgeous tablescape by Toronto florist Cool, Green and Shady at RCM Wedding

Number of guests

This is the very first thing you need to sit down and figure out before beginning your venue search. Not all wedding venues fit all weddings. If your guest list is too big for the space, you’ll end up having to cut people. Or if the space is too big for the amount of people you’re inviting, your wedding will look sparse and poorly attended.

Mood and Vibe

Whether your thing is a luxury affair in the heart of the city, or a casual country picnic, your venue is the #1 aspect of your wedding that sets the tone. Are you and your betrothed classic, modern, trendy, casual?

Wine lovers? Perhaps a vineyard is the answer. Dreaming of a Gatsby inspired party? An estate may be the way to go.

Whatever your vibe, your venue is a key element.

All Inclusive vs Built Your Own

In essence, there are two types of wedding venues. All inclusive venues such as hotels, banquet halls and restaurants, and build your own type of spaces.

One is not better than the other, but they are very different.

Build your own venues will often have a much lower upfront cost, but that savings can be wiped out when you add up the costs of bringing in your own caterer, rentals, etc. The advantage is that you can really design your wedding decor, menu, etc. to be exactly what you want, AND some even all allow you to bring in your own alcohol.

All inclusive venues have a bigger initial price tag, but as the name suggests, that’s inclusive of everything so there are fewer additional costs. Make sure you ask to see (and like) things like tables, chairs, cutlery, and plates because you won’t be able to change them without a hefty cost. Some of these venues require you to use their own officiant and planners, plus you may be limited as to what outside items you can bring in such as desserts.

Accessibility

This is an often overlooked element when picking a venue. If you have older guests or guests with limited mobility, you want to take an accessible venue into consideration. Are the entrances wheel-chair friendly? Where are the bathrooms located? Will guests be able to get from the ceremony area to the reception area quickly and easily?

Parking, access to public transit, proximity to highways, and being located in an Uber/Lyft friendly area should also be taken into consideration.

Reliability

When I was looking for a venue, if the communication was iffy right off the bat, I crossed them off the list. If it took more than a few days to respond to my emails or phone calls (if they responded at all) I saw it as a super bad omen for the future. As a business owner, it seems totally insane not to prioritize communication, but hey, their loss.

If you do not feel comfortable with your point-person, or the way the venue has been dealing with you, get out now. You do not need that added stress when planning your wedding.

  • Bonus Tip: Get an experience planner and ask them! They will know the ins and outs of any venue. 

 

My Picks for Best Wedding Venues in Toronto

Graydon Hall

This is the place I’ve photographed at more than any other, and I shot my first ever wedding here, so it has a special place in my heart. Perhaps the best food Toronto has to offer, and staff and service that are second to none.

The classic architecture is a dream.

Bride and Groom walk around the fountain in the gardens of Graydon Hall

View more from this venue.

Royal Conservatory of Music

If you want a mix of modern and timeless, this is the place for you. The floor to ceiling natural light windows are truly breathtaking, and I’ve never seen this place have anything less than great music and a phenomenal party.

Royal Conservatory of Music - Best Wedding Venues in Toronto

View more from this venue.

Canoe Restaurant

Hands down winner for the best view in the city. If you have lots of out of town guests, and want to give them the full “Toronto” experience, while dazzling them with wonderful food, this spot high atop the financial district is the place.

Modern couple walks down the aisle at Canoe Restaurant in Toronto just after getting married, wedding photos

Steam Whistle Brewery 

Industrial chic at its very best. You don’t have to be a beer lover to appreciate this super cool converted space, surrounded by amazing photo ops.

Rad couples only please.

Late night wedding dancing at Steam Whistle Brewery

View more from this venue.

Malaparte

This downtown modern venue has the most incredible rooftop ceremony location, and the best place ever to have a cocktail party.

Couple walks up the steps of Malaparte in this downtown Toronto wedding

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