interfaith and jewish weddings Toronto

FAQs—Planning an Interfaith Wedding

These are some of the typical areas couples ask about when planning their wedding ceremony. Alexandra Gellman, who is likely to be your first contact when you connect to discuss your ceremony, answers some frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact us for any topics we may not have covered in the detail you need or specific queries concerning your wedding.

How soon should we book our wedding with you?

We’re often booked quite far in advance. So during this period, as everything starts to get back to normal after the lockdowns, it would be a good idea to pencil in a date and time as soon as you’re ready.

With so many people catching up with plans put on hold, this and next year are looking to be busier than ever. However, we always keep certain windows of time available for services and ceremonies. So do please always check with us, even if you’re planning at the last minute.

Generally, the answer to the question of how soon to start planning your wedding is ASAP—whether you’re looking at months, next year, or the year after before you tie the knot. This is particularly true if you have a specific venue in mind or a certain date. Whether you plan a large guest list or a microwedding, we’re happy wedding planning-GTA videosto make arrangements to ensure peace of mind.

It’s never too soon to book your ideal wedding date. And, as any wedding planner will tell you—many venues and those who supply wedding services you may need, from caterers to photographers, may be booking well in advance at the moment. This is especially true as things pick up post-Covid lockdown.

Do you perform ceremonies in the GTA/Toronto area only or anywhere in Ontario?

The Rabbi is licensed to perform weddings anywhere in Ontario, and he also is able to officiate at weddings in the US.

Do you perform destination interfaith weddings?

Yes—the Rabbi has officiated at ceremonies in California, Mexico, Savannah (Georgia), and Manhattan.  He performs destination weddings for both Jewish and interfaith couples and has also done destination vow renewal ceremonies. For other destination locations, please check with us when reserving your dates.

What about weddings onboard ships/at resorts abroad?

The Rabbi has officiated at religious ceremonies on cruises, as well as destination weddings at resorts in Canada and elsewhere. Arrangements vary depending on the shipping company, and special plans need to be made with the venue or resort, but we will be pleased to discuss this with you.

Are you okay with outdoor and indoor ceremonies?

Yes, there’s no problem with any arrangement you want to make. Whether your ceremony is large or small, live-streamed or on YouTube, and outdoors, in a banquet hall, or vineyard—inside or out, we’re happy to accommodate and work with you to make this a very happy, fulfilling, and wonderful ceremony that lives up to your dreams.

We’ve heard that some couples get married in Canada and then at the destination abroad, too. Is this allowed?

Yes, and this trend may likely continue as travel opens up and weddings are held outside of the country more often.  Sometimes it is encouraged, depending on the destination and the regulations in force in that country.

Some couples hold a local ceremony In Canada before or after—either privately or so that friends may attend who can’t travel to the destination.

This can be a wise step to take if you’re not positive of the official requirements at your destination location going forward. It ensures that all the legalities are met for you and that your wedding is safely registered in Ontario/Canada in case of any legal hiccups in your destination country in the future.

Do you officiate other events?

Yes, the Rabbi conducts all rites of passage ceremonies, including vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, Wedding Muskokanamings, memorial services—Jewish or Interfaith. We hope to continue to perform services for you after the wedding—from baby namings to b’nei mitzvahs.

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What’s the first step in planning our wedding?

After you contact us and discuss dates, we like to work with you to create the dream ceremony that will meet your requirements. We discuss the details with you. Everything is done to recognize, respect, and reflect your beliefs, history, and family ties, and create a wedding ceremony with the elements you desire and as you desire.

We work with you creatively so that your ceremony reflects who you both are and your exact wishes and presents a unified ceremony with elements, vows, and the approach that will live up to expectations and make wonderful memories for you and your loved ones.

Do you work with families to iron out requirements/arrangements?

Yes, we’re very happy to sit down with all sides of the family (and generations!) to work things out. This can be of particular help when it comes to agreeing on elements of the wedding ceremony for an interfaith couple, where strong opinions/family members may cause little hiccups. Especially in interfaith services, this may require compromise and accommodation.

We are both experienced counselors and are able to work with family members of all ages (and personalities!) to provide guidance and create a wedding ceremony that suits you both and your loved ones.

Should we contact you directly or a wedding planner?

If you’re using a wedding planner, it’s a good idea to contact us both at about the same time so that everyone can get the dates that are best for you scheduled if available/agreed. On many occasions, we are contacted by wedding planners who put couples in touch with us.

Regardless, we will always be available for conversations about the ceremony and the procedures so that you know what to expect and are able to ensure that the ceremony will be a memory to remember with joy and pleasure. We are pleased to work with you creatively and to help determine the elements you wish to incorporate to make sure that all your needs (and wishes!) are met.

Please contact Alexandra for more information.

Weddings-GTA Interfaith

Ontario moves to Step 3 —weddings and ceremonies

GATHERING LIMITS CHANGE FOR ONTARIO WEDDING CEREMONIES & VACCINE PASSPORTS

With the move to Step 3 in Ontario on July 16, it seems like we’re on the way back to normal. Although events, gatherings, and celebrations still face restrictions, this move gives encouragement to couples planning to get married that they can take their plans off hold.

It also marks a return to busy schedules for the many venues and suppliers of wedding-related services from caterers to stylists, photographers, and videographers. For couples, the chance to gather more of your friends and loved ones close to celebrate your dream wedding—or nearly, considering we’re not quite out of the woods yet—feels almost like New Year’s in July.

What does the change to Step 3 mean for wedding planning? Times are still somewhat uncertain, and subject to change by the province if Covid conditions or rates alter. It’s a good idea to hire a wedding planner, who will be up to date on all the changing rules and regulations and able to guide and advise.

But for the moment, happy couples can begin to plan for friends and family to share their happy event—providing health requirements are met. For the actual ceremony, the main requirement in Step 3 for indoor and outdoor ceremonies is a limit on capacity. Gathering limits must ensure physical distancing of 2 metres is possible.

For restaurant-type venues, both indoor and outdoor dining are now permitted. Capacity is limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres and other restrictions. There are no limits on the number of people per table, and buffets are allowed.

For typical larger venue locations, such as banquet halls and event or ballrooms, indoor capacity is limited to the number of people who can maintain a physical distance of two metres, with a maximum capacity of 25% indoors or 250 people (whichever is less). Outdoor capacity limited to 75% and other restrictions.

Standard limits for regular social get-togethers and gatherings are 25 indoors and 100 outdoors.

What Step 3 means—from the Ontario government’s media release:

  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
  • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
  • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).

As more information becomes available, we will post it here.

For information on large venue/ event spaces and other location/gathering requirements connected with Ontario’s reopening, please see the official Ontario reopening website.

VACCINE PASSPORTS AND WEDDINGS IN ONTARIO:

With the announcement of vaccine passports being required in Ontario for certain locations and events, everyone will have to show their current vaccine receipts and photo i.d. or a digital record (QR) when this is available for weddings.  However, Ontario has announced an alternative measure to accommodate weddings and help with guest lists already planned. Between September 22 and October 12, 2021, individuals will also be able to show the results of a rapid antigen test (these are privately purchased/to be completed within 48 hours prior to the event) as an alternative to proof of vaccination when attending weddings. These requirements do not apply to outdoor settings.  (more/government website)

Feature photo—Thank you to Tara Winstead, Pexels

Weddings and Families

Ontario Weddings —Scheduling 2021

Weddings in Ontario—Regulations on gatherings and ceremonies change

Announced on June 24, 2021—

New limits are in force in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada—for the latest in Ontario, please check out the official information site or contact us.

The provincial government announced that effective Wednesday, June 30th, Ontario will enter Step 2 of the re-opening earlier than anticipated. Step 2 has kicked in as the benchmark has passed of 70% of adults with at least one dose/vaccination and 20% fully vaccinated.

General outdoor social gatherings and organized events will be allowed for up to 25 people.  Larger indoor and outdoor social events are permitted, as well as larger indoor religious services, rites, and ceremonies.

Allowances for weddings and other ceremonies in Step 2 are as follows:

  • Indoor permitted at 25% capacity of the room

    Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres

We’ll advise/post here as soon as we know of new capacity changes or updates as we move into Step 3.

In the meantime, to discuss your requirements for an upcoming ceremony, please connect for details, and to reserve your preferred date. Or contact for scheduling information in the GTA, elsewhere in Ontario, and beyond, including the U.S.A.

More information here on the official Ontario provincial website.

 

CLICK TO VIEW THE LATEST NEWSLETTER: JUNE ISSUE

wedding planning-GTA videos

Your Wedding Video—Wedding Planning 101

VIDEO AT THE WEDDING—CEREMONIES 2021

Even with some gathering limits relaxing soon (we hope!), couples may still need to rely on Zoom, YouTube, or live streaming to bring friends and loved ones together for your wedding ceremony for some time to come. Restrictions are variable in different areas/parts of the world, and ensuring everyone  you would like to invite can show up on a specific date and time may be tricky for a while.

With a little planning of technical details, the video of your wedding—whether it’s live or recorded for everyone to watch later, will benefit from arranging the details early and leaving nothing to chance (or the last minute!).

With date and venue changes, travel quarantines, gathering restrictions, vaccinations, variants, and flight holdups, couples are holding smaller, more intimate ceremonies, live streaming the wedding, or sharing it as soon as they can.

Mark of Kismet Creative, who produces wonderful wedding videos, says, “We see weddings on Instagram, more use of streaming services, or really short turn-around to share if attendance has to be limited by circumstance.”

“We already do same day edits for couples who want to view or share their day on the actual day—so this can be handled easily.”

Check with your videographer to make sure they can meet your timeline and share your ceremony as and when you want it.

General tips to consider to make sure your wedding video is the ultimate include:

TO MAKE VIDEO WEDDINGS PERFECT

  1. Be fully informed—discuss your plans and iron out the budget.
  2. Make sure that the videographer/s know the where, and when, and how of what you want the video to be.
  3. Decide whether you prefer an intimate “sharing” story or a bells-and-whistles grand production, or somewhere in-between and iron out the details in advance.
  4. Book your ceremony arrangements early—so that you have best choice and can schedule the venue, your Rabbi/officiant and the video shoot/s and all other factors to meet your ideal calendar.
  5. Do you want the video to be live streamed or to be edited on the day and made available immediately on You Tube or another site?
  6. Make sure the company you hired can meet your requirements/check references.
  7. Some couples like to show everything—the hair-stylists at work, the gowns and suits poised ready to put on, the guests and parents, family members—or as many as can be there during these odd times—plus every second of the ceremony, celebrations, and departure. You’ll be asked to decide this in advance as it affects staffing/cost.
  8. Be specific with your “script” and make sure you and your videographers are on the same page, time line, and budget.
  9. Keep in mind that the venue or location, especially if outside, may necessitate more videographers or different equipment.
  10. Go through and agree every detail beforehand to be sure there are no surprises on the day.
  11. Confirm all the key steps and moments that you want to see covered and included; identify/provide a list of any special family members/ participants you would like to see featured .
  12. Be sure to have someone point out who’s who—the parents, grandparents, close friends, and relatives you’d like to see in your video.
  13. Also confirm all the details of your videographer’s schedule on the day. Are there are other ceremonies or events on that might affect how they work and what they can do plus access and timing issues—will everyone arrive at the same time?
  14. Do you want everyone to remain almost unaware of the videographer/s? Make sure you advise—if they are professionals, most of these details will be covered as part of the contractual process.
  15. Finally, consider when you need to obtain agreement/discuss timing and any necessary permissions from others who might be photographed in the video to make sure everyone in the wedding party is okay with your plans. If the video will be posted publicly, some people might have concerns.
  16. Confirm with the owners/venue that it’s acceptable to shoot in the location that you’ve chosen.
  17. Confirm the review and approval process—some companies allow a single review and will make edits to meet your needs; others may be more or less flexible—and this may also affect the timing.
  18. Get it in writing—make sure the details, schedule, budget, and delivery date/options are all agreed.

Then relax and dream about your wonderful wedding. If you’ve done some due diligence and checked your video suppliers references and history, and agreed on all the details, you’ll be able to look forward to a wedding video that captures and showcases your treasured memories forever.

More on wedding videography.