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.


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.

Creating the Perfect Wedding Video

Award-winning wedding cinematographers Mark and Danielle capture stories around the world for their company Kismet Creative, surpassing the expectations of many happy wedding couples from Toronto to Vancouver and far beyond.

They specialize in producing wonderful films with a strong narrative designed to show the couple’s personalities, documenting their turning points and ceremony into a defining story that lives in the memory and will be a treasured celebration of the marriage.

“The ceremony is the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next,” says Mark. He and Danielle first met in Bali (kismet!), were married in Italy—and have since lived in Sydney, London, Vancouver, and Toronto. They now call the GTA home.

Fast forward a few years, and their life is also now filled with the wonder, boundless energy, and thrills of enjoying each day with beautiful daughter Isla—so they fully understand the importance of capturing life’s special moments.

“We’re pleased to be able to capture and showcase the wonderful weddings that memories are made of.”

Mark and Danielle work together in the business and are extremely skilled at portraying the unique captivating stories of their wedding couples. They bring true professionalism to the task, with experience of writing, directing, and editing videos for the BBC, Warner Brothers, Universal, and Disney—to name a few.

Mark is the main shooter and Danielle tends to be the key contact for clients and couples for the contract side of things. But they often work together on shoots— Danielle may be involved with filming or, via her other company, providing hair, makeup, and wedding styling through

Since the public health pandemic has thrown a hiccup in the plans of a number of couples, they have been adjusting schedules to accommodate, Mark says. Kismet Creative tends to be booked up quickly and, while it has only a few shooting dates still open this year, they are trying to be as flexible as possible. “Because of the current conditions and with everything so unpredictable, we want to do the utmost for our customers.

“Some couples are being super-proactive and rescheduling –booking dates for later this year and next. Others are hoping for the best that everything will be able to go ahead as planned. Many couples are not quite sure what to do.”

Mark’s advice is that if you think you may have to reschedule to touch base sooner rather than later.  Perhaps consider other days of the week so you are able to book your venue and all the other vendors on the same page/same day—keeping in mind that everyone else will be doing the same thing.

“Saturday summer days have become the new must have—like a certain product that everyone stockpiled at the start of the health scare(!) so if you can go for Friday or Sunday, this will give you more flexibility.”

“Considering the strange and unusual time we’re living in, there is no penalty for change—although early re-bookings and confirmations means we can schedule key cinematography to suit everyone’s needs.”

Kismet Creative works with associated excellent cinematographers they can call on during these trying times. Since Kismet already has wedding-experienced and industry-skilled associates in Toronto and BC when additional shooters are needed in a normal year, they can accommodate more change during this period. Although Mark likes to be the principal shooter on 4 or 5 key BC weddings annually, they do have a network of professional associates in BC and in Ontario who can assist.

Everyone works under Kismet Creative’s direction and this allows the company to be more flexible.

Kismet’s skill behind the scenes—and the creative way they go about portraying and telling each particular wedding story—is what clients seem to find most special—and this is ensured regardless of who is behind the camera, says Mark.

Many of their clients come through referrals from other bridal couples and their families and friends, but Mark says there is a pretty even mix. “People find us on Instagram and via googling and recommend us to their friends. This is very heartening as it shows us how much people love the finished videos.”

Costs vary but a ballpark investment for a Kismet production is $4400 to $6400. You will be able to view and choose your ideal approach—narrative, cinematic, portrait, highlights, etc.—and Mark always recommends face-to-face consultation so they can be sure to deliver a film experience that meets your dreams and needs on the day and incorporates all the elements and background needed for the production.

With everything still uncertain re dates and schedules, Mark suggests planning and booking as far ahead as you can—and then be ready to adapt should the situation change.

Going forward, he foresees an increase in how video is used to tell and share wedding stories.

With date and venue changes, travel bans, and flight delays, some guests may not be able to be present. Couples may hold a smaller, more intimate ceremony, live stream the wedding, or share it as soon as they can. “We see weddings on Instagram, more use of streaming services, or really short turn-arounds to share if attendance has to be limited by circumstance. Kismet Creative already does a same day edit for couples who want to view or share their day on the actual day—so this can be handled easily.”

Mark and Danielle love being able to define and record love stories and wedding ceremonies so that they reflect the unique joy and specialness—with all the wonderful details  and elements that simply don’t fit into a photograph album.  Mark’s final piece of advice? “If you’re planning a wedding this year or next, think about getting in touch with us, or other cinematographers quickly. Not only are 2021 dates going fast, but we’re also best placed to offer you unique video and streaming solutions in case your wedding is affected by the pandemic.”

Weddings and Families

Families and Weddings

You may feel you have the date, you’ve booked the Rabbi, and you’re ready… However, as almost any wedding planner will tell you, that may be when things start to go awry.

Your wedding ceremony will stay in your memory as one of the most important days of your life (and probably the most astonishing so far!). It’s essential that the ceremony lives up to your dreams and hopes.


“Sometimes family attitudes and judgments or their expectations of your wedding may get in the way,” says Rabbi David Gellman. “We’re very pleased to be of service, so this doesn’t happen. We will work with you to incorporate the rituals and customs you would like to include from any faith or background, and that may be important to both sides of the family. Every wedding ceremony is individually created for the couple with observances dear to you both.”


Initially, the two partners to be married may feel somewhat overwhelmed with how to plan the perfect ceremony. How do you include Jewish and non-Jewish traditions and customs, or highlight elements that may be significant to you both or to your respective families?

“Through our personal experience, Alexandra and I know both the challenges and joys of a ceremony that’s inclusive, sensitive, and meaningful to everyone. This is why we use a tailored approach to bring couples, families, loved ones, and friends together to share in an ecumenical ceremony that respects your past, enshrines your moment of the day, and collectively puts faith in your future as a loving couple.”


Understanding everyone’s wishes in advance helps to avoid tensions with extended families that could intrude on the happiness and specialness of your day. Your ceremony will be written for you individually. It will be customized for you with the rituals and traditions that you choose to honor and reflect both religions. Whether you select only a few traditions or all—these are woven into the ceremony for you.

Often, some simple guidance is all that is needed to craft a service that will be a dream ceremony for you, your families, and for everyone in attendance. Creating a ceremony that exemplifies the cooperation and love that will be central to the life you envisage together is always the goal, regardless of the starting point. “We find our tailored approach guides us to the perfect solution for our wedding couples and your families.”


So don’t feel overwhelmed if various family members sometimes look like they’re readying for an argument instead of a marriage.  Minimizing any anxieties for the couple and all interested members of the wedding party—and ensuring your wonderful precious memories of the ceremony of your dreams—sometimes takes just a little extra timely understanding, planning, and creativity.

Note: We are happy to meet with you and your family members beforehand for marriage and couple guidance counselling to help create a happy and healthy supportive framework for your life together based on love, respect, and trust.


Are Zoom Weddings Legal?

Recent reports on how a few Israeli couples were getting married remotely in Utah to bypass local regulations made headlines and prompted questions about whether Zoom or Facetime weddings are legal.

That depends. Weddings where the officiant or at least two witnesses are not present in person “on location” may not stand the legality test. To comply with Ontario laws, it’s not yet feasible to conduct entirely virtual ceremonies without the officiant present.  It may be different in your province or state.

Instead, many couples decide to hold a small virtual-ish wedding—connecting everyone who would have been on the guest list via Zoom or Facebook or sharing the video after.

So a number of weddings are proceeding almost to plan. It’s merely that the plan now includes delaying the celebration until everything opens up or their first anniversary, whichever comes first.

This isn’t ideal, and it may not be exactly the wedding of your dreams. But it gives a way forward for couples who don’t want to wait to tie the knot until the pandemic is in the rearview mirror.

The Rabbi has conducted a number of smaller weddings (Jewish -Interfaith and non-denominational) in a variety of locations and venues during the slowdowns and lockdowns.

Couples have chosen smaller groups to meet regulations for both outside and inside ceremonies. Outside, with such spectacular surroundings available, it’s added a certain specialness to the ceremony. The Rabbi has officiated at ceremonies in the lovely gardens at Sunnybrook Estates in Toronto, for example, where the scenery and the behind the scene effort at the venue ensures that the wedding is perfect.

Stacey and Gianni married in a beautiful spot in Muskoka where the landscape almost felt like a guest at the wedding.

Karianne and Adam enjoyed a lovely fall wedding in their backyard with as many friends and family as were allowed to celebrate.

Holding a wedding outdoors doesn’t mean masks and social distancing won’t be necessary —and smaller weddings inside may have special protective measures in place, subject to venue size and regulations at the time.

But even if it’s a small intimate group, the Rabbi (and Alex) work closely with the couple and family to be sure that all wishes are met and that the ceremony is a memory to treasure.

Since nobody knows when the current situation will end, and with travel and quarantine restrictions subject to change moment by moment, many couples are deciding to go ahead and hold a smaller wedding.

Sometimes it’s family expectations that are the roadblock—parents may have envisaged a large amazing wedding for their child, perhaps with guests flying in from around the world or across the country.

However, the intimacy of the smaller ceremony can make for a warm and memorable experience.

With pandemic restrictions and requirements on gathering sizes likely to last a while longer, and if you’re not ready to put your married life on hold, it’s a good idea to start planning ASAP. Popular venues (inside and out) get booked up fast. And if you’re going to connect via Zoom or otherwise, asking a wedding planner to help will simplify the day and make sure you’re not distracted by technology. (Wedding planner/Melissa Baum)

Check the Ontario website here or your local municipality—or your state/province for numbers and requirements, or contact us.

When the situation improves, and life feels like it can get back to normal will be a good time to hold the party of the century —whether you’re celebrating your wedding or simply with your friends and loved ones. What a party that will be!


Link to Israeli couples and virtual weddings in Utah


Jewish Interfaith Weddings-Beyond the Numbers

A recent article in The Jerusalem Post reports that the Jewish population in America is actually increasing and a big contributor is interfaith Jewish marriages.

This may seem, at first glance, surprising. But in a period of five years, the US population of Jewish adults and children rose from 7 to 7.5 million—this is from 2013 to 2018—and reports are that rates of participation in Jewish life remain remarkably stable.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the latest research stats of 1200 non-orthodox couples, admittedly a smallish sample, shows that interfaith couples feel welcome by both sides of their families.

What the figures do show is that these couples are active in Jewish life and traditions, but may not be quite as involved as when both partners are Jewish.  Another surprise—research finds, overwhelmingly, that the non-Jewish partner does not typically practice another religion actively.

This may be something to discuss among interfaith couples where parents and other relatives—among your extended Jewish families– may not be entirely on board with your plans for an interfaith marriage before your wedding—that research shows high participation and involvement rates in Jewish life after the wedding!

Note from the Rabbi:
What is it like in your interfaith family? I’d welcome feedback and I (and Alex!) are always happy to help guide and discuss.

More–read the article at The Jerusalem Post.